Philistines, p’-lish-TEEM, פְּלִשְׁתִּים
Philistines (Wikipedia)

The biblical description identifies five Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron and Gath.

The Philistines were an ancient people known for their conflict with the Israelites described in the Bible. The primary source about the Philistines is the Hebrew Bible, but they are first attested in reliefs at the Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, where they are called Peleset, accepted as cognate with Hebrew Peleshet; the parallel Assyrian term is Palastu,Pilišti, or Pilistu.

The first reference to Philistines in the Hebrew Bible is in the Table of Nations, where they are said to descend from Casluhim, son of Mizraim (Egypt). However, the Philistines of Genesis who are friendly to Abraham are identified by rabbinic sources as distinct from the warlike people described in Deuteronomistic history. Deuteronomist sources describe the "Five Lords of the Philistines" as based in five city-states of the southwestern Levant: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, from Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north. This description portrays them at one period of time as among the Kingdom of Israel's most dangerous enemies. In contrast, the Septuagint uses the term allophuloi (Greek: ἀλλόφυλοι) instead of "Philistines", which means simply "other nations".

Several theories are given about the origins of the Philistines. Some biblical passages connect the Philistines to other biblical groups such as Caphtorim and the Cherethites and Pelethites, which have both been identified with Crete which has led to the tradition of an Aegean origin, although this theory has been disputed. In 2016, a large Philistine cemetery was discovered, containing more than 150 dead buried in oval-shaped graves, indicating an Aegean origin, which is yet to be confirmed by genetic testing.

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