|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Called also Azzah, which is its Hebrew name (Deuteronomy 2:23; 1 Kings 4:24; Jeremiah 25:20), strong, a city on the Mediterranean shore, remarkable for its early importance as the chief centre of a great commercial traffic with Egypt. It is one of the oldest cities of the world (Genesis 10:19; Joshua 15:47). Its earliest inhabitants were the Avims, who were conquered and displaced by the Caphtorims (Deuteronomy 2:23; Joshua 13:2, 3), a Philistine tribe. In the division of the land it fell to the lot of Judah (Joshua 15:47; Judges 1:18). It was the southernmost of the five great Philistine cities which gave each a golden emerod as a trespass-offering unto the Lord (1 Samuel 6:17). Its gates were carried away by Samson (Judges 16:1-3). Here he was afterwards a prisoner, and "did grind in the prison house." Here he also pulled down the temple of Dagon, and slew "all the lords of the Philistines," himself also perishing in the ruin (Judges 16:21-30). The prophets denounce the judgments of God against it (Jeremiah 25:20; 47:5; Amos 1:6, 7; Zephaniah 2:4). It is referred to in Acts 8:26. Philip is here told to take the road from Jerusalem to Gaza (about 6 miles south-west of Jerusalem), "which is desert", i.e., the "desert road," probably by Hebron, through the desert hills of Southern Judea. (see SAMSON.)
It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1600. Its small port is now called el-Mineh.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ga'-za (`azzah, "strong"; Septuagint Gaza; Arabic Ghazzeh):
One of the five chief towns of Philistia and probably the oldest, situated near the coast in lat. 31 degrees 30' and about 40 miles South of Jaffa. It is on a hill rising 60 to 200 ft. above the plain, with sand dunes between it and the sea, which is about 2 1/2 miles distant. The plain around is fertile and wells abound, and, being on the border of the desert between Syria and Egypt and lying in the track of caravans and armies passing from one to the other, it was in ancient times a place of importance. The earliest notices of it are found in the records of Egypt.
Thothmes III refers to it in the account of his expedition to Syria in 1479 B.C., and it occurs again in the records of the expedition of Seti I in 1313 B.C. (Breasted, History of Egypt, 285, 409).
It occurs also in the early catalogue of cities and tribes inhabiting Canaan in the earliest times (Genesis 10:19). Joshua reached it in his conquests but did not take it (Joshua 10:41; Joshua 11:22).
Judah captured it (Judges 1:18) but did not hold it long, for we find it in the hands of the Philistines in the days of Samson, whose exploits have rendered it noteworthy (16:1-3, 11, 30). The hill to which he carried off the gate of the city was probably the one now called el-Muntar ("watch-tower"), which lies Southeast of the city and may be referred to in 2 Kings 18:8, "from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city," Gaza, with the other chief towns, sent a trespass offering to Yahweh when the ark was returned (1 Samuel 6:17).
Hezekiah defeated and pursued the Philistines to Gaza, but does not seem to have captured it. It was taken by Sargon in 720 B.C., in his war with Egypt, since Khanun, the king of Gaza, joined the Egyptians and was captured at the battle of Raphia (Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, II, 142). It was probably destroyed (see Amos 1:7). It was certainly dismantled by Alexander the Great in 332, when it dared to resist him. It was then exceedingly strong, verifying its name, and was most bravely defended, so that it took Alexander two months to reduce it. He put to death all the men and sold the women and children as slaves (Grote, History of Greece, XI, 467). It was restored, however, and we learn that Jonathan forced it to submit to him (Josephus, Ant, XIII, v, 5; 1 Maccabees 11:62), and Alexander Janneus took it and massacred the inhabitants who escaped the horrors of the siege (Josephus, Ant, XIII, xiii, 3). Pompey restored the freedom of Gaza (ibid., XIV, iv, 4), and Gabinius rebuilt it in 57 B.C. (ibid., XIV, v, 3).
Gaza is mentioned only once in the New Testament (Acts 8:26), in the account of Philip and the eunuch. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D., it became a center of Greek commerce and culture, and pagan influence was strong, while the church rounded there was struggling for existence. Many martyrs there testified to the faith, until finally, under Theodosius, Christianity gained the supremacy (HGHL, 12th edition, 188). It fell into the hands of the Arabs in 634 A.D., and became and has remained a Moslem city since the days of Saladin, who recovered it from the Crusaders in 1187, after the battle of Hattin. It is now a city of some 20,000 inhabitants, among whom are a few hundred Christians.
See also AZZAH.
Gaza (22 Occurrences)
Acts 8:26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 10:19 The border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you go toward Gerar, to Gaza; as you go toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, to Lasha. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 2:23 and the Avvim, who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, who came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and lived in their place.) (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Joshua 10:41 Joshua struck them from Kadesh Barnea even to Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, even to Gibeon. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Joshua 11:22 There were none of the Anakim left in the land of the children of Israel. Only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, did some remain. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Joshua 13:3 From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites: (Root in KJV DBY WBS YLT RSV NIV)
Joshua 15:47 Ashdod, its towns and its villages; Gaza, its towns and its villages; to the brook of Egypt, and the great sea with its coastline. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 1:18 Also Judah took Gaza with its border, and Ashkelon with its border, and Ekron with its border. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 6:4 and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, until you come to Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor donkey. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 16:1 Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 16:21 The Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he ground at the mill in the prison. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 6:17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering to Yahweh: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 4:24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings on this side the River: and he had peace on all sides around him. (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 18:8 He struck the Philistines to Gaza and its borders, from the tower of the watchmen to the fortified city. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 7:28 And their possessions and habitations were, Bethel and the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the towns thereof: (KJV DBY WBS YLT)
Jeremiah 25:20 and all the mixed people, and all the kings of the land of the Uz, and all the kings of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Gaza, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; (WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 47:1 The word of Yahweh that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines, before that Pharaoh struck Gaza. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 47:5 Baldness is come on Gaza; Ashkelon is brought to nothing, the remnant of their valley: how long will you cut yourself? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Amos 1:6 Thus says Yahweh: "For three transgressions of Gaza, yes, for four, I will not turn away its punishment; because they carried away captive the whole community, to deliver them up to Edom; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Amos 1:7 but I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, and it will devour its palaces. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Zephaniah 2:4 For Gaza will be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation. They will drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron will be rooted up. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Zechariah 9:5 Ashkelon will see it, and fear; Gaza also, and will writhe in agony; as will Ekron, for her expectation will be disappointed; and the king will perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon will not be inhabited. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)