Excursion the well-fortified Tel Gezer, the biblical Canaanite holdout that would not fall


Infrequently do archeologists and historians have written evidence that definitely identifies a Holy Land web page discussed within the Bible. That’s why the rock inscription came upon at Tel Jazer within the early 1870s made this sort of splash: the phrases written at the rock, in historic Hebrew, learn: “Boundary of Gezer.” Over time, fairly a couple of extra Gezer boundary stones were recovered at the tel, or hill.

The phrase “Gezer” seems within the Bible over a dozen instances. Its 3rd point out is inside the context of the territories assigned to the Israelites who, after the Exodus and a 40-year sojourn within the desolate tract, had been primed to relax within the land that God had stated can be theirs. That Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey, was once additionally stuffed with Canaanite towns that didn’t take the Israelite invasion mendacity down. And whilst the Israelites did set up to overcome various Canaanite towns, a number of others didn’t capitulate.

Any such was once Gezer, which Joshua had assigned to the tribe of Ephraim. A big and necessary metropolis, Gezer was once a part of the Egyptian empire and dominated through individuals who corresponded regularly with the Pharaohs. It was once best right through King Solomon’s reign masses of years after the Israelites did not take town that Gezer fell underneath Israelite keep watch over. Even then, this took place best for the reason that reigning Pharaoh devastated town, slew the population, and presented Gezer to King Solomon as a present when the Israelite monarch married his daughter.

Excluding for a small strive at agriculture there within the nineteenth century, Gezer has been nearly deserted for no less than two millennia. Its ruins are unfold over 32 acres and are encompassed in Tel Gezer Nationwide Park.

Tel Gezer is particular. No longer best is it one of the crucial greatest such websites within the nation, however it’s open all day, and guests don’t pay a price to discover its antiquities. It additionally boasts a gate that dates again to a time when Solomon conscripted laborers to rebuild town. In truth, aside from for trifling disparities because of variations in terrain, it is the same to the gates at two different towns that Solomon made up our minds to rebuild: Megiddo and Hazor (I Kings 9:15).

It kind of feels secure to think that an lively King Solomon traveled the rustic checking on all of his extravagant tasks (he additionally constructed a palace and a Temple), so as soon as guests go the edge they could also be strolling on stones trodden through Israel’s wisest king.

Annually in wintry weather and spring a shocking number of wildflowers blooms in every single place the tel, whilst in summer season it is stuffed with dry, overgrown greenery. A couple of months in the past, despite the fact that a fireplace broke out at Tel Gezer, the archeological websites remained utterly intact and the one proof of the flames that lined the web page are blackened weeds appearing their same old summer season desolation. Through subsequent spring, it’s anticipated that the grounds will once more be lined in multi-colored blooms.

Panoramic view of Tel Gezer nationwide park. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Following a contemporary facelift, there may be now a just right highway to the park and the path main during the tel is far more uncomplicated to traverse than it was once prior to now (despite the fact that it could actually nonetheless be a bit of rocky and guests will have to tread sparsely). As well as, since remaining 12 months, just right walkers can now achieve the biggest Canaanite water device but came upon.

Alongside the path, Tel Gezer’s Canaanite tower is the biggest fortification of its sort in Israel. Constructed to offer protection to the world of the Canaanite metropolis gate, it’s 16 meters (52.5 ft) huge and when built was once 15 meters (49 ft) tall. These days best 5 meters (16.4 ft) stay in situ as the highest 10 meters (33 ft), most certainly built of mudbrick, haven’t survived the weather. The tower would perhaps have contained reception halls, army and/or administrative facilities, and most likely a house for the governor.

Stays of the Canaanite gate at Tel Gezer. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Simply visual from the path are the Canaanite casement partitions, rooms or houses constructed into the wall of town to offer double coverage for the population. As though the Gezer Boundary rock wasn’t sufficient to end up that that is the biblical metropolis, there are nonetheless stays of destruction that dates to the years round 950 BCE, precisely the time when, in line with the Bible, the Egyptian Pharaoh razed town.

Canaanite casement rooms constructed into the wall of town to offer double coverage for the population at Tel Gezer. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Most pros imagine that the Canaanite water device close by was once carved out of limestone some 4,000 years in the past and is the oldest and in all probability the biggest of its type within the Heart East. Citizens would have descended down a 40-meter (131-foot) shaft with a purpose to achieve the subterranean spring. Because the facelift, guests can now take 175 steps right down to the water.

These days, guests can take 175 steps right down to the 4,000-year-old Canaanite water supply. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Additional alongside the path, and positioned in a low saddle between other parts of the tel, are 10 monolithic rocks. Whilst these days this space of the tel is fairly remoted, when Gezer was once a flourishing Canaanite metropolis, this was once it sounds as if the spiritual middle of Canaanite society. A colonnaded construction with ornamental roofs, columns and formality spaces would have surrounded the monoliths, regularly referred to as Status Stones.

No person is aware of needless to say what driven the Canaanites to construct this web page. Erection of pillars to commemorate a non secular revel in turns out to were conventional amongst many of us of the Heart East. The Israelites, too, honored their cohesion after receiving the Legislation of Moses through hanging up status stones: “[Moses]… constructed an altar on the foot of the mountain and arrange 12 stone pillars representing the 12 tribes of Israel.” (Exodus, 24:4)

Canaanite Status Stones at Tel Gezer. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Whilst the Canaanites will have ready the web page for a gathering between heads of the world’s other city-states, it’s a long way much more likely that ritual prostitution took place on the temple. Gezer has all the time been a farming group and its goddesses represented fertility; appeasement of the gods was once idea to lead to fatter sheep and higher vegetation.

Final at the path is the Israelite metropolis. Stones on every aspect of the gate are of a method referred to as ashlar masonry, the place they’re lower right into a uniform form and measurement. All the way through excavations over 100 years in the past, archeologist R.A. Macalister exposed a part of the gate and assumed it belonged to a Maccabee (Hasmonean) palace. However well-known statesman and archeologist Yigael Yadin was once acquainted with the biblical passage in Kings, knew about identical gates at Megiddo and Hazor, and tested the web page extra carefully. In 1958 Yadin declared this a Solomonic gate (it was once exposed in its entirety a couple of years later). One architect most certainly designed the gates in any respect 3 websites.

Below the road operating between all sides of the gate there was once a sewer, the ditch you spot these days. On the time, in fact, it was once lined through a stone walkway.

Stays of an Israelite metropolis courting again to the days of King Solomon at Tel Gezer. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Every aspect of the gate is covered with 3 guard rooms, a type of closest to the doorway with a water trough that can have serviced other folks, animals or each. Every other guard room is surrounded through benches, most likely to seat judges, prophets and others who hung out close to the gate.

A singular to find at Tel Gezer demonstrates the tangible connection between the previous and the prevailing. Referred to as the Gezer Calendar, it incorporates the earliest recognized specimen of Hebrew writing and lists the 8 sessions of the rural 12 months. The stone pill on which that is inscribed additionally notes the duty related to every level. Farmers at close by kibbutzim to find this calendar in particular related as it proves that their ancestors reaped the similar harvests then that they reap these days, and processed the similar wine.

For instructions to Tel Gezer Nationwide Park glance on Google or Waze, or be happy to put in writing to us at israeltravels@gmail.com.

Aviva Bar-Am is the creator of seven English-language guides to Israel.
Shmuel Bar-Am is a certified excursion information who supplies personal, custom designed excursions in Israel for people, households and small teams.



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