corner graphic

Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

CAPHTOR or CAPHTORIM. The original seat of the Philistines (Deuteronomy 2:23). Sprung from Mizraim (Genesis 10:14), akin to the Philistines who proceeded from the Casluhim, who sprung from Mizraim (Genesis 10:13-14). In Jeremiah 47:4 "the isle (margin i.e. the maritime or even the river bordering coast) of Caphtor" is mentioned, implying their neighborhood to either the sea (the Philistines' position) or to the Nile (whose waters are called "the sea," Nahum 3:8). The Egyptian names Copt (Kebtu, Keb-her in the hieroglyphics, the modern Coptic Kuft) and Egypt, i.e. Ee (the isle or coast of) Caphtor, are evidently the source of Caphtor. Capht-ur, i.e. the Great Calpht, probably the northern delta from which the Phoenicians emigrated into Asia, from whence Capht was the Egyptian name for the oldest Phoenicians in Asia or in Africa.

The time of migration must have been very early, as the Philistines were settled in Palestine in Abraham's time (Genesis 21:32-34). A seafaring race related to the Egyptians spread abroad at an ancient date. For at Medcenet Haboo the monuments of Rameses III state that the Egyptians were at war with the Philistines, the Tok-karn (the Carians) and the Shayratana (the Cherethim or Cretans) of the sea. ("The isle of Caphtor" in its later sense may mean Crete.) All three resemble the Egyptians. In Amos 9:7, "Have I not caused the Philistines to go up from Caphtor?" (i.e. from subjection to Caphtor, previous to their migration, as the context proves) Ρhilistiym means immigrants, from the Ethiopic fallasa. The Cherethim are seemingly identified with or formed a part of the Philistines (1 Samuel 30:14; 1 Samuel 30:16).

Pusey suggests there were different immigrations of the same tribe into Palestine, which afterward merged in one name: the Casluhim first; a second from the Caphtorim; a third the Cherethim or Cretans, Crete being an intermediate resting place in their migrations from whence some passed into Philistia. The Philistines were first a Casluchian colony between Gaza and Pelusium, which was afterward strengthened by immigrants from Caphtor, and extended its territory by pressing out the Avvim (Deuteronomy 2:23; Joshua 13:3). Tacitus (Hist., 5:2) says "the inhabitants of Palestine came from Crete"; perhaps many of the Cherethim settlers in Crete from Egypt, when disturbed by Minos and the Hellenes, withdrew from Crete to Philistia, where their kinsmen were settled.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Caphtor'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

Prev Entry
Next Entry
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology