Site Of Elijah’s Miracles Being Excavated -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 01:1 (Winter 1972)
Article: Site Of Elijah’s Miracles Being Excavated
Author: Anonymous

Site Of Elijah’s Miracles Being Excavated

When Elijah was hiding from King Ahab, God told him, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” (I Kings 17:9.) While staying with the widow, Elijah performed two miracles — first, he caused her meager supply of meal and oil to provide for their sustenance without diminishing and secondly, when the widow’s son died, he raised him to life.

Zarephath, the site of these miracles, is presently being excavated by a team of archaeologists under the direction of Dr. James B. Pritchard, associate Director of the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. The site is adjacent to the modern city of Sarafand, eight miles south of Sidon on the coast of Lebanon. During 1971 the team completed its third season under a six-year Lebanese concession to the university.

Elijah’s visit to Zarephath occurred in the 9th century B.C., during the period of the iron age (1200-600 B.C.). Dr. Pritchard stated that the houses of the ancient city were “closely packed” and that soundings indicated that the city had covered at least ten acres. The population, he said, would have been at least twice the 10,000 of Sarafand today. Among the artifacts unearthed were oil lamps and bronze and iron tools of the iron age. The Period of the 9-8th centuries was identified by examples of red pottery, and particularly by a mushroom-lip jug with a small handle attached to the neck and body. Perhaps it was this type of jug that the widow kept her oil in.

The widow’s cruz? A jug typical of those found at the level corresponding to Elijah’s time at Zarapath.

We look forward to further exciting reports from Dr. Pritchard as he continues to explore the city where Elijah, the man of God, walked the streets and performed his miracles.

(Archaeology, January 1971; New York Times, August 22, 1970 and September 2, 1971)

Excavating at the Iron Age level at Zarapeth which was the period when Elijah visited the city.

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