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( Ekron ).
The most northern of the five principal Philistine cities ( Joshua 13:3 ; 15:11 ; 15:46 ). We do not know whether it was founded by the Philistines or the Hevites. It was first given to the tribe of Juda ( Joshua 15:11 ; 15:45 ) and then to Dan ( Joshua 19:43 ). Juda conquered it for a time ( Judges 1:18 ), but it fell again into the hands of the Philistines, who brought here the captive ark of the covenant after it had passed through Azotus and Geth ( 1 Samuel 5:10 ). It came near being reconquered by Israel after the defeat of Goliath ( 1 Samuel 7:14 ). The city possessed a famous sanctuary of Beelzebub ( 2 Kings 1:2-3 ; 1:6 ; 1:16 ), and was often denounced by the prophets ( Jeremiah 25:20 ; Amos 1:8 ; Zephaniah 2:4 ; Zechariah 9:5 ). King Alexander Bales gave the city to Jonathan Machabeus ( 1 Maccabees 10:89 ). Robinson identified it with the village Akir, a station on the railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem.
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