Philistia in the Bible
Philistia in the Old Testament
Philistia was the country is referred to under various designations in the Old Testament: namely, Heb: pelesheth (Philistia) (Ps 60:8 (Hebrew 10); 87:4), Heb: 'erets pelishtim, "land of the Philistines" (Gen 21:32,34), Heb: geloth hapelishtim; Septuagint Heb: ge ton Phulistieim, "the regions of the Philistines" (Josh 13:2).
The Egyptian monuments have Heb: Puirsatha, Pulsath (Budge), Heb: Peleset (Breasted) and Heb: Purasati (HGHL), according to the different voweling of the radicals; the Assyrian form is Palastu or Pilistu, which corresponds very closely to the Egyptian and the Hebrew.
The extent of the land is indicated in Josh 13:2 as being from the Shihor, or Brook of Egypt (Revised Version), to the border of Ekron, northward.
The eastern border was along the Judean foothills on the line of Beth-shemesh (1 Sam 6:9) with the sea on the West. It was a very small country, from 25 to 30 miles in length and with an average width of about half the length, but it was fertile, being an extension of the plain of Sharon, except that along the coast high sand dunes encroached upon the cultivated tract.
It contained many towns and villages, the most important being the five so often mentioned in Scripture: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron.
The population must have been large for the territory, which enabled them to contend successfully with the Israelites, notwithstanding the superiority of position in the hills to the advantage of the latter.
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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain.