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Q: etymology ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: etymology
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: adon-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 17 Sep 2002 06:51 PDT
Expires: 17 Oct 2002 06:51 PDT
Question ID: 65959
What is the etymology of the word "palestine"?
Subject: Re: etymology
Answered By: eiffel-ga on 17 Sep 2002 07:54 PDT
Hi adon,

Some people are attempting to bend the etymology of "palestine" to
suit their own political agenda, so I will start this answer with a
quote predating the current political situation. This quote is from
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary, which I accessed via Google's
dictionary lookup facility.

"Palestine originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel 3:4),
and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth (rendered
"Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in the Old

The dictionary entry is several pages long, going into considerable
detail of the biblical history of this area:
(scroll down to the third entry)

Other sources provide some more detail:

"The name Palestine refers to a region of the eastern Mediterranean
coast from the sea to the Jordan valley and from the southern Negev
desert to the Galilee lake region in the north. The word itself
derives from 'Plesheth', a name that appears frequently in the Bible
and has come into English as 'Philistine'. Plesheth, (root palash) was
a general term meaning rolling or migratory. This referred to the
Philistine's invasion and conquest of the coast from the sea. The
Philistines were ... most closely related to the Greeks originating
from Asia Minor and Greek localities":

Where did the name Palestine come from?

"In the First Century CE, the Romans crushed the independent kingdom
of Judea. After the failed rebellion of Bar Kokhba in the Second
Century CE, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ... took the name Palastina
['land of the Philistines'] and imposed it on all the Land of Israel.
At the same time, he changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia

The History and Meaning Of "Palestine" and "Palestinians"

"The Romans renamed the land we call Israel, 'Palestinia' from which
has come the modern term 'Palestine' ... The term Palestine is rarely
used in the modern translations of the Old Testament, and when it is,
it refers specifically to the southwestern coastal area of Israel
occupied by the Philistines. It is a translation of the Hebrew word
'Pelesheth.' The term is never used to refer to the whole land of
Israel ... In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used":

Israel or Palestine? Which is it?

"The word Palestine does not occur in the original Hebrew or Greek
translations of the Bible. The Hebrew term Pelesheth, which refers to
the land of the ancient Philistines - Philistia - is ... translated in
King James Version as 'Palestina' in Exodus 15:14 and in Isaiah 14:29
and 31, and as 'Palestine' in Joel 3:4. The New King James Version ...
reads 'Philistia' - the land of the Philistines - in every case noted

Palestine and the Palestinians

Additional Links:

King James Bible - Strong's Hebrew Dictionary
(Dictionary and Concordance entries for palash and Plesheth)

Google search strategy:

"etymology of palestine"
(unsuccessful search)

"origin of the name of palestine"

"origin of the name palestine"

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