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The Philistines were a people, probably originally from Mycenaean Greece, who lived on Southern coast of Canaan around the time of the Israelites. Both Abraham and Isaac lived in the land of the Philistines during their travels (Gen 21 & Gen 26). The Philistine lands were avoided by the Jewish people while Moses was leading them through the desert. (Ex 13:17). The Philistines are not mentioned again until the book of Judges where they had become one of Israel's greatest foes, even subjugating them for a while. The story of Samson pitted the great warrior against the Philistines during a time when the Philistines had subjugated the Jews. The quarrel with the Philistines went on over hundreds of years. At the time of king Saul the Philistines were Israel's greatest threat. Goliath, who David slew, was a famous Philistine warrior who had made the warriors of Israel tremble. A common term of contempt for the Philistine was to refer to them as being "uncircumcised".

The word "philistine" (which is cognate with "Palestine") has come to mean "uncultured, commonplace and prosaic" in Modern English.[1]


  1. "The Concise Oxford English Dictionary", 6th Ed.

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