Biblical Sites in Israel: Gath of the Philistines

April 9, 2016

A visit to the biblical site of Gath, Tel es Safi, on Israel’s coastal plain is worthwhile. Gath was the land of giants (Josh. 11:22). Goliath was from Gath: “Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall” (1 Sam. 17:4, Holman’s Christian Standard Bible).

It is sad to read how that David (after killing Goliath) had to flee from Saul. He fled to Gath of the Philistines, but there, fearing for his life, pretended to be insane (1 Sam 21:10-15; cf. Psalms 34 and 56). Later David again fled to Gath and was given refuge (1 Sam. 27); the king of Gath gave David and his 600 men the city of Ziklag.

When David was residing when he heard news of the death of King Saul, and his three sons (1 Sam. 31) he composed a song which included the words “Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon — Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph” (2 Sam. 1:20).

Our photo here gives a view of the large tel.

Tel Gath of the Philistines. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Tel Gath of the Philistines. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We were also able to see some of the excavations of the cities lower wall.

Recent Excavations at Gath. Lower wall of city. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Recent Excavations at Gath. Lower wall of city. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I have previously posted on Gath here (aerial photo).

Dr. Aren Maeir maintains a blog here devoted to news about Gath, Tel es Safi.

Tonight we are at Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee; more photos and info to come. Thanks for following our travels.


Gath of the Philistines

October 26, 2010

There were five Philistine cities; these are listed as Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron (1 Sam. 6:17). Today’s post features an aerial shot of the Philistine city of Gath.

 

Aerial of Gath of the Philistines. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

 

There are numerous biblical references to Gath. Goliath the giant, the Philistine champion, was from Gath (1 Sam. 17:4).  David fled from King Saul, seeking asylum from Achish, king of Gath (1 Sam. 21: 10), but when he saw he was is danger there too, pretended to be insane.  However, David was later successful in finding refuge at Gath (1 Sam. 27:1ff), though subsequently the Philistines gave him his own city of Ziklag.

When Saul and his son Jonathan (David’s best friend) died at Mt. Gilboa, David wrote a song that included the words, “Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon — Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph” (2 Sam. 1:20).

“Later David defeated the Philistines and subdued them. He took Gath and its surrounding towns away from the Philistines” (1 Chron. 18:1, NET).

Also, bear in mind that when you see the word Gittite that reference is made to a resident of Gath.  One of David’s most loyal followers was Ittai the Gittite.  When David was forced to flee Jerusalem during his son Absalom’s rebellion, he told Ittai that he was not expected to accompany David. “But Ittai replied to the king, ‘as surely as the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether it means life or death, there will your servant be'” (2 Sam. 15:21, NIV).

Remember to click on photo for higher resolution.

A couple of matters on a personal note:

I’m currently in a 4-day meeting in Lawrenceville, GA., presenting a series of lessons on “Becoming More Like Jesus.”  My friend Allen Shepherd is the local evangelist.  This is my second time to be with this congregation.  The meeting concludes tomorrow evening.

Also, my mother-in-law, Mrs. Ura May Creel, passed away this past Sat. after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.    My brother-in-law and I conducted the funeral service yesterday in Hanceville AL. Three of her grandsons led congregational singing.  I regarded her as a mother.   We sorrow, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thes. 4:13ff.).