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The city of Ekron was one of the five Philistine cities in southwestern Canaan. It was a border city on the frontier contested between Philistia and Judah, at a site, now Tel Mikne, near the small village Akir, some 35 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem, and 11 miles north of Gath, on the western edge of the inner coastal plain. Excavations in 1981 - 1996 at the low square tel, have made Ekron one of the best-documented Philistine sites.

Ekron was a settlement of the indigenous Canaanites. The Canaanite city had shrunk in the years before its main public building burned in the 13th century BCE; it was refounded by Philistines at the beginning of the Iron Age, circa 1200 BCE.

Ekron is mentioned in the Book of Joshua 13:2-3:

'This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines and all those Geshurites from Shihor which is east of Egypt northward to the boundary of Ekron.'

Joshua 3:13 counts it the border city of the Philistines and seat of one of the five Philistine city lords, and Joshua 15:11 mentions Ekron's satellite towns and villages. The city was reassigned afterwards to the tribe of Dan (Daniel 19:43), but came again into the full possession of the Philistines. It was the last place to which the Philistines carried the ark before they sent it back to Israel (1 Samuel 5:10; 6:1-8).

There was here a noted sanctuary of Baal. The Hebrews equated the city god (Baal 'the king') with 'Beelzebub: (2 Kings 1): 'When Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which {was} in Samaria, and became ill, he he sent messengers to inquire of the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness."

Non-Hebrew sources also refer to Ekron. The siege of Ekron in 712 BCE is depicted on one of Sargon II's wall reliefs in his palace at Khorsabad, which names the city. Ekron revolted against Sennacherib and expelled Padi, his governor, who was sent to Hezekiah, at Jerusalem, for safe-keeping. Sennacherib marched against Ekron and the Ekronites called upon the aid of the king of 'Mutsri' Sennacherib turned aside to defeat this army, which he did at Eltekeh, and then returned and took the city by storm, put to death the leaders of the revolt and carried their adherents into captivity. This campaign led to the famous attack of Sennacherib on Hezekiah and Jerusalem, in which Sennacherib compelled Hezekiah to restore Padi, who was reinstated as governor at Ekron.

Ashdod and Ekron survived to become powerful city-states dominated by Assyria in the seventh century BCE. The city may have been destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer around 603 BC, but it is mentioned, as 'Accaron,' as late as 1Maccabees 10:89.

Akron, Ohio, was named for Ekron.

External link


M. G. Easton, Illustrated Bible Dictionary 1897