From Dan To Beersheba -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 01:1 (Winter 1972)
Article: From Dan To Beersheba
Author: Anonymous


From Dan To Beersheba

“From Dan to Beersheba” is a familiar expression in the Bible to indicate the entire extent of Israel. Today archaeological excavations are taking place at an unprecedented pace up and down the land of Israel, including the cities of Dan and Beersheba. Permits for 131 excavations were issued by the Department of Antiquities and Museums in 1971. Some 38 were licenses to large-scale expeditions by Israeli and foreign institutions, 62 were for rescue excavations necessitated by development work all over the country, and 31 were for digs in the area west of the Jordan River.

Significant Finds At Dan

The site of the ruins of Dan is a 50 acre mound, now called Tel Dan, near the Mount Hermon range close to the Golan heights on the Syrian border. It was at Dan that Jeroboam I set up the Golden Calf following his revolt against Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, thus splitting the kingdom both politically and religiously (I Kings 12).

Excavations have been conducted at Tel Dan over the past six seasons. The work is under the direction of Dr. Avraham Biram, Director of the Israeli Department of Antiquities and Museums. During the 1971 campaign, an outer city gate was discovered in the southern part of the mound. This, together with the results from earlier digs, permitted a complete plan to be drawn of the city-gate complex, the largest ever found in Israel.

Sitting In The Gate

Tel Dan provides a good illustration of the expression “sitting in the gate” which occurs so often in the Bible. It was in the gate that much of the royal business and administration was carried out. A pedestal was uncovered in front of the inner gate at Dan which apparently served as the resting place for the throne of the local ruler. Sockets for canopy supports still remain at each corner of the pedestal. Jeroboam himself may have sat upon this pedestal while conducting official business at Dan. (Jeroboam’s capital was at Shechem, I Kings 12:25.)

Dan High Place

The expedition continued investigating a “high place” in the northern part of the mound during the 1971 season. It consists of a large open-air court, measuring approximately 60 feet by 60 feet, with steps leading up to it. The earliest building phases can be attributed to the reign of Jeroboam I and is probably the very area where the Golden Calf was worshipped.

Excavations at Dan have done much to verify the accuracy of Biblical statements about this important city. As Dr. Biran stated in an interview in New York City in March 1970, after describing his finds at Tel Dan, “The archaeological...

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