Apocrypha Ascalon (migration ), one of the five cities of the Philistines, ( Joshua 113:3 ; 1 Samuel 6:17 ) a seaport on the Mediterranean, 10 miles north of Gaza. Samson went down from Timnath to Ashkelon. ( Judges 14:19 ) In the post-biblical times Ashkelon rose to considerable importance. Near the town were the temple and sacred lake of Derceto, the Syrian Venus. The soil around was remarkable for its fertility. Ashkelon played a memorable part in the struggles of the Crusades.