The Bible’s final statement about the Philistines is found in Zechariah, the next-to-lat book of the Old testament, and it is a bitter curse: “And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.”
In battle, the Philistines had two enormous advantages over the factious Israelites: their unity, and the fact that they knew how to forge iron weapons. The Battle of Ebenezer, about 1050 B.C. , marked a low point for the ancient Israelites; the Philistines routed them and carried away their sacred Ark of the Law to Ashdod. After that catastrophe, the Israelites at last united under Saul; his successor David drove the Philistines back into coastal territory.
Eventually, when the Assyrians marched into Palestine, both Philistine and Israelite fell before them. Later, Ashdod was captured bythe Babylonians, and the excavations which began in the early 1960’s show that they were followed by the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, and finally the Arabs. With this last invasion Ashdod ceased to be a city, and the sand swallowed it up. Today, however, a new Ashdod has risen not far from the old one, a seaport for Israel, just south of Tel Aviv.
(see link at end)…The excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath, the site of Gath of the Philistines mentioned in the Bible (e.g., 1 Samuel 6:17), have produced many fascinating finds,* and the summer of 2011 was no exception.
While uncovering an impressive destruction level dating to the second half of the ninth century B.C.E., when Gath was the largest of the five cities of the Philistines and perhaps the largest city in the Land of Israel during the Iron Age, excavators found an exceptionally well preserved horned altar reminiscent of the Israelite horned altars described in the Bible (Exodus 27:1–2; 1 Kings 1:50).
Had it not been for a stroke of luck, the horned altar may never have been discovered. Like most archaeological digs, the Tell es-Safi/Gath excavation leaves unexcavated “balks” between the excavation squares, thereby allowing easier access to the squares as well as providing a profile view of the excavated layers. In the winter of 2010/2011, however, strong rainstorms caused some of the balks to collapse.
When the team came back to the field in July 2011, one of their first priorities was to clean up and straighten the collapsed balks. As they cleaned one of the balks in Area D (in the lower city), they came upon an unusually shaped stone object just 10 inches below the surface. Work was immediately stopped as they probed further, and, lo and behold, one of the horns of the altar appeared. Once they realized what they had discovered, the team began the slow, delicate process of excavating the entire horned altar.Read More:http://www.biblicalarchaeology.oaily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/where-did-the-philistines-come-from/
1 Samuel 5: 6: But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
The Philistines were aghast. Multitudes around the city of Ashdod were dead or dying. They came to the conclusion that the Ark of the God of Israel was the cause of the problem. It was a cursed thing. It caused pain, disease and death wherever it went. It had, they thought, a spooky jinx on it. They assembled all the leading men of Philistia and considered the question, the question we are addressing this morning,
What shall we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?
1 Samuel 5: 7 And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
8: They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said,
What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?
Send the ark of the God of Israel away back to its own place…
…When the Almighty’s law was brought back to Israel, many Israelites were glad. The Bible says, they ‘rejoiced to see it.’
1 Samuel 6: 13: And they of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Beth-shemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.
The field of Joshua (Yeshua, to be more accurate) and the great stone in the field both represent Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High. That’s where the ark led them. All the way from the land of the Philistines, it led the way back to Yeshua, back to the Rock of our Salvation!
A Bad Response…
But many Israelites were not happy to have God’s law brought back to Israel. To be sure they wanted to see the Ark. They even went so far as to examine its contents. But when they read what was on the stone tablets inside, they didn’t like what they saw. They classified God’s law as a cursed thing, a burden, a yoke, a moral collar restraining them from doing as they pleased! What did the Almighty do with those Israelites?
1 Samuel 6: 19: And he smote the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. Read More:http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/SBS777/snotes/note0905.html