Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 1:11-12 Philistines and others

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, September 11, 2023

11 Mizraim was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lebahites, Naphtuhites, 12 Pathrusites, Casluhites (the Philistines came from them), and the Caphtorites.

The Philistines mentioned here are really just a parenthetical aside. If we don’t count them in the complete list, then the complete Table of Nations (1 Chronicles 1:5-23) has 70 names. 26 of them are from Shem, 30 are from Ham and 14 are from Japheth. For the people reading Chronicles, the number 70 may have had a special satisfaction and even a spiritual significance. As a multiple of 7 (a number showing holiness), it presents God’s hand in the providence of the world.

The Ludites are sometimes described as bowmen (Jeremiah 46:9), and they are placed in both Africa (as descendants of Mizraim’s Egyptians) and Asia—it is generally accepted that Lud was the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor.

The Anamites may have been a minor tribe of the Egyptians. An Assyrian text from the time of Sargon II (722-705 BC) refers to the Anami in Egypt.

The Lehabites were probably the Libyans (Nahum 3:9) or a branch family of the Libyans.

The Naphtuhites have not been identified. The name seems to mean “the northern land.” They were probably an Egyptian tribe; perhaps located in the lower (northern) Nile region.

The Pathrusites would appear to be an Egyptian people living in the upper (southern) Nile region. Pathros was a city in that part of Egypt (Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 44:1,15; Ezekiel 29:14, 30:14). Curiously, the name is closely related to the Hebrew word for the interpretation of a dream (Genesis 40:12,18), but the similarity of the words is probably an accident.

The Casluhites are also difficult to identify, perhaps because, as the ancestors of the Philistines, they were displaced from Egypt. We learn from the Doctoral Thesis of Dr. John Brug that the Philistines were the product of two distinct races, one a race of giants inhabiting the southwest coast of Canaan; the other a Greek race of a more typical height. They worked and fought together and gave us such diverse individuals as Goliath and Delilah in Scripture.

The Caphtorites, in conjunction with the Casluhites, were the inhabitants of the island of Crete, although the island of Cyprus is sometimes mentioned as the land of Caphtor, as well. Moses tells us that the Caphtorites destroyed the Avvites and took their land (Deuteronomy 2:23). Jeremiah identifies the ancient Philistines as being “the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor” (Jeremiah 47:4). The Lord himself told Amos that the Philistines came from Caphtor, brought to Canaan in the way the Israelites were brought up from out of Egypt (Amos 9:7). In addition, Joshua calls the five main Philistine cities “Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron, that of the Avvites” (Joshua 13:3). The Avvites are not part of the table of nations, but they seem to be a Hamitic or Canaanite race that were displaced by others. All of this shows that the Avvites were an original Philistine people, perhaps before Abraham’s time, but they were supplanted by the Caphtorite Philistines who allied themselves with the race of giants who were still present but perhaps were dying out by the time of the Judges and of David. All of this supports Dr. Brug’s archaeological and exegetical findings.

All of these were people like us, people who needed a Savior. Some of them intermarried with the nation of Israel. Moses’ own children were half Hebrew, half Midianite (Exodus 2:21-22, 18:2-4). Abraham’s son Ishmael was half Egyptian (Genesis 16:3,15). Jesus’ ancestress Rahab was a Canaanite from Jericho (Joshua 2:1). Some of their descendants are still in the world. Reaching out to them begins with reaching out to the people right in our own communities. The gospel is the tool we use; the gospel is the only message that saves.

Some of these nations vanished completely from the record of Scripture after their mention here. This also happened to Ham himself, their ancestor. When Ham sinned against his father after the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, the curse on Ham fell upon his son Canaan. Perhaps Noah wanted to spare Ham from the full force of a curse, but when a son is cursed, the father, too, is cursed. This is what happened when Solomon’s unfaithfulness tore away the ten tribes. The curse was laid on his son Rehoboam so that it would not be seen to be a curse on David (1 Kings 11:31-36). Luther told his students: “The name Ham disappears at this point because the Holy Spirit hates it, and this is indeed an ominous hatred. Thus the psalm also states: ‘I hate them with a perfect hatred’ (Psalm 139:22). When the Holy Spirit begins to hate and to be angry, eternal death follows” (Lectures on Genesis, LW 2:174).

We do not know the judgments of God on anyone living in our time. Holy numbers like 7 and 70 are reminders that God is the one who brings people into his kingdom, not based on race or on accomplishments, but based on faith. We are commanded to go and to make disciples of them by baptizing and by teaching, and these are the tools we take: water and the word of God. These are not weapons. These are not threats to anyone except the devil. Do not be ashamed of such tools. They are the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. First for the Jews, but then, too, for the Gentiles (Romans 1:16).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


Browse Devotion Archive