Massive Gate Found in Goliath’s Hometown

Massive Gate Found in Goliath’s Hometown

MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Biblical history comes alive with a recent discovery on the outskirts of Israel.

The iconic story of young David’s epic encounter with Goliath has captured imaginations for millennia. The classic underdog narrative resonates with all people as they face insurmountable odds—their figurative giants. But is the history of David and Goliath, as well as the history of their respective nations, only figurative, or is the history as the Bible describes a literal account of what took place?

A recent discovery in archaeological excavations at Goliath’s hometown of Gath is helping provide the answer.

The biblical city of Gath has been excavated extensively over the past 100 years. However, it was only at an archaeological dig this past summer that excavators happened upon a huge city wall and adjacent gate.

According to head archaeologist Prof. Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University in Israel, his team began to excavate the lower city of the mound (also known as Tel es-Safi) to determine whether it had been fortified during the Iron Age, the archaeological period in which the nation of Israel was also present in the land.

“In the past, we saw evidence of this but could not find definite proof,” Professor Maeir told Bible History Daily. “Once the remains were found in the specific trench, we ‘connected the dots’ regarding other features we could see on the surface and then began excavating them as well.”

Philistine and Israelite territories during the time of King Saul

Before long, the outline of a massive gate began to literally emerge from the ground. Excavators only discovered the top of the fortification and gate during this season, so only the very top of the wall is visible. It will take many more excavation seasons to reveal the full height of the remains.

While the exact dimensions of the gate at the entrance to the city are yet to be released, Maeir claims that “the city gate is among the largest ever found in Israel and is evidence of the status and influence of the city of Gath during this period.”

Indeed it does.

The fact that Gath was a prominent city during the time of King Saul and King David perfectly correlates with history related in the Bible.

Even so, some, including the archaeologist heading the excavation, say that this discovery presents a history contradictory to the Bible.

According to reporting by left-leaning Israel daily Haaretz, Maier said, “The Judean kingdom is supposed to be big, important and strong, but it turns out there is a very big city on its western border. For years, I claimed Gath was a big city, but they countered that it has no lower city, and if it has one, it is not fortified. After finding a huge fortification, it’s clearly the most important city of the 10th and ninth centuries.”

This hasty logic is surprising from such a distinguished scholar. The fact that a formidable city existed on the border of Israel does not exclude Israel from being “big, important and strong.”

In so many cases, as well as this one, a verdict is given about the veracity of the Bible without a proper understanding of what the text actually states.

So what does the Bible say about Israel and the Philistines at the time?

The Bible states that Gath was one of the five major cities of the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:17). While there is no real indication that the Philistines were a major power when Israel conquered the Promised Land during the time of Joshua, the Philistines do appear prominently in the later period of the judges, leading up to the establishment of the monarchy in Israel.

Because of the repetitive sins of Israel, God allowed the Philistines to oppress the Israelites during the time of the judges, at which point God raised up the mighty Danite Samson. Though Samson had his own problems, God used him to knock back the rising power of the Philistines. In his final act, as he was tied between two central pillars of a Philistine building in Gaza, Samson brought the house down on Philistine leadership, giving the Israelites a short reprieve (Judges 16:29-30).

However, it didn’t take long until a resurgent Philistine nation battled again with Israel at the very end of the period of the judges. At which time, the precious ark of the covenant was lost and the nation’s hope dwindled. Through the next 80 years (during the reigns of Saul and David), the Philistines and the Israelites battled back and forth, with the borderland between the two witnessing almost constant warfare. In reality, an outside political observer at the time would be hard pressed to guess which of the two nations would rise to eventual dominance over the other.

Throughout the reign of King Saul and into the reign of David, the Philistines maintained the upperhand on Israel. The Bible states directly that Philistine garrisons existed in such Israelite cities as Bethlehem and Gibeon (1 Samuel 10:5; 2 Samuel 23:14). The Philistines were so powerful that Israel was forbidden to sharpen their own iron tools, instead they had to go down to the Philistines who charged an exorbitant price (1 Samuel 13:19-21).

When the Israelites finally did overcome the Philistines during the reign of David, there is no mention of a messy destruction of Philistine cities (2 Samuel 8:1; 1 Chronicles 18:1). Unlike many other surrounding nations, the Philistines were neither absorbed into the kingdom of Israel or exiled elsewhere, but were able to continue living in their home territories, yet under Israelite rule. In fact, nowhere in the Bible is there a mention of Israel destroying the city of Gath, not until 200 years after King David, during the reign of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6).

Rather than countering the biblical narrative, an honest look at the text should lead scholars to expect to find such massive Philistine fortifications such as the gatehouse at Gath. The fact that the gate is similar in size to some of the largest found in Israel fits the scenario described in the Bible most beautifully.

While no single artifact or discovery can “prove the Bible true,” discoveries such as the one at Gath certainly do add to the weight of evidence archaeology has contributed to confirming the accuracy of the biblical account.

Congratulations to the excavation team at Gath for such a wonderful discovery. We look forward to next year’s season when more of the gate of Gath is uncovered.

What Is Wrong With Science?

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Why has science proven so powerless against the quandaries of selfishness, hatred and violence?

Rule Your Own Spirit

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If human appetites and desires are not held in check, there is likely to be a wreck!

Listen to the Trumpet Daily each day at 7:00 am (cst) on kpcg.fm.

In looking at today’s world, we see evidence of undisciplined minds everywhere. We see wars and rumors of war. We see an epidemic of violent crime and murder. There is disrespect for authority at every level of society. In Western nations, there is physical prosperity—but there is so much unhappiness and misery, there is drug addiction and family breakdown. And look at the spirit of lawlessness and rebellion that is tolerated—even celebrated—within the youth culture.

In a world where people—young and old alike—have a disregard for self-control, God expects us to build discipline into our lives. The Apostle Paul said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection …” (1 Corinthians 1:27). Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

The Christian life is full of challenges and trials. It requires learning God’s will and following it, even against temptation and self-desire. It demands struggle and sacrifice. It is a life of overcoming and conquering sin. The Bible backs this up from the first chapters of Genesis to the final chapters of Revelation. Scripture frequently describes it as a struggle, a fight, a battle.

Self-discipline is critical to developing godly character. It’s a crucial key to happiness and prosperity. Find out how to develop the trait of self-discipline on the Trumpet Daily.

Week in Review: China’s Troubled Economy, A Call for EU Army, Iran Laughs At U.S. Threats, Obama’s Clean-Energy Dream, and More

Week in Review: China’s Troubled Economy, A Call for EU Army, Iran Laughs At U.S. Threats, Obama’s Clean-Energy Dream, and More

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All you need to know about everything in the news this week

Get all the important news from August 8-14 by downloading our Trumpet Weekly report. You can subscribe to get it sent to your e-mail every week here.

Top Stories:

China’s Economic Slowdown

  • “Forget Greece: China’s Economic Slowdown is the Biggest Story of the Year,” wrote the Spectator.
  • China is panicking. It devalued its currency by 3.6 percent in an effort to encourage exports.
  • Is East Ukraine about to blow?

  • Russia’s aggression in East Ukraine rages on.
  • “It seems the mask of a cease fire has come off in East Ukraine, wrote the Washington Times. “The violence is flaring as the Minsk peace process stalls with each side looking to exploit the lull in the fighting to reinforce positions and prepare for the next phase of the conflict. … [T]he situation … appears to be heading back to full-scale war.”
  • A Call for EU Army

  • A new paper by the European Council on Foreign Relations essentially concluded that America is useless, so Europe needs to get its act together and look after itself.
  • “Too often in recent decades, Europeans have been content to tag along behind the US in international affairs,” said the paper. “A new, more realistic, transatlantic bargain will require a stronger European sense of Europe’s own interests and identity. In a world of many problems, America needs partners not followers.”
  • Iran Laughs At U.S. Threats

  • “We should thank Obama for refreshing us by referring to his ‘options on the table,’ including the military one; we just relax and laugh at such ridiculous words,” said Iran’s Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Asoudi.
  • “Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s pride and might has made the world’s biggest materialistic and military powers kneel down before the Islamic Republic’s might,” said Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari.
  • Obama Recognized Iran’s Right to Nuclear Program in 2011

  • The United States began secret nuclear talks with Iran in 2011—under the presidency of the radical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a June 23 speech: “At the time, a respected regional figure came to me as a mediator and explicitly said that U.S. President [Barack Obama] had asked him to come to Tehran and present an American request for negotiations. The Americans told this mediator: ‘We want to solve the nuclear issue and lift sanctions within six months, while recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.’ I told that mediator that I did not trust the Americans and their words, but after he insisted, I agreed to reexamine this topic, and negotiations began.”
  • Clean-Energy Dream or Nightmare?

  • Environmental Protection Agency releases new carbon dioxide regulations
  • “There will be critics of what we’re trying to do. … They will claim that this plan will cost you money—even though this plan, the analysis shows, will ultimately save the average American nearly $85 a year on their energy bills,” said President Obama.
  • People will only start saving money by 2030.
  • “Under my plan, … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. … Because I am capping greenhouse gasses, coal plants, natural gas… whatever the industry is, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money; they will pass that … on to consumers,” said Obama.
  • Other News:

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia and China are reading his emails. Secretary Kerry thinks hacking and cyber espionage have become entirely commonplace.

    Europe is in crisis, and everyone from Putin to ordinary savers is stockpiling gold.

    According to the Associated Press, U.S. food banks are expected to give away about 4 billion pounds of food this year, more than double the amount provided a decade ago.

    Get more details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    What Does America’s Fiscal Gap Really Look Like?

    What Does America’s Fiscal Gap Really Look Like?

    Mark Wilson/Getty Images

    A look at America’s total debt burden after everything is put on the books.

    Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on August 14.

    America is broke—and totally dependent on spending money it doesn’t have. Never has there been a wealthier, more affluent society than the United States of America. And yet, never has a society been more ignorant when it comes to managing that prosperity. What does God think about the way the United States is handling its finances? Find out on today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

    Subjects covered on today’s show:

    (1:05) Germany’s lead role in Kosovo

    (6:00) Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani’s visit to Moscow

    (20:40) China’s ailing economy

    (25:30) America’s debt crisis

    Listen to or download the Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

    http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/68064/details

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trumpet-daily-radio-show/id1003885427

    http://kpcg.fm/shows/trumpet-daily-radio-show

    Greek Crisis Making Germany Richer, Study Shows

    Greek Crisis Making Germany Richer, Study Shows

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    As long as the economic crisis continues to benefit Germany, don’t expect the euro crisis to be solved.

    A new study released on Monday revealed that Germany has profited immensely from Greece’s debt crisis. The export champion of Europe has saved $111 billion over the last five years due to investors’ “flights to safety.”

    The study, conducted by the private, non-profit Leibniz Institute of Economic Research, showed that each time investors got bad news about Greece, they rushed to the “safe haven” of Germany. As a result, Germany’s interest payments on borrowed funds significantly lowered.

    https://twitter.com/SoberLook/status/556099438390022145/photo/1

    Germany has disproportionately benefited from these next-to-nothing interest rates, according to the report. The $111 billion it has saved amounts to over 3 percent of its gross domestic product. Government bonds in other countries such as the United States, France and the Netherlands have benefited but to a much smaller extent.

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble continuously opposes writing off the Greek debt, citing his own government’s balanced budget. However, according to the study, the balanced budget was made possible due to Germany’s interest savings through the Greek crisis.

    The study even went so far as to say that “even if Greece doesn’t pay back a single cent, the German public purse has benefited financially from the crisis.”

    Financial gains are not the only benefit that Germany has reaped from the Greek depression. Germany has also essentially secured sovereign control over Greece, and hence its Mediterranean ports, through the new bailout deal. So expect more economic crises in Europe. As long as current trends hold, Germany has little motivation to permanently solve Europe’s economic crisis. In fact, further economic crisis works to its advantage. To find out more about this, and where it is heading, read “Greece Euro Crisis Reveals That Germany Rules Europe.”