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May 1, 2020 22 mins

When Mango's kids show off their bad table manners, he scolds them for being Philistines... but do the Philistines actually deserve their bad rap? Was Goliath the actual underdog? And why did someone make a video game that featured them? Will, Gabe and Mango answer one of the most important question on everyone's minds in today's 9 Things: What's so bad about the Philistines?

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Part Time Genius, the production of I Heart Radio.
I guess what, Mango? What's that? Well? All right, so
you know the story of David and Goliath, Right, yeah,
it's like the most famous underdog story in history. I
think it probably is, But it actually turns out that
David may not have been the underdog that he's been

(00:25):
made out to be over the years, and some historians
think that David was actually the one with the advantage.
So Goliath was definitely big. He was either six ft
eight or nine ft seven, depending on which account you
look yet, so yeah, it's a little bit of a
difference there, but he's one of those and at that time,
either of those heights would have just been huge, right.

(00:46):
And he was also wearing some heavy duty bronze armor,
wielding a sword, a spear, and a javelin. I didn't
actually remember all of these things. But here's the thing.
Even though David was going in without any of that,
no armor, no blades, no high ground, he was packing
superior firepower. So everybody knows he had a sling shot,

(01:06):
but I think most people probably picture the kinds of
sling shots that maybe we had his kids or something
like that. This was not a kid's toy, so he
was using a sturdy, leather pouch with two long cords
attached to it. Now, this would have been the same
kind of sling that soldiers at the time we're using
for long range attacks, and he mastered the weapon during
his time as a shepherd, where he would use it

(01:28):
to ward off wolves other predators. So in his hands
it was truly a deadly weapon. In fact, the stopping
power of the stone fired from david sling would have
been comparable to that of a forty five caliber handgun.
What that's crazy. It's almost like that scene in Indiana
Jones where the bad guy does all this fancy sword
wielding and then Indie just shoots him and walks away.

(01:49):
I had forgotten about that scene bit right, Like the
fight was over before it even began, and it does
make David's victory a little bit less surprising when you
think about it. Yeah. So, I was actually thinking about
David and Goliath recently, and I realized I don't know
what the beef was between them, Like, was it just
a bully thing? Why? Why exactly were they fighting? I

(02:10):
think you you clearly did not sit through as much
Sunday School, as I did over the years. But yes,
it was more or less a land dispute. So at
the time, the Israelites were living in a mountain range
along the eastern border of Palestine, and eventually their enemies,
the Philistines, they started to encroach on that territory. But
rather than have like this full battle with all the

(02:31):
bloodshed that would be involved there, the two sides agreed
to settle things with a little one on one fight.
So the Philistines sent their mightiest warrior to act as
their champion. That was, of course, Goliath, and the Israelites
sent David because well, actually he was the only one
willing to face off against the giant. But you take
a second look at this famous story and you see

(02:53):
how exaggerated the Philistine threat may have actually been. And
so it maybe wonder if there was anything else about
the Philistine is that we should probably think twice about.
I mean, we all know they've gotten a bad rap
over the years, and I'm hoping that today we can
shed some light on whether or not they really deserve it.
So we've got eight facts left to figure it out.
Let's dive in, right, h Hey. Their podcast listeners, Welcome

(03:36):
to Part Time Genius. I'm Will Pearson and as always
I'm joined by my good friend man guest Ticketer and
on the other side of the computer screen showing his
Philistine pride with a shirt that says, actually turn it
this way, it says justice for Goliath. That's our friend
and producer lull That is. I don't know where he
got it, and this may have been another one of
his homemade ones, but it's impressive. And that is a

(03:56):
hot take if I've ever seen one, but I guess
it is good to know where Lowell stands on all
of this. Yeah, Lowell stands with Philistines, Yes he does.
It is funny. But when I saw the topic for
the show in our sort of running Google doc, it
made me laugh because I've had this dad joke for
a while. I I've been telling, you know, Lizzie and
I are from different backgrounds, and people always ask like,

(04:18):
how are you raising your kids? And my standard answer
is like, well, Lizzie's Christian, I'm Hindu, but we're raising
our kids Philistine because my kids are awful. But I'm
actually glad we're learning about this culture because I've been
using it as a punchline for such a long time. Now, Yeah,
I have to be honest, I feel like I have to.
Over the years, we've got our friend and researcher Gabe

(04:39):
Bluesier with us here. Gabe, good to see you again. Hey, well,
hey Mango, nice to be back. All right, So I'm
curious about this. Do you have a stance on David
versus Goliath? Gabe? I mean, I try not to take sides,
but I will admit I do have a soft spot
for David. I had this Nintendo game as a kid
called Bible Adventures, and there was a section when there

(05:02):
was a whole section of the game when you played
as David. And the really funny thing to me was
the gameplay was all based on, you know, the fact
that he was a shepherd, Like that's the part of
the story that the developers thought would make the best game.
So most of the time you're just David. You're running
around collecting sheep, returning them to their pen. You only
fight Goliath at the very very end. Oh wow, So

(05:26):
I'm actually super curious because I've never heard about this game.
Are are the sheep important to winning the game? Unfortunately? No,
not really, Like you have a slingshot by the time
you face Goliath, so you have to take him down
with the old rock between the eyes trick. You know.
Apparently that's the one detail the game developers were sticklers about,

(05:47):
like you can climb a tree with with five sheep
stacked on top of your head, but you can only
kill the giant with a rock. I love that. Well,
I'm up next. And since Will mentioned what a bad
reputation the Philistines have, I kind wanted to look into
why they got it and who they got it from. So,
as you can probably guess, the Israelites are the source
behind most of the griping about the Philistines. And you know,

(06:09):
they're talking about them being barbaric and crude and uncivilized,
and if you flip through the Bible, it's not hard
to see why the Israelites might feel that way. Right.
There are more than a dozen violent clashes between the groups,
plus a few random acts of meanness, like the time
the Philistines destroyed Abraham's well by filling them up with dirt.
Classic Philistines, I think. So there's actually another piece of

(06:29):
evidence for why the groups didn't get along, and it
comes from a pretty strange source, and that's ancient pigs.
So back in two thousand thirteen, a team of archaeologists
compared the DNA of ancient pig remains with that of
modern pigs, and what they found was that the boars
that live in Israel today are actually descendants of the
Philistines pigs, which they likely brought over from Europe. And

(06:51):
since observant Jews don't eat pork, archaeologists think that the
Philistines taste for swine kind of forced this Oz versus
them mentality sort of with the Israelites. That's interesting. I've
never heard that. But here's something weird I learned this week.
It turns out the word Palestine is actually derived from
Philistine or Philistine, And just to be clear, the two

(07:12):
groups are not related. But after they came to the region,
and you know, we're talking about ninth century b c e. Here,
the Philistines had assimilated so completely that it was actually
impossible to distinguish them from other groups in the area.
They lost all their defining characteristics and basically disappeared as
a people, but their name lived on because a few

(07:36):
centuries later, when the Roman Empire invaded, they just romanized
the old name Philistine and turned it into Palestine, and
so the names stuck around ever since, even though there's
not really a connection between the two groups. That's interesting.
So so do both names mean the same thing, like
Philistine and Palestine. Yeah, that that's the other weird part.

(07:57):
Both words do mean the same thing. They roughly translate
as the foreign invaders. And if that sounds like a
weird thing for a group to call themselves, it's because
they didn't. The name Philistines was just what the Israelites
and the Egyptians called the group. To this day, we
have no idea what the Philistines actually called themselves, and

(08:18):
we probably never will. All Right, well, I'm glad you
two got into some of the origin stuff because I
actually want to talk about how philistine became kind of
like this insult that you'd use to describe mangoes, kids,
mainly mangoes. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary of philistine
is quote a person who is usually disdainful of intellectual

(08:39):
or artistic values. So yeah, that's pretty rough. But that
definition actually has a lot less to do with historical
accuracy than it does with classism or like general snootiness.
So the modern meaning began to take shape at German
universities in the late seventeenth century, where you'd have these
stuck up students who would mock the townies by calling

(09:01):
them philisters. And so from their writers and critics picked
up on the word, and it began to spread across Europe,
and you fast forward to the seventeen hundreds, it had
made its way to America. And here's the most surprising bit.
Ben Franklin was one of the first Americans to popularize
the term. Here it was in seventeen thirty seven he
published a list of more than two hundred expressions for

(09:24):
describing someone who's had too much to drink, and among
them was the colorful phrase he has been among the Philistines.
That's so funny. I feel like at mental last that
list would come up over and over again, and every
single time I read it, I was like delighted by it.
It's just so great. But you know what, what what's
funny about that fact is that it's actually kind of accurate.

(09:47):
Like the Philistines were known as these party animals of
the ancient world. Um their feasts were ragers, and and
their cities were filled with multiple breweries and wineries, so
they were really ahead of the curve in terms of
alcohol production. But the thing I found surprising is that
the Philistines were far from uncivilized. Like these biblical stories
and stereotypes kind of make them seem like they were

(10:09):
a bunch of meat heads, but there's all this archaeological
evidence that proves the opposite. So, for instance, the Philistine
graveyard was discovered for the first time in two thousand
and thirteen, and it showed that there were people who
lovingly buried their dead, so many of the bodies were
entombed with a bottle of perfume next to their face,
so that the deceased could almost like enjoy the fragrance

(10:30):
throughout era Trinity. Wow, So I grew up going to
Sunday School and there was never any hint of that
kind of I don't know, tenderness from the Philistines, Like
they were always just the bad guys. Yeah, And I
mean that makes sense, right, Like history is written by
the victors, And so it's only now with these recent
discoveries that we're starting to get this fuller picture of

(10:50):
who they really were. And as it turns out, they
were way more advanced than we've given them credit for.
There were, in fact, like years ahead of the Israelites.
The Philistines were renowned for their use of iron, which
was a rarity during the Bronze Age. They were the
only ones who knew how to refine and temper the metals.
So even the Israelites would have had to rely on
the Philistines when they need to sharpen or repair their

(11:12):
iron tools and weapons. Wait, so their arch enemies would
ask them for help with their weapons, like, like, sharpen
this for me, please, so I can turn around and
stab you with it. Is that kind of what was happening.
That's basically the case. I mean, it's super weird, but
you know, there's all this mounting evidence that the two
groups may not have been as directly opposed as we
once thought. And uh, I mean they clashed a lot

(11:35):
for sure, because they were living alongside each other, but
they also had to work together and share resources, and
eventually they intermingled so much that the Philistines ceased to
be a distinct people. This is kind of what Gay
was talking about. So the relationship probably wasn't as cut
and dry as you might think. Well, I mean, that
seems like a nice upbeat place to stop and take
a quick break. But we've got four facts left to go,

(11:57):
so we'll be right back. Welcome back to Part time Genius,
where we're talking about the Philistines. Were these iron wielding

(12:17):
heathens that history loves to hate, and today we're actually
trying to give the group a much needed makeover. So
Gabe Europe next, help us win some hearts and minds
with this one. Go for it, all right, I think
I've got just the thing. Everybody loves green onions or scallions, right,
of course they do. And you know they're found in
everything from thanks starting with right now. Everybody loves green onions.

(12:43):
It's a matter of fact. And you know they're found
in everything from Mexican cooking to Chinese food. And if
you are a fan, you've got the Philistines to thank
for it. Um. The Philistines were among the first groups
to cultivate green onions and export them from their ports
city of ash Colon, which is still a city in
Israel today. And in fact, the onions were such a

(13:04):
hit that everyone started talking about the onions of Ascalon
and uh, eventually the words just kind of got squished
together and people started calling them scallions. I love that,
Like it was just everyone was buzzing about these things,
these signings of it is an amazing fact. So I've
got another one that hopefully it drums up a little

(13:25):
sympathy for the Philistines. I assume we're all familiar with
the Ark of the Covenant, right, like the Sacred Hebrew artifact,
Indiana Jones plot device, all that. Man, he just keeps
coming up today, like Indiana Jones. Get a lot of
shout outs. Yeah, I mean, I feel like you can't
escape him. He's like one of the three cultural relevant
points we have for you know, archaeology. The real Ark

(13:48):
of the Covenant was an incredibly meaningful object to the Israelites,
and everyone at the time knew this, including the Philistines.
So one day, when tensions were super high, some Philistine
pranksters stole the our and placed it in one of
their own temples, which kind of sounds like a college
prank or something, right. But if Raiders of the Lost
Arc is is clear about one thing, it's that bad

(14:09):
things happen to people who misused the arc. So the
Philistines didn't get their faces melted off. But what they
did get was a mass plague of hemorrhoids. I'm not
sure which is worse. It might be worse to actually
have your face melted off. We'll have to check. Well,
you know, this is for real according to the Bible,
the quote the hand of the Lord was against them,

(14:31):
and he smote the men of the city, both small
and great, with hemorrhoids in their secret parts and mental flaws.
Did a peace back on this and the back of
the day, and and they referred to this as quote
the only mass hemorrhoid attack and recorded history, So you
know it kind of kind of a strange claim, but
you know it. It did take some time for them
to get some relief. The hemorrhoids actually stuck around for

(14:52):
a full seven months. Uh. I guess this is before preparation.
Ah but um. At that point, the Philistines only asked
the priest how they could atone for their sins and
end this plague, and the answer was, of course, to
return the ark to the Israelites. So this is actually
my favorite part because they were instructed to make amends
by sending an offering of what included quote five golden hemorrhoids.

(15:17):
Uh um, it's best if you don't try to picture
that and what am I to looked like? But I
do find a funny that some poor Philistine sculpture had
to grapple with what that should look like. Such a
gross and weird story, but but but a good one,
all right, all right. I mentioned earlier that the Philistines
and Israelites probably had way more daily interaction than you

(15:39):
would have expected, and I do want to talk about
one of the strangest examples of that. And the story
goes back to Samson, who was the Israelite who of
course had the long hair that gave him super strength
until Delilah cut it off. But something you may not
remember about this is that Samson was actually married to
a Philistine woman long before he was connected with Delilah,

(16:00):
and and they had a pretty unusual courtship. So one
day Sampson was on his way to visit his bride
to be when he suddenly crossed his path with a
wild lion. There So this isn't a problem for Samson,
though he easily kills it with his bare hands and
carries it on his merry way. And you fast forward
to the next week, and Samson is on his way

(16:21):
to marry this philistine girl. Now, this time he comes
across the carcass of a dead lion, but for some reason,
it's now overflowing with bee hives and loads of fresh honey.
For whatever reason, so Samson does what any of us
would do. He tucks into the dead lion and scoops
himself out some honey. You know it's honey. You don't

(16:42):
want to turn that down. But not only that, he
also gathers some to serve at his wedding feast. So
this is already like the weirdest story I've ever heard,
But but I feel like you're just getting started here. Yes,
this is definitely one that just keeps getting weirder. And
actually did not remember much of this from from Gabe
and my my Sunday school classes. But what you cut

(17:05):
to Sampson's wedding feast and he's sitting around with all
of his wife's philistine friends chowing down on the lion honey.
When suddenly Samson tells the group that he has a
riddle for them. You know, he's probably feeling kind of giddy,
he's been eating all that honey, and if they can
solve it within seven days, he'll reward them with thirty
new sets of clothes. But if they can't, then they'll

(17:28):
owe him thirty sets of clothing. So the Philistines take
the bed and Samson delivers the riddle, which was this,
out of the eater, something to eat, out of the strong,
something sweet. Right, So the Philistines, they they rack their
brains all week, but they cannot figure out the answer

(17:50):
to this thing. And at lasts they are so desperate
they go to Samson's new wife and they beg her.
They beg her to find out the answer for them,
so she does, and Samson eventually tells her that the
answer is the lion he found on the side of
the road, which, first of all, like what a weird,
dumb riddle, Like it doesn't to get thirty pairs of

(18:12):
clothes or whatever, But it really doesn't feel fair. How
are they supposed to know that, like there's some magical
honey dripping corpse out there. I mean, that's a fair point.
But the guy needed thirty new pairs of clothes, I think,
so he couldn't couldn't take any risk, And maybe Sampson
suspected that they had cheated to get the answer, because
the way he chose to pay the bet was more

(18:33):
than a little bit hostile, Like he went out and
actually struck down, so he presumably killed thirty Philistines. Then
he stripped them and gave their clothes to the people
who had answered the riddle. I mean, that is harsh,
but at least he honored the bet. He did. Yes,
he was a man of his word. He did, he did,

(18:54):
he did, and he didn't kill the people who cheated.
Actually he killed thirty other Philistine to teach them a lesson.
You know that really really teaches you a lesson when
we do things like that. And so to make the
whole thing even weirder, after all this happened, the bride's
father took his daughter gave her in marriage to somebody else,
so the whole thing was actually for nothing, Like they

(19:15):
didn't even stay married. That is such a mess. I
love that story. I can't believe they left that out
of Sunday School. But on the whole though, I'd have
to say the Philistines did eventually get the last laugh,
because my third fact is that they actually helped plunge
the ancient world into a two hundred year Dark Age,

(19:36):
And I know that doesn't cast them in the best light,
but hear me out, because the ancient world kind of
had it coming. So beginning around twelve d b c e.
Prosperous empires like Greece, Egypt, and Canaan they began to
fall apart, and historians think the Philistines are partly to
blame for that. They were located at the center of

(19:57):
a vast trading hub, which made it see for them
to raid their neighbors ships and you know, disrupt the
trade system. And in particular, the Philistines were able to
cut off the supply of tin that Mediterranean nations relied
on for making bronze. And you know, there were other
factors at play to like a string of bad weather
and disease, but the so called collapse of the Bronze

(20:21):
Age had a lot to do with Philistine raiders kind
of throwing a wrench in the tin trade. And you know,
the world was forced to switch from bronze to iron
at that point, and the Philistines who caused the shift
were quietly absorbed it, you know, into the surviving nations.
And I guess that they got to go out with
a bang and and took everybody else down with them

(20:41):
in the course of that. But that's that's an interesting
way to go. Yeah, I mean it was probably payback
for everyone calling them Philistines all the time, right, you
know that that and you know the hemorrhoids. That hemorrhoids.
I was going to say the hemorrhoids pretty rough. I
don't know if that last fact was sunny enough game,
but but I did love your Nintendo game fact so much.

(21:02):
Of all the Nintendo games out there, the fact that
you had one based on the Bible is amazing to me.
And I think it's not just great that you told
us about it, but that you're telling the world about
it on this podcast. So I think you deserved the trophy.
I completely agree. I'm actually sitting here on eBay trying
to see if I can find a copy of this
uh game. Of course, now I'm going to have to
find the Nintendo as well. But it's worth it for whatever.

(21:25):
It's a few hundred dollar investment, but yeah, well worth
worth it. So I think that's gonna do it for
today's part time Gudius. Thank you everyone who sent in
invention ideas. They've been filing into our Instagram account, and
we love them so much. They're so weird and so
fun and so good. So we are going to announce
the winners on the next show. And from Mango Mango,
I feel like we should remind them what the big

(21:47):
look if I've been saving up, I think we need
to drive at home. What prizes? What are they gonna win? Will?
They're gonna win six dollars? Now we're splitting it, so
it's three from each, it's not. It's not six from
each of Mango and me. It's six total. Three depending
on how we're doing. Maybe could be four from me

(22:07):
and two from Mango. Just depends depending on the Yeah,
depending on how the market's going. Yeah, exactly. But thank
you so much for sending that, and it really makes
us so happy. But from Will Gave Lowell and myself,
thank you so much for listening. Stay safe, and we'll
be back soon with another episode. Part Time Genius is

(22:40):
a production of I Heart Radio. For more podcasts from
my heart Radio, visit the I heart Radio app, Apple podcast,
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