The world of the Pilistines
Introduction (The curator's message)
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As a resident of a moshav in the Elah Valley, where the famous battle between David and Goliath took place, I cannot ignore the many tourist buses that stop at its entrance. Schoolchildren, soldiers, pilgrims and hikers go down to the wadi where some pick up a pebble to commemorate the stone thrown by David, the future king of Israel, at the forehead of Goliath the Philistine.
What is it about this battle that still fascinates such a large and varied crowd? Why did the image of David against Goliath leave such a deep impact on the religious and national ethos? The Bible presents the Philistine through the eyes of its author who considered them a cruel, oppressive, tough and aggressive enemy. But what do we really know about them? Who were they? Where did they come from and why? What did their cities, homes and temples looked like? How did they live? How were they buried? And where did this people go when they disappeared?
Deciphering the Philistine mystery began in the 19th century, when large- scale archaeological excavations were launched in the Levant. J.F. Champollion, who decoded hieroglyphs, was the first to discern the name "Philistia" on Egyptian inscriptions and thus made it possible to read their history as it was recorded by the Egyptians. The excavations at Philistine sites in and around Philistia began at the turn of the 20th century and continue to this day, uncovering more layers of the story of this people, who left their impact on the history of Eretz Israel. Thus, by incorporating historical, linguistic and archaeological studies we can illustrate the lives of the Philistines in our region.