The Land of Geshur

The area of Geshur figures into the biblical history of King David. David’s “third son was Absalom, the son of Maacah daughter of King Talmai of Geshur” (2 Sam. 3:3). When tragedy struck David’s family internally, as Absalom killed his half-brother Amnon, because Amnon raped Absalom’s sister Tamar, “Absalom fled and went to King Talmai son of Ammihud of Geshur” (2 Sam. 13:17). I.e., he sought and received refuge from Talmai who was his grandfather.

Note the location of Geshur here:

Old Testament Geshur. Map by BibleAtlas.Org.

Geshur is inclusive of the site usually identified as Bethsaida.

This area of Galilee was included among the sites taken by the Assyrians, about a decade before the fall of Samaria (722 BC).

During Pekah’s reign over Israel, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, including all the territory of Naphtali. He deported the people to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).

This invasion is dated at ca. 732 BC. Here is a view from inside the gate of Bethsaida, in the territory of Geshur. This Galilean site was included in the Assyrian attack in the above text. Occupants here would have seen the Assyrians setting fire to the gate.

City gate of Bethsaida. In territory of OT Geshur. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The heat intense fire caused the blocks in the gate area to burst. You can still see black carbon residue from the fire.

Blocks burst by intense fire during Assyrian invasion. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Click images for larger view.


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