he would send a “fire” onto the walls of Gaza, this in retribution for its taking exiles to hand over to the Edomites. (Amos 1:6, 7) Although the “exiles” are not specifically identified as Hebrews, likely the allusion is to captives taken by the Philistines in raids on Judah.—Compare 2 Chronicles 21:16, 17; Joel 3:4-6.
Not long thereafter, about the middle of the eighth century B.C.E., Gaza began to experience the “fire” of war. According to Assyrian annals, Tiglath-pileser III conquered Gaza, but its king, Hanno, fled to Egypt. Apparently Hanno was soon able to return to Gaza, for Sargon II claims to have defeated both him and the Egyptian army under Sibʼe allied with him. Sargon II personally captured Hanno and took him away in fetters.
From this time onward Gaza appears to have been generally loyal to Assyria. Hence, it may be that King Hezekiah’s striking down the Philistines as far as Gaza was a phase of his revolt against Assyria. (2 Ki. 18:1, 7, 8) After this revolt, King Sennacherib launched his campaign against Judah and, according to his annals, gave captured Judean towns to Mitini the king of Ashdod, Padi the king of Ekron (who had been imprisoned at Jerusalem), and Sillibil the king of Gaza.
In the time of Jeremiah, Egypt’s army struck down Gaza. (Jer. 47:1) Before this event Jehovah’s utterance against the Philistines indicated that calamity from the N awaited them; “baldness must come to Gaza.” (Jer. 47:2-5; see also Jeremiah 25:17, 20.) As suggested by other passages in Jeremiah (1:14; 46:20), the “waters” from the “north” mentioned at Jeremiah 47:2 evidently denote the Babylonian armies. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did, in fact, gain control over this area (2 Ki. 24:1, 7), and the king of Gaza is mentioned in Babylonian inscriptions. Consequently, the words “before Pharaoh proceeded to strike down Gaza” (Jer. 47:1) appear simply to identity the time when the utterance of Jehovah regarding the Philistines came to Jeremiah. They would not necessarily be directly related to the coming expression of judgment “from the north” thereafter discussed.
The prophet Zephaniah, a contemporary of Jeremiah, sounded a like judgment from Jehovah for Gaza: “An abandoned city is what she will become.” (Zeph. 2:4) And Zechariah’s prophecy, recorded after Babylon’s fall, pointed to future calamities: “[Gaza] will also feel very severe pains.” (Zech. 9:5) History confirms the fulfillment of the foretold calamities. In the latter half of the fourth century B.C.E., Alexander the Great, after a five-month siege (two months, according to Antiquities of the Jews, Book XI, chap. VIII, par. 4), took Gaza. Many of its inhabitants were slain and the survivors were sold into slavery. Over two hundred years later, the Jew Alexander Janneus, after a year’s siege, completely devastated the city.—Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, chap. XIII, par. 3.
Although the Roman governor of Syria, Gabinius, ordered the rebuilding of Gaza, this was likely done on a new site. (Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, chap. V, par. 3) Some scholars think that at Acts 8:26 the Greek word eʹre·mos (“desert[ed]”) refers to the old, abandoned Gaza (AT, for example, reads “the town is now deserted”). Others understand eʹre·mos to refer to the road leading to the city, hence the rendering “this is a desert road.”—NW; compare JB, NEB, RS.
2. A city with dependent towns located in Ephraim’s territory. (1 Chron. 7:28) Its exact location is unknown. Turmus ‘Ayya, about a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) S of Shiloh, has been suggested as a possible location. Another view is that Gaza may be a site in the vicinity of ancient Ai, if not perhaps identical with that city itself. The reading “Ayyah” found in numerous Bible translations has the support of many Hebrew manuscripts. However, there is also evidence for “Gaza” in other Hebrew manuscripts, as well as in the Targums.
[Heb., tseviʹ; Gr., dor·kasʹ; Arabic, ghazah (from which the English word “gazelle” is derived); the names Zibia, Zibiah and Tabitha or Dorcas, all mean “gazelle” (2 Ki. 12:1; 1 Chron. 8:9; Acts 9:36)]. Any of a variety of swift and graceful small antelopes. The Gazella Dorcas, encountered in Arabia, Egypt, Palestine and Syria, likely was familiar to the ancient Hebrews. This animal is about three and a half feet (c. 1 meter) long and stands approximately two feet (c. .6 meter) high at the shoulder. Both male and female have lyre-shaped, ringed horns that may measure as much as a foot (c. .3 meter) in length. The general coloration of this gazelle is pale fawn, with dark and light stripes on the face and white underparts and hindquarters. The hair is short and smooth. Another variety of gazelle with which the Israelites may have been acquainted is the somewhat larger, darker fawn-colored Gazella arabica.
The speed of the gazelle, which ranks among the fastest of mammals, is alluded to in Scripture. (Song of Sol. 2:17; 8:14) The swiftness of Joab’s brother Asahel and of certain Gadites was likened to that of the gazelle. (2 Sam. 2:18; 1 Chron. 12:8) Babylon’s fall was foretold to cause her foreign supporters and hangers-on to flee like a gazelle to their respective lands. (Isa. 13:14) This creature is also cited as an example of acting quickly so as to avoid being ensnared.—Prov. 6:5.
Probably with reference to its beauty and gracefulness, the gazelle figures in certain vivid descriptions contained in The Song of Solomon. (2:9; 4:5; 7:3) The gazelle is also mentioned in the oath under which the Shulammite placed the daughters of Jerusalem, in effect obligating them by all that is beautiful and graceful.—Song of Sol. 2:7; 3:5.
By the terms of the Law given through Moses, the gazelle could be used for food. (Deut. 12:15, 22; 14:4, 5; 15:22) It constituted one of the regularly provided meats for Solomon’s sumptuous table.—1 Ki. 4:22, 23.
[Picture on page 630]
This species of gazelle stands about two feet high
First Chronicles 2:46 says Caleb’s concubine Ephah gave birth to Haran, Moza and Gazez, and then states that Haran “became father to Gazez.” Hence, there may have been two men named Gazez: (1) a son of Caleb, and (2) a