The tale of the King Of Israel, David, slaying the giant Goliath, goes back ages. Now this ancient story is receiving new light as one of the greatest biblical finds in archaeological history is sweeping the internet.
As of only a few days ago, an Ackerman Family funded dig near Jerusalem led by archaeologist Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University in Israel, unearthed a massive set of fortifications that could possibly be linked to the lost Philistine city of Gath, home to one of the most famous giants in scripture, Goliath.
As per Live Sciene and Maeir, "We knew that Philistine Gath in the 10th to ninth century [B.C.] was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time," Maeir added, "These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was."
Thanks to key references in the Bible, archaeologists can pinpoint their findings in Tel Zafit National Park between Jerusalem and Ashkelon to the fallen city. At the time, Gath was once an enemy to David and was ultimately destroyed by King Hazael of Aram-Damascus around 830 BC.
The specific passage reads, "That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, 'Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?' David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard." – 1 Solomon 21:10-12
To get an idea of how large the city of Gath was, The Inquisitr points out that, "Jerusalem was a little under 30 acres, while the city of Gath is estimated to have been around 124 acres when the Goliath gate was still standing strong."
Maeir, who works in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, also mentioned that Gath was in fact very large and upon his findings restated, "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."
See what other evidence points to this being the ancient city on the next page.
One more piece of evidence that points to the fortifications belonging to Gath are markings of an 8th century earthquake. Here is a video of Maeir describing the earthquake in the area from 2010.
Bar-Ilan University pointed out other key clues, in addition to the earthquake that make this city relatable to that time period. Altogether, these indicate that this is in fact the city of Gath. Inscriptions, cultural objects and remains of siege equipment lend further support to Maier's claims.
As per their article, "Philistine Temples dating to the 11th through 9th century BCE, evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE possibly connected to the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos I:1, the earliest decipherable Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, which contains two names similar to the name Goliath; a large assortment of objects of various types linked to Philistine culture; remains relating to the earliest siege system in the world, constructed by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus around 830 BCE, along with extensive evidence of the subsequent capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, as mentioned in Second Kings 12:18; evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan (around 1200 BCE); different levels of the earlier Canaanite city of Gath; and remains of the Crusader castle "Blanche Garde" at which Richard the Lion-Hearted is known to have been."