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Azotus

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( Hebrew Ashdodh ; in Septuagint Azotos )

(1) One of the five great cities of the Philistines ( Joshua 13:3 ), the modern Esdud, situated three miles from the Mediterranean Sea, about half-way between Gaza and Jaffa. The temple of Dagon, whither the Ark of the Covenant was carried by the Philistines, was situated here ( 1 Samuel 5:1-5 ; 1 Maccabees 10:83 ; 11:4 ). Azotus, like other Philistine cities, suffered varying fortunes in the wars with Israel, Assyria, and Egypt. Oxias fought against it ( 2 Chronicles 26:6 ), Sargon besieged and took it ( Isaiah 20:1 ; Schrader, "Keilinschriftliche Bibliothek", II, 66-67), and Sennacherib did likewise (Schrader, op. cit., II, 90-91). According to Herodotus, Psammetichus besieged the city for twenty years. In 163 B.C. Judas Machabeus cleared Azotus of idols ( 1 Maccabees 5:68 ), and in 148 B.C. Jonathan and Simon burnt the temple of Dagon ( 1 Maccabees 10:83-84 ). To-day Esdud is a modern village, with many ruins attesting its glorious past. In the New Testament Azotus is mentioned in connection with Philip's return from Gaza ( Acts 8:40 ).

(2) The mountain to which Bacchides pursued the Jews in battle ( 1 Maccabees 9:15 ).

Azotus, a titular see of Palestine

Situated near the seacoast, between Jaffa and Ascalon. Its episcopal list (325-536) is given in Gams (452). It is the Ashdod of the Book of Josue (xv, 47), was one of the five principal cities of the Philistines, and the chief seat of the worship of their god Dagon ( 1 Samuel 5:1-7 ). Herodotus mentions it (II, 157) as having withstood King Psammetichus of Egypt in a siege of twenty-nine years, the longest then known.

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