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The Gaza Empire

Now should we be so cheeky as to start to draw lines of exactly where, or how far up into southern Africa the old borders of the Promised land truly were located. Before we do that, we should get some location down first. Lets have a closer look at the real GAZA also called Azza in our beloved Scriptures. We first see mentions of this place or region in Genesis 10,15-19:

15 Canaan became the father of Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, 17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, 18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19 And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.

This is key here, is that this city was on the border of Israel AND Egypt, near the Ancient Sea (today called Indian Ocean). This means that Egypt would truly have had influences way down and towards southern Africa. Now Gaza as a city is one of the oldest cities in history, its name means strong (gaza), after its stronghold and fortified walls. Now this city was very much associated with the Philistines. WE also find a people called the Avvites that resided in or at Gaza. Now furthermore we find that the Caphtoprites (said to come from Crete) removed them and did settle in Gaza (Deuteronomy 2,23). Now furthermore, to tie in the Philistines who had traveled to Kanaan from costal region according to Jeremia 47,4. Is this describing ancient Greece?

Now if we read Joshua we see that The Bantu conquered the land from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza, AND from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon. Se here now we have to of 4 locations pretty much down. The Region of Gaza and Gibeon. And between those two you can almost draw a straight line. Is this the upper border of the Promised Lands containing the 12 Tribes of Isak? That would place Kadesh Barnea and Goshen in the South. Kinda marking and X, for these 4 outer points of the Promised Land. Fellow researchers are we on to something? Now Scripture teaches that Goshen or Land of Goshen was in Egypt (Lower Egypt), this throws a wrench in that theory. Because then you would have to encompass almost the whole continent of Africa as being the Promised Land. If you do not move Goshen further down towards say Uganda or Central Africa. Then it becomes more Scriptural and within the bounds of Abrahams lands. Then we only need to Find Kadesh Barnea.

Now we try to see the lands above the line from GAZA to Gibeon as belonging to Abrahams descendants, up to the Nile, and the land below as belonging to the 12 Tribes. With The Orange River, The River Jordan, as a demarcation of points - separating 9 tribes from the remaining 3. We will do a separate post in this in the future, trying to draw some more accurate maps, with new information we have gotten in. All in good time.

Now we read that Juda inherited Gaza, and kept it for a short period of time before it fell back into Philistine hands (Judges 1,18). Now in the times of Samson, we find the Philistines living in and having full control of Gaza (Judges 16,1-3). And we know the story as Delilah tricked Samson into giving away the secret to the source of his strength (His Seven locks of Righteousness). The Philistines overcame Samson, but later on in the story the man regained his strength and brought the temple of Dagon down upon them, taking with him as many Philistines as he possibly could (Judges 16,23-30).

Moving on in history the, we can see that the Philistines continued to control this area during the times of the Prophet Samuel (1. Samuel 6,17). Now King Hezekiah won MANY battles against the Philistines BUT did not conquer Gaza (2. Kings 18,8). If you read your Scriptures you will find that Often in our Bibles the city of Gaza is put in the context of judgement. Most prophets (Amos, Jeremia, Zephania and Zecharia), prophesied a judgement of Gaza because of the worship and SIN of the Philistines. These practises are still very much prevalent in todays Mozambique, South Africa and Eswatini, altars for ancestors stain the sin of the people left there from times of the Bible. But, that being said, there certainly was revival in these areas after Immanuel walked the earth.

As we can read in (Amos 1,6-7):

Thus says SoNiNi: For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment; because they carried into exile entire communities, to hand them over to Edom. 7 So I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, fire that shall devour its strongholds.

And in Jeremia 25,17-26:

17 So I took the cup from the SoNiNi’s hand, and made all the nations to whom SoNiNi sent me drink it: 18 Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, an object of hissing and of cursing, as they are today;
19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, and all his people; 20 all the mixed people; all the kings of the land of Uz; all the kings of the land of the Philistines—Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod; 21 Edom, Moab, and the Ammonites; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastland across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who have shaven temples; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed peoples that live in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth. And after them the king of Sheshach shall drink."

Furthermore we find more historical data in Zephania 2,4:

"For Gaza shall be deserted, and Ashkelon shall become a desolation; Ashdod’s people shall be driven out at noon, and Ekron shall be uprooted."

And lastly we have Zecharia 9,5-6:

Ashkelon shall see it and be afraid; Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish; Ekron also, because its hopes are withered. The king shall perish from Gaza; Ashkelon shall be uninhabited; 6 a mongrel people shall settle in Ashdod, and I will make an end of the pride of Philistia.

Mongrel people, my o my. This kind of language would get you in serious trouble, especially in todays political climate. But, here as happens many places in Scripture, there is clear indications what happens when His People take on the customs and practises of their lovers and wives. Bad things ensue and they take on the strange customs and follow no more the ways of SoNiNi naNiNi, their Father. Following the practises of people that never did seek SoNiNi. When a murderous spirit bonds with a non-murderous, what is the outcome?

Now back to GAZA we see that the area was mostly an area for the Philistines. Even Though SoNiNi gave the city itself to Juda, the People failed to obey SoNiNi in driving out the former occupants, as we read in Numbers 33,51-53. Now because of this disobedience from the People of SoNiNi, the Philistines and Gaza remained and became a problem for The People of Isak (and as a border of the Promised Land) for many years to come (Judges 2,3).

Now in the times of Manwele (Msindisi) we see that Gaza was associated with spreading the Gospel, and we find a mention of Gaza once. We see that when Philip tells the evangelist to `go south to the road` (The Desert Road) from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8,26). It was on this Road that Philip shared the Gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch and baptised him just after (Acts 8,26-39). So we see an area once filled with hostility toward SoNiNi, now serving a great demarcation point for the African Cushite brother that heard and trusted in the grace of SoNiNi. Perhaps this very man went back home to Ethiopia, spread the Gospel there that later would have led to the building of the Lalibela churches. Who knows. So we go from being associated with the Evil Philistines and Gaza area of sin, to them becoming spreaders of the Gospel. And it will spread like that again.

Now ask any African (Mozambican, Zimbabwean or Lemba) about the Gaza Empire, they will tell you its been around a while and that it was generally known to have been established by General Soshangane. It stretched upwards towards southeastern Zimbabwe, and at its height it covered all of Mozambique, between Zambezi and Limpopo River - Gazaland.

Now as the modern stories go, we see that after Soshangane, his son Mzila and Mawewe started fighting for land. Mzila got help from the Portuguese and ruled for a while then Gungunyana took over the Gaza Empire after Mzila. Now here, and this might be controversial, comes an introduction as the rise of Gaza as a slave trade port and the expansion of the Colonial Portuguese into the Zambezi valley. Times of trouble and the grief that was promised to the lands of the Philistines had started to manifest. Here comes warlord people like `Gouveia` (1835-1892) also known as Manuel António de Sousa He was a Goan Indian, that somehow ended up controlling most of the southern Zambezi valley and great lands to the south. Now this Gouveia did become something of a notoriously known aimless wanderer or Muzungu (Mlungu), although he was not Portuguese but a Canarin (Indian from Goa). His ways was that of Muzungu though. He made a fortune in ivory trading, that enabled him to have a mobile elephant army at his disposal. When King Soshangane died, he took advantage of that and established himself in the Gorongosa. The full story can be read in Malyn Newitts History of Mozambique (1995), times of trouble indeed.

Now these Shangaan descended from the Ngunis (Swati and Zulu and the Tsonga speakers (Rongha, Ndau, Shona and Chopi), these were all of the people that Soshangane had conquered and taken control over. Still Soshangane insisted on keeping the traditional ways of the Nguni customs, he also insisted that the Tsonga would learn Zulu.

So let us theorise of the size of Gaza Kingdom or even better, the location of the city of Gaza. Was it further down the coast towards Zulu Land, like Ponta do Ouro or even Richards Bay. Well known demarcation points for South Africans. Or was Gaza simply where Maputo is today? And remember Gaza and Egypt was supposed to have been close tight... Yes its confusing, but we will get there.

Now today, the Gaza Empire is ruled by Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, HOWEVER Mozambique has eleven provinces of which one is named Gaza. The old Empire extended from the Sabi River and down to the South of Mozambique, covering Sofala, Manica, Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo and stretching into South Africa.

So what do you think, is this close to the city of Gaza? If it is we have two ancient landmarks down. Gibeon and Gaza. Kadesh Barnea and Goshen remains, we will try to chronicle those after we are finished putting the 4 Rivers of Paradise on the map again in the next coming posts.

Uxolo lube nani


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