The Five Philistine Cities
This map features the five Philistine city-states mentioned in the Bible.
The Philistines were not one of the original seven nations of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1). They originated from Caphtor (Amos 9:7), which has traditionally been identified as Damietta on the eastern end of the Nile Delta, and settled in five city-states near the Mediterranean coast: Azzah (1), Ashkelon (2), Ashdod (3), Ekron (4) and Gat (5) (Joshua 13:3/I Samuel 6:17). The Bible describes them as one of the most dangerous enemies of the Children of Israel. Some of the most famous examples of battles between the Philistines and the Children of Israel include:
- Samson is captured by the Philistines who blind and imprison him before he destroys one of their temples, killing himself and everyone inside (Judges 16:21).
- The Philistines defeat the Children of Israel in the battle of Aphek and capture the Ark (I Samuel 4:1-11).
- The giant Goliath, killed by young David, was a Philistine warrior (I Samuel 17).
- The Philistines defeat the Children of Israel on Mount Gilboa. King Saul and three of his sons are killed (I Samuel 31).
- The Philistines are defeated by King Hezekiah as far as Azzah (II Kings 18:8).