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Ashkelon

also known as: Ashkelon, Askelon, Ascalon, 'Askalan

A shkelon was “the oldest and largest seaport in Canaan,” and 1 of the 5 cities of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3; 1 Samuel 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, north of Gaza.

It is mentioned on an inscription at the city of Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II, the oppressor of the Hebrews.

In the time of the Hebrew judges (Judges 1:18), it fell into the possession of the Tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Samuel 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great.

Samson

Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew 30 men and took their spoils.

Ancient dispatches

Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT) are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, “captain of horse and dust of the king’s feet,” to the “great king” of Egypt, dated from Ascalon.

Prophecy

The prophets foretold its destruction (Jeremiah 25:20; 47:5, 7).

Middle Ages

It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and “within its walls and towers now standing he held his court.”

Modern city

It is now called Ashkelon, Israel.

Modern Ashkelon, Israel, located 8 miles north of the Gaza Strip—satellite view

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Article Version: October 3, 2017