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Biblical Ashdod

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Places of Interest


1. Ashdod is located on the Mediterranean Sea and is the northernmost city of the five Philistine cities.


2. It's about 18 miles (29 km.) south of Jaffa and Tel Aviv.  


3. Tel Ashod is just about 2.75 miles (4.5 km.) inland from the sea. It remains in its natural form and has had some excavations carried out but not extensive ones.

4. It appears that the city was large and extended all the way to the sea, or had another part of the city that was by the sea.

5. During the conquest of the Promised Land under Joshua and the Israelites, giants known as Anakim were found here (Josh. 11:22). Ashdod was allotted to Judah, but they failed to conquer it (Josh. 13:3, 15:46–47). 

6. During the time of Samuel, Ashdod, and the other main cities of the Philistines were still independent. 

7. Ashdod was conquered and came under the authority of Assyria in around 711 BC. Later, Babylon conquered it as well in around 605 BC.  

8. In later times, the Ashdod-Yam Fortress (also called Qal’at el-Mina) was built by Caliph Abd al-Malik (685-705 C.E) at the end of the seventh century AD on the ruins of a Byzantine settlement. The fortress was part of a coastal defense system designed to prevent a Byzantine invasion from the sea. The system consisted of a string of strongholds along the Mediterranean Sea situated in sight of one another. In times of danger, massages were conveyed by means of beacons of fire (by night) and smoke signals (by day). In 1033, the fortress was destroyed by an earthquake and abandoned. It was reconstructed and resettled during the Crusader Period, (12th and 13th centuries AD). Its name was changed to Castellum Beroart. It was finally abandoned after the Crusaders were banished from the country in 1290.

Places of Interest

1. Tel Ashdod

2. Ashdod-Yam Fortress

Ashdod in the Bible

1. The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and took it to Ashdod and placed it in the House of Dagon (their false god).

1 Samuel 5:1-2: Now the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon, and placed it beside Dagon.

The Ark may have resided in the house of their false god, Dagon, which could have been by the sea. From Ashdod, the Ark was taken to Gath.

2. God revealed Himself as the Lord of Lords to the Philistines by making their false god, Dagon, bow down and submit to Him.

1 Samuel 5:3-4: When the Ashdodites got up early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him back in his place. 4 But when they got up early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the torso of Dagon was left.

3. God struck the people of Ashdod with tumors to show them He was the true God.

1 Samuel 5:6-7: Now the hand of the Lord was heavy on the Ashdodites, and He made them feel devastated and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territories. 7 When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, because His hand is severe on us and on Dagon our god.”


4. God prophesied that a people of mixed origins or nationalities would live in Ashdod and among the Philistines. This was certainly fulfilled in history and can even be seen today.

Zechariah 9:6: And a people of mixed origins will live in Ashdod, and I will eliminate the pride of the Philistines.

5. Ashdod was the recipient of many prophecies proclaiming its doom and destruction.

Isaiah 20:11, Amos 1:8, Jeremiah 25:20, and Zechariah 2:4, 9:6. However, Ashdod continued to be inhabited as the Jews intermarried with its inhabitants after their return from Babylon (Neh. 13:23–24). 

6. In the New Testament, Ashdod is called Azotus.
Acts 8:40: But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.


Faith Lesson from Ashdod


1. God revealed Himself as the Creator and true Lord to the Philistines on different occasions so they would know He was the true God. God reveals Himself to everyone through His creation so that everyone is without excuse.

Romans 1:18-20: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

3. Any person from any nation was welcome to join in the Jewish faith, obtain salvation, and be right with God. The Philistines had this opportunity like every other nation.

4. What about us? Are we right with God and letting our lights shine to a world that needs God and His salvation through Jesus Christ?

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