Bible passage: Amos 1:6-7
Written: About 750 BC
In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Amos, the prophet Amos gives a series of prophecies about the nations surrounding the land of Israel. At that time, about 2,800 years ago, the land of Israel was divided into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom was called Israel and the southern kingdom was called Judah.
In Amos 1:6-7, Amos gives a prophecy specific to the Philistine city of Gaza, which was a city west of Judah, bordering the Mediterranean Sea:
6 This is what the Lord says: "For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom, 7 I will send fire on the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses." (Amos 1:6-7, NIV)
Amos' reference to taking captives in verse 6 might have something to do with an event described in 2 Chronicles 21:16-17, in which the Philistines invaded Judah and took members of the royal household as captives. The Philistines carried off the wives and sons of King Jehoram, who ruled Judah from about 851 BC to 843 BC. Jehoram was left with his youngest son, Ahaziah, who later became king.
This prophecy might have found fulfillment during the time of King Uzziah, under whom Amos prophesied, perhaps within a few years of delivering the prophecy. Uzziah waged war against Philistine cities, as described 2 Chronicles 26:6, although there is no specific mention of the city of Gaza.
Or the prophecy might have found fulfillment during the time of Hezekiah, who was King of Judah from about 715 BC to 686 BC. As mentioned in 2 Kings 18:8, Hezekiah successfully waged war against Gaza.
Later, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon subdued the Philistines while expanding his empire about 2,600 years ago. Some historical sources list this time as the end point for Philistines as a distinct group of people.