The Philistines (//, //, //, or //;Hebrew: פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Plištim) were an ancient people primarily 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 P'léšet.Assyrian sources also refer to Pilišti and Palaštu, also believed to be cognate with P'léšet.
The first reference to Philistines in the Hebrew Bible canon 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 land of the Philistines as a pentapolis in southwestern Levant comprising the five city-states of 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 canon of Eastern Christianity, the LXX, uses the term "allophuloi" (Greek: ἀλλόφυλοι) instead of "philistines", which means simply "other nations".
There are several theories about the origins of the Philistines. Several Biblical passages connect the Philistines to other biblical groups such as Caphtorim and the Cherethites and Pelethites, which have both been identified with Crete and which has led to the tradition of an Aegean origin, although this theory has been disputed, with other scholars claiming a Luwian origin in western Asia Minor. In 2016, the discovery of a huge Philistine cemetery, containing more than 150 burials, seems to point toward an Aegean origin of the Philistines. Genetic testing of the human remains will provide further information.