Philippians, Epistle to Was written by Paul during the two years when he was "in bonds" in Rome (Phi 1:7), probably early in the year A.D. 62 or in the end of 61. The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their messenger, with contributions to meet the necessities of the apostle; and on his return Paul sent back with him this letter. With this precious communication Epaphroditus sets out on his homeward journey. "The joy caused by his return, and the effect of this wonderful letter when first read in the church of Philippi, are hidden from us. And we may almost say that with this letter the church itself passes from our view. To-day, in silent meadows, quiet cattle browse among the ruins which mark the site of what was once the flourishing Roman colony of Philippi, the home of the most attractive church of the apostolic age. But the name and fame and spiritual influence of that church will never pass. To myriads of men and women in every age and nation the letter written in a dungeon at Rome, and carried along the Egnatian Way by an obscure Christian messenger, has been a light divine and a cheerful guide along the most rugged paths of life" (Professor Beet). The church at Philippi was the first-fruits of European Christianity. Their attachment to the apostle was very fervent, and so also was his affection for them. They alone of all the churches helped him by their contributions, which he gratefully acknowledges (Act 20:33; Co2 11:7; Th2 3:8). The pecuniary liberality of the Philippians comes out very conspicuously (Phi 4:15). "This was a characteristic of the Macedonian missions, as 2 Cor. 8 and Co2 9:1 amply and beautifully prove. It is remarkable that the Macedonian converts were, as a class, very poor (Co2 8:2); and the parallel facts, their poverty and their open-handed support of the great missionary and his work, are deeply harmonious. At the present day the missionary liberality of poor Christians is, in proportion, really greater than that of the rich" (Moule's Philippians, Introd.). The contents of this epistle give an interesting insight into the condition of the church at Rome at the time it was written. Paul's imprisonment, we are informed, was no hindrance to his preaching the gospel, but rather "turned out to the furtherance of the gospel." The gospel spread very extensively among the Roman soldiers, with whom he was in constant contact, and the Christians grew into a "vast multitude." It is plain that Christianity was at this time making rapid advancement in Rome. The doctrinal statements of this epistle bear a close relation to those of the Epistle to the Romans. Compare also Phi 3:20 with Eph 2:12, Eph 2:19, where the church is presented under the idea of a city or commonwealth for the first time in Paul's writings. The personal glory of Christ is also set forth in almost parallel forms of expression in Phi 2:5, compared with Eph 1:17; Eph 2:8; and Col 1:15. "This exposition of the grace and wonder of His personal majesty, personal self-abasement, and personal exaltation after it," found in these epistles, "is, in a great measure, a new development in the revelations given through St. Paul" (Moule). Other minute analogies in forms of expression and of thought are also found in these epistles of the Captivity.
Philistia =Palestine (q.v.), "the land of the Philistines" (Psa 60:8; Psa 87:4; Psa 108:9). The word is supposed to mean "the land of wanderers" or "of strangers."
Philistines (Gen 10:14, R.V.; but in A.V., "Philistim"), a tribe allied to the Phoenicians. They were a branch of the primitive race which spread over the whole district of the Lebanon and the valley of the Jordan, and Crete and other Mediterranean islands. Some suppose them to have been a branch of the Rephaim (Sa2 21:16). In the time of Abraham they inhabited the south-west of Judea, Abimelech of Gerar being their king (Gen 21:32, Gen 21:34; Gen 26:1). They are, however, not noticed among the Canaanitish tribes mentioned in the Pentateuch. They are spoken of by Amos (Amo 9:7) and Jeremiah (Jer 47:4) as from Caphtor, i.e., probably Crete, or, as some think, the Delta of Egypt. In the whole record from Exodus to Samuel they are represented as inhabiting the tract of country which lay between Judea and Egypt (Exo 13:17; Exo 15:14, Exo 15:15; Jos 13:3; 1 Sam. 4). This powerful tribe made frequent incursions against the Hebrews. There was almost perpetual war between them. They sometimes held the tribes, especially the southern tribes, in degrading servitude (Jdg 15:11; Sa1 13:19); at other times they were defeated with great slaughter (1 Sam. 14:1-47; 17). These hostilities did not cease till the time of Hezekiah (Kg2 18:8), when they were entirely subdued. They still, however, occupied their territory, and always showed their old hatred to Israel (Eze 25:15). They were finally conquered by the Romans. The Philistines are called Pulsata or Pulista on the Egyptian monuments; the land of the Philistines (Philistia) being termed Palastu and Pilista in the Assyrian inscriptions. They occupied the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, in the south-western corner of Canaan, which belonged to Egypt up to the closing days of the Nineteenth Dynasty. The occupation took place during the reign of Rameses III. of the Twentieth Dynasty. The Philistines had formed part of the great naval confederacy which attacked Egypt, but were eventually repulsed by that Pharaoh, who, however, could not dislodge them from their settlements in Palestine. As they did not enter Palestine till the time of the Exodus, the use of the name Philistines in Gen 26:1 must be proleptic. Indeed the country was properly Gerar, as in Gen. 20. They are called Allophyli, "foreigners," in the Septuagint, and in the Books of Samuel they are spoken of as uncircumcised. It would therefore appear that they were not of the Semitic race, though after their establishment in Canaan they adopted the Semitic language of the country. We learn from the Old Testament that they came from Caphtor, usually supposed to be Crete. From Philistia the name of the land of the Philistines came to be extended to the whole of "Palestine." Many scholars identify the Philistines with the Pelethites of Sa2 8:18.
Phinehas Mouth of brass, or from old Egypt. the negro. (1.) Son of Eleazar, the high priest (Exo 6:25). While yet a youth he distinguished himself at Shittim by his zeal against the immorality into which the Moabites had tempted the people (Num 25:1), and thus "stayed the plague" that had broken out among the people, and by which twenty-four thousand of them perished. For his faithfulness on that occasion he received the divine approbation (Num 25:10). He afterwards commanded the army that went out against the Midianites (Num 31:6). When representatives of the people were sent to expostulate with the two and a half tribes who, just after crossing Jordan, built an altar and departed without giving any explanation, Phinehas was their leader, and addressed them in the words recorded in Jos 22:16. Their explanation follows. This great altar was intended to be all ages only a witness that they still formed a part of Israel. Phinehas was afterwards the chief adviser in the war with the Benjamites. He is commemorated in Psa 106:30, Psa 106:31. (See ED.) (2.) One of the sons of Eli, the high priest (Sa1 1:3; Sa1 2:12). He and his brother Hophni were guilty of great crimes, for which destruction came on the house of Eli (Sa1 2:31). He died in battle with the Philistines (Sa1 4:4, Sa1 4:11); and his wife, on hearing of his death, gave birth to a son, whom she called "Ichabod," and then she died (Sa1 4:19).
Phlegon Burning, a Roman Christian to whom Paul sent salutations (Rom 16:14).
Phoenicia (Act 21:2). (See PHENICIA.)
Phrygia Dry, an irregular and ill-defined district in Asia Minor. It was divided into two parts, the Greater Phrygia on the south, and the Lesser Phrygia on the west. It is the Greater Phrygia that is spoken of in the New Testament. The towns of Antioch in Pisidia (Act 13:14), Colosse, Hierapolis, Iconium, and Laodicea were situated in it.
Phut Phut is placed between Egypt and Canaan in Gen 10:6, and elsewhere we find the people of Phut described as mercenaries in the armies of Egypt and Tryp Tyre (Jer 46:9; Eze 30:5; Eze 27:10). In a fragment of the annuals of Nebuchadrezzar which records his invasion of Egypt, reference is made to "Phut of the Ionians."
Phygellus Fugitive, a Christian of Asia, who "turned away" from Paul during his second imprisonment at Rome (Ti2 1:15). Nothing more is known of him.
Phylacteries (Gr. phulakteria ; i.e., "defenses" or "protections"), called by modern Jews tephillin (i.e., "prayers") are mentioned only in Mat 23:5. They consisted of strips of parchment on which were inscribed these four texts: (1.) Exo 13:1; (2.) Exo 13:11; (3.) Deu 6:4; (4.) Deu 11:18, and which were enclosed in a square leather case, on one side of which was inscribed the Hebrew letter shin, to which the rabbis attached some significance. This case was fastened by certain straps to the forehead just between the eyes. The "making broad the phylacteries" refers to the enlarging of the case so as to make it conspicuous. (See FRONTLETS.) Another form of the phylactery consisted of two rolls of parchment, on which the same texts were written, enclosed in a case of black calfskin. This was worn on the left arm near the elbow, to which it was bound by a thong. It was called the "Tephillah on the arm."