27 Mar An Open Letter to Bible Publishers
Dear Bible Publishers,
One of the most important ongoing hot button Geo-political issues today has to do with who owns the land of Israel. This issue remains a stumbling block to the governments of the world and seems to be impossible to resolve. The Israeli people continue to claim the land based on the accuracy of the Word of God and the promises contained within granting this land to them by God Himself (see Genesis chapter 15). The Palestinian leadership on the other hand, has repeatedly sought to legitimize their right to the land claiming it belongs to them and not the Jews. One of their BIG Lies is that the land was always referred to as Palestine. Historically this is inaccurate! There has never been a Palestinian state in the history of the world. Therefore when I pick up bible after bible and read in introductions to books as well as maps and see Israel referred to as Palestine or Palestina, I am shocked. Allow me to cite examples. The New American Standard, 1977 edition published by AMG of Chattanooga, TN in the introduction to Mark cites the book was written, “for the benefit of those who lived outside Palestine”. The same intro states, the book was probably written about 67-68 A.D. Further, imagine my shock to read Exodus 15:14 in the Cambridge University Press, King James Wide Margin Edition, where it states; The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Joel 3:4 states, Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? These are all erroneous translations of the Hebrew word Pelesheth and always refer to the Philistines. The fact is there was NO Palestine as this land was called Israel from the time of Jacob until 135 A.D. The Roman Emperor Hadrian, following the second Jewish revolt led by Simon Bar Kochba, changed the name of Israel to Syria Palestina which he took from the Hebrew word “Pelesheth” which we know as Philistia. Why, because the Jews hated the Philistines and this was a slap in their face! This was the ultimate insult! The land of Israel was comprised of Galilee, Samaria, Judea and Philistia. Philistia was the land of the archenemies of Israel, the Philistines. The Philistines were not Arab but European and came from the Island of Crete. They occupied 5 cities along the western part of Israel; Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath and Gaza. Therefore to refer to Israel as Palestine anytime before 135A.D. is historically inaccurate and provides credibility to a lie.Was the word ever used before 135 A.D.? Yes, that is the word Philistia, was used by Herodotus (considered by many to be the father of ancient history as well as the father of lies) in the 5th century B.C. When his works were translated into English they did so as Palestine. Wrong! Josephus in his Jewish Wars also makes one reference to Philistia translated again as Palestine. Wrong! Other than these two examples I cannot discover any other source citing Israel as Palestine prior to 135. Jesus however refers to Israel numerous times in the Gospels and never uses the word Philistia. When Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. the Roman government minted a coin that read, Judea Capta or Judea Captive meaning Judea was captured! If it had been Philistia or Palestina it would have been stated as such.
The Believer’s Study Bible, 1991 published by Nelson continues the Big Lie where in the Index to Maps it lists the following, “Map 6. Palestine in Christ’s Time”. I understand that the majority of the Bible maps used today actually come from the time of the British Mandate from 1917-1948. It is true that the land was called Palestine since 135 but this is the 21st century and in light of the political issue we need to update the information. There are many other examples I could cite as this appears to be fairly common.
So, why the issue, what difference does it make? It makes a difference because it legitimizes the false claims the government, the media and the haters of Israel propagate concerning the Jewish right to live in the land God gave them. It gives the false impression that there was a Land of Palestine in ancient times and perpetuates the lie that the Jews took away the Palestinians land. The United Nations has recognized a Palestinian state and even gone so far as to recognize Mahmoud Abbas as its President. This is yet another example of the U.N.’s historical and biased ignorance. If truth matters, this matters! Bible publishers of the Holy Word of God need to get it right. If this is due to erroneous information or simple over site then fix it! If it is due to Tolerance and so-called Political Correctness then fix it! History is on the side of Israel and the Word of God! Just My Thoughts.