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A Little Dirt Speaks Volumes Posted 8.07.2015

If you follow the news much, you know by now what is the most significant article of the week.  No, not the debate.  It had nothing to do with current events.  I was sent a link (thanks, Bill) to an article highlighting an amazing archeological discovery in Israel.  It is a dig which relates to our current study following David to the throne of Israel.

 

A massive gate unearthed in Israel may mark the entrance to a biblical city that, at its heyday, was the biggest metropolis in the region. The town?  It is Gath, hometown of Goliath and Achish – both of whom we now know well.

 

The new findings reveal just how impressive the ancient Philistine city once was, according to the lead archaeologist, Aren Maeir.  They located the tops of the defensive walls of Gath – and then a huge iron gate down at the lower city.  Buildings, including a Philistine temple and an iron-production facility have also been uncovered.

 

The article says they have unearthed pottery near that monumental entrance gate which resembles pottery previously associated with Philistine culture.  It is interesting, however, because these new finds also provide evidence of some influence from Israelite culture. “This mirrors the intense and multifaceted connections that existed between the Philistines and their neighbors,” Maeir added. 

 

And that mixing of culture, though forbidden by God, is played out as we watch the rise of David to the throne of Israel.  The city of Gath is a significant site.  It is mentioned 35 times in the Old Testament, and the tel in which they dig these days is massive – one of the largest in Israel.  These Philistines were advanced, creative, and prosperous. History tells us they probably occupied Gath until Hazael, the king of Damascus, destroyed it in BC 830.

 

I was struck by the power and strength of the Philistines from Gath. They were a formidable enemy.  I am struck by the hints of our text that can be seen in archeology.  The art shows both Philistine culture touched by Hebrew culture.  Perhaps David?  Or at least he may have opened the doors to come collaboration.

 

I am struck most of all by the veracity of the biblical accounts.  As we stake our lives and our dreams on the written promises of God, the more dirt archeologists uncover, the more confirmation they add to the text. Modern “scholars” doubted David’s existence, until a stone was uncovered at Tel Dan with the inscription, “House of David.”  Well, I guess David did exist after all.  As did the Philistines of Gath.  As did their amazing military industrial complex – iron chariots and weapons.

 

Do not underestimate the power of archeology to our faith.  The biblical text is our most important witness to the story of God, but archeology can provide some fascinating clues that fill in the gaps of our knowledge.  Yes, we have to be careful, many archeologists try to disprove the Bible with their digging.  But if they use proper scientific methods – what emerges provides is a greater understanding of the ancient world.  Bring it on!

 

 

 


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