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Philistia


Philis’tia (Heb. Pelesheth) (land of sojourners). The word thus translated (in Ps. 60:8; 87:4; 108:9) is in the original identical with that elsewhere rendered Palestine, which always means land of the Philistines. (Philistia was the plain on the southwest coast of Palestine. It was 40 miles long on the coast of the Mediterranean between Gerar and Joppa, and 10 miles wide at the northern end and 20 at the southern.—Ed.) This plain has been in all ages remarkable for the extreme richness of its soil. It was also adapted to the growth of military power; for while the plain itself permitted the use of war-chariots, which were the chief arm of offence, the occasional elevations which rise out of it offered secure sites for towns and strongholds. It was, moreover, a commercial country: from its position it must have been at all times the great thoroughfare between Phœnicia and Syria in the north and Egypt and Arabia in the south.