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“ Meanwhile several flocks of goats came up for water, or perhaps because their keepers wished to get a nearer view of the strangers.

“We set off again on a course N.E., the path gradually ascending over an open tract, which in ordinary seasons must be a fine grazing country; not a precipice, not a tree was to be seen; nothing but grassy hills ..." - Robinson's Researches, vol. i. pp. 299–304.

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CHAPTER V.

LAND OF THE PHILISTINES.

PHILISTIA, OR PALESTINA-GAZA-ASKELON-ASHDOD-GATH-EKRON.

PHILISTIA, OR PALESTINA, LAND OF THE PHILISTINES.

SCRIPTURE NOTICES.

" AND Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.”Genesis xxi. 34. (See ver. 32. See in preceding verses the account of Abraham's covenant with Abimelech at Beersheba.)

“And Isaac went unto Abimelech, king of the Philistines, unto Gerar ... and the man waxed great ... and the Philistines envied him.”—Genesis xxvi. 1, &c.

"And it came to pass when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt ; but God led the people about through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.”Exodus xiii. 17, 18.

"... Sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.”—Exodus xv. 14.

"And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river : for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.”Exodus xxiii. 31.

"Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in

years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. This is the land that yet remaineth ; all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri, from Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite ; five lords of the Philistines ; the Gazathites, and the Ashnothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites ; also the Avites ..."- Joshua xiii. 143.

“ Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them; even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan ; only that the generations of the children of Israel might know to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; namely, five lords of the Philistines, (&c. ;) and they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord ..."-Judges iii. 1--4.

“Over Philistia will I triumph.”Psalm cviii.9. (lx. 8.)

« Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken ... thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved.”—Isaiah xiv. 29, 31.

“ Thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me, Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me : to wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and ... all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and ... Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod . . . and it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished ? Ye shall not be unpunished . . . saith the Lord of Hosts.”—Jeremiah xxv. 15, &c.

"... The Lord will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.”— Jeremiah lxvii. 4.

"... Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea-coasts.”Ezekiel xxv. 16.

“... The remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God.”—Amos i. 8.

"... Have not I brought up ... the Philistines from Caphtor ?”—Amos ix. 7.

“Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea-coasts, the nation of the Cherethites ! the word of the Lord is against you ; 0 Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. And the sea-coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.”—Zephaniah ii. 5.

[2 Kings viü. 2 ; 1 Chron. i. 12; 2 Chron. xxvi, 6; Isa. ii. 6; Ezek. xvi. 27, 57; Obad. 19; Ps. lxxxvii. 4.]

The country of the Philistines was a narrow strip of land, lying on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, west and south-west of Judæa. The Philistines, or Cherethims, came from the country of Caphtor, the grandson of Ham. Their language was but little different from that of the Hebrews. In the time of Abraham the Philistines were a powerful people, and were governed by lords or kings. Abraham appears to have sojourned long with them, and to have been generously treated. In the time of Joshua, the land of the Philistines was divided into five lordships, called from the chief towns, Gaza, Ashdod, Askelon, Gath, and Ekron. Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron were taken from the Philistines by Judah, but soon reverted to their former masters. When the Israelites were on their way to the promised land, it is recorded that “God led them not through the way of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest per

1 Judges i. 18.

adventure the people repent, when they see war, and they return to Egypt." The Philistines, however, are not numbered among the nations devoted to extermination, probably because they were not of the cursed seed of Canaan. They were left, we are told, to teach Israel war, and for a trial of the faithfulness and obedience of the chosen people, whom, for their sins and idolatry, they were often permitted to chastise. Indeed the Philistines became the most determined and constant enemies of the Israelites, and the details of their wars with them occupy a considerable portion of the history of those times. But they did not go unpunished for the oppressions and injuries they inflicted upon God's people, nor for their own hateful idolatry. Many were the predictions spoken against them by the mouth of the prophets, and were we to seek for a brief yet perfect and striking view of the present state of Philistia, we could not find it expressed more truly and forcibly than in the very words spoken as prophecy five hundred years before the coming of Jesus Christ ... “ Thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved !” Chaldeans and Persians, Macedonians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Jews, have, in turns, triumphed over and spoiled it. The land of the Philistines abounds in ruins, and both the villages and their inhabitants are poor and wretched. The land is destroyed.

Mr. Volney, in his “Travels,” observes, that in the plain between Ramleh and Gaza, (along the sea-coast,) “ the houses, on a nearer view, are only so many huts, sometimes detached, at others ranged in the form of cells, around a court-yard, enclosed by a mud wall. (The houses themselves are) badly built of dried mud. In winter, they and their cattle may be said to live together, the part of the dwelling allotted to themselves being only raised two feet above that in which they lodge their beasts. Except the environs of these vil

1 Judges x. 6,7; 2 Chron. xxi. 16, xxviii. 18.
2 See the books of Judges and Samuel in particular.

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