All posts for the month October, 2015

Philistines and Persians. Part Four

Published October 22, 2015 by amaic


Velikovsky and those ‘Peleset’

 Part Four: The Cherethites


Damien F. Mackey



It seems likely from Ezekiel 25:16: ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I will stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the rest of the seacoast’, that the Cherethites [or Kerethites, Cerethim] may also have been of Philistine stock.


JewishEncyclopedia is of this opinion (



By: Emil G. Hirsch, W. Max Muller, Louis Ginzberg


Probably the name of a part of the Philistines; usually, however, designating the whole nation, as in Zeph. ii. 5, where “the nation of the Cherethites” evidently means the Philistines in general. Similarly, Ezek. xxv. 16 and xxx. 5 belong here. A. V. translates “the children of the land [that is in] league.” But the true reading after the Ethiopic and partly after the LXX. (which omits the word “land”) is: “the children of the Kerethi” (compare Cornill’s “Ezekiel”). In Ezek. xxx. 5, where “the children of the land that is in league” are mentioned among the allies of Egypt, the whole of the Philistines must be meant. ….

[End of quote]

A very close connection between the nations of Egypt and Philistia was archaeologically pointed out by Dr. John Osgood, as I noted in:

Pharaoh of Abraham and Isaac

…. Upon close examination the Book of Genesis affords us with several vital clues about the pharaoh encountered by Abram and Sarai that ought to assist us in determining just who was this enigmatic ruler in the Egyptian records. From a study of the structure of the relevant Genesis passages, from toledôt and chiasmus,

as explained in our article,  Abram’s“Pharaoh” Biblically Named and Archaeologically Identified (

we learned that the biblical pharaoh:

Was the same as the Abimelech of Gerar, ruler of the Philistines, contemporaneous with both Abram (Abraham) and Isaac.

Which means that:

This particular pharaoh must have reigned for at least 60+ years

(the span from Abram’s

famine to the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah).


We have also learned from archaeological analysis (see that:

Abram was extremely close in time to pharaoh Narmer of Dynasty 0 or 1.

Dr. John Osgood has already done much of the “spade work” for us here, firstly by

nailing the archaeology of En-geddi at the time of Abram (in the context of Genesis 14) to the Late Chalcolithic period, corresponding to Ghassul IV in Palestine’s southern Jordan Valley; Stratum V at Arad; and the Gerzean period in Egypt (“The Times of Abraham”, Ex Nihilo TJ, Vol. 2, 1986, pp. 77-87); and secondly by showing that, immediately following this period, there was a migration out of Egypt into Philistia, bringing an entirely new culture (= Early Bronze I, Stratum IV at Arad). P. 86: “In all likelihood Egypt used northern Sinai as a springboard for forcing her way into Canaan with the result that all of southern Canaan became an Egyptian domain”.

[End of quote]


King David’s Philistine Contingent

Now, it should not really surprise us that King David may have had a loyal band of Philistines serving as his guardsmen (perhaps), as we already found in Part Two: (I Chronicles 18:17): “Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief officials at the king’s side”.

John R. Salverda, again, who has also noted that the Greek drama of Cadmus draws heavily upon the biblical narratives about David, has made the following perceptive observation relevant to this article:


David as Cadmus (Part One)

Another source of David’s army, a group of volunteers from Gath, called “Gittites” (also called “mighty men” or “Gibborim.” These Gittites are called Gibborim by the Septuagint and by Josephus.) may have served as an “inspirational” model for the Greek myth. David seems to have earned no small measure of respect amongst the Philistines, especially those of Goliath’s hometown Gath, this may be due to the giant’s, little noted, taunting pledge;

“And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, . . . And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, . . . choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.” (1st Samuel 17:4-9).

These, the words of Goliath’s own mouth, may indeed have had something to do with the fact that David was able to find refuge among the Philistines at the city of Gath when King Saul had made him his enemy. David stayed with the Philistines for more than a year and was eventually made a commander of a Gittite contingent of the Philistine army. David retained the city of Ziklag and 600 soldiers from Gath who swore allegiance to him and were his faithful men. It is almost as if many of the Philistines from the city of Gath, the home town of Goliath, were honoring the pledge of their champion to serve under David in the event that he should kill Goliath.

This is perhaps another way to understand how Cadmus could obtain soldiers from the teeth (his word) of the slain monster (Goliath). ….


Philistines and Persians. Part Three

Published October 21, 2015 by amaic


Velikovsky and those ‘Peleset’.

Part Three: Through Prism of Greek Mythology: Perses


John R. Salverda,

commenting on this series, has written:

Dear Damien,


Your latest article entitled ”Velikovsky and those ‘Peleset’“ deserves serious consideration.  I personally have never doubted Velikovsky’s identification between the Persians and the Peleset. Looking at it, as I do, through the prism of Greek mythology. 


Consider the relationship between the Danaans and the Pelasgians and then compare this to the similar relationship between the Danites and the Philistines. It is clear to me that the Pelasgians were the Philistines. And then add this to the widespread notion, held by the ancient Greeks, who lived in the days of the Persians and learned directly from them, that the Persians were the descendants, and were named after the son of Perseus. 

The son of Perseus was named Perses he was the king of Joppa, the ancient capital and the seaport of the tribe of Dan, and located in the land of the Philistines.  The Greeks have been saying that the Persians originated from Palestine for thousands of years. -John

John has written many fascinating articles from the perspective of, mainly Greek, mythology.

Here is one relevant portion re Perses, son of Perseus, from his

Perseus Compared to Moses and the Danites of Jaffa


The Joppa episode of the Perseus myth has a much more historic flavor, for here we not only learn that the sons of Perseus, after sailing out of Joppa, became the Kings of, and fortified the cities of, Mycenae in Greece, which we will detail a little further on. (A partial list of royal families and heroes that were known to the Greeks to have been descended from Perseus were 1. The royal family of Mycenae, his sons King Alcaeus, King Electryon and King Sthenelus, grandson King Eurystheus, and great granddaughter Queen Clytemnestra 2. The royal family of Elis, his son King Heleius, and grandson King Augeias 3. The royal family of the Taphian Islands, Kings Taphos and Pterelaus 4. The royal family of Messenia, his daughter Queen Gorgophone, and grandsons King Aphareus and King Leucippus, and great-grandsons the heroes Idas and Lynceus 5. The royal family of Sparta, his daughter Queen Gorgophone, grandson King Tyndareus, and great-grandchildren (in fact or putatively) : the Dioskouroi and Queen Helene. 6. The kings of Persia, from his son Perses 7. Heracles, and his descendants, who eventually assumed power in the Peloponnese.) “They [the Persians] were formerly called by the Greeks Cephenes . . . When Perseus son of Danae and Zeus had come to Cepheus son of Belus and married his daughter Andromeda, a son was born to him whom he called Perses, and he left him there; for Cepheus had no male offspring; it was from this Perses that the Persians took their name.” (Herodotus, Histories Book 7 Page 61) “Perseus, the son of Danae ‘ wanting to establish for himself his own kingdom, despised that of the Medes.” (Suidas “Medusa”) “There is a story told in Hellas that before Xerxes set forth on his march against Hellas, he sent a herald to Argos, who said on his coming (so the story goes), ‘Men of Argos, this is the message to you from King Xerxes. Perses our forefather had, as we believe, Perseus son of Danae for his father, and Andromeda daughter of Cepheus for his mother; if that is so, then we are descended from your nation.’ ” (Herodotus, Histories Book 7 Page 150)

[End of quote]

And the ancient philosopher, Plato, identified Achaemenes of the Pasargadae tribe with Perses (


As the eponymous ancestor of the clan, Achaemenes is very often held to be legendary. Achaemenes is generally known as the leader of one of the clans, known to the Greeks as the Pasargadae (although this identification may been due to a confusion with the Persian Imperial capital city Pasargadae begun by Cyrus the Great around 546 BC), that was one of the some ten to fifteen Persian tribes. Persian royal inscriptions such as the Behistun Inscription place him five generations before Darius the Great. Therefore, according to the Inscriptions, Achaemenes may have lived around 700 BC. The inscriptions do label him as a “king”, which may mean that he was the first official king of the Persians.

Apart from Persian royal inscriptions, there are very limited historical sources on Achaemenes; therefore very little, if anything at all, is known for certain about him. It has been proposed that Achaemenes may merely have been a “mythical ancestor of the Persian royal house”. The “Babylonian” Cyrus Cylinder, ascribed to Cyrus the Great, does not mention Achaemenes in an otherwise-detailed genealogy. Some historians hold that perhaps Achaemenes was a retrograde creation of Darius the Great, made in order to legitimize his connection with Cyrus the Great, after Darius rose to the position of Shah (i.e. King) of Persia in 522 BC (by killing the usurper Gaumata, the so-called “False Smerdis”, who had proclaimed himself King upon the death of Darius’ predecessor, Cambyses II; according to Darius, Gaumata was an impostor pretending to be Cambyses II’s younger, deceased brother Bardiya). Darius certainly had much to gain in having an ancestor shared by Cyrus and himself, and may have felt the need for a stronger connection than that provided by his subsequent marriage to Cyrus’ daughter Atossa. An inscription from Pasargadae, also ascribed to Cyrus, does mention Cyrus’ descent from Achaemenes; however, historian Bruce Lincoln has suggested that these inscriptions of Cyrus in Pasargadae were engraved during the reign of Darius in c. 510.

In any case, the Persian royal dynasty from Darius onward revered Achaemenes and credited him as the founder of their dynasty. Very little, however, was remembered about his life or actions. Assuming he existed, Achaemenes was most likely a 7th-century BC warrior-chieftain, or the probable first king, who led the Persians, or a tribe of Persians, as a vassal of the Median Empire. An Assyrian inscription from the time of King Sennacherib in 691 BC, mentions that the Assyrian king almost repelled an attack by Parsuamash and Anzan, with the Medians and others on the city of Halule. Historians contend that if he existed, Achaemenes had to be one of the commanders, leading his Persians with the independent troops of Anshan, during the indecisive Battle of Halule in 691 BC.

Ancient Greek writers provide some legendary information about Achaemenes: they call his tribe the Pasargadae, and say that he was “raised by an eagle”. Plato, when writing about the Persians, identified Achaemenes with Perses, ancestor of the Persians in Greek mythology. According to Plato, Achaemenes/Perses was the son of the Ethiopian queen Andromeda and the Greek hero Perseus, and a grandson of Zeus. Later writers believed that Achaemenes and Perses were different people, and that Perses was an ancestor of the king. ….

Philistines and Persians. Part Two

Published October 20, 2015 by amaic


Velikovsky and those ‘Peleset’

 Part Two: The Pelethites


Damien F. Mackey



The name ‘Peleset’ appears to be especially recognisable in that of the ancient ‘Pelethites’ (I Chronicles 18:17): “Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief officials at the king’s side”.



Dr. John Osgood pointed out the likely connection between the Peleset and the Pelethites of King David’s guard in “The Times of Abraham” (

  1. Further details of the Philistines

Although in this discussion we are concerning ourselves with the days of Abraham, it is pertinent that we also elaborate on the question of the Phiistines at a later period, in order that the overall perspective of these people be understood. Modern archaeological interpretation first allows the Philistines in the days of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty, dated 1182 to 1151 B.C.18

An inscription of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu reports an attack made by the peoples of the sea, among whom are a group called the Peleset. Ramesses claims to have defeated these in a sea battle. The Peleset are said to have settled in the area of the Philistines at approximately this time, and naturally it is assumed that the Philistines therefore first settled in Palestine at this period, and that they originated from the Aegean area as the peoples of the sea.

The Scripture, however, gives no credibility to such an interpretation. Thus, there is a conflict?

It is clear, from what has been said before of the narratives of Abraham and Isaac, that the Philistines were already in Palestine at approximately 1850 B.C., some 700 years before present archaeological interpretation accepts them as there. The Scripture also seems to indicate that they originated from Egypt, and not from the Aegean area. Is there any way to satisfy both the biblical claims, and the artifactual archaeological evidence? I believe there is. But first we must accept the biblical statements at face value and scan the Scriptures for anything that might fit at approximately 1100 to 1000 B.C., and for a people who could in fact be identified with the Peleset ‘of the relief of Ramesses III’ Indeed, we do meet a people, first in 2 Samuel 8:18, and then subsequently in 2 Samuel 15:18 and 27:23, 1 Kings 1:38 and 44, 1 Chronicles 18:17, Ezekiel 25:16, and Zephaniah 2:5. They are called the Pelethites, and they are associated with the Cherethites and also, in at least one passage, the Gittites who were indeed a group of Philistines from the city of Gath.

Now it does not take much to realise that the word ‘Pelethite’ is an even better match with the word ‘Peleset’ in the Egyptian reliefs than is the word ‘Philistine’. So if the Bible allows a group of people by the name of Pelethites who clearly were associated in some way with the Philistine region, and who also were associated with the Cherethites (whom many believe to be the Cretians, who in one text, namely Ezekiel 25:16, are called the remnant of the sea coast), then we have all the conditions necessary to solve an apparent conflict. We have no need to reject the Philistines of Egyptian descent in Palestine at 1850 B.C., and we can accept a second wave of people known as the Pelethites and Cherethites, who settled on the sea coast before the days of Saul and David, who are evidenced by the archaeological record, and who apparently had an Aegean origin. There would still be some difficulty in this revised chronology in associating the initial settlement of the Pelethites and the Cherethites with the same event as recorded by Ramesses III. Rather, they would need to be seen as allies to the other peoples of the sea when they themselves were already settled in a land base in Philistia prior to the days of Ramesses III, but I will leave this to be detailed at another time. Sufficient to conclude here that the Pelethites and Cherethites of Scripture were first able to be identified at approximately 1012 B.C. in the later years of Saul, king of Israel. Contingents from these groups formed part of the guard of David ….

[End of quote]

I also discuss the matter of the early Philistines – long before the time of pharaoh Ramses III – and the evidences of their culture, in my university thesis:

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



(in Volume One, Chapter Two: “The Philistines and their Allies”).

For a contemporary view of Aegean Greeks at the time of King David, one ought to peruse the appropriate reliefs at the time of Senenmut, who was, according to my view, King David’s famous son, Solomon, in Egypt. See my:

Solomon and Sheba

Senenmut also being the same as the supposed great Athenian statesman, sage and lawgiver, Solon (= Solomon), who is said to have travelled to Egypt.

Philistines and Persians

Published October 18, 2015 by amaic


Velikovsky and those ‘Peleset’


 Damien F. Mackey



Even many revisionist scholars consider that Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky made a massive error in his bold attempt to locate the ‘Sea Peoples’ – at the time of the 20th Dynasty pharaoh, Ramses III – as late as the Persian period.

 But was Velikovsky right, nevertheless, in his opinion about the similarity between the Peleset ‘Sea Peoples’ and the Pereset (Persians) mentioned on the Decree of Canopus?



Dr. Velikovsky’s everlasting contribution to ancient history was, in my opinion, to recognise that the highly important Eighteenth Dynasty, which saw the commencement of Egypt’s so-called ‘New Kingdom’, had begun at the same approximate time as the United Kingdom of Israel (kings Saul, David and Solomon). This meant that the conventional estimation of the mid-C16th BC for the beginning of the reign of the first Eighteenth Dynasty ruler, pharaoh Ahmose, must now be lowered by some 500 years, to the mid-C11th BC.

Velikovsky had also recognised that the Sothic based mathematico-astronomical system upon which Egyptian chronology had been erected was an entirely flawed system.

Much of what Velikovsky discovered within his new paradigm has served as a solid foundation for my own historical reconstructions.

Far less successful was he, though, when attempting to ‘squeeze’ the remaining New Kingdom dynasties, Nineteenth and Twentieth, into what was now, by conventional comparison, a greatly reduced chronological space. Velikovsky was, of course, clever enough to engineer a ‘solution’ to such a difficulty. But it unfortunately appears to have been a ‘solution’ as artificial and archaeologically impossible as was the conventional system that he was seeking to overhaul. He, completely disregarding archaeological, geographical and genealogical fact, (i) wrenched the Nineteenth Dynasty right away from the Eighteenth, and (ii) pitched the Twentieth Dynasty down into the Persian era. His expediency of identifying the formerly (conventional) C12th BC Peleset (usually identified as Philistines), belonging to the ‘Sea Peoples’, with the C4th BC Pereset (usually identified as Persians) of the Canopus Decree, was a case of taking revisionism to an unrealistic extreme.


However, as we are going to find, there is good evidence to suggest that pharaoh Ramses III, and hence the ‘Sea Peoples’, did belong to an era significantly later than the C12th BC – but definitely not as late as the C4th BC.

Many of the more able revisionist scholars who had been keenly following Velikovsky’s early revision, particularly his Ages in Chaos, I (1952), and Oedipus and Akhnaton (1960), would fairly smartly reject his Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasty efforts, Peoples of the Sea (1977), and Ramses II and his Time (1978). And I, too, felt it necessary in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background


to show the impossibility of Velikovsky’s later reconstructions. Archaeologically, for Velikovsky, these were a disaster. And, genealogically, they left Egyptian officials running into an unrealistically old age.

However, there were also embarrassing problems here for the conventional system. This is apparent from the following section of my thesis in which I also allude to the important findings of Dr. Donovan Courville, who wrote The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications, I-II (1971). Thus I wrote (thesis, Volume One, beginning on p. 351):

More Genealogical and Art-Historical Anomalies


On a genealogical note, Courville has made a telling point in regard to what had appeared to be the following severe genealogical problem with the current chronological setting of Ramses III in relation to the early 19th dynasty: ….

The case of Bokenkonsu, the architect under Seti I, presents another anomaly, by current views, which is eliminated by the altered placements …. Bokenkonsu

lived to have his statue carved under Rameses III …. By current views, Bokenkonsu must have lived at least to an age of 118 years … even if the “many years” of the Harris Papyrus are limited to the brief reign of Siptah as proposed by Petrie. The more time that is allotted to this “many years” only makes the necessary age of Bokenkonsu more and more improbable.

Bierbrier had also included treatment of Bokenkonsu and his family amongst his case

studies (“The Bakenkhons Family” ….). And here, once again, we encounter the apparently extreme age of an Egyptian official even when minimal conventional date

estimates are used. There is no stretch at all, though, with my arrangement that has

Ramses III a slightly later contemporary of Seti I.

But what might appear to be a significant difficulty for the conventional chronology becomes a complete impossibility in Velikovsky’s context, as already argued. More positively for Velikovsky, both he … and Courville … had rightly insisted upon a dating much later than that conventionally given for Ramses III on the basis of Greek

writing on the backs of Ramses III’s building tiles. I take here Courville’s very brief account of it, beginning with his quoting of Petrie:

“… A subject of much difficulty in the earlier accounts of the objects was the marking of “Greek letters” on the backs of many of the tiles; but as we know that such signs were used long before the XXth dynasty, they only show that foreigners were employed as workmen in making these tiles”.

About which Courville then commented: …. “The difficulty with this explanation is that it does not explain the use of Greek letters centuries before the Greeks adopted the

alphabet …. Hence the dating of Rameses III in the 11th century is a gross anachronism”. With Ramses III re-located to about the mid C8th BC though – and given also the influx during his reign of ‘Sea Peoples’, likely including Greeks – then the ‘anachronism’ readily dissolves.

Whether or not my own efforts to fit the Twentieth Dynasty into the new scheme of things turns out to be realistic, I believe (naturally) that it is certainly more so than the conventional system. And I give archaeological reasons for this conviction also in my thesis.

Now, based upon the following, I have no doubts whatsoever that my estimation for the era of Ramses III is far more realistic, at least, than was Velikovsky’s:

Velikovsky had brought some surprising evidence in support of his sensational view that Ramses III had actually belonged as late as the Persian period, with his identification of the Peleset arm of the ‘Sea Peoples’ – generally considered to indicate Philistines – as Persians. …. This Velikovsky did through comparisons between the Peleset, as shown on Ramses III’s Medinet Habu reliefs, and depictions of Persians for instance at Persepolis, both revealing a distinctive crown-like headgear. And he also compared Ramses III’s references to the Peleset to the naming of Persians as P-r-s-tt (Pereset) in the C3rd BC Decree of Canopus.

Continuing with the thesis:

My explanation though for this undeniable similarity would be, not that Ramses III had belonged to the classical Persian era, but that the ‘Indo-European’ Persians were related to the waves of immigrants, hence to the Mitannians (who may therefore connect with the Medes), but perhaps to the Philistines in particular. These ‘Indo Europeans’ had, as we read in Chapter 2, gradually progressed from Anatolia in a south-easterly direction. Eventually we find for instance Kurigalzu [II], set up on the throne of Babylon by the ‘Mitannian’ Assuruballit, conquering Elam (Persia) and ruling there for a time…..

So, though Velikovsky had pitched Ramses III and his Peleset (‘Sea Peoples’) opponents eight centuries too late (by conventional estimate), or about four centuries too late (my estimate), he may have been right insofar as he had perceived a visual and ethnic connection between the Peleset and the Pereset (Persians).

  1. Jones would come to light with some telling genealogical evidence against Velikovsky’s radical later New Kingdom revision (‘Some Detailed Evidence from Egypt Against Velikovsky’s Revised Chronology’, SIS Review, vol. vi, nos. 1-3, Glasgow Conference, 1978, p. 29). I told of this in my thesis (p. 353):

Jones has I believe produced some solid genealogical or bureaucratic evidence for why Velikovsky’s late location of Ramses III to the Persian era is impossible. …. The career of the Chief Workman Paneb for instance, according to the Salt Papyrus, “can be traced from the 66th year of Ramesses II to the 6th year of Ramesses III”, Jones has written. …. This, a span in conventional terms of a bit over thirty years (c. 1212-1180 BC), is most reasonable. But Velikovsky’s span for Workman Paneb, with Ramses III located by him to the Persian era, would be biologically impossible. And the same applies to the situation of other workmen (e.g. Neferhotep and Sennedjem) investigated by Jones, following Bierbrier, the connections of which workmen are between the 18th and 19th dynasties that Velikovsky had also well separated. Thus Jones can rightly conclude in this instance: ….

… the earliest members of these two families, Neferhotep and Sennedjem …. link the reign of Horemheb and the XVIIIth Dynasty with the reigns of the XIXth Dynasty, without any intervening years. A similar condition can be observed in the transition from the XIXth to the XXth Dynasty. If an interregnum had occurred then, the workmen first attested under Ramesses II, Merenptah and Seti II would all have been extremely old men by the time they ended their lives in the later years of Ramesses III …. If the hundred years proposed by Dr Velikovsky had taken place, none of them would have been alive at all.

[End of quotes]


Obviously a satisfactory revision has to be fully cohesive – easier said than done, of course. And Velikovsky and Courville, being pioneers, could be excused for many of their mistakes. Still, though Velikovsky may have been wrong in his chronological estimation of the Peleset, he may still have made a useful point about them.