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being only raised two feet above that in which they lodge their beasts. Except the environs of these villages, all the rest of the country is a desert, and abandoned to the Bedouin Arabs, who feed their flocks
Little did the unbeliever who wrote this think, as he did so, that he was employing his pen in witnessing to the truth of Him whose being he so impiously denied ! “ The remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God. The sea-coasts shall be dwellings, and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.”
The prophecy of Isaiah seems to promise the land of Philistia to the chosen people ; for, when predicting their future rest and glory, he specially notices the subjection of the Philistines as servants to them.
They shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west ;" in other words, they shall possess the land of the Philistines; and again Zephaniah, after foretelling the ruin of the sea-coast, continues, the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon; in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening, for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.” (Isaiah xi. 14; Zeph. ii. 7.)
GAZA, OR AZZAH. (GHŮZZEH.)
6 Then went Samson to Gaza ... and it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him. And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and
put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron .. But the Philistines took (Samson,) and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza; and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison-house.
Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice : for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand . . . And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison-house. . and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars wherupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women ; and all the lords of the Philistines were there : and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I
may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”-Judges xvi, 1–3, 21, &c.
“ The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza . . . Baldness is come upon Gaza.”Jeremiah xlvii. 1, 5.
“ Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment
thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom : but I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof.”—Amos i. 6.
“ Gaza shall be forsaken.”—Zeph. ii. 4.
“... The king shall perish from Gaza...”—Zech. ix. 5.
“ And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.”-Acts viii. 26.
[Gen. x. 19; Deut. ii. 23 ; Josh. x. 41, xi. 22, xiii. 3, xv. 47; Judges i. 18, vi. 4; 1 Sam. vi. 17; 1 Kings iv. 24; 2 Kings xviii. 8.]
6 Gaza is among the earliest of the Canaanitish cities mentioned in the Old Testament; and became afterwards celebrated as one of the five cities of the five lords of the Philistines. Joshua extended his
conquests to Gaza, but did not vanquish this remarkable people; and although the tribe of Judah, to whose lot it fell, subdued the city, yet they appear to have held it but a short time; and the lords of the Philistines soon not only regained possession of their own territory, but also increased in strength, and at length extended their jurisdiction in turn over the Israelites. After forty years of oppression, Samson appeared as the champion and avenger of his people; and Gaza becomes renowned as the scene of his later deeds and of his fall. Here, too, he drew down upon himself and the assembled multitude the temple of Dagon; so that 'the dead which he slew at his death, were more than they which he slew in his life. After continual wars under the Judges, and with Saul and David, the Philistines appear to have been subdued by the latter, and Gaza became the border of Solomon's kingdom on this side. Yet they gave trouble to the following Jewish kings; and Hezekiah at length smote them unto the borders of Gaza.
“ The situation of Gaza, on the great route of the military expeditions, which the monarchs of Egypt, and those of Syria and the East, afterwards undertook against the dominions of each other, necessarily exposed it to the calamities of war, and to frequent change of masters. To the Egyptians, Gaza "the Strong' was the key of Palestine and Syria ; and no conqueror could well pass by, until this city had submitted to his power. Thus one of the Pharaohs (probably Necho) subdued it in the time of Jeremiah ; and Cambyses, during his expedition to Egypt, is reported to have deposited here his treasures. Gaza opposed itself for five months to the progress of Alexander the Great; but was finally taken by storm, its brave defenders slaughtered at their posts, their wives and children sold as slaves, and the city repeopled with inhabitants drawn from the surrounding country." Gaza continued after this to be a place of strength, experiencing many reverses, and frequently all but destroyed.
“Ă christian church appears to have been early planted at Gaza ; its bishop, Silvanus, is mentioned by Eusebius as a martyr under Diocletian, about A.D. 285 . . . Yet the city still retained in a great degree its devotion to idolatry; and in the beginning of the fifth century not less than eight public temples dedicated to the worship of the heathen gods still existed there. By the influence of Eudoxia, wife of the Emperor Arcadius, the Bishop Porphyrius was invested with authority to demolish these temples; and was furnished with means to erect a christian church, which was dedicated in A.D. 406, and named after the empress.” This may probably have been the great church now converted into a mosque, which Dr. Robinson visited when at Gaza. “ Eusebius and Jerome speak of Gaza in their day as an important city. About the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh century, Gaza was visited by Antoninus Martyr, who describes it as 'splendid and delicious,' and its inha
bitants as noble, liberal, and friendly to strangers.' Such was christian Gaza ... It fell into the hands of the first Muhammedan Khalif, after a decisive battle with the Roman armies ;" from this time we hear little more of Gaza until the time of the crusades. It had suffered greatly in many different wars, and the Crusaders found it deserted, and its ruins spread out over the hill and the adjacent plain, like the city of the present day. Though afterwards again inhabited, and in 1483 described as populous, the ancient renown of Gaza appears never to have been regained, and at the present day all vestiges of its ancient strength have disappeared.-See ROBINSON's Researches, vol. ii. pp. 378-383.