Ancient gateway to Palestine on the road to Egypt. Gaza was one of 5 Philistine cities along the southern coast that successfully resisted Israelite conquest until Judah Maccabee's brother Jonathan captured it (ca 150 BCE). It was virtually destroyed by Alexander Jannai for revolting (ca 96 BCE). But it was rebuilt as a Roman city by Gabinius. In Acts it is the setting for Philip's conversion of an Ethiopian eunuch. But it was more than 300 years before it became a center for Christians.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 1.136; 5.81, 128; 13.150-151; 13.324-362; 15.217;
                   _____, War
1.87, 156, 396; 2.97, 460; 4.662.
                   Acts 8.26

For further information about archaeological & historical evidence, see:

  • Buttrick, G. A., ed. Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. vol. 2 (NY/Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962) pp. 357-358.

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