Israeli archaeologists recently uncovered a 3,200-year-old fortification near the center of the country. As Jonathan Laden explains, it dates from the period described in the book of Judges:
The book of Judges . . . describes a period when the tribes of Israel were in the land of Canaan, but were not united. As Ellis Easterly [has argued, the Hebrew word usually rendered “judge”], shofet, could better be translated as “warrior ruler.” These leaders’ distinguishing feature was their rare ability to get more than one tribe to follow them, generally uniting militarily to fight and defeat threatening neighbors: including the Ammonites, Canaanites, Moabites, Midianites, Philistines, and Mesopotamians.
The archaeologists [who made the discovery] explain the complicated geopolitics of the region, consistent with the stories of Judges, at a time when new powers emerged in the Land of Israel. At the time, Canaan had been controlled by the powerful Egyptian empire, but the Philistines and Israelites both became major competitors, the Israelites settling in the mountains, and the Philistines building major cities Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Gath along the coast. The fortress may have been built by the Canaanites and the Egyptians who ruled them to try and protect the kingdom of Lachish from Philistine Gath.
Read more at Bible History Daily
More about: Ancient Israel, Book of Judges, Hebrew Bible, Philistines