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Who were the Philistines?

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Quick Answer

The Philistines were a group of people historically known to have inhabited the Mediterranean coast of Canaan around the 12th century B.C., which is a territory that is disputed between Israel and Palestine in modern times. The Philistines feature prominently in the Bible.

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Full Answer

In the Old Testament books of Genesis and Exodus, the Philistines are said to be descendants of Caluchim. They were known as a highly developed seafaring people who had many weapons, which brought a great threat to the people of Israel. Both Christian and Jewish religious texts document the struggles between the Philistines and Israelites throughout the reign of the Jewish kings Saul and David. They were finally defeated by the Assyrians. Since their defeat, they have not existed as a sovereign nation but as a people group.

Today, Philistines are referred to as the Palestinian people, who occupy disputed territory between the state of Israel and the state of Palestine. The state of Palestine declares itself a sovereign nation, although as of 2015, most Western countries, including the United States, do not recognize the state of Palestine as an independent country. There are 135 countries that do recognize the state of Palestine as a sovereign nation.

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