Probably one of the best things to do when you are reading the Bible is to research the iconic places that were a must-mention when writing the string of events in order for us to grasp and envision the scene fully. Ashkelon, or Ascalon as you might sometimes see it in the Holy Book, was one of the five important cities of the Philistines. “From the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite though held by the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron; the territory of the Avvites” (Joshua 13:3)
The Philistines are mentioned in the Bible as the main enemy of Israel. There are multiple battles recorded and described in the Bible. It includes the unforgettable battle near the Valley of Elah, where young David, the third king of Israel, defeated Goliath in single combat. Goliath was a giant Philistine.
Philistines are people who came from the Aegean who settled on the southern coast of Palestine in the 12th century BCE. They are usually described in a negative way throughout history. Unfortunately for the Philistines, they didn’t leave any texts or pieces of art that would indicate otherwise.
Where Was Ashkelon Located in Biblical Times?
In the Holy Book, Ashkelon is located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, just a few kilometers away from Giza. There is an inscription in Egypt, at Karnak, that Ascalon was taken by Ramases II. “Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron—each city with its territory.” (Judges 1:18).
It is also mentioned that this city “was the oldest and largest seaport in Canaan.” Today, Ascalon remains one of the oldest cities in Israel. With a thick history that goes back more than 5,000 years. The city is especially famous for its history as one of the ancient Philistines’ major cities. And also for the biblical story of Samson.
“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.” (Judges 13-16) We also get a glimpse of Ascalon in Judges 14 when we find out that Samson ended 30 men in the act of revenge for his wife. Who was given to another man.
“Then the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him. He went down to Ascalon, struck down thirty of their men, and stripped them of everything. And gave their clothes to those who had explained the riddle. Then, burning with anger, he returned to his father’s home.”
Lawrence Stager writes: “In 604 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Ashkelon. And also led Aga, the last king of Philistine Ashkelon, into exile in Babylon.”
Did Young David Fight Goliath in Ashkelon?
Since Goliath was a Philistine and the Philistines were the main inhabitants of the city of Ashkelon. It is easy to assume that most battles were carried out here. However, the battle between David and Goliath was located a few kilometers away from this location. More specifically, in the Valley of Elah.
For the longest time, Israelites were unable to defeat the Philistines, and throughout Israel’s history, they have been seen as enemies. When the Israelites saw the giant Goliath, it was said that they all froze in fear, all except young David, who was only armed with a sling. Then, he picked a stone from the riverbed, and in one swift motion, he hit Goliath in the head, killing him instantly.
The battle between David and Goliath was always interesting, even for people who were not at all religious. And to this day, it represents a great act of courage and selflessness. Although young and much smaller in size than the giant, David showed no fear. And also wanted to save his people and had faith that he would leave victorious.
Furthermore, it is important to note that David is known as one of God’s favorite people. Some authors even go as far as to say David was among God’s first real followers. A person who did good in the eyes of the Lord.
We have many things to learn from the battle of David and Goliath. First, Goliath made fun of David’s age. And although he was violent, acting in rage and threatening, David responded unafraid. “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield, But I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45).
You, too, Can Face Your “Goliath.”
Whatever your “Goliath” is, know that with the help of God, you can easily conquer anything. The story of David and Goliath starts with the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines. The Bible even mentions Goliath to be almost three meters tall and wearing heavy armor.
It is said that for 40 days straight, Goliath challenged the Israelites to fight. But people wanted to face him when a very young and unafraid boy, David, showed up. David was not even there to fight. He was there to deliver some supplies when he noticed his team frozen in terror and decided to take a stand.
It did not matter to David how many people on his side told him to back away using the argument that he was much too small or much too young. He knew his strength did not come from his body or his age but from God Himself.
David is the perfect example that preachers all over the world still use to make their fellow Christians understand that no matter how big a challenge in your life might seem. And also, no matter how hard or complicated, God has the power to take it away completely.
It was said before, and it definitely needs to be said again, but when God is in your corner, you can achieve the impossible. Just like David destroyed Goliath with one move, using a simple sling and a stone, you too can face your fears with only a smile and your faith in God, and He will always deliver the best outcome for you. Never forget that whatever you wish for, God has the power to offer.