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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names


By Jeff A. Benner

The Anglicized word "Philistine" means "a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia," and comes from the Hebrew word פלישתי (p’liysh’tiy, Strong’s #6430). To define this word we need to examine the root of this word.

The root word פלש (P.L.Sh, Strong’s #6428) is a verb meaning "to wallow" or "to roll." Derived from this verb is the noun לשת (peleshet, Strong’s #6429). This noun is not used in the Biblical text, except as the name of a place (Philistia), and its meaning is uncertain, but probably means a "wallower" (one who wallows) or something to that effect.

The word פלישתי (p’liysh’tiy, Strong’s #6430) literally means "one of peleshet/Philistia." The plural form is פלישתים (peliyshtim) and literally means "ones of peleshet/Philistia."

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