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The ancient town of Ashkelon has passed on its name to successive settlements on the same site down to the present day. It is situated in the south of Palestine on the Mediterranean coast, and in Old Testament times was one of the ‘five cities of the Philistines’. It was the Philistines’ only port (Joshua 13:3; Amos 1:8; Jeremiah 47:7).

At the time of Joshua’s invasion of Canaan, the Israelites captured Ashkelon (Judges 1:18), but the Philistines soon regained it. It remained one of their important towns during the time of their hostility to Israel prior to the reign of David (Judges 14:19; 1 Samuel 6:17-18). After David broke their power, the Philistines lived alongside the Israelites without any major conflicts.

Though in many ways subservient to Israelite rulers, Ashkelon and neighbouring towns were still regarded as belonging to the Philistines. At times they suffered from the attacks of various invaders (Jeremiah 47:5; Zephaniah 2:4). In spite of this interference, Ashkelon was still standing in New Testament times. It was well known as the birthplace of Herod the Great, and benefited from his building projects. (See also PHILISTIA.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Ashkelon'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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