Old Testament Gaza
Israelites have long been familiar with the area of Gaza. Its location along a coastal highway near the Mediterranean Sea in southwestern Israel made it a major economic and military route between Syria and Egypt.
- Gaza is one of the oldest cities in the world, mentioned specifically by name very nearly at the beginning of The Bible (Genesis 10:19).
- It is also called Azzah, which is its name in Hebrew, meaning strong.
- Its earliest-known residents were the Avvites. They were conquered by the Caphtorites who settled in their place (Deuteronomy 2:23).
- After God directed the Israelites to enter The Promised Land, Gaza was allotted to the tribe of Judah, today known as the Jews. (Joshua 15:20,47).
- Gaza was one of the five major Philistine cities that each gave a sin offering to stop the plague that God inflicted upon them for their capture of The Ark Of The Covenant (1 Samuel 5:1-6, 6:1-2, 6:17).
- After his betrayal by Delilah, Samson was blinded and taken prisoner to Gaza (Judges 16:18,21). It was there that he died when he pulled down the pillars of the Philistine temple upon himself and 3,000 Philistines (Judges 16:25-30)
- By the time of King Solomon, Gaza marked the border of the Israelite kingdom (1 Kings 4:24)
- With The Lord's help, King Hezekiah defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza in his efforts to re-establish Judah's independence (2 Kings 18:5-8)
- The prophet Jeremiah spoke of Gaza's devastation by the Egyptians (Jeremiah 47:1-5).
- The prophets Amos and Zephaniah also warned of its destruction (Amos 1:6-7, Zephaniah 2:4)
Fact Finder: After the Israelites entered The Promised Land, was Gaza immediately taken?
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