Glimpses of Israel - Ashkelon

Overlooking the long, white sandy beaches on the Mediterranean Sea is one of Israel's picturesque cities, Ashkelon. Located 60 kms (36 miles) south of Tel Aviv and 80 kms west of Jerusalem, Ashkelon is built on the ruins of past civilizations. So extensive is its history that an entire park has been dedicated to the archaeological finds.

In ancient times, Ashkelon was one of five major Philistine cities. It was part of the inheritance given to the tribe of Judah when Israel took possession of the Promised Land. Samson, a judge of Israel, was specifically chosen by God to " . . . begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." (Judges 13:5). He attacked Ashkelon and killed thirty men. (Judges 14:19) During the time of the prophet Samuel, and the reigns of Kings Saul, David and Solomon, Ashkelon remained a Philistine city, despite many conflicts and wars. The LORD, however, warned the Philistines that their end was near. " . . . For the LORD shall plunder the Philistines, the remnant of Caphtor." ( Jeremiah 47:4). In verse seven, in particular, the inhabitants of Ashkelon are told that they will not escape. "How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD has given it a charge against Ashkelon and against the seashore? There he has appointed it?" Ashkelon was destroyed by the Babylonians, a few years before the fall of Jerusalem in B.C.E. 586. Ashkelon was rebuilt and destroyed numerous times through the centuries, as the Persians, Greeks, Romans exerted their influence and cultures. Eventually, Ashkelon was laid waste during the Ottoman Empire.

In modern times, Ashkelon returned to Israel as part of the reestablishment of the State of Israel, in 1948. Since then, the Jewish people have returned to inhabit the waste land and rebuild the ruined cities, exactly as promised. "The coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed their flocks there; in the house of Ashkelon they shall lie down at evening. For the LORD their God will intervene for them, and return their captives." (Zephaniah 2:7) Ashkelon is just one of the evidences that God is faithful to His covenant people, Israel.