The God Who Works In History: Archaeologists Discover Goliath’s Home

history

The Christian faith, and the Jewish faith that preceded it, believe in a God who acts in real time — in human history. So the latest archaeological find shouldn’t surprise us.

The first reference to the city of Gath in the Bible occurs in the book of Joshua. In chapter 11 we’re told that there were no Anakim, a race of giants, left in Israelite territory except for a few in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.

The next time we hear of Gath is in connection with one of those giants, Goliath, in I Samuel 17. From then on, Gath becomes the most-mentioned Philistine city in the Bible. In I Chronicles 18, David captures the city. In II Chronicles 11, his grandson Rehoboam fortifies it. The city was later captured by King Hazael of Damascus and then recaptured by King Uzziah, whose death figured in the vision of Isaiah 6.

Yet until recently, no one was sure exactly where Gath was located. It wasn’t so much that they doubted its existence as they couldn’t find it.

But now it appears they have.

Israeli archaeologists, digging at a site about 20 miles northwest of Hebron, found what is being described as a “massive gate” that marked the entrance to what was then the region’s largest city.

The gates aren’t the only impressive thing about what they’ve found. According to team leader Aren Maier, based on what they’ve dug up so far, the city’s walls and other fortifications were so formidable that they “formed a rather imposing boundary that prevented the Kingdom of Judah from expanding westward.”

Thus, we have evidence of the more or less constant conflict between the people of Israel and their Philistine neighbors. It took the greatest warrior of the Bible, King David, to overcome that “rather imposing boundary.”

And Maier’s team found more than fortifications. They also found the remains of a temple that, like Gath itself, changed hands several times. Interestingly, after the Philistines captured it from the Israelites, they not only destroyed it, they desecrated it by using it as a livestock pen. It’s a testimony in stone to the enmity between those two peoples as described in the Bible.

 

 

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
John Stonestreet

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