Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy (6 February, 21 Shevet, 5778)
What is the connection between Palestine and the biblical Philistine and do they still exist?
The picture shows the emblem of the Palestinian Authority that claims to represent the Palestinian People whose name is a derivative of the Latin term for Philistine. The Ancient Philistines mainly occupied the region of southeast Israel though archaeologists now believe that were also an enclave of Philistines in northern Syria. According to Scripture, the Philistines were related to peoples in Crete and Egypt.
There were five main city states of Philistines, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath (Joshua 13:3). Culturally the Philistines were influenced by Minoans (Crete), Myceneans (Greece and West Anatolia), and Canaanites.
At all events southeast Israel is where the Bible speaks of them. They fought against the Israelites and were defeated by them. Later the Philistines also served together with the Phoenicians and Edomites as proxies of the Assyrians (Amos 1:6-8) in re-settling Israelite Exiles in the west. Some of them may have intermixed with Israelites. Other Philistines probably remained among the non-Israelite inhabitants that lingered in the southeast of Israel. As a recognizable ethnic entity they disappeared.
In 135 CE, the Romans crushed the revolt of Judeans led by Bar Kokbha. Syria was merged with the region formally known as Judea and the whole called "Syria Palaestina." Henceforth the name stuck. Palestine became a geographical term for the much of the former area of Israel. At all events the name 'Palestine' is derived from the Roman name for the Philistia. Recently the term 'Palestinian' has been used for the non-Jewish Arabic-speaking sojourners in the area.
When the Bible speaks of different peoples in the future it usually applies a term from its own internal lexicon yet pertinent to the period in question. If Scripture has a prediction concerning the Palestinian Arabs in our time then it could call them "Philistines" since that is what their present name means. Philistines are mentioned in the Prophecy of Isaiah chapter 11. Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Messiah, David son of Jesse (11:1-10). He then goes on to describe the incoming of the Exiles (11:11), and the re-union of the Ten Tribes) and Judah. Ephraim and Judah will be reconciled (11:12). Together they will fly the Philistines (Palestinians) by plane to the west (11:14).
Isaiah (NASB) 11:
13 Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart,
And those who harass Judah will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
And Judah will not harass Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west;
Together they will plunder the sons of the east;
They will possess Edom and Moab,
And the sons of Ammon will be [f]subject to them.
The first part of Isaiah 11:14 should more correctly be translated to say:
"THEY SHALL FLY THE PHILISTINES AWAY WESTWARD"
The Hebrew says: "VeAFU BeCeTeF PLiSHTIM YaMaH..", i.e. word for word:
"[veafu] And they will fly ((or cause to be flown)) [becetef] by wing [Plishtim] Philistines [yama] towards the Sea ((or Towards the west)) ":
In other words the people known as Philistines will be re-located. They will be flown out by air to a suitable region west of Israel perhaps North Africa, or Latin America, or anywhere else.