According to Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), archaeologists have uncovered the small, yet significant town of Ziklag that was located near ancient Judah’s southern border with the Philistines.
Archaeologists working at the site are 90% certain that they have found the remains of the ancient town. They discovered evidence that both Israelis and Philistines inhabited the site which confirms the Biblical record.
These included the distinctive idols, lamps and pottery similar to finds in other known Philistine cities.
They also discovered nearly 100 complete pots with a design associated with Israel during King David’s reign. The were used to hold oil or wine and in at least one instance beer.
Though mentioned several times in the Bible, Ziklag was a small rural town and archaeologists said it measured about 1,000 square meters (10,764 sq ft) in size. Some believe the name Ziklag could be loosely translated as liquid metal and may be a reference to smelting.
When Israel entered the Promised Land under Joshua, the city was given to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:1-5). However, it seems that the town remained under Philistine control until King David’s reign.
Ziklag rose to political prominence during the reign of King Saul who threatened by David’s growing popularity was trying to kill David. David, along with a small army of 600 men, sought refuge with Achish the King of the Philistines.
The Bible states that King Achish gave David the town of Ziklag as a place for him and his army to live. Though the Bible doesn’t mention it, David may have actually asked for the town (1 Samuel 27:5-6).
It’s probable, King Achish gave Ziklag to David to gain his allegiance with the Philistines in their war with King Saul and Israel or at the very least David’s neutrality.
When King Saul realized that David was now protected by the Philistine King, Saul discontinued his efforts to assassinate David.
However, David’s time in the town proved challenging. While David and his small army had gathered for a confab with the Philistines, the Amalekites attacked Ziklag, burned and ransacked the town taking the wives and children of David’s men as captives. IAA noted at one time during its history, Ziklag was burned to the ground.
With his men ready to turn on him, David attacked the Amalekite camp, and they were able take back their families. Once David became King of Israel, Ziklag became part of the nation of Israel.
In fact, David was in Ziklag when he found out about the death of Saul after his defeat at the hand of the Philistines. With Saul now dead, David left Ziklag and was anointed King of Judah at Hebron (2 Samuel 4:10).
Other news revealed some interesting information on the Philistines. DNA taken from bones in a Philistine graveyard at Ashkelon revealed that they were very different from the Semitic people living in the area, a fact often noted in the Biblical record that describes them being from Caphtor (modern Crete).
“Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me,
O sons of Israel?” declares the Lord.
“Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt,
And the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir? (Amos 9:7 NASV)
Not only does Philistine pottery have a look similar to ancient Greek pottery, a recent DNA study of the bones revealed a distinctive European link stating that the evidence shows that the Philistines originally came from Southern Europe, probably Greece and Crete.
Archaeology continues to confirm the Biblical record.
And it is often these smaller seemingly inconsequential finds that truly prove the Bible’s accuracy. The discovery of Ziklag is similar to the discovery of a bulla of a man described as “Natan-Melech, servant of the king.” A bulla is a stamp impressed on official documents either with wax or clay to confirm their authenticity. Only the rich or those with political power used bullas. This particular bulla is significant, because it confirmed the existence of a man mentioned only once in the Bible (2 Kings 23:11) where he is described as an official or bureaucrat working for King Josiah.