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Gaza (See also wiki article Gaza.)

GAZA - A city of the Philistine Pentapolis. It is referred to in Genesis (10.19) as a border city of the Canaanites, and in Jos.10.41 as a limit of the south country conquered by Joshua; a refuge of the Anakim (Jos.11.22), theoretically assigned to Judah (15.47). Samson was here shut in by the Philistines, and escaped by carrying away the gates (Jg.16.1-3); he was, however, brought back here in captivity after being betrayed by Delilah, and here he destroyed himself and the Philistines by pulling down the temple (16.21-30). it formed the SW. boundary of Solomon's kingdom (1 K.4.24), but was never for long in Israelite hands. It was occupied by Pharaoh Neco (Jer.47.1ff), but withstood Alexander for two months in 332 BC. (Jos. Ant. xi. viii. 4 [325]). In the 2nd cent. BC it was besieged and taken by Jonathan (1 Mac.11.61f). In 96 BC it was razed to the ground by Alexander Jannaeus after a year's siege (Ant. xiii. xiii. 3 [364]), but in 57 BC it was rebuilt by Gabinius on a new site (Ant. xiv. v. 3 [88]), the previous site being distinguished as 'Old' or 'Desert' Gaza (cf Ac.8.26). It was successively in Greek, Byzantine Christian (AD 402), Muslim (AD 635), and Crusader hands; it was finally lost by the Franks in 1244. A Crusaders' church remains in the town, now a mosque. It is now a city of about 16,000 inhabitants, and bears the name Ghazzeh. The gentilic is Gazites, Jos.13.3 (RV; AV Gazathites, RSV 'men of Gaza'), Jg.16.2. For 1 Mac.13.43ff (AV) see GEZER. [Article: Dictionary of the Bible, J.Hastings, 2nd Ed., T&T.Clark, 1963 - R.A.S.M. - H.H.R.]