(See also wiki article Ashkelon
ASHKELON - Modern Khirbet 'Asqalan, Greek Askalon; a city on the Mediterranean seaboard of Palestine, mentioned in Egyptian texts of the llth dynasty and in the Amarna correspondence. Rameses II. reduced it c 1280 BC. According to Jg.1.18 it was taken by the tribe of Judah, but this occupation can have been temporary at best, for it is listed in Jos.13.3 with the other cities of the Philistine pentapolis as unconquered by Israel. It figures in the Samson story as the place where he procured the thirty festal garments to pay his wager when his riddle was discovered (Jg.14.19); it is mentioned in the account of the returning of the Ark (1 S.6.17) and in David's dirge over Saul and Jonathan (2 S.1.20). It became tributary to Assyria under Tiglath-pileser iii. (738 BC); an attempt at revolt in Sennacherib's reign was quickly put down, and the rebel king Sidqia carried captive to Assyria (701 BC). It was taken and destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadrezzar in December, 604 BC, having presumably held out against him in hope of aid from Egypt. An Aramaic letter in which a Palestinian king named Adon urgently begs Neco for help against the Babylonians may have come from Ashkelon (although E. Vogt [ VT Supplements iv, 1957, 87] argues to the contrary). Doom is pronounced on Ashkelon by pre-exilic and post-exilic prophets (Am.1.8, Zeph.2.7, Jer.25.20, 47.5, 7, Zec.9.5). Here Jonathan Maccabaeus was honourably received (1 Mac.10.86, 11.60). In 104 BC it became a free city with authority to strike its own coins and reckon by its own era. It was the birthplace of Herod the Great (74 BC) and was greatly embellished by him. It was captured by the Crusaders in 1153, but retaken by the Muslims after the battle of Hattin (1187).
Considerable quantities of 'Philistine' pottery (Early Iron imitations of Mycenaean and Aegean ware) have been found on the site. Sample soundings have revealed a thick layer of ashes from the Late Bronze or Early Iron Age. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings D.D., 2nd Ed., 1963. - R.A.S.M. - F.F.B.]