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The Philistines

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United Monarchy in Israel

United Monarchy showing Philistia, the area of the Philistines

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Definition: The Philistines are the inhabitants of the region of Philistia. The Philistines are most familiar from the Biblical story about David and Goliath, where the Philistines, neighbors of Israel, are fighting the men of King Saul, including the future king David. They also appear in the story of Samson and Delilah. The relevant Biblical books about the Philistines are Judges, Kings, and Samuel.

The Philistines lived in a coastal strip between the Mediterranean and the land of Israel and Judah. Three major cities of the Philistines were Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gaza, where the temple of Dagon was located.

Egyptian records from the 12th-13th centuries B.C. mention the Philistines in connection with the Sea Peoples. In the 8th-7th century B.C., starting with Tilgath-Pileser III, the Assyrians rule in Philistia. In 604 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Philistine cities of Ashdod, Akron, Ashkelon, and Akron.

Source: Philistine Iconography: A Wealth of Style and Symbolism, by David Ben-Shlomo

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