🔼The name Palestine: Summary
- Land Of Grief-Stricken Dust-Rollers, Land Of Burrow-Diggers
- From the verb פלש (palash), to dig into or roll around in the dirt due to grief.
🔼The name Palestine or Philistia in the Bible
The name Palestine or Philistia (פלשת) and the name Philistine (פלשתי) are pretty much the same, and Philistine literally means One Of Palestine / Philistia. Possibly to avoid confusion or association with irrelevant modern conflicts, most modern translations speak of Philistia rather than Palestine.
The ethnonym Philistine occurs close to 300 times in the Bible but Philistia only eight times: Exodus 15:14, Psalm 60:8, 83:7, 87:4, 108:9, Isaiah 14:29, 14:31, Joel 3:4.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Palestine
The name Palestine/ Philistine comes from the verb פלש (palash), which denotes the physical expression of intense grief. See our article on the name Philistine for a lengthy look at why that might be:
The verb פלש (palash) mostly means to roll around in ashes or dust due to intense grief. In cognate languages it describes the digging of tunnels or burrows.
Under king David the Philistine culture came to an end, but while a remnant survived in Judah (namely the Gittites and the Cherethites), 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, focuses on its meaning of to roll around, and forgivingly translates Palestine with The Land Of Wanderers. NOBSE Study Bible Name List does not translate either name Palestine or Philistine.