At the End of the Day

meglycinessnip Most people who get a bad press thoroughly deserve it, present writer excepted. But call me soppy, I’ve always had a soft spot for The Philistines. I don’t mean crappy reproductions like Simon Cowell, Sun hacks or Toby Young: I’m talking about the ill-begotten Biblical originals. So it’s hardly surprising that this tweet attachment caught my eye yesterday.


You see, that’s what I mean: they’ve uncovered a cemetery full of the poor buggers. The Good Book is full of folks – mostly Jewish, the anti-Semites will rush to point out – who smote the Philistines…..

‘…he inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The LORD answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”    (Samuel 23:2)

….so nobody should be surprised that the first thing archaeologists come up with is a graveyard. What else can you expect if the Lord suggests smiting Philistines purely to save Keilah? I never liked her singing anyway.

But the thing is, what happens if, on this latest dig, the next thing they unearth is an enormous sealed library full of ancient texts, explaining everything from the Pyramids to black holes? The entire view we have of the Philistines will have to be revised. And not before time, that’s what I say.

To find out why we have this view of them as boorish yobs, I did some digging. I’m not up on the Old Testament, chiefly because as a kid we all had to read it at Sunday school, and it always struck me as an endless series of slayings, ass jawbones, and things that begat other things which then came to pass. In turn, much of it involved lots of wandering about in Egypt, Canaan and elsewhere, with Moses having an argey-bargey with God every time the Israelites (obviously a feckless lot) turned to worshipping craven idols.

Anyway, looking anew at what the ancient history sources have to say, I’m bound to observe that, on balance, the evidence of Philistines having been the BC equivalent of Millwall fans is decidedly flakey.

Many believe that the Philistines originated in Caphtor, the Hebrew name for the island of Crete. For reasons still unclear, they migrated from that region to the Mediterranean coast near Gaza, where they quickly established a reputation for being a sort of Middle Eastern equivalent of the Vikings: heavily into war, pillage, maritime invasion, rape and three decidedly uncompromising Gods called Ashtoreth, Dagon, and Baal-Zebub…..the last of which has been passed down to us the Devil, Beelzebub.

But what’s very clear is that knuckleheads they weren’t: the Philistines understood the chemistry of iron weapons (and how to sharpen them) so well that much of the time it must have been a bit like Blitzkrieg tanks against Polish lancers once they got going. And being warlike shouldn’t automatically suggest idiocy…pacé Mohammed, the military head on Earth of Allah’s religion of peace. It may well present evidence of male stupidity, but as the last thing I need right now is a fatwah against me, I couldn’t possibly comment.

In fact, the sole source of the reputation for yobbishness is the legend – which, to be fair, appears to be solidly based in fact – in the Book of Judges, which claims that ‘The Philistines were infamous for their production and consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially beer’. Samson’s wedding feast was supplied with wallop by Philisteineken – probably not a brand as such, but nevertheless severely mind-altering stuff. Judges goes on to talk about the Philistine practice of holding week-long drinking parties, and the general tendency of this People to be violent just prior to becoming legless.

The Oxford dictionary tells us that a philistine [small p] is a person ‘hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts’. This would be true, I submit, of Alistair Campbell, Peter Mandelson, David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Andrea Leadsom, Theresa May, Tony Blair, George W Bush, John Prescott, Jeremy Hunt and pretty well every member of the Western political class with any real power.

But to call them Philistines is, I think, Philistinist. They’re actually barbarian vandals….more nomenclatures with a derivation in history, but ultimately far more accurate.

At least the Philistines had a voyager gene, and some creativity involving the production of weapons and alcohol. These things provided them with a living. If you cast our current crop of politicians adrift with a mission to survive by invention, they would all starve within a year at most.


Recently at The Slog: Is May a Philistine or a vandal?

21 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Crikey! I misread it and thought you said you had a soft spot for the Philippines. So do I, lived and visited the place for over 45 years and married to a wonderful lady for over 30 years. After decades of hopeless mismanagement things have started to go right there in the last 10 years. I just hope the latest President doesn’t screw things up too badly.


  2. Why do so many ads feature a black man and a white woman?

    It’s not as if its demographically representative.

    And black men are far more likely to abandon their families than white ones.

    So what is the advertising industry up to?


  3. May to Johnson “am very pleased to tell you Boris,you have the foreign office,Johnson “the bloody foreign office” “where is it” May “outer Mongolia” “where the hell is that” May “has far away from here as possible

    Liked by 1 person

  4. @Martin Spencer Name me, without recourse to the internet, three ads featuring a black man and a white woman. No, thought not.


  5. “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
    Genesis 6:9

    The Philistines were a corrupted lineage originating from Ham, Biblical proof of this is the existence of Giants including Goliath and his brother Giants.

    “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

    Genesis 6:4


  6. @ghost: Outer Mongolia – is where, believe it or not, I met my German wife in 2000. Ulan Bataar is the capital. Awesome place. Still has old Communist art on buildings, yurts right in the middle of town, and an annual festival of archery, wrestling and horse riding named Naadam which is taking place in this month.

    I spent a week crossing its Gobi desert in a Russian minibus.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As I see it, the four Great Offices of State (including Number Ten) have three Remainers and one late-to-the-party Brexiteer. There are two women (surprise, surprise) and two men. There is an ex-investment banker, a servant to investment bankers, a multimillionaire and a wife of an investment banker. Strange that Mrs May promoted Amber Rudd after telling investment bankers she’s coming after them…..’hell hath no fury like a Gideon spurned’ may lead to some job offers in the under fire establishments, unless of course he and Barroso are already at daggers drawn……


  8. John I had quite a bit of religion thrown at me… of various flavors as a child….They were at least honest in the early years in as much they called indoctrination.
    The Bolsheviks gave that term, a very bad image! so it was dropped in the mid 40s.
    It makes me shudder when I see primitives, from alien lands and creeds being allowed to ram false stuff into young brains!.
    The mass media don’t help with little messages being dropped into virtually every thing ! including soaps and adverts.


  9. doofer – we have been more mind controlled than we think, in being told there is no such thing as God/religion. Such a tenet is Cultural Marxism. The only way once you’ve entered middle age is imho to embrace a Taoist perspective:

    “Use the force Luke”


  10. When I turned 65 I thought it’s time to read the Bible finally, cover to cover. Just started the new christian bit and I agree with you John, the old bit is nothing but the Jews being beastly to their neighbours , so nothing new in that after 3k years, there is also much begatting, a lot of abuse for women who as usual seem to get blamed for everything wrong with men and a list of people living to great and highly improbable ages, some sexy songs , and a bunch of commandants in a golden box, which again allows the Jews to be even beastlier to their neighbours.


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