Modern Judah Weakens
In recent months Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has determined to remove the Israeli residents and army from Gaza. Gaza is a strip of land in southwestern Israel. It was once one of the Philistine city-states situated along the Mediterranean Sea. It is approximately 100 square miles in size.
Gaza is mentioned in the Bible in a number of different places. You will recall that Samson went to Gaza for a liaison with a harlot. When the Gazites heard that Samson was there, they encircled the city to lay wait for him, but Samson arose at midnight. He took hold of the gates of the city and the two posts and pulled them up, bar and all. Placing them on his shoulders, he carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron, a distance of around 20 miles of uphill walking (Judges 16:1-3).
Sometimes we hear the uninformed tell that Gaza was never a part of Israel, yet, when we turn to Joshua 15:45-47, Ashdod, and Gaza, three of the Philistine citystates were indeed described as a part of the nation of Judah. Gaza is mentioned by the Prophet Amos in chapter 1, verses 6-9. Here, Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron are mentioned. The only one of the five Philistine city-states not mentioned is the city-state of Gath.
Zephaniah 2:4-7 describes how YEHOVAH God will judge the area occupied by the Philistines: "For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon desolate; they shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines: I will destroy you; so there shall be no inhabitant. The sea-coast shall be pastures, with shelters for shepherds and folds for flocks. The coast shall be FOR THE REMNANT OF THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; they shall feed their flocks there; in the houses of Ashkelon they shall lie down in the evening. For the LORD their God will intervene for them, and return their captives." (Zephaniah 2:4-7). (A prophecy now fulfilled.) (The Cherethites are also called Pelethites, source of the word Palestine. The term Cherethites is undoubtedly derived from the word Crete, from which they came. Please see 2 Samuel 8:18, 1 Kings 1:38 and 44, 1 Chronicles 18:17)
Gaza, with the strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea which was once one of the Philistine city-states, was indeed a part of ancient Judah and Israel. Now, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has determined to give away this strip of land to the Palestinians, who are Arabs, not Philistines.
Several times in the past fifty years, Israel has pulled out of Gaza, but, of necessity, had to return and occupy it at the loss of young Jewish soldiers' lives; therefore, we believe that it is a serious mistake for the Israeli government to hand over any land to the Palestinians, since the Palestinian State intends to drive Israel into the sea.
However, the European nations, being anti-Semitic, continue to put pressure on Israel. Israel must be strong and stand up to the international community, maintaining their territorial integrity so they can defend themselves against those who would destroy them.