Bible · Israel · Old Testament

Archaeologists discover city gate of Gath mentioned in 1 Samuel 21

Gath ruinsAn archaeological dig headed by the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath has discovered the gate to the ancient Philistine city of Gath, where Goliath was from. Along with that city gate, they also found fortifying walls in which the gate stood. The professor leading the dig, Aren Maier, says the gate itself is “among the largest ever found in Israel and is evidence of the status and influence of the city of Gath” from the 10th to 9th centuries BC, just as the Bible implies when it mentions Gath in the Old Testament.

Gath’s prominence was revealed in the warriors, like Goliath’s family, that it raised and was so influential that David fled there in 1 Samuel 21 in an effort to get away from murderous King Saul. When it became clear the Philistines might arrest or kill him instead of giving him refuge since he had a reputation as a slayer of Philistines, David pretended to be insane by scratching marks on the doors of the city gates while he foamed at the mouth and they sent him away.

Other discoveries at the site were made that corroborate what the Bible says about the city. They found an iron works building, pagan temples, remains of a siege system constructed under Hazael, king of Syria, when his army took the city in 830 BC (see 2 Kings 12:17), and proof of destruction of the city caused by Hazael, just to name a few.

Source: Bar-Ilan University, Bar-Ilan U. archaeologists uncover entrance gate and fortification of Biblical city, EurekAlert.org, August 3, 2015.

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