Bible and archaeology news
Archaeologists working at the Biblical site of Tel Gezer discovered a boundary stone inscribed with both Greek and Hebrew text dating to the period of conflict between the Seleucids and the Maccabees. This is the thirteenth known boundary stone after over a century of excavations at Gezer, and it is the first to be found in over a decade. Archaeologists from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary also rediscovered another boundary stone originally discovered in the 19th-century by the French explorer Charles Claremont-Ganneau, but lost to the archaeological community for over a century.
Gezer is mentioned frequently in the Bible. Although Joshua defeated a coalition of Canaanite kings that included the king of Gezer, the Bible does not say that Gezer itself was captured by the Israelites (Joshua 10:33; 12:12). Gezer was allotted to the tribe of Joseph (or Ephraim) (Joshua 16:3, 10; Judges 1:29; 1 Chronicles 6:67; 7:28), but we are also told that the Israelites “did not drive out the Canaanites,” who dwelt in Gezer (Joshua 16:10). Even King David was unable to bring Gezer into the Israelite kingdom.
Finally, when an Egyptian Pharaoh (probably Siamun, in about 960 B.C.) gave his daughter in marriage to King Solomon—the only recorded instance of a Pharaoh’s daughter being permitted to marry a foreigner—the Pharaoh ceded Gezer to Solomon as part of his daughter’s dowry. (1 Kings 9:15–17). In the early years of Solomon’s reign, Egypt had launched an invasion of Palestine and had conquered Canaanite Gezer. Undoubtedly, Solomon then mobilized against an Egyptian attack on his own Israelite kingdom. But Israel must have been the greater power because at this point Egypt apparently decided to abandon the invasion, opting for a diplomatic rapprochement by marriage and territorial concession. Thereafter, the Bible tells us, Solomon fortified Gezer, along with Jerusalem, Megiddo and Hazor (1 Kings 9:15). Twentieth-century archaeologists have found irrefutable evidence of these fortifications at Gezer, including not only the magnificent gateway but also a casemate wall (a double wall divided by partitions into rooms) attached to it.
Gezer also has special significance in the history of archaeology. Gezer was the first Biblical city to be identified by an inscription found at the site. Even today only a handful of sites—Beth Shean, Arad, Hazor—have been so identified. In 1873, the great French scholar Clermont-Ganneau found a boundary inscription dating from the Herodian period which reads in Hebrew script, “boundary of Gezer.”
* Shanks, Hershel. “The Sad Case of Tell Gezer.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jul/Aug 1983, 30-35, 38-42.
** Cave Found at Bottom of Gezer Water Tunnel, Bible History Daily.
The Solomonic Gate at Gezer
The “High Place” at Tel Gezer
Tel Gezer Water System Built by Canaanites?
Gezer Excavations Uncover Previously Unknown Canaanite City
Cave Found at Bottom of Gezer Water Tunnel
What’s the Oldest Hebrew Inscription? A Reply to Christopher Rollston
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