The town of Gaza, on the Mediterranean coastal plain, was one of the ‘five cities of the Philistines’. The other four were Gath, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron (Josh 13:3; 1 Sam 6:17-18). Gaza features in a number of Old Testament stories, among them those concerning Samson (Judg 16:1-3; 16:21-30). (For a map of the region and details of the Old Testament history of Gaza see PHILISTIA.) The sole New Testament reference to the town is in the story of Philip’s meeting with an African official whom he led to faith in Christ (Acts 8:26-38). The present-day town of Gaza has been built on or beside the ruins of the old town.

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