Samson And The House Of Dagon -- By: Anonymous
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1974) p. 50
Samson And The House Of Dagon
Some of the best-known stories in the Bible are those of Samson in the book of Judges. Young and old alike delight in the accounts of his superhuman feats and his run-in with the wily Delilah.
It was through Delilah’s deception that the mighty Samson was finally captured by the Philistines as described in Judges 16. They put out his eyes and made him a prisoner in Gaza on the Mediterranean coast. After a time, the Philistine lords gathered at Gaza to offer sacrifice to their chief god Dagon. When “their hearts were merry” they called for Samson, “that he may make us sport.” Thus the stage was set for Samson’s last, and perhaps his greatest, deed.
Samson was brought out of prison and taken to the temple where, between two pillars that supported the roof, “he made them sport.” With the help of the boy who was leading him, he was able to locate the two pillars. After calling on the Lord, “Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ And he bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein.” (Judges 16:29, 30)
Many would hold that this is a fanciful folk tale, but a recent archaeological discovery shows that the narrative is set against an authentic historic background.
Since there is a modern city on the site of Gaza, Gaza itself has never been excavated. But further north along the Mediterranean coast, excavations at a site just north of Jaffa in the 1950’s and again in the early 1970’s revealed a small Philistine settlement. The settlement, called Tell Qasile, is situated on the northern bank of the Yarkon river and, in ancient times, served as the port for Jaffa. It was to this port that the king of Tyre sent cedar for Solomon’s temple (2 Chronicles 2:16).
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1974) p. 51
During the 1972 season at Tell Qasile, a temple came to light—the first Philistine temple ever to be found. The temple is built of sun-dried mudbricks laid on stone foundations and plastered over with a light brown plaster. Its walls, whose average width is about four feet, have been preserved to a height of approximately two and one-half feet. Consisting of two main parts, an antechamber and a main h...
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