What is…

Meaning: stronghold

also known as: Eshdud, Azotus

Ashdod was a Philistine city (Joshua 15:47), about midway between Gaza and Joppa (Jaffa), and 3 miles from the Mediterranean. It was one of the chief seats of the worship of Dagon (1 Samuel 5:5).

Modern Ashdod—satellite view

God twice felled the false-god Dagon idol in Ashdod’s temple as the ark of the covenant was displayed before it after capture by the Philistines. God also smote its worshippers with emerods (1 Samuel 5:1-12).

Ashdod belonged to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:47), but it never came into their actual possession. It was an important city, as it stood on the highroad from Egypt to Canaan, and hence was strongly fortified (2 Chronicles 26:6; Isaiah 20:1).

Uzziah took it, but 50 years after his death it was taken by the Assyrians (B.C. 758). According to Sargon’s record, it was captured by him in B.C. 711.

The only reference to it in the New Testament, where it is called Azotus, is in the account of Philip’s return from Gaza (Acts 8:40).

The city was later called Eshdud.

Article Version: September 1, 2017