Records of the Philistines appear since Gen 10:6,13-14 and 1Cr 1:12. They are described as enemies of Israel. Sometimes resolutions are sought with them (Gen 20:1-17; 21:22-34; 26:1-33), other times they were object of wars (Joshua 13:2-3, Judges 3:3; 10:6-18, 3:31, 13-16). Several times the Bible says they were "defeated" (1Sam 13-14, 1Sam 17), but evidences are that they were not really won against, as wars went ahead until the kingdom of David (2Sam 8:1,11-12; 19:9; 21:15-19; 23:9-16; 1Cr 11:13-18; 18:1,11; 20:4-5, then, again in: 1Kings 4:21; 15:27; 16:15; 2Re 18:8; 2Cr 9:26; 17:11; 21:16; 26:6-7; 28:18; 1Macc 3:24; 4:22; 5:66-68).

So, who were the Philistines? Why the Bible continuously underlines the perpetuation of wars and battles between them and Israel? What where their fates?

1 Answer 1


If you insist on having Biblical evidence alone, Amos ch9 v7 says they migrated from Caphtor, and they are called childen of Egypt in Genesis ch10 v14.

But there is no need to ignore the views of secular historians, who have been associating the arrival of the Philistines, settling along the coast, with the era at the end of the Bronze Age when the so-called "sea-peoples" raided and attacked Egypt. They could have been raiders themselves, or they could have been Egyptians displaced by the raids, but many archaeologists, looking at surviving artifacts, think they may have come from the Aegean region. So both Cyprus and Crete have been suggested as the original Caphtor.


They were "defeated" in the sense that they lost their previous power to dominate Israel, but they were subdued rather than annihilated. They seem to have regained more independence as the kingdom weakened, and their misdeeds after the fall of Jerusalem are recorded in Jeremiah ch47 and Ezekiel ch25 vv15-17 ("acted vengefully"). However, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed their cities. After that they disappear from the record, which probably means they lost their separate identity amongst the population of the land.


  • 1
    Very good answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Dec 10, 2023 at 10:22

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