By June 16, 2008 Read More →

The Philistines Enter Canaan, Bryant G. Wood, Biblical Archaeology Review (17:6), Nov/Dec 1991.

Tell Qasile

Tell Qasile

Were they Egyptian lackeys or invading conquerors?

Archaeology has brought the Philistines to life more vividly than perhaps any other Biblical people save the Israelites and the Egyptians. We now know that the Philistines were one of the Sea Peoples that also included the Tjeker, the Denyen (or Danuna), the Shardana and the Weshesh. At the very beginning of the 12th century B.C.—the beginning of the period archaeologists call Iron Age I—the Sea Peoples swept out of the Aegean to make their appearance in the archaeological record and in ancient literary references.

The Philistines ultimately settled on and dominated some of the choicest land in Canaan—the agriculturally rich coastal strip from Gaza in the south to Tell Qasile, near modern Tel Aviv, in the north—through which passed one of the world’s most important inter national trade routes. Soon the Philistines began exerting pressure on the Israelite tribes farther inland. This conflict prompted the Israelites to form a monarchy in the mid-11th century in order to meet the Philistine threat more effectively. After about 150 years of dominance in the area, the Philistines faded from the scene—overpowered by the Israelites under King David—and thereafter played only a minor role in events until, in about 600 B.C., they disappeared altogether.

Read the rest of The Philistines Enter Canaan in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.


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