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From: DICT.TW English-Chinese Dictionary 英漢字典

 Pal·es·tine /ˈpæləˌstaɪn/

From: WordNet (r) 2.0

      n 1: a British mandate on the east coast of the Mediterranean;
           divided between Jordan and Israel in 1948
      2: an ancient country is southwestern Asia on the east coast of
         the Mediterranean; a place of pilgrimage for Christianity
         and Islam and Judaism [syn: Canaan, Holy Land, Promised

From: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

    originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
    inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
    3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
    (rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
    the Old Testament.
      Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
    denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
    also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
    (Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
    promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
    (Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
    of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
      The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
    Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
    the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
    north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
    "river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
    miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
    by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
    vast empire was the Promised Land; but Palestine was only a part
    of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
    Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
    extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
    breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
    beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
    of all lands." Western Palestine, on the south of Gaza, is only
    about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
    Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
    miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
      Palestine, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
    is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
    single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
    climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
    describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
    fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
    land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
    pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
    thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
    any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
    hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
      "In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
    much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
    fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
    tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
    enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
    disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
    olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
    Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
    winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
    autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
    huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
    mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
    Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
    terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
    desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
    cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
    vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
    ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
    gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
      From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
    of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
    to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
    occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
    allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
    3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
    tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
      From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
    years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
    hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
    was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
    Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
    was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
    independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
    northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
    afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
    were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
    after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
    years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
    tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
    nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
      Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
    the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
    hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
    of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
    carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
    they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
    Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
    Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
    restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
      For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
    Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
    priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
    the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
    between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, and
    Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
    possession of Palestine in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
    hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
    made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
    with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
      After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
    successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
    subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
    and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
    the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
    the Syrian yoke.
      In the year B.C. 68, Palestine was reduced by Pompey the Great
    to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
    massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
    temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
    the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
    however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
    temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
    death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
    restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
    was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
    in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
    who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
    when Palestine became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
    or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
    procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
      Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
    comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
    the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
    districts. This division was recognized so long as Palestine was
    under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
    the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
    province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
    the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
    province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
    country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
    Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
    Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
    Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
    Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
    Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
    whole territory of Palestine, including the portions alloted to
    the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
    square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
    west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
    the size of the principality of Wales.