Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I write a monthly piece for Energize in the News, a regular attempt to introduce young people to items in the news and the issues raised. This month I've been doing a column about Israel and Gaza. I can't post it all here for copyright reasons but I thought you might be interested in the history of Gaza in the Bible:

Canaan was the son of Ham and grandson of Noah according to tradition.i The land of his descendants, the Canaanites, reached as far as Gaza.ii Joshua took this land, occupied by many different peoples and tribes, and slaughtered all the occupantsiii. Whilst the past is another country and they did things differently then, it is hard to be proud of this aspect of our Christian history.

After the conquest of the land, the region of Gaza was apportioned to the Tribe of Judahiv, a tribe which eventually became the southern half of the Kingdom of Israel (the north continued to be known as Israel). Judah lasted longer than Israel which fell to Assyria in 721BC and the remnant of its people inter-married and became known as Samaritans. It was in Roman occupied Judah (Judea) that Jesus lived.

At the time of Samson, Gaza seems to have been a Philistine town and still so under Samuelv but by Solomon's reign it was part of his huge Kingdomvi. However moving on, by the reign of Hezekiah it was necessary to recapture Gaza from the Philistinesvii, this having been prophesied by Amosviii. At the time of the prophet Jeremiah, Gaza was attacked by Egyptix, its downfall having been prophesied by Zephaniahx and Zechariahxi, although they may not have been anticipating exactly the same sequence of events.

The road Philip was travelling on when he met the Ethiopian official, who he converted and baptised, was from Jerusalem to Gazaxii.

iGenesis 9:18
iiGenesis 10:19
iiiJoshua 2:40-42
ivJoshua 15:47
v1 Samuel 6:17
vi1 Kings 4:24
vii 2 Kings 18:8
viiiAmos 1:6
ixJeremiah 47:1
xZephaniah 2:4
xiZechariah 9:5
xiiActs 8:26

If you want to read the whole column you'll have to take out a subscription. Interesting that Islam, Judaism and Christianity all have Abraham as their patriarch and prophet.

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