Gezer And The Bible -- By: David Merling
BSP 7:3 (Summer 1994) p. 88
Gezer And The Bible
An exciting discovery sheds new light on an old site
David Merling is Associate Director of the Institute of Archeology and Curator of the Horn Archaeological Museum at Andrews University, Berrien Springs MI. Randall W. Younker is Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Andrews University and is Director of the Tell Jalul excavation in Jordan.
During a recent excavation in Israel, archaeologists unearthed important new evidence that sheds light on Biblical events. The site of their discoveries is Tel Gezer, a 30-acre mound at the base of the foothills 15 mi west of Jerusalem. Because of its strategic location, Gezer became a powerful city in antiquity and is mentioned many times in the Bible. It is also cited in various Egyptian inscriptions, including those from the Late Bronze Age pharaohs Thutmose III, Thutmose IV, and Merneptah.
From the Bible we learn that the ancient inhabitants of Gezer suffered defeat from the conquering Israelites, but were difficult to control. The Bible records that Horam, king of Gezer, sought to support his ally the king of Lachish against the advance of the Israelites, only to be killed and his entire army destroyed (Jos 10:33). Despite this devastating loss, the people of Gezer managed to maintain their independence. When the Israelite tribes divided Canaan among themselves, Gezer was assigned to the tribe of Ephraim (Jos 16:3) and later allotted to the priestly family of Kohath (Jos 21:21). The Canaanite city of Gezer was not destroyed, but its inhabitants became forced laborers for the Israelites (Jos 16:10; Jgs 1:29, 30). Probably the defenseless inhabitants, having lost their king and army, sued for peace (Dt 20:10–11).
Gezer, however, was only tentatively in Israel’s domain. During the ongoing warfare between the Israelities and Philistines, Gezer was a border/buffer city (2 Sm 5:25; 1 Chr 14:16; 20:4). Not until the time of King Solomon was Gezer finally under the full control of the Israelites. First Kings 9:16 records that Solomon’s Egyptian wife received the city of Gezer as a dowry from her father, Pharaoh, king of Egypt. This gift prompted Solomon to rebu...
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