Thursday, August 20, 2015

Return of the Giants

“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels.” (1 Samuel 17:4)
Return of the Giants

Biblical Story of Goliath Proven True

By de Andréa, Opinion Editorialist
Published August 20, 2015

Remains of the city wall of the Philistine city of Gath. (Photo: Prof. Arena Maeir/ Bar Ilan University)

In October of 2013 I stood in the Elan or (Ilan Valley) where David slew the giant Philistine soldier that for so many years science has scoffed at, calling it a myth.  I stood in the dry creek that runs wet and wild through the valley during the rainy season, I picked up five smooth stones from the creek, just as the shepherd boy David did more than 3000 years ago.  While standing there I wished that I had taken my childhood sling with me made out of two rawhide strings and a square of leather in which to place the stone.  I would have done exactly what David did, swinging the sling around at a very high speed and just like throwing a baseball, letting go of one of the rawhide strings just at the right time slinging a rock at hundreds of feet per second.  The trajectory that David had practiced many times before in order to ward off wolves that were threatening his sheep found a place right in the center of the giant Goliath’s forehead.  It’s doubtful that the rock actually killed the giant but it likely rendered him unconscious, he fell with a huge thud.  As the Philistines ran, David approached the giant and as he lay on the ground motionless and appearing to be dead, David severed the giant Goliath’s head.
The return of giants is mentioned in various Jewish teachings as part of the process of redemption. A recent archaeological discovery indicates that Biblical stories of these famed beings are no longer mere myths.
This year archaeologists in Israel have uncovered what they believe to be the enormous gates of Gath, the city of Goliath. The story of Goliath the Giant (1 Samuel 17) is a Bible classic with a clear message for young and old. However, equally important and less studied, is the role of Goliath and the Philistines as the physical and ideological enemies of David and the Messianic dynasty.
A Bar Ilan University team of archaeologists estimate that the remains of the ancient Philistine city dates back to the 10th century BCE. Two inscriptions discovered at the site ad names similar to Goliath, giving more weight to the documentation in the bible. The modern site, known today as Tell es-Safi, has been occupied almost continuously for nearly 4,000 years and is the focus of continuous archaeological excavations since 1899. Until now, it was not known that its iron-age remains were so extensive.
“We knew that Philistine Gath in the tenth to ninth century (BCE) was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time,” excavation leader Professor Aren Maeir told Live Science. “These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was.”
Most scholars believe that Gath was besieged and finally laid to waste by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus, in 830 B.C., Maeir said.
The newly discovered gate is being hailed as one of the largest of its kind ever found. The gate is part of enormous and extensive fortifications, indicating the importance of the city. Archaeologists also found ironworks and a Philistine temple near the monumental gate, with some pottery. Examination of the pottery revealed both Philistine and Israelite influences, indicating there was more interaction between the two cultures than previously thought.
“This mirrors the intense and multifaceted connections that existed between the Philistines and their neighbors,” Maeir said.
As if the discovery of the giant gate wasn’t enough, archaeologists also found indications of a catastrophic earthquake in the 8th century BCE, in what the team says could be the disaster mentioned in the Book of Amos.

THE BOTTOM LINE:  One by one archeologists are discovering sites that are mentioned in the bible and one by one, what science as well as historians have in the past called myths, are nevertheless unearthed.  I also had the experience of going on an archeological dig while in Israel, so
I first hand experienced the excitement of unearthing ancient artifacts. 

Another that comes to mind is the Biblical city of Jericho, located on a Tel, pictured at right, on the West Bank near the Jordan River, which until the 1930’s was also thought to be a myth.  Archology at Jericho continued in earnest until 1997. In 2013 I walked the streets of the Biblical Jericho, more importantly I walked around the walls of Jericho that had obviously fallen away from the city (an unlikely occurrence at a time of war) but it was just as it was written in the Bible.

I don’t need proof, but the proof is there nevertheless!


Thanks for listening – de Andréa

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