Apologetics, Archaeology, Main, z38
Comments 3

A Gilgal site to become a garbage dump for Palestine?

A photo of a Gilgal site revealing its distinctive sandal shape. Photo: Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

A photo of a Gilgal site revealing its distinctive sandal shape. Photo: Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

Breaking Israel News is reporting the Palestinian Authority has contracted a foreign company to handle its garbage. The concern is that the proposed location for a new garbage dump is just a couple hundred meters away from an important archaeological site called Gilgal.

The move could potentially damage or even destroy the site near Rimonium overlooking the Jordan valley. No excavation has been done at this site.

What is unusual about the site is its unique sandal-shaped design. It is one of five similar styled sites found in Israel.

And they can be large. One of them called el-‘Unuq is the size of two football fields (228 feet wide and 816 feet long).

The Israelis created them shortly after they entered the Promised Land under Joshua. They were all called Gilgals and marked by large stone walls in the shape of the foot or sandal.

Scattered throughout Israel they initially served as spiritual and government centers.

At one of the Gilgal sites near Gibeath-haaraloth, Israel circumcised its men after leaving Egypt and held their first Passover (Joshua 5:2-11) At a Gilgal site located near Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizem, the Jews pronounced the blessings and cursings associated with the law. Joshua also built an altar to the Lord at this site (Deuteronomy 11:29).

Mentioned 39 times in the Old Testament, they are often only referred to as a Gilgal and we are unsure of which specific site the writer is discussing.

But they served multiple purposes:

  • They were rally points where men gathered to create an army needed for battle (Joshua 10:7-9).
  • They served as a border marker for the tribal territories (Joshua 15:17).
  • The Prophet Samuel judged Israel from a Gilgal sites (1 Samuel 7:16).
  • They made sacrifices at Gilgal (1 Samuel 10:8).
  • When Israel demanded a King, they crowned Saul as their King at Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:15).
  • In one unusual event recorded in the Book of Judges, the Angel of the Lord traveled from a Gilgal to Bokim to chastise Israel for breaking their covenant with God (Judges 2:1-5). This would suggest God honored the spiritual importance of these sites and had angels stationed at at least one of them. Though the site is not named, the angel may have traveled from the site near Mt. Ebal where Israel proclaimed the cursings and blessings associated with the law.
  • Shortly after the quelling of the rebellion started by King David’s son Absalom, Israel affirmed David as their king at Gilgal (2 Samuel 19:9–15, 40).

After establishing a monarchy, their governmental importance declined. However, their spiritual significance continued as a School of the Prophets worked out of Beth-Gilgal (2 Kings 2:1-2).

Though archaeologists have discovered five so far, there are probably more as several extra Biblical sources mention Gilgals at other locations.

So why did Israel create them with a distinctive foot shape?

Some wonder if Israel based their unique construction on the promise God gave the nation that everywhere the sole of their foot stepped, the land belonged to them.

24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as [a]the western sea. (Deuteronomy 11:24 NASV)

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. (Joshua 1:3 NASV)

Were the unique sandal-shaped Gilgals a sign they had tread on this land and claimed it? Were they created as a reminder for God to remember His promise to Israel?

The one at Rimonium is also stands as a testament to the Palestinian Authority of who was there first.



    • Thanks for your comment. No at this point, I have not heard anything. I will update the article, if I do hear anything. God Bless Dean


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