6 April 2023

What are the Philistines in the Bible? – Meet the Philistine peoples

By Donald

The history of ancient peoples is often lost or completely unknown due to the different wars in history. However, in books like the Bible you can learn important elements of cultures. So, in this article, we explain what they are the philistines, its characteristics and wars with Israel. In the same way, there is talk about his beliefs, appearances in the Bible and the relationship of his men’s foreskins with paganism.

Meaning of the Philistines in the Bible

The Philistines were a people with certain relevance in the stories of the bible, although its history is not fully known. In this sense, it is difficult for science to determine the origin of this population. He is generally associated with Ancient Egypt, though not so old as to believe in Egyptian gods. So, most of the information is known thanks to the events narrated in the holy book of Christianity and some stories obtained in the holy inquisition.

In the Bible the qualifier Philistines is mentioned to refer to the people from Philistia. A land that was near the Mediterranean Sea and southeast of Israel. In the holy pages the Philistines are described as part of the offspring of Mizraim. Which is to say, that the original tribes came from Ancient Egypt until they split up.

Current studies can determine that they can also find their origin near Crete, in Greece. Although other indications lead to Spanish territory. Therefore, it can be concluded that, just as described in the Bible, they were a migrant people. So, they moved constantly until they reached Asia Minor.

What are the Philistine peoples?

The Philistine towns were a group of civilizations or cities close to Israel and the Hebrews. Well, they were located south of the holy zone and repeatedly fought wars. These Philistines settled south of Canaan, highlighting 5 specific cities. which were Gaza, Ashdod, Gad, Escalon and Ekron from where they dominated a good territory, in addition to several important roads.

In this sense, the Peleset, as they were called, had control of the famous via Maris. A pass that was on the border of Ancient Egypt and that gave entrance to the area of ​​Israel. In the same way, this site was strategic to march to Damascus or to Lebanon.

In the Bible they are described as a town that focused on the manufacture of bladed weapons from iron. They were fierce warriors who sought the expansion of their territory. In appearance they looked tall, mostly white and shaved or shaved, according to Egyptian texts. The clothing featured helmets adorned with feathers and large spears for battle.

What did the Philistines do in the Bible?

In the Bible the name of the Philistines is mentioned several times in both the Old and New Testaments. One of the occasions occurs when the people of Israel escapes from Egypt and God leads him to holy ground. In this sense, it speaks of the road that passes through the lands of the Philistines.

It is possible that the Israelites did not take that path due to the characteristics of the Philistines. Well, the latter well armed and seasoned could see the situation as an affront or invasion. So it is possible that they attacked the Israelites, captured them, and took them as slaves. So, the holy people fled by the long way and spent many years in the desert.

Another of the mentions of the Philistines in the Bible is found when talking about the beautiful Dahlia. This woman, she is one of the few characters that are named as part of this town. Dalia was the woman with whom Samson frequently interacted in his book. Well, the ‘hero’ trusted the lady, to the point of telling her the secret of his strength. The Philistine woman was a spy for Samson’s enemies and betrayed him by revealing his weak point.

Why did the Philistines fight with Israel?

The Philistines are described as a barbarian people who, from the south of Canaan, sought war with their neighbors. The reason for them was territory expansion and search for new cities. This can be considered a prequel to the holy war, but for different purposes. However, it is also said that they were people with an uneducated and not very refined level of culture, although their characteristics say otherwise.

For example, they had good war strategies with which they achieved many victories. Likewise, being sea peoples, they knew about navigation. The forge was the main source of economic income for the country due to its great work with iron, in addition they grew grapes and wheat. They also worked with ceramics and other metals.

The first battles of the Philistines were against Ancient Egypt, where they got their 5 cities. However, the best known occurred against the people of Israel. Well, the Philistines they wanted to expand to the north, since they could not defeat the great Egyptian army.

One of the best known battles is the one that ended with the fight between david vs goliath. The latter is one of the most relevant Philistine people mentioned in the Bible. Faced with a numerical disadvantage, David, a skinny and small youth, challenged the best opposing warrior. Goliath was a giant man, trained and the strongest in the country. However, the fight went in favor of the Israelites thanks to David’s cunning.

Later, in the time of the great King David, the Philistines again tried to expand. So they attacked the twelve tribes of israel with all his army. But, again, they lost to the people of God, which depleted their military strength, thus beginning their decline.

Which happened when Nebuchadnezzar II attacked their lands and he conquered her. Starting like this, their migration in which the Pelesets or Philistines settled in Palestine, where they stayed and later called themselves Muslims.

What religion did the Philistines practice?

The Philistines were polytheistic and did not practice the same religion as their Hebrew and Israelite neighbors. Even being close to Canaan and adopting certain elements of its culture, they did not take the belief in God. That is why, in the passages of the Bible, they are considered as enemies And people to walk away from. In fact, the Israelites were prohibited from marrying a Philistine individual and from being romantically involved.

Another of the characteristics that distanced the Philistines from the Israelites was the shape of their foreskins. In this sense, to belong to the people of God it was an indispensable requirement perform circumcision. So, men had to cut their foreskins when they reached a certain age in order to be accepted into their society.

When the 5 cities were captured, the Philistines adopted the beliefs in the local gods, which are Astarte and Dagon. In the same way, they had homage to Baal, who was described as the lord of the flies. However, the worst sin of the country of Philistia was found in the city of Ekron, since its towns they worshiped BeelZebub. Which, in Christianity, is known as Satan, therefore they admired the devil. This aspect of their culture caused the Hebrews and Israelites to repudiate them.