Archaeologists say they have discovered the ancient Philistine city of Gath, home to one of the Bible’s most notorious characters — a giant named Goliath.
King David’s slaying of the Philistine Giant in 1 Samuel 17 with a sling is a metaphor today of overcoming incredible odds. And today archaeologists are also uncovering evidence the city and the giants living there were very real.
Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but archaeologists from Bar Ilan University working at the Tell es-Safi site have not only uncovered pottery at the site with the name of Goliath etched on it, but recently announced they have found the massive gates to the city.
They are considered the largest set of gates ever found, perhaps fitting for a city known for its giants. At this point they have just uncovered the top of the gates and massive walls and it will take several years to fully uncover the gates. However, the size of stones at the top suggest the walls were massive.
Archaeologists have been working at the Tell es-Safi site, located halfway between Ashkelon on the Mediterranean sea and Jerusalem, since 1898.
When they started the excavation they had no idea they were working on what is increasingly showing itself to be an enormous city that included major fortifications, iron works and at least one temple. Pottery found at the site show the distinctive Philistine design but also include Jewish elements indicating an Israeli influence.
The Philistines who neighbored Israel were considered mortal enemies of Israel. This major fortification on the Philistine/Israeli border reveals the constant state of conflict between the two nations. It was a large city that dominated the area and one intended to intimidate.
It is generally believed the Syrians, under King Hazael, destroyed Gath around 830 BC.
Archaeologists have also uncovered evidence at the dig of the earthquake that struck the area in the mid 8th century BC.
The prophet Amos mentions the earthquake several times in his book referring to the smashing of houses (6:11), cracking of alters (3:14) and destruction of the pagan temple at Bethel (9:1). The prophet even dates the start of his ministry as being two years before the great earthquake (1:1).
In addition to Gath, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of this earthquake in several other excavations such as the city of Gezer where they found stones in the walls weighing several tons cracked and shifted off the foundation.
The prophets Zechariah, Joel and Isaiah whose ministries took place after the earthquake warned that the coming terrible Day of the Lord, which would usher the arrival of the Jewish Messiah, would include a massive earthquake hitting the region similar to what happened in Amos.
Joel says “The heavens and earth shall quake” (3:16).
Zechariah who prophesied two hundred years later warned Israel during the end times:
“You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!” (Zechariah 14:5 NASV).
Jesus also warned that before His second return, there would be several great earthquakes (Luke 21:10-11), and the Apostle John in his apocalyptic vision of the end times (Revelation 6:12) specifically warned of one “Great” earthquake.
- Goliath gates: Entrance to famous metropolis uncovered: Live Science
- Return of the giants: Biblical story of Goliath proven true: Breaking Israel News