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The Philistines: Their History and Civilization

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Author Topic: The Philistines: Their History and Civilization  (Read 2558 times)
Victoria Liss
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2009, 01:13:48 pm »

In this etymology they were anticipated by the translators of the Greek Version, who habitually render the name of the Philistines by the Greek word ἀλλόφυλοι,  5 even when it is put into the mouths of Goliath or Achish, when speaking of themselves. Of course this is merely an etymological speculation op the part of the translators, and proves nothing more than the existence of a Hebrew root (otherwise apparently unattested) similar in form and meaning to the Ethiopic root cited. And quite apart from any questions of linguistic probability, there is an obvious logical objection to such an etymology. In the course of the following pages we shall find the court scribes of Ramessu III, the historians of Israel, and the keepers of the records of the kings of Assyria, agreeing in applying the same name to the nation in question. These three groups of writers, belonging to as many separate nations and epochs of time, no doubt worked independently of each other—most probably in ignorance of each other's productions.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2009, 01:14:00 pm »

This being so, it follows almost conclusively that the name 'Philistine' must have been derived from Philistine sources, and in short must have been the native designation. Now a word meaning 'stranger' or the like, while it might well be applied by foreigners to a nation deemed by them






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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2009, 01:14:11 pm »

intruders, would scarcely be adopted by the nation itself, as its chosen ethnic appellation. This Ethiopic comparison it seems therefore safe to reject. The fantasy that Redslob 1 puts forward, namely, that ‏פלשׁת‎ 'Philistia' was an anagram for ‏שׁפלה‎, the Shephelah or foot-hills of Judea, is perhaps best forgotten: place-names do not as a rule come to be in this mechanical way, and in any case 'the Shephelah' and 'Philistia' were not geographically identical.

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2009, 01:14:31 pm »

There is a peculiarity in the designation of the Philistines in Hebrew which has often been noticed, and which must have a certain significance. In referring to a tribe or nation the Hebrew writers as a rule either (a) personified an imaginary founder, making his name stand for the tribe supposed to derive from him—e. g. 'Israel' for the Israelites; or (b) used the tribal name in the singular, with the definite article—a usage sometimes transferred to the Authorized Version, as in such familiar phrases as 'the Canaanite was then in the land' (Gen. xii. 6); but more commonly assimilated to the English idiom which requires a plural, as in 'the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full' (Gen. xv. 16). But in referring to the Philistines, the plural of the ethnic name is always used, and as a rule the definite article is omitted. A good example is afforded by the name of the Philistine territory above mentioned, ’ereṣ Pelištīm, literally 'the land of Philistines': contrast such an expression as ’ereṣ hak-Kena‘anī, literally 'the land of the Canaanite'.
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2009, 01:14:50 pm »

phil⋅is⋅tine -  a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.
- lacking in or hostile to culture.
- smugly commonplace or conventional


Were they like their dictionary definition says ?
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2009, 01:15:01 pm »

A few other names, such as that of the Rephaim, are similarly constructed: and so far as the scanty monuments of Classical Hebrew permit us to judge, it may be said generally that the same usage seems to be followed when there is question of a people not conforming to the model of Semitic (or perhaps we should rather say Aramaean) tribal organization. The Canaanites, Amorites, Jebusites, and the rest, are so closely bound together by the theory of blood-kinship which even yet prevails in the Arabian deserts, that each may logically be spoken of as an individual human unit. No such polity was recognized among the pre-Semitic Rephaim, or the intruding Philistines, so that they had to be referred to as an aggregate of human units. This rule, it must be admitted, does not seem to be rigidly maintained; for instance, the name of the pre-Semitic Horites might have been expected to follow the exceptional construction. But a hard-and-fast adhesion to so subtle a distinction, by all the writers who have contributed to the canon of the Hebrew scriptures and by


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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2009, 01:16:44 pm »

phil⋅is⋅tine -  a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.
- lacking in or hostile to culture.
- smugly commonplace or conventional


Were they like their dictionary definition says ?
That's a good question, the answer is 'no!'  The samples we have of Philistine culture are actually pretty refined, not crude. Like a lot of conquered people, they are the victims of a smear campaign.  The Romans slandered the Gauls and the Druids in the same way.
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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2009, 01:17:08 pm »

all the scribes who have transmitted their works, is not to be expected. Even in the case of the Philistines the rule that the definite article should be omitted is broken in eleven places. 1

However, this distinction, which in the case of the Philistines is carefully observed (with the exceptions cited in the footnote), indicates at the outset that the Philistines were regarded as something apart from the ordinary Semitic tribes with whom the Hebrews had to do.

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2009, 01:17:23 pm »

The name of the Philistines, therefore, does not lead us very far in our examination of the origin of this people. Our next step must be to inquire what traditions the Hebrews preserved respecting the origin of their hereditary enemies; though such evidence on a question of historical truth must obviously even under the most favourable circumstances be unsatisfactory.

The locus classicus is, of course, the table of nations in Genesis x. Here we read (vv. 6, 13, 14), 'And the sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Put, and Canaan. . . And Mizraim begat Ludim, and ‘Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim (whence went forth the Philistines) and Caphtorim.' The list of the sons of Ham is assigned to the Priestly source; that of the sons of Mizraim (distinguished by the formula 'he begat') to the Yahvistic source. The ethnical names are almost all problematical, and the part of special interest to us has been affected, it is supposed, by a disturbance of the text.

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2009, 01:17:35 pm »

So far as the names can be identified at all, the passage means that in the view of the writer or writers who compiled the table of nations, the Hamitic or southern group of mankind were Ethiopia, Egypt, 'Put', and Canaan. Into the disputed question of the identification of the third of these, this is not the place to enter. Passing over the children assigned to Cush or Ethiopia, we come to the list of peoples supposed by the Yahvist to be derived from Egypt. Who or what most of these peoples were is very uncertain. The Ludim are supposed to have been Libyans (d in the name being looked upon as an error for b); the Lehabim are also supposed to be Libyans; the ‘Anamim are unknown, as are also the Casluhim; but the Naphtuhim and Pathrusim seem to be reasonably identified with the inhabitants of Lower and Upper Egypt respectively. 2



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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2009, 01:17:46 pm »

There remain the Caphtorim, and the interjected note 'whence went forth the Philistines'. The latter has every appearance of having originally been a marginal gloss that has crept into the text. And in the light of other passages, presently to be cited, it would appear that the gloss referred originally not to the unknown Casluhim, but to the Caphtorim. It must, however, be said that all the versions, as well as the first chapter of Chronicles, agree in the reading of the received text, though emendation would seem obviously called for. This shows us either that the disturbance of the text is of great antiquity, or else that the received text is, after all, correct, and that the Casluhim are to be considered a branch of, or at any rate a tribe nearly related to, the Caphtorim.

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2009, 01:18:44 pm »

The connexion of the Philistines with a place called Caphtor is definitely stated in Amos ix. 7: 'Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?' It is repeated in Jeremiah xlvii. 4, where the Philistines are referred to as 'the remnant of the ’i of Caphtor'. The word ’i is rendered in the Revised Version 'island', with marginal rendering 'sea coast': this alternative well expresses the ambiguity in the meaning of the word, which does not permit us to assume that Caphtor, as indicated by Jeremiah, was necessarily one of the islands of the sea. Indeed, even if the word definitely meant 'island', its use here would not be altogether conclusive on this point: an isolated headland might long pass for an island among primitive navigators, and therefore such a casual mention need not limit our search for Caphtor to an actual island.

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Victoria Liss
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« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2009, 01:18:54 pm »

Again, in Deuteronomy ii. 23, certain people called the Caphtorim, 'which came out of Caphtor', are mentioned as having destroyed the ‘Avvim that dwelt in villages as far as Gaza, and established themselves in their stead. The geographical indication shows that the Caphtorim must be identified, generally speaking, with the Philistines: the passage is valuable as a record of the name of the earlier inhabitants, who, however, were not utterly destroyed: they remained in the south of the Philistine territory (Joshua xiii. 4).

The question of the identification of Caphtor must, however, be postponed till we have noted the other ethnic indications which the Hebrew scriptures preserve. Chief of these is the application of the word Cerēthi (‏כְּרֵתִי‎) 'Cherēthites' to this people or to a branch of them.

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« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2009, 01:19:06 pm »

Thus in 1 Samuel xxx. 14 the young Egyptian servant, describing the Amalekite raid, said 'we raided the south of the Cherethites and

p. 6

the property of Judah and the south of the Calebites and burnt Ziklag with fire'. In Ezekiel xxv. 16 the Philistines and the Cherethites with the 'remnant of the sea-coast' are closely bound together in a common denunciation, which we find practically repeated in the important passage Zephaniah ii. 5, where a woe is pronounced on the dwellers by the sea-coast, the nation of the Cherethites, and on 'Canaan, the land of the Philistines'; this latter is a noteworthy expression, probably, however, interpolated in the text. In both these last passages the Greek version renders this word Κρῆτες 'Cretans '; elsewhere it simply transliterates (Χελεθί, with many varieties of spelling). 1

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« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2009, 01:19:19 pm »

In both places it would appear that the name 'Cherethites' is chosen for the sake of a paronomasia (‏כרת‎ = 'to cut off'). In the obscure expression 'children of the land of the covenant' (‏בני אדץ הברית‎ Ezek. xxx. 5) some commentators 2 see a corruption of ‏בני הכרתי‎ 'Children of the Cherethites'. But see the note, p. 123 post.

In other places the Cherethites are alluded to as part of the bodyguard of the early Hebrew kings, and are coupled invariably with the name ‏פְּלֵתִי‎ Pelēthites. This is probably merely a modification of ‏פלשתי‎, the ordinary word for 'Philistine', the letter s being omitted in order to produce an assonance between the two names. 3 The Semites are fond of such assonances: they are not infrequent in modern Arab speech, and such a combination as Shuppīm and Ḫuppīm (1 Chron. vii. 12) shows that they are to be looked for in older Semitic writings as well.
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