Gezer’s Standing Stones

March 29, 2010

Regarding the biblical city of Gezer, editor Hershel Shanks wrote,

Gezer was a major metropolis in ancient times. It overlooked and dominated the Via Maris (or Way of the Sea), a major highway between Egypt and Mesopotamia. At 700 feet above sea level, Gezer commanded a magnificent view in every direction. Thus it controlled not only the main highway but also the principal trunkline that branched off to Jerusalem. This was one of the most important crossroads in the country. (Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1994).

Speaking specifically of the standing stones at Gezer’s high place, Shanks said,

This is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Israel, yet it is rarely visited even by aficionados because it is so difficult to get to—unmarked and neglected. The high place consists of ten monumental standing stones dating from the Canaanite period (about 1600 B.C.) that probably retained their now-mysterious religious significance for hundreds of years thereafter. Does each of these huge standing stones represent a tribe? Or a city? Were they placed here as witness to some kind of covenant? (ibid.).

Today’s photo shows the standing stones at Gezer. This high place was located at the highest point in the city.

Standing Stones at High Place at Gezer. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Standing Stones at High Place at Gezer. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Scholars believe that this high place dates back to Canaanites occupation (1500 B.C.). While some suggest that these stones, some of which are more than nine feet high, were erected to signify treaties between nations, others believe this was a cultic center.  The site brings to mind Lev. 26:1: “You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar [Heb. matstsebah], nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God” (NASB).

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