Philistine People

Philistine in the Bible

Christianity Oasis has provided the Philistine People in the Bible study on the Philistine Bible story. We'll look into that and all aspects of the Bible seeking truth, understanding and peace.

Daily Bread Devotional Bible Study
The First Book of Samuel
Chapter 5 and 6

The Philistine People Bible Saga

The Philistine in the Bible Events

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Daily Bread study program. This is the Philistine People in the Bible study taking a look into the Philistine Bible story and how the interesting Philistine People in the Bible message affects your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

The Philistine People Bible Truth
The Philistine in the Bible Tale

Delighted to have you back for more Daily Bread! Recounting what happened in the last chapter of our story, the Philistines, who had made war with Israel, were victorious and they captured the Ark of God.

Now, there were five cities of the Philistines: Asdod, Askelon, Gath, Gaza, and Ekron. (If you look on an ancient map of Israel, you'll see that they are all in the same general vicinity.) The Philistines took the Ark to Ashdod and put it in the house of their god.

The next morning, they found their god fallen down on it's face in front of the Ark (as in worship), so they stood it back up, and the following morning, they found it fallen down on it's face again, only this time, it's head and both palms of it's hands were cut off and only a stump of it remained.

The Philistine People Bible Explanation
The Philistine in the Bible Adventure

In addition to this, the Lord destroyed many people of Ashdod and the surrounding area. Many died, and there were also mice that plagued the Philistine countries, similar to when the Lord sent the frogs, lice, flies, etc., into Egypt. Those Philistines that survived the plague were struck with emerods (tumors of the secret parts, or in other words; hemorrhoids). Yes, you read that correctly.

So the men of Ashdod, realizing that the hand of the Lord was against them, had a little meeting with the leaders of all the Philistines to decide what to do with the Ark of God, and they decided to carry it to Gath.

Well, the people of Gath experienced the same fate as those of Ashdod, so they sent the Ark on to Ekron. As you might imagine, the Ekronites felt like the Ark was (if you'll excuse the expression) a hot potato, since their fellow Philistines in Ashdod and Gath were devastated while the Ark was among them, so the people of Ekron pleaded with the leaders of the Philistines to return the Ark to the Israelites.

The Philistine People Bible Message
The Philistine in the Bible Battles

You'll find an interesting thing in this story concerning the Philistines. We know of course, that they were a heathen people, and we know that they had their own god, but the destruction that was occurring among them while the Ark was in their possession, was so deadly that:

1 Samuel 5:12

... the cry of the city went up to Heaven.

Why do people pray to God in Heaven if they are unbelievers? Just something interesting to think about. Incidentally, the answer is; because He is so undeniable, and the fear of the Lord is the only hope of humankind ... He is their maker.

Even people who claim not to believe, still have the instinct ... The understanding that He is real, though they may deny it consciously, but again ... Instinctively, the human creature knows that God exists, because we are created by Him. Take a look at what is written in the book Isaiah:

The Philistine People Bible Report
The Philistine in the Bible Warning

Isaiah 29:15-16

15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

In modern English ... Anguish will come to those who try and hide their plans from the Lord, and secretly they think that nobody knows their intents. Their backward thinking is viewed as potter's clay (of which form the potter can change, any time He pleases), after all, can any object say concerning Him that made it, He didn't make me? or can a thing that is formed say concerning Him that formed it, He didn't know what He was doing?

Another thing to remember, is that many people are believers in God, just not worshipers of Him ... Like the Philistines. Very sad, but true.

The Philistine People Bible Concern
The Philistine in the Bible Ark Search

Now, back to our story.

For seven months, the Ark was in the country of the Philistines, and there was uncertainty among them as to what they should do with the Ark, because some believed that their misfortune was of the hand of the Lord, and others credited it all to happenstance, so they called together their priests and diviners (those who they thought had special intuition or supernatural power of understanding), to ask what to do, and how they should go about returning the Ark to the Israelites.

Their advice was to send the Ark back to the people of Israel. They advised not to send it back empty, but with a trespass offering. Again, why would the Philistines send an offering to God if they didn't believe in Him?

What was this offering that their "prudent" men and priests advised the Philistines to send? Five golden emerods (honestly), and five golden mice (representing an offering for each of the five Philistine lords and their people).

They also suggested that just as the plagues of the Egyptians departed when God's people were freed, perhaps the plagues of the Philistines would vanish likewise, once they returned the Ark.

The Philistine People Bible Discussion
The Philistine in the Bible Group

So the Philistines followed the advice of their counselors and made a new cart on which to return the Ark. They made their golden emerods and mice and laid them in a chest upon the cart with the Ark, and sent the Ark of God on it's way, being driven of two milk cows, separating their calves from them as not to encourage them in any way.

Their conclusion was that if the cows led the Ark up to Bethshemesh, then all the evil that befell them was of God's hand, but if not, they would surmise that all that had happened was purely by chance. (Why Bethshemesh? Because it would be the obvious route to take when departing the countries of the Philistines, if one's destination was an Israelite city.)

Well, guess what. Those cows went straight on to Bethshemesh, just a lowing as they went, and didn't stray to the right or to the left. The Philistines followed, of course, to the border of the town to see if they would change course, but they did not.

For the people of Bethshemesh (which was a town of Judah, by the way), this was a sight to see ... Their beloved Ark of God, returning to them as they were harvesting wheat in the valley! The milk cows brought the Ark to the field of Joshua, where it stood still, and there was a great stone there.

The Philistine People Bible Questions
The Philistine in the Bible Answers

The people split the wood of the cart and offered the milk cows as a burnt offering to the Lord, and the people of Bethshemesh offered sacrifice. When the five lords of the Philistines saw all of this, they returned to Ekron that same day.

But that's not the end of this story. The people of Bethshemesh looked into the Ark of the Lord and He killed 50,070 people because of this. Only the Levite priests were allowed to view the things of the Ark:

Numbers 4:15

And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

Numbers 4:20

But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

The Philistine People Bible Conclusion
The Philistine in the Bible Summary

The men of Bethshemesh felt unworthy of the Ark remaining with them, so they sent word to the people of Kirjathjearim that the Philistines had returned the Ark of the Lord, and to come and bring it to their city.

Quite a story, wouldn't you say? And there's more ahead, so be sure to come back soon, and we'll share more together, right here at Daily Bread.

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