Tuesday, November 1, 2011


David Confronts Goliath with his Sling
Hello My Friend and Welcome.

Hold on to your hats. We’re about to use the WABAC (Way Back) Machine to travel back in time 3,000 plus years. And even if you’re too young to remember Mr. Peabody and Sherman, who were regulars on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, you’ll still be allowed to accompany us on this adventure.

Three of the five cities of the famous Philistine Pentapolis have long been known—Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gaza. A fourth, Ekron, has recently been confirmed by an inscription, locating it at modern Tel Miqne in Israel. Gath, the fifth, has remained somewhat of a mystery. But now, after 13 years of work, archaeologists believe they have uncovered the ruins of a Philistine temple in the ancient city of Gath buried beneath one of the largest mounds in Israel.

Walls & Pillar Bases of the Temple
This is an exciting find because, according to the Bible, Gath is the hometown of the giant Goliath.As every schoolchild knows, David, the simple shepherd boy, and future king of Israel, defeated the fearsome Philistine giant with only a sling and five smooth stones (1Samuel 17). David’s triumph over Goliath has become one of the most beloved and well-known stories in the Bible. Along the way, Goliath’s name has become associated with anything big.  

Later in the Second Book of Samuel, the defeat of Goliath occurs in another battle with the Philistines at Gob and is attributed to the otherwise unknown Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver's rod (2Samuel 21:19). When the story of Elhanan’s victory is repeated in the Book of Chronicles, this inconsistency is corrected when it states that Elhanan killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath (Chronicles 20:5).

The mound containing the temple is located about halfway between Ashkelon and Jerusalem, near Kiryat Gat along Israel’s southern coastal plain. The temple contained a number of ritual items that have been dated back to the 10th century BC. Interestingly, the design of this temple, with its two central pillars, is reminiscent of the architectural image that is described in the Biblical story of Samson who pulled down the Philistine temple of Dagon on himself and the Philistines. At the very least, the discovery indicates that the story of Samson reflects a type of temple in use in Philistia at the time.

The Site of Ancient Gath and the Temple of Dagon
The team working at the site found impressive evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BC, reminiscent of the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos 1:1. The walls were moved from their place and collapsed like a deck of cards as a result of the powerful earthquake, estimated to have had a magnitude of 8 on the Richter scale. They also uncovered further evidence of the destruction of the city by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus, around 830 BC, as mentioned in Kings II 12:18.
I have to admit there’s nothing I like more than reporting work like this that validates so many Biblical facts and claims. Do I need to see stories like this to accept the Bible as a historically accurate document? No. Will stories such as this convince a skeptic who refuses to believe what the Bible says? Probably not. However I can’t help but find it interesting to see the many, many times science validates the Bible accounts.

King Silas with David Shepherd from KINGS
On a related topic, I wonder if you’re familiar with the 2009 mini-series called Kings? It’s a modern day, alternate-reality drama about a hero who rises to become the King of his nation, and loosely based —remember that caveat— on the biblical story of King David. They touched on some of the Biblical characters when they name the cast. For instance, there is a black minister named Rev. Ephram Samuels who fills the part of the prophet Samuel.

One of the co-stars (Christopher Egan) plays Capt. David Shepherd. A mild mannered soldier from the outback, he finds himself in a decisive battle in which the King’s son has been captured by the enemy forces of Gath. He mounts a one-man attack against one of their super tanks, appropriately enough called the Goliath.

When he blows it up, the enemy flees and he’s able to free the King’s son. In the process he becomes a national hero. He also falls in love with the King’s daughter who seems to have taken some sort of vow. Was she supposed to represent Michal? It’s hard to say. The King’s son, Jack, bears little resemblance to Jonathan of the Bible. Some caution is needed. This is a network show and contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing.

Until next time, we wish you Peace and Blessings.

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