Who Were the Mysterious Crethi and Plethi?
Although much of the origin of The Crethi and The Plethi is unknown and needs further archeological research, there are accounts of The Crethi and The Plethi in ancient texts and archeological prove of their ancient existence. They are explicitly mentioned in the TaNaKh [Hebrew Bible] as [King] David’s guards. The Crethi and The Plethi were gentile mercenaries which, at a certain time (around 1010 to 965 BC), formed an elite unit of [body]guards of [King] David, who was at that time King of ancient Israel. But what were the events that led to the historical fact that this strange group of heroic outlaws became so close to a Jewish King of Israel?
How did The Crethi and The Plethi become King David’s Elite Unit?
The prophet Samuel anointed David [chosen by God] as King of Israel, because Saul, who was the first king of all the twelve Jewish tribes (around 1047 to 1010 BC), was considered unfaithful to God. In the TaNaKh [Hebrew Bible], we can read how David as a young man defeated Goliath, the Philistine warrior, who mocked the God of the Israelites. Saul, impressed by David’s courage, appointed David as the leader of his army. Because David won battle after battle against Israel’s enemies, he became very popular among the twelve Jewish tribes.
But Saul envied David, because the Jewish people admired David more than Saul himself. So Saul tried to kill David, but David managed to escape and fled into the desert. During many years, David wandered in these hostile regions and even made an alliance with the Philistines, Israel’s worst enemies, becoming their vassal. Over the years, he formed a band of loyal warriors, mostly outcasts and outlawed men themselves. They formed an unusual band of ‘brothers’ living in harsh conditions, constantly chased by Saul’s army, skirmishing with enemies while relying on each other.
During that time, David undoubtedly earned the respect of The Crethi and The Plethi and they became loyal to David and trusted their new leader. The Crethi and The Plethi must have recognized God’s favor and blessing over David’s life and his leadership and heroism. At the same time David recognized the loyalty and devoutness of The Crethi and The Plethi towards him. When king Saul was killed by the Philistines and his army defeated in the Battle of Gilboa, David grieved over the dead of Saul, but it was also an opportunity for him to take what God had promised him years ago. And so he did and with the help of The Crethi and The Plethi, David defeated the Jebusites in Jerusalem (around the year 1010 BC) and once again united the twelve Jewish tribes with Jerusalem as its capital. From that time on, The Crethi and The Plethi served as King David’s loyal elite unit within his army in a time when the Kingdom of Israel would become a prosperous and great Kingdom.
It was also King David’s greatest desire to build the Jewish Temple as a permanent resting place for the Ark of the Covenant (containing the Tablets of the Law). But God didn’t allow David to build the Temple, because he was a warrior and blood was on his hands. This task was to fall to David’s son, Solomon, who would become to be known as a king of wisdom and peace. After the Temple in Jerusalem was completed (around 957 BC), it would become the focus of Jewish worship from that time on to the present.
The Crethi and The Plethi are mentioned several times in the TaNakh, (e.g. 2 sam. 8:18; 2 sam. 15:14,18; 2 sam. 20:7; 1 kgs 1:38,44) as the elite unit of King David. Established as a [military] elite unit under the command of Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada. The Crethi and The Plethi remained loyal to King David on several occasions, for example when David’s son Absalom revolted against David and drove him out of Jerusalem. They also participated in the war against Sheba, and were present at Solomon’s enthronement after King David’s death. According to several sources, they had many heroes in their ranks, who stood out in battle.
What was the Origin of these Fierce Warriors?
In some sources, The Crethi and The Plethi are referred to as descendants of a semitic nation, but that is debatable, because the hebrew meaning of the word “phlistim” (= philisti = philistines) is for a non-semitic nation. The Crethi (= Cretans) and The Plethi (= Philisti) are supposingly descendants of “Pelasgen” (or early greeks) and people from Crete, and came to Israel because of emigration. The term “phlistim” could be a linguistic corruption of “Pelasgen“.
The Crethi are descendants from Caftor (which is Crete in ancient text) and The Plethi are descendants of early greeks from the south east region of Greece. They were accordingly from non-semitic descent and were influenced by the Hellenistic (Greek) and Mycian culture. The first wave of The Crethi and The Plethi came probably around 1250 BC to Egypt from overseas Crete and were eventually driven back to Canaan by Ramses the 3rd. There is archeological evidence of Mycian culture — pottery, linguistic evidence and eating of pigmeat which was of course forbidden in semitic cultures — in this period in Egypt and Canaan. The Plethi also came from the north (through what now is modern turkey and lebanon) to Canaan.
The Crethi and The Plethi eventually merged together and/or formed an alliance with the Philistines (with 5 major cities and their 5 rulers) and were sworn enemies of the 12 Jewish tribes in the rest of ancient Canaan. Together, The Crethi and The Plethi, were also called “the sea people“, which also indicates an ancestry of overseas people and their craftsmanship of trade (as they lived along the coast of Canaan and what is now called Gaza). Some [modern] sources describe The Crethi and The Plethi as fierce warriors and fond of war, they also had the genius of military organisation and established a military nation in and around [modern] Gaza.
The Philistines suppressed the Jewish tribes by military power, but that changed when David became king and managed to unite the twelve Jewish tribes. David defeated the Philistines and they gradually were erased from history by successive occupations by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Syrians. From this historical context, it is clear that The Crethi and The Plethi — as loyal elite unit of the King of Israel — were indeed a strange alliance of non-semitic outlaws and a Jewish king.
Why the name CrethiPlethi?
It’s a historical fact that the Jews have a 3,000 year history in Israel and have a right to exist in their lands. And now, after a diaspora of thousands of years, the Jewish tribes have rightfully claimed their historical place among the nations in this world. But sadly, some dispute and deny Jewish history and existence in the Middle East. The Crethi and The Plethi were an elite unit in the army of the first Jewish state in Canaan with Jerusalem as capital. CrethiPlethi.com wants to revive and uphold this courage and loyalty of The Crethi and The Plethi and form once again a ‘band of brothers’ to defend the values of liberty, democracy and truth of which Israel is an example in the Middle East.
In that sense, we are the modern Crethi and Plethi.
The Crethi and The Plethi translated in other languages:
- Dutch: Crethi Plethi
- German: Krethi Plethi
- English: Cherethites Pelethites
- French: Kerethiens Pelethiens
- Spanish: Ceretheos Peletheos
- Hebrew: Kerethi Pelethi