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R. K. Harrison

Samson and the Philistines

"When the Hittite Empire collapsed about 1200 B.C., the Philistines took over the smelting of ore and the manufacturing of iron implements, this being previously a Hittite monopoly. During the next century they built up a flourishing trade in implements and weapons, and this, along with their distinctive pottery, made the Philistines an important cultural force in Canaan at the end of the Judges period.

The excavation of Philistine houses has supported the tradition relating to the death of Samson (Judg 16:25-30). This redoubtable opponent of the Philistines died in a building where he was able, by pulling on the central pillars, to bring about the death of many Philistines. How this feat was possible has been made clear at several Philistine sites, where ruins have shown that some of their larger houses were built around a central hall. This in turn was bisected by a row of columns which bore the weight of the upper story of the roof."

R. K. Harrison, "Philistines" Contributor, Dict. of Biblical Archaeology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1983) p. 363