A New Excavation Reveals the City of Goliath

July 26 2019

In the 1990s, a team of archaeologists discovered the ruins of a city from the late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age at the village of Tel Tsafit, some twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, which they subsequently identified as the biblical city of Gath. More recent exploration has shed new light on the lifetime of its most famous inhabitant, as Sonia Epstein writes:

Archaeologists have discovered remains more ancient and impressive than those previously discovered at the Philistine city of Gath, where, [according to the Bible], the giant Philistine warrior Goliath was born and once lived. Previous excavations at the site . . . uncovered ruins dating to the 9th and 10th centuries BCE, but the new discovery suggests that the city of Gath was at its height in the 11th century BCE, during the time Goliath would have lived.

Goliath was the Philistine whom the young David, the eventual second king of Israel and Judah, famously defeated in single combat, according to 1Samuel 17. Together with Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron, Gath was one of the five Philistine cities until its fall around 830 BCE at the hands of the Aramean king Hazael.

[T[he recent discovery beneath a pre-existing site reveals that [Goliath’s] native city was a place of even greater architectural grandeur than the Gath of a century later. [But, says] Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University’s archaeology department, who directed the discovery at Tel Tsafit, “There are no skeletons of people who are taller than NBA centers.”

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More about: Archaeology, Goliath, Hebrew Bible, King David, Philistines


Is There a Way Out of Israel’s Political Deadlock?

On Tuesday, leaders of the Jewish state’s largest political parties, Blue and White and Likud, met to negotiate the terms of a coalition agreement—and failed to come to an agreement. If none of the parties in the Knesset succeeds in forming a governing coalition, there will be a third election, with no guarantee that it will be more conclusive than those that preceded it. Identifying six moves by key politicians that have created the deadlock, Shmuel Rosner speculates as to whether they can be circumvented or undone:

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics