Philistia is a young adult Christian novel featuring a couple who finds themselves stranded out in the middle of the Judean Desert. It is a time of military conflict throughout the region, and they are taken into custody by the Bethlehem Police. They identify themselves as Samson bar-Manoah and Delilah Sorek, and are arrested for disorderly conduct. Samson is able to disable the police truck en route downtown and the couple are able to make their escape. They wind up in the Palestinian community of Bethlehem in the West Bank where they are taken in by a Muslim family. They experience a culture shock as the family tells them about the conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews throughout the Holy Land. Eventually they learn of Samson’s superhuman strength and convince the couple to seek refuge with their relatives in Gaza.
The conflict begins as the couple begins learning more about the mysterious land where they have found themselves. Delilah is able to locate the ancient Sorek Valley and tries to rediscover her roots with the inhabitants. Samson identifies the Gaza Strip as the Biblical land of Philistia and grows distrustful of the Palestinians, who try and turn him against the Israelis. Word of Samson’s inhuman strength spreads throughout the community as does his propensity for partying. The people in the neighborhood of Ashdod do their best to keep the couple entertained. Only an incident between the Palestinians and the Israelis result in a police action during which Samson takes out a riot squad. He and Delilah are given shelter by Hamas, and eventually indoctrinated into their anti-Zionist philosophy.
The insurgents convince Samson to accompany them on a raid in Jerusalem, and Samson gets split from the group as they make their escape. Samson seeks refuge in the Jewish neighborhood and is taken in by a local family. He realizes an epiphany as the father, a rabbi, engages Samson in a religious discussion. Samson is told the other side of the story of the Palestinian conflict and learns of the conspiracy to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. The rabbi’s older son is convinced that Samson is a paranoid schizophrenic, while the younger son becomes intent on introducing him to a local band of Zionist militants. Samson is introduced to Isidor Horowitz, who convinces him to join their group.
Samson soon learns that Delilah has become a key figure in Hamas, infiltrating the Israeli settlements and abetting saboteurs in carrying out terrorist strikes. He eventually hunts her down and persuades her to join him in withdrawing from the hostilities. They retreat to a Christian community where an evangelical pastor and his family takes them in. There they are exposed to the Christian faith which gives them a fuller view of both their traditions and the modern-day conflict. The couple decides to settle down but Hamas learns of Delilah’s whereabouts and bring her back to Gaza with them.
Delilah is coerced to bring Samson back into the Hamas network, while the Pastor is given a vision of Samson’s purpose in Palestine. He warns Samson that history could repeat itself if he were to have his head shaven and become a captive of the Palestinians. Samson disregards him, is taken prisoner and shorn as a result. The Pastor allows himself to be taken, and he eventually finds his way to Samson’s side in foiling a diabolical Hamas terror attack on Tel Aviv.
This is a fast-paced action-adventure novel bringing Christian traditions together with tomorrow’s headlines. Philistia is a young adult Christian novel you won’t forget.