Ashkelon - =Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines (Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam. 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; 47:5, 7). It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT ) are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan.
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