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Meaning and etymology of the name
Palestine (Philistia, Philistine, Philistines)

Philistine(s) Philistines, Palestine, Philistia Philistia

The Philistines are descendants of the Casluhim, who were sons of Mizraim, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:14).

This name seems to be related to the verb palash (palash), which indicates a rather hysterical action, induced by grief and involving dust or ashes to roll around in (Micah 1:10). BDB Theological Dictionary hints at similar verbs in cognate languages, which reveal the more fundamental meaning of burrow into, break into. As a nation, the Philistines seem to have been known as the Steamrollers.

Archaeologists have proven the Philistines to have come from Greece, immigrated into Egypt and then, like the Hebrews, moved to a land they called Palestine. Remnants of a Hebrew occupation of Goshen are not found, and neither proof of the Hebrew wandering years. During the reign of David the Philistines and their culture ceased to be in the land of Israel.

Some archaeologists raise their eyebrows and almost rhetorically wonder: Why did the Philistines leave a legacy of pottery with fish and bird motives, while the Hebrews left virtually nothing except the Scriptures, crammed with imagery of birds and fish? Whatever the answer may prove to be, it is remarkable that David, the king of transition, was the one to destroy the Philistine culture, while the Philistines as a people were sucked into Babylon never to rise again. The Palestinians now living in Palestine are Arabs.

For a meaning of the name Palestine, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with the verb mentioned above, meaning roll around, and forgivingly translates with The Land Of Wanderers. NOBS Study Bible Name List does not translate either name Palestine or Philistine.



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