This map shows the areas of expansion by the Philistines around the 10th century B.C. This was the time period when Saul had died and David began to reign in Israel. The Philistines were clearly superior in strength but the Lord promised that he would be with Israel. The Philistines expanded eastward toward Jerusalem but were stopped by King David and the armies of Israel. The Book of Samuel mentions the five cities of the Philistines: Ashdod (coastal), Gaza (coastal), Ashkelon (coastal), Gath (inland), and Ekron (inland).
A massive gate unearthed in Israel may have marked the entrance to a biblical city that, at its heyday, was the biggest metropolis in the region. The town, called Gath, was occupied until the ninth century B.C. In biblical accounts, the Philistines — the mortal enemies of the Israelites — ruled the city. The Old Testament also describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the giant warrior whom the Israelite King David felled with a slingshot. The new findings reveal just how impressive the ancient Philistine city once was, said lead archaeologist of the current excavation, Aren Maeir, of Bar-Ilan University in Israel
Kiriath-Jearim is located in a commanding spot in the Judean highlands, 12 km west of Jerusalem. The Arabic name – Deir el-Azar – probably stems from the reference to Eleazar, who according to 1 Samuel 7: 1 took charge of the ark of the covenant when it was brought to Kiriath-Jearim. The identification of Deir el-Azar with biblical Kiriath-Jearim is accepted unanimously. The mound is ca. 250 x 250 m in size = 5 hectares, one of the biggest Iron Age tells in the highlands. It has not been damaged by modern construction. The site is mentioned many times in the Bible: as a border town between the territories of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, in the Ark Narrative, the list of returnees from exile and other places. According to the Book of Samuel the ark had been captured by the Philistines following the defeat of Israel in the battle of Eben-ezer. It then spread havoc in Philistines cities and was hence returned to Beth-shemesh. From there it was taken to Kiriath-Jearim and finally brought by King David to Jerusalem. The Ark Narrative and the strong polemic against the town in the Bible hint at the existence of a temple in late-monarchic times