Friday, July 08, 2011

Excavations of Philistine City of Gath Bolster Biblical Narrative


An international team of archaeologists is currently excavating the ruins at Tel-El-Safi, Israel of the Philistine city of Gath, the home according to the Bible of the Philistine warrior Goliath, who discomforted the tribes of Israel under King Saul, until he was slain by David.

Lo and behold, the discoveries to date are all consistent with the Biblical narrative. Gath flourished in the 10th and 9th centuries BCE, contemporaneously with era of Kings Saul, David and Solomon as described in the Bible. It appears to have been destroyed by the Aramean king Hazael around 830 BCE, an incident related in the Book of Kings. The archaeologists have even found shards bearing names similar to Goliath, names of Indo-European rather than Semitic origin, reflecting the roots of the Philistines in ancient Greece.

One of the most intriguing finds at Gath is a large structure, possibly a temple, Tel-El-Safi is a ruined temple, with two pillars. This find bolsters the historicity of another Biblical story featuring the Philistines. After his famous haircut by Delilah and his capture, blinding and imprisonment by the Philistines, the Hebrew Judge Samson is brought to the temple of the idol Dagon in Gaza, to be mocked by his captors. Samson prays to God for his strength to be returned one last time, and he topples the two support pillars of the temple, brining it down upon the heads of his tormentors. The design of the structure found at Gath and a similar Philistine structure discovered at Tel Qasile, north of Tel Aviv, are consistent with Biblical narrative.

An Associated Press story about the dig appears here. Of course, secularists and Palestinians hate this sort of story.

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