Which nations were the Cherethites and Pelethites?

Divrei Hayamim I - I Chronicles - Chapter 18:17 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were first at the king's hand.


Rashi calls "the Cherethites and the Pelethites" "nations".

Which nations, therefore (on a pshat level), were the Cherethites and Pelethites?

  • The verse that Rashi cites (Tzefaniah 2:5) refers to "the nation of Cherethites" and "land of the Philistines," so presumably at least the Cherethites would be Philistines or a segment of them. – Meir Nov 8 '20 at 16:10

There are a number of views on their identities brought by Da'at Mikra on Divrei Hayamim 1:18:7. The following two are the ones relevant to your question - views that these were distinct groups of people:

  1. Cheretites - from the Cheretite Negev, mentioned in Shmuel 1:30:14, and Peletites - descendants of Pelet, from the family of Yirachme'el.

  2. According to Rabbeinu Yonah Ibn Janach in Sefer HaShorashim: Two groups of Plishtim from Crete.

I distinctly recall seeing a number of other sources with other views, but haven't been able to track them down yet. I hope I'll be able to eventually.

  • 1
    so one group says, the Cherethites and Pelethites are both Plishtim, that is, they are both originally Cretans (from the nation Crete); whereas another group says, the Cherethites are non-Israelites from the Negev, and the Pelethites are from a family of Israelites? If so, how can the "Pelethites" be described as a "nation" by Rashi, if the "Pelethites" are simply a family-subset from an Israelite family? – ninamag Nov 9 '20 at 6:04
  • 1
    @ninamag I guess you're right. Then the only relevant view of the two I posted here is the second one. – Harel13 Nov 10 '20 at 6:40
  • Did the rabbis say that "Cheretite Negev" are from Crete and/or from which Av (Father) did they descend? – ninamag Nov 12 '20 at 19:36
  • @ninamag no the Cheretite Negev aren't a people, it's part of the Negev Desert in Israel. But if the Cheretites are from Plishtim from Crete, then we're getting into the question of from whom the Plishtim descend, because there are disagreements on the subject. Sure, Beresheet 10:10 says they're descendants of Mitzrayim, but there a number of issues with this: 1. The Plishtim in the time of Avraham seem vastly different from those in the time of Am Yisrael. 2. Who are the Evim that are said to have been killed by the Plishtim? 3. Plishtim are called the nation of Crete in Tanach but is – Harel13 Nov 12 '20 at 20:32
  • Caphtor really Crete? Crete, after all, isn't that close to Egypt. Moreover, the Plishti civilization looks much more Minoan or Phoenician than Egyptian, in archeological terms. There are probably some more questions that I missed. So there are different answers: some say there were different groups called Plishtim: one, descendants of Egypt, another, Minoans from Crete. A third, the Evim". If they're from Crete, and they are descendants of the Minoan culture, then most likely they were descendants of Yavan, son of Yefet. – Harel13 Nov 12 '20 at 20:34

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