Metaphysical meaning of Philistines (mbd)
Philistines (in A.V., Genesis 10:14, Philistim; this form is the correct one), phi-lis-tines (fr. Heb.)--rolling about; transitory; migrating; emigrating; moving to and fro; wandering; deviating from a true course; rejected; infidels.
Inhabitants of Philistia; a tribe or nation of people in Palestine that was always at enmity with the Israelites, and against whom the Israelites were almost continually warring (Gen. 21:32; 26:118; Ex. 13:17; Josh. 13:2, 3).
Meta. Strangers, emigrants, foreigners- forces foreign to Spirit. The five great cities of the Philistines ruled by "lords" mean the five senses under the dominion of thoughts foreign to Spirit. The Philistines were opposed to all true spiritual discipline; they worshiped strange gods in the form of animals, and resorted to all kinds of sorcery and soothsaying.
When the five-sense man gives himself up to sense desires and makes no attempt to live in spiritual consciousness he is ruled by Philistine thoughts. This is a suppression of the real man, and if such living is continued the soul will finally be crowded out of its rightful domain, the land of Israel.
The two armies of I Samuel 17, the Israelites and the Philistines, represent two aggregations of thoughts in the mind of every individual: those that know and strive to follow the Truth, and those that are in open enmity and violent opposition to everything Godlike. In metaphysics we call these armies Truth and error. The error army sometimes seems the larger and stronger, because it is principally in the visible or outer expression, while the army of Truth is made up of spiritual, invisible forces.
We are often scared, even terrified, at the giant proportions of some leading thought on the error side, represented by Goliath. Our Goliath may be different from that of our neighbor, but it boasts and brags daily of its strength, and intimidates us with its show of power. People who depend on the resources of materiality, as Saul had come to do, often give up in despair when these thoughts of sense continue their bullying methods day and night. There is but one way to meet and subdue them, and that is through the power of love (represented by David, the little, ruddy-faced shepherd boy). When he suggested that he could, single-handed, vanquish the giant of the Philistines, he was ridiculed by his companions. Saul was grasping at straws and was willing to try anything. He put his own armor on David, but it did not fit, and was evidently cumbersome. David refused to wear it, saying that he had not "proved it." This illustrates the necessity of our doing things in our own natural, original way. People who try to fight their battles by using the methods of others usually fail.
David, unlike Saul, did not depend on the army, but proclaimed the hosts of the Lord as his resource. He evidently understood the power of the word, and met with strong denials and with affirmations of efficiency every boast of the giant. He was fearless, and his assurance led him to victory. An open, verbal statement of Truth will often demonstrate, where the silent thought will fail. The Philistines represent the most external thoughts, and they respond most quickly to the spoken word.
The smooth stone that David used is the rock of faith, and the sling is the assurance and force with which the mind sends it forth to do its perfect work of destroying error in the stronghold of error thought, the forehead.
The lesson may be summed up as an illustration of the necessity for having boldness, courage, and fearlessness in demonstrating Truth. Some metaphysicians think that sympathetic love will bring results, but they are often disappointed. Love must have the assurance of Truth, and must send Truth forth with confidence, courage, and power in both thought and word.
The meaning of I Samuel 7:7, "And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel," is that whenever the Children of Israel (spiritual thoughts) determine to be loyal to Jehovah and make a stand for Truth they have to meet the onslaught of the Philistines (sense consciousness).
Ferrar Fenton gives this translation of I Samuel 7:8: "The Children of Israel consequently said to Samuel, Word for us with a cry to the Ever-living our God, that He may save us from the hand of the Philishtim!" The wording of this is almost identical with that which a modern metaphysician would use in asking a teacher to work for him against error.
"Jehovah thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten down before Israel" (I Samuel 7:10). This means that while Samuel was mentally working and calling on the Jehovistic power, the vibratory energies became so strong that they dissolved the aggregation of error thoughts, which then passed away.