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The most northern of the five principal Philistine cities (Jos. xiii, 3; xv, 11, 46). We do not know whether it was founded by the Philistines or the Hevites. It was first given to the tribe of Juda (Jos., xv, 11, 45) and then to Dan (Jos., xix, 43). Juda conquered it for a time (Judg., i, 18), but it fell again into the hands of the Philistines, who brought here the captive ark of the covenant after it had passed through Azotus and Geth (I K., v, 10). It came near being reconquered by Israel after the defeat of Goliath (I K., vii, 14). The city possessed a famous sanctuary of Beelzebub (IV Ii., i, 2, 3, 6 16), and was often denounced by the prophets (Jer., xxv, 20; Am., i, 8; Soph., ii, 4; Zach., ix, 5). King Alexander Bales gave the city to Jonathan Machabeus (I Mach., x, 89). Robinson identified it with the village Akir, a station on the railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem.
HAGEN, Lexicon Biblicum (Paris, 1905); GUERIN in Dict. de la Bible (Paris, 1895).