Have you ever wondered where Goliath, the famous villain in the Bible story “David and Goliath” came from? In the most recent archeological discovery, the gate to Goliath’s City was finally located after many years of searching.
Goliath, as per biblical references, was a fierce and powerful warrior from the Philistine, who came from the City of Gath. He is one of the antagonists from the book of Samuel that was defeated by a young and much smaller David (second King of Israel). For two decades, a group of archeologists in Israel from the Bal-Ilan University made excavation studies. In the most recent archeological findings, the team led by Arem Maeir found the gate to one of the cities in Philistine, the city of Gath
The story of David and Goliath goes back to biblical accounts. The army of Philistine gathered to battle Israel in disputes over land. The Philistines armies challenged the Israelites to a one on one hand to hand combat between their champion warrior, Goliath and Israel’s best solider to decide their differences. Goliath, estimated to be between 6 ft 9 inches to over 9 feet tall had the obvious advantage. Israel did not have a competitor that they believed would reign superior in such an engagement. For 40 days the taunt of the Philistines continued until a young shepherd by the name of David accepted to fight the giant Goliath.
The competitors met. Goliath dressed in heavy bronze amour, carrying a large spear and heavy sword, and David in common attire possessing a sling and 5 simple stones. When the opponents faced off Goliath moved in with devastating intentions but David was quick with his sling and with deadly force hit the giant between the eyes with one of the stones killing him. David used Goliaths own sword and beheaded the champion as proof to all the giant was dead. It is often stated in stories that a slingshot was used but studies explain this is not the case. A sling in ancient times was a formidable weapon that could unleash the force of a modern hand gun. In the encounter the stone was propelled through air with a deadly result.
David’s victory rings through the ages as a typical battle of good versus evil, overcoming what appears to be incredible odds. The tale is still popular today but occurred centuries ago.
Goliath’s City of Gath
Goliath’s city of Gath is considered one of the famous metropolitans of Philistine during its prime years. It was occupied until the nineteenth century and in biblical documents was the home of the giant Goliath. For more than a hundred years, Gath was the most prominent city until King Damascus ruined it.
Written in the Bible, the City of Gath was described as the home of Philistines, the mortal nemeses of Israelites. The bible also mentioned a massive entrance gate to the town of Gath. One of the pieces of evidence that pinpoint Goliath’s hometown was a Philistine inscription that had two names, which were almost identical to Goliath.
In earlier studies and research, Gath was indeed a massive Philistine city, but a recent finding suggests that Gath was not just the largest but also the most powerful city. The discovery supporting this is a remarkable fortification wall and massive gate in the village of Tell es-Safi in Tel Zalfit, an archaeological site that has been under quarry for 20 years. The area lies within the Judean foothills between Jerusalem and Israel. According to history, the settlement was inhabited during the Chalcolithic period for about 5,000 years until its people abandoned the site.
The discovery of Goliath’s City of Gath
Professor Arem Maeir of Bar Ilan University and his team unearthed the remnants of a fortified gate wall with iron facilities and temples. Based on archeological findings, the site is a positive sign of Gath City’s influence and status.
In a statement released by Professor Arem, documented in an online newspaper:
‘We still have to do a lot of cleaning, defining, digging and measuring to do, but it seems that there are excellent chances we have truly landed on quite an astounding find. Many lines of megalithic stone appear, with nice corners, features, and even mud bricks. While we are quite far from fully understanding this architectural complex, it is getting more and more impressive.’
Apart from the massive gate (with temples and iron facilities), an inscription includes a name that sounds like our villian Goliath has been identified. Tools found and other remnants suggest that the city collapsed during the end of the nineteen-century BC. It coincides with a documented fact in history. Scholars believe Gath was most likely destroyed by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus in or around 830 BC.
Is Gath City really in Tel es-Safi?
What made the other historical candidates of Goliath’s city of Gath irrelevant to Professor Maier’s discovery? For many years, there were different places associated with Gath. Tell Sheikh Ahmed el-‘Areini, Tell esh-Sharieh and Tell Abu Hureira. These sites were believed to have insufficient evidence linking to Gath City. The only place that almost fit every detail in the bible and other sources outside the bible is Tel es-Safi.
The archeological finds dating to Bronze and Iron Age, as well as the Philistine material culture in Tel es-Safi, are strong indicators that the site was indeed Gath.
With a number of recent discoveries, we see a trend in archeology many large artifacts can’t remain hidden for a long time. The City of Gath whereabouts eluded archeologists for generations but perhaps is now shining in a light of its own. The prospects are interesting but more excavating is necessary to confirm this is the ancient City of Goliath.