Ancient Sources

Places of Ascalon, Gaza, Negev, Sinai


123. Gaza - (Gaza, al -'Azzah)

ORIGINAL TEXTS


Gaza civitas Evaeorum, in qua habitavere Cappadoces, pristinis cultoribus interfectis. Apud veteres erat terminus Chananaeorum iuxta Aegyptum, ceciditque in sortem tribus Iudae, sed eam tenere non potuit, quia Enacim, id est gigantes, Allofylorum fortissimi restiterunt. Et est usque hodie insignis civitas Palaestinae. Quaeritur autem quomodo in quodam profeta dicatur Gaza futura in tumulum sempiternum quod solvitur ita: antiquae cinitatis locum vix fundamentorum praebere vestigia, hanc autem, quae nunc cernitur in alio loco, pro illa, quae corruit, aedificatam.
(Jerome 63:16-23)


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Eusebius, Onomasticon 62:22-26 (ca. 295 A.D.); Jerome 63:16-23 (ca. 390 A.D.)
Gaza (Deut 2:23) a city of the Evaeans, in which Cappadocians dwelt after they killed the former inhabitans. In antiquity it was a boundary of the Canaanites towards Egypt, and fell into the lot of the tribe of Judah, but they could not conquer it nor could they do away with the aliens who dwelt in it, because the Enakim, that is, the giants, the most strong of all the aliens, held out. And today it is a famous city of Palestine. One might ask, how it is that in a certain prophet (Jer 47:5; Zeph 2:4) Gaza is said to be destined to remain in ruins forever? and the explanation is that the site of the ancient city hardly shows a trace of the foundations, while the city that is seen today was built in another location, in place of the one that was destroyed.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

Deut 2:23 The Avvim in the vicinity of Gaza
As for the Avvim, who had lived in settlements in the vicinity of Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and settled in their place.

Josh 13:2-3 The land of the Philistines
This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites (from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron, it is reckoned as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron), and those of the Avvim.

Judg 16:1-3 Samson carries the gates of Gaza
Once Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went in to her. The Gazites were told, "Samson has come here." So they circled around and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They kept quiet all night, thinking, "Let us wait until the light of the morning; then we will kill him." But Samson lay only until midnight. Then at midnight he rose up, took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.

Judg 16:23 Samson's death
Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon, and to rejoice; for they said, "Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand." When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, "Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us." And when their hearts were merry, they said, "Call Samson, and let him entertain us." So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. They made him stand between the pillars; and Samson said to the attendant who held him by the hand, "Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, so that I may lean against them." Now the house was full of men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about three thousand men and women, who looked on while Samson performed.
Then Samson called to the Lord and said, "Lord GOD, remember me and strengthen me only this once, O God, so that with this one act of revenge I may pay back the Philistines for my two eyes." And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life.

Jer 47:4-6 Prophecy against the Philistines
Because of the day that is coming to destroy all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that remains. For the Lord is destroying the Philistines, the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor. 5 Baldness has come upon Gaza, Ashkelon is silenced. O remnant of their power! How long will you gash yourselves? 6 Ah, sword of the Lord! How long until you are quiet? Put yourself into your scabbard, rest and be still!

Zeph 2:4 A prophecy against the pagans
For Gaza shall be deserted, and Ashkelon shall become a desolation; Ashdod's people shall be driven out at noon, and Ekron shall be uprooted.

MORE ANCIENT SOURCES

Hieronymus, Commentarium in Isaiam 17,3 (ca. 400 A.D.)
In the deserted cities of Aroer, which means "heath", the flocks of the church will enjoy life. We are dwelling in the towns abandoned by the Jews, and where the idolatry has been destroyed the Gospel is being built upon. This becomes reality in our times too, as we can see by ourselves: the Serapaeum in Alexandria and the temple of Marna in Gaza have been changed into churches of the Lord, and the cities of Aroer are readied for the evangelic flock.

Anonymus Placentinus, Itinerarium 33 (ca. 570 A.D.)
Gaza is a lovely and renowned city, with noble people distinguished by every kind of liberal accomplishment. They arewelcoming to strangers.


BYZANTINE ADMINISTRATIVE LISTS

Hierocles, Synecdemos, 721:1-11 (7th cent. A.D.)
Province of Palaestina Prima, 22 cities under a consularis: Cesarea, Dora, Antipatris, Diospolis, Azotos on the sea, Azotos inland, Eleuteropolis, Aelia which is also Jerusalem, Neapolis, [Livias], Sebaste, Anthedon, Diocletianopolis, Sycamazon, Ono, Sozousa, Ioppe, Gaza, Raphia, Ascalon, Gazaris, Betylion.

Georgius Cyprius, 997-1027 (7th cent. A.D.)
Province of Palaestina Prima, Aelia-Jerusalem, Caesarea, Dora, Antipatris, Diospolis wich is also Georgiopolis, Iamnia, Nicopolis, Ono, Sozousa, Ioppe, Ascalon, Gaza, Raphia, Anthedon, Diocletianopolis, Eleutheropolis, Neapolis, Sebaste, region of Amathous, region of Jericho, region of Livias, region of Gadara, Azotos Paralos, Azotos, Sycomazon, Bitylion, Tricomias, Toxos, Canstantiniac Salton, Geraritic Salton wich is also Barsamon.


EPISCOPAL CITY

Bishops' list
Philemon ?
Silvanus, saint (A.D. 307-310)
Asclepius (A.D. 325-343)
Quintianus, arian (A.D. 326-343)
Synekas (A.D. 348)
Irenius (A.D. 363, 392/3)
Aeneas (A.D. 394/5)
Porphyrius (A.D. 395-420)
Natiras / Netiras (A.D. 431)
Marinianus (A.D. 449)
Nateras (A.D. 451; 458)
John
Timotheus (A.D. 512)
Ambrellios / Cyrillus (A.D. 518)
Marcianus (A.D. 536)
Eusebius (VI cent. A.D.)
Aurelianus (A.D. 540)
Peter, jacobite (A.D. 680)
Samonas (A.D. 1056)
Sulaiman al-Ghazzi (XI cent. A.D.)


ICONOGRAPHIC PARALLELS

Ma'in: Church of the Acropolis
(8th cent. A.D.)
[Ga]za

Umm al Rasas: Church of St. Stephen
(8th cent. A.D.)
Gaza

Map Section 9 Place Discussion

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 13:44:07
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
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copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000