Archaeologists Discover New Evidence of the Biblical Siege of Gath

In the first book of Kings, God tells Elijah to go to Aram—a territory roughly contiguous with modern-day Syria—and anoint Hazael its king. Second Kings describes Hazael’s invasion of the Land of Israel, where his army fought against Judea, Israel, and the Philistines—destroying the Philistine city of Gath. While archaeologists have long had other evidence about Hazael, who reigned in the latter half of the 9th century BCE, they recently made another discovery about his military exploits. Nathan Steinmeyer writes:

Recent excavations by Bar-Ilan University, led by Aren Maeir, have shed new light on the destruction of biblical Gath, the Philistine city famously home to Goliath. The team, which has been digging at Gath (modern Tell es-Safi) for 25 seasons, has repeatedly uncovered evidence of large-scale destruction across the entire tell. This destruction is firmly connected to the 9th-century BCE. campaign of Hazael.

Until recently, however, the team did not have a clear picture of exactly how the city fell. But during the 2021 season, new evidence emerged that might explain the city’s final demise—a nearly 30-foot-long break in the city’s massive fortification system. According to the archaeologists, this gap likely represents the very section where the Arameans broke through the walls of the Philistine city after a long siege. This, Maeir believes, may be “the earliest known, on-the-ground evidence of a siege anywhere in the world.”

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Elijah, Hebrew Bible, Philistines


Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship