history - 1

JOSHUA 1:1 ~ Moses was the Lord’s servant. Joshua son of Nun was Moses’ helper. After Moses
died, the Lord spoke to
Joshua. The Lord said, “My servant Moses is dead. Now you and these
people must go across the  Jordan River. You must go into the land I am giving to you, the people of

The Amarna Tablets from officials in Palestine to Pharaoh mentions Joshua’s name.

JOSHUA 6:2-5 ~ Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Look, I will let you defeat the city of Jericho. You
will defeat the king and all the fighting men in the city. March around the city with your army one time
every day. Do this for six days. {Tell the priests to carry the Holy Box ~ Ark of Covenant.} Tell seven
of the priests to carry trumpets made from the horns of male sheep and march in front of the Holy
Box. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times. On the seventh day, tell the priests to
blow the trumpets when they march. The priests will make one loud noise from the trumpets. When
you hear that noise, tell all the people to begin shouting. When you do this, the walls of the city
Jericho} will fall down and your people will be able to go straight into the city.”

Archaeologists have found that the walls of Jericho did indeed fall down, they date the destruction
of the wall to the
time of Joshua (c. 1400 BC).

The first major excavation of Jericho found piles of mud bricks at the base of the mound the city was
built on.  Archaeologist John Garstang, director of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem
and Dept. of Antiquities of the Palestine Government, excavated the ruins.  “The wall fell down flat.”  
The outer wall fell outward and down the hillside, dragging the inner wall with houses with it, the
streak of bricks gradually getting thinner down the slope.

JOSHUA 2:15, 18-19; 6:23  ~ The woman’s house was built into the city wall. It was part of the
So the woman used a rope to let the men down through a window…. You are using this red
rope to help us escape. We will come back to this land. At that time, you must tie this red rope in
your window. …We will protect every person who stays in this house…. So the two men went into the
house and brought out Rahab. They also brought out … and all the other people that were with her.
They put all the people in a safe place outside the camp of Israel.

The common explanation is an earthquake must have caused the collapse.  It must have been a
very unusual earthquake because it struck in such a way as to allow a
portion of the city wall on
the north side of the site to remain standing
, while everywhere else the wall fell.

house was evidently located on the north side of the city.  The wall was double with two
walls being 15 ft apart,
the outer wall 6’[ thick; the inner wall 12’ thick, both being about 30 ft.
high.  They were built on
faulty uneven foundations of brick 4 inches thick and 1-2’ long laid in
mud mortar.  The two walls were linked together by houses built across the top.  

JOSHUA 6:24 Then the people of Israel burned the whole city. They burned everything in the city
except the things made from silver, gold, bronze, and iron. They put those things in the Lord’s

Signs of  Jericho’s destruction were marked.  Garstang found great layers of charcoal and ashes
and wall ruins reddened by fire
.  Archaeologist Kenyon wrotet:  “The destruction was complete.
Walls and floors were blackened or reddened by
fire, and every room was filled with fallen bricks,
timbers, and
household utensils; in most rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt.”

Joshua 8 :12, 17, 28 ~ Then Joshua chose about 5,000 men.  Joshua sent these men to hide in the
area west of the city, between
Bethel and Ai…. All the people of Ai and Bethel chased the army of
Israel. … Then Joshua burned the city of
Ai.  That city became an empty pile of rocks. It is still like
that today.

The mound of Bethel (Beitan) was excavated by the Kyle Memorial Expedition under the
leadershiup of W. F. Albright.  They found it had been destroyed at a time coinciding with Joshua’s
invasion.  There was a solid mass
5 ft. thick of “fallen brick, burned red, black ash-filled earth,
and charred and splintered debri.”  Albright said he had seen nowhere in Palestine indications of a
more destructive conflagration.

JOSHUA 10:1,5 ~ At this time Adoni Zedek was the king of Jerusalem. This king heard that Joshua
had defeated
Ai and completely destroyed it. The king learned that Joshua had done the same
thing to
Jericho and its king. The king also learned that the people of Gibeon had made a peace
agreement with Israel. And those people lived very near Jerusalem….So these five Amorite kings
joined armies. (The five kings were the king of
Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth,
the king of
Lachish, and the king of Eglon.) Those armies went to Gibeon. The armies surrounded
the city and began fighting against it.

An ancient Amarna letter engraved on stone has been found, written by a man named Abdi-Hiba,
Governor of Jerusalem,
to Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (1378-1367BC), requesting aid from Egypt in
fighting the approaching Hebrews. The letter states the following:

“Why do you not hear my plea? All the governors are lost; the king, my lord, does not have a single
governor left! Let my lord, the king, send troops of archers, or the king will have no lands left. All the
lands of the king are being plundered by the Habiru [Hebrews].  If archers are here by the end of
the year, then the lands of my lord, the king, will continue to exist; but if the archers are not sent,
then the lands of the king, my lord, will be surrendered.”  

According to historians, the Abdi-Hiba letter was written between 1387 and 1366 BC, right in the
middle of
Joshua’s conquest of Canaan.  Joshua 24:29 states that he lived to be 110 years old,
which means he would have
died around 1352 BC, at least ten years after this letter was written.

(See above for dates of Exodus from Egypt.)  Exodus chapter 32, chapter 33 verse 11 states that
Joshua was a “young man” at this time. If he were fifteen, then was present for the 40 years
wandering in the wilderness, Joshua’s would be approximately 55 years old when he first entered
into the land of Canaan in 1406 BC.   He lived to be 110 years of age, so
died close to 1352 BC.  

Joshua 10:32 ~ The Lord allowed them to defeat the city of Lachish. They defeated that city on the
second day.

The Wellcome Archaeological Expedition found at Lachish a layer of ashes coinciding with
Joshua’s time.

JOSHUA 10:39 ~ They captured that city, its king, and all the little towns near Debir.

Debir (Kiriath-sepher, Tel Beit Mirshim), was found a deep layer of ashes, charcoal and lime,
indications of a
terrible fire.  Cultural debri under it was Canaanite, all above it was Israelite.

Joshua 11:11 ~ Then Joshua went back and captured the city of Hazor.

Archaeologist Garstang found in the ruins of Hazor the ashes of Joshua’s fire with pottery evidence
showed it occurred about 1400 BC.  

Also, an
Amarna Tablet written to Pharaoh 1380 BC by the Egyptian envoy in N. Palestine says,
“Let my lord the king recall that Hazor and its king have a ready hand to endure.”

JOSHUA 11:22 ~ There were no Anakite people left living in the land of Israel. The only Anakite
people that were
left alive were in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.

Even though Joshua destroyed most of the inhabitants of the cities he came across, the city of Gath
was spared. Evidence from the
Amarna Tablets.

Letters requesting aid from Egypt have been discovered that were written during this same time
frame. The following letter is from a man named Shuwardata,
governor of Gath:

“May the king, my lord, know that the chief of the Hapiru [Hebrew] has besieged the lands which
your god has given me; but I have attacked him. Also let the king, my lord, know that none of my
allies have come to my aid, it is only I and
Abdu-Heba who fight against the Hapiru [Hebrew] chief. I
plead with the king my lord, if you agree, send Yanhamu, and let us quickly go to war, so that the
lands of the king, my lord, might be restored to their original boundaries!”

Shuwardata governor of Gath is also mentioned in the following letter from a man named Milkilu, a
prince of Gezer, with whom he was allied:

“Let it be known to the king that there is great hostility against me and against Shuwardata. I ask the
king, my lord, protect his land from the approaching Hapiru [Hebrews].”  

These two men later seem to have offered allegiance to Joshua, as evidence from a second letter
from Abdi-Heba
, governor of Jerusalem:

“Let it be known what Milkilu and Shuwardata did to the land of the king, my lord! They sent troops
Gezer, troops of Gath, they took the land of Rubutu; the land of the king went over to the Hapiru
. But now even a town near Jerusalem, Bit-Lahmi (Bethlehem) by name, a village which
once belonged to the king, has fallen to the enemy. Let the king hear the words of your servant Abdi-
Heba, and send archers to restore the imperial lands of the king! But if no archers are sent, the
lands of the king will be taken by the
Hapiru [Hebrew]  people. This act was done by the hand of
Milkilu and Shuwardata.”

At Gezer in the Canaanite stratum around 1500 BC before the Israelites came, are the ruins of a
temple.  It was an enclosure about 150’ x 120’ surrounded by a wall, open to the sky.  Within the
walls were 10 rude
stone pillars 5 to 11 ft high, before which the sacrifices were offered.  

Under the debris, Archaeologist Macalister found great numbers of jars containing the remains of
children who had been sacrificed to Baal.  The whole area proved to be a cemetery for new-born

JOSHUA 15:53-54 ~ The people of Judah were also given these towns: Arab, Dumah, Eshan, Janim,
Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, Humtah, Kiriath
Arba (Hebron), and Zior. There were nine towns and all
the fields around them.

Found on the walls of an Egyptian temple at Medinet Habu contain a list of cities that Rameses II
(1304-1238) recorded as enemy towns.   The cities are represented on the wall by men bearing
shields. Within the shields are the names of the cities.   Among the list of cities are Janum, Aphekah

JOSHUA 21:21 ~ The city of Shechem from the hill country of Ephraim. (Shechem was a city of
safety.) They also got Gezer.

One of the Amarna letters indicate that the prince of Gezer and the prince of Shechem
surrendered to Joshua during the conquest of the land:  

“See the actions taken by Milkilu, the prince of Gezer, and the sons of Labayu, the princes of
Shechem, who have handed over the land to the Hapiru [Hebrews]
Amarna Tablet
Ancient JERICHO Excavations
Cross section of JERICHO'S
double walls & slope
BETHEL Excavations
AI Excavations
Amarna letter from Jerusalem to
Excavation of LACHISH
DEBIR Excavation
A Baal mask discovered in ancient
HAZOR.  Baal worship included
prostitution and sacrificing
babies.  Baal was worshipped
throughout the area of
Display of some of the many
Amarna Letters on clay tablets sent
to Pharaoh Amenhotep IV.
Excavation of Temple in ancient GATH.
Notice bases for columns
Columns from ancient temple at
HEBRON listed in the Medinet
Habu Temple, Egypt, as one of
Rameses' enemy cities.
Remains of ancient SHECHEM.

JUDGES 1:18, 29 ~ The men of Judah also captured the cities of Ashkelon....There were Canaanite
people living in Gezer.

The Merneptah Stela was discovered in Merneptah's mortuary temple in Thebes, Egypt, by
Archaeologist Flinders Petrie.  It is a eulogy to Pharaoh Merneptah who rules Egypt c. 1236-1223.  
At the end is a poem describing one of his campaigns into Canaan/Palestine.  Two lines are as

"Israel is laid waste, its seed is not."
"Carried off is Ashkelon; seized upon is "Gezer; Yanoam is made as that which does not exist."

These cities which were conquered by the Israelites around 1400 BC were later destroyed during
the time of Merneptah.  

JUDGES 2:2,5 ~ Here are the names of the nations the Lord left in the land....The people of Israel
lived with the
Canaanite people, the Hittite people, the Amorite people, the Perizzite people, the
Hivite people, and the Jebusite people.

The Canaanite people were very religious, but it was a religion of idolatry, especially Baal and
Ashteroth worship which included male and female prostitutes and sacrifice of babies.  

Canaanites, Amonites and Phoenician people of the western Middle East also worshiped
Moloch, the god of fire who demanded people sacrifice their children by throwing them into his fire.

For centuries, cynics claimed there had been no such people as the Hittites.  Archaeology always
unlocks the mysteries.  Here is a statue of the
Hittite King Khatusaru was a contemporary with
Rameses II and Joshua.

Amorites adopted the Mesopotamian goddess of fertility, Ishtar, shown here with her accolites
dressed as a warrorior.

Perizzites are often identified with the Pirati who are found in an Egyptian vocabulary list and  
in a fragment from the Amarna Tablets (see Joshua).

Hivites are associated with the Hittites.  Teshup, a weather god, was worshiped the most,
along with his wife Hebat/Hepa, the mother goddess of fertility and the sun.

Jebusites occupied a hill that later became known as the city of David or Zion, and became
known as Jerusalem.  

JUDGES 3:19 ~ They left the king’s palace.} When {Ehud} reached the statues near Gilgal, he
turned and went back {to see the king}.

The site of Gilgal is still known today.

JUDGES 4:2 ~ So the Lord allowed Jabin king of Canaan to defeat the people of Israel. Jabin
ruled in a city named

A cuneiform tablet fragment was found at an excavation of Hazor, addressed to a king named Jabin.

JUDGES 5:19 ~ The kings of Canaan came to fight, but they didn’t carry any treasures home! They
fought at the city of
Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo.

The city of Taanach did actually exist.  Artifacts found at the ancient city date back to the time of

JUDGES 8:33 ~ As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel again were not faithful to God—they
Baal.They made Baal Berith their god.

Baal was considered to be the god of fertility, the father god.  Worship to him often required
prostitution, or what they called priestesses.  In later centuries, after the Israelites finally left idolatry
forever, they linked
Baal to Beelzebub ~ Satan.

JUDGES 9:45 & 46 ~  Abimelech and his men fought against the city of Shechem all that day.
Abimelech and his men captured the city of
Shechem and killed the people of that city. Then
Abimelech tore down the city and threw salt over the ruins.

Archaeologist Sellin excavated the ruins of ancient Shechem near the modern city of Shechem.  
He found a stratum of Canaanite ruins beginning around 1600 BC.  
Shechem had a layer indicating
it had been destroyed and abandoned about 1100 BC.  This was the time of Abimelech.

JUDGES 16:21-30 ~ 21The Philistine men captured Samson. They tore out his eyes, and took him
down to the city of Gaza. Then they put chains on him to keep him from running away....The rulers
of the Philistine people came together to celebrate. They were going to offer a great sacrifice to
god Dagon....They made Samson stand between the columns in the temple of the god
temple was crowded with men and women. All the rulers of the Philistine people were
there. There were about 3,000 men and women on the roof of the
temple. They were laughing and
making fun of Samson....Then Samson held the
two columns in the center of the temple. These
two columns
supported the whole temple. He braced himself between the two columns. One
column was at his right side and the other at his left side. Samson said, “Let me die with these
Philistines!” Then he pushed as hard as he could. And the
temple fell on the rulers and all the
people in it.

Archaeologists have uncovered two temples in the Philistine territory.  One is at Tel Qasile in
northern Tel Aviv, and one at Tel Miqne, ancient Ekron, both not far from Gaza.  Both
temples have
two large pillars six feet apart in the middle of the temple as main supporters.

JUDGES 20:43 ~ The men of Israel surrounded the men of Benjamin and began chasing them.
They did not let them rest. They defeated them in the area east of

The ruins of Gibeah are located along the Central Benjamin Plateau, 3 miles (4.8 km) north of
Jerusalem along the Watershed Ridge.  Archaeologist Kenneth Kitchen explained, "Upon this
strategic point was found an Iron occupation" which was the earliest time it had been occupied.  
Centuries later it was rebuilt, destroyed, rebuilt again, and finally destroyed permanently.
Archaeologist Albright found in the ruins of
Gibeah, a layer of ashes from a fire that occurred about
1200 BC.
List of enemy cities in the temple
Foundation of ancient temple to
Baal Berith in ancient SHECHEM.
Ornamentaincense stand
found in TAANACH ruins.
Site of GILGAL
Hittite King Khatusaru
goddess Ishtar
Hivite god
Moloch, the fire god
of the Canaanites
fertiliy goddess
Jebus became
Merneptah Stela
Cuneiform tablet from HAZOR
about JABIN.
Two main supporting columns in
the center of temple in Tel Aviv.
The outer edge of Albright's
excavations of GIBEAH

RUTH 1:6, 16 ~ While Naomi was in the hill country of Moab, she heard that the Lord had helped
his people. He had given food to his people {in Judah}. So Naomi decided to leave the hill country of
Moab and go back home. Her daughters-in-law also decided to go with her....But [Moabitis] Ruth
said, “Don’t force me to leave you! Don’t force me to go back to my own people. Let me go with you.
Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you sleep, I will sleep. Your people will be my people.
God will be my God."

The chief god of the people in Moab was Chemosh,  The Israelites sometimes referred to the
Moabites as the "people of Chemosh."  According to II Kings, at times, especially in dire peril,
human sacrifices were offered to their god, Chemosh.  Mesha, king of Moab sacrificed his son
and heir to Chemosh.  References are made to the Moabite god, Chemosh, and his worship in the
Moabite Stone.   
Moabite Stone

I SAMUEL 1:3 ~ Every year Elkanah left his town of Ramah and went up to Shiloh. Elkanah
worshiped the Lord All-Powerful at Shiloh and offered sacrifices to the Lord there.

(JOSHUA 18:1 ~ All of the Israelite people gathered together at
Shiloh.  At that place they set up the
Meeting Tent [place of worship].

Ramah was the birthplace of the prophet Samuel, Elkanah being his father.  Ramah consisted of an
upper part on solid rock where religious activities took place like slaughtering and sacrificing of
animals.  The lower section was more residential and was built on less rocky terrain.  The lower
section was more residential and was built on less rocky terrain.

Shiloh was the holy Meeting Tent, often called the Tabernacle, set up during the days of Joshua
around 1200 BC.  Inside the tent was a Holy Box also called the Ark of the Covenant that held the two
stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, some manna from the 40 years they had wandered in the
wilderness, and the rod of the first high priest, Aaron.  On the lid were angels.  David, the second
king of the Jews, moved it to Jerusalem around 1050 BC.  The ruins of
Shiloh were excavated by a
Dutch Expedition, and evidence of having been occupied traced to 1200 to 1050 BC.  Then it
remained unoccupied until about 300 BC.  These dates exactly coincide with the biblical record in

I SAMUEL 4:1-2 ~  The Philistines made their camp at Aphek. The Philistines prepared to attack
Israel. The battle began.

After years of Philistine oppression, the Israelites attempted to break free by a direct military
engagement.  The encounter was at
Aphek in the Sharon plain.

Aphek was fortified city spread over 30 acres with public and private buildings. The town’s name,
Aphek , was first mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions, dating from the beginning of the second
millennium B. C.  

One palace at Aphek is well preserved. It was built during the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 B. C.),
and was the home of the Egyptian governor of Aphek. Excavations in that site revealed many
findings, such as rare scrolls written in cuneiform script, Acadian and Sumerian dictionaries.

The Israelites settled in Afek in the early tenth century B.C. Following King David’s victory over the
Philistines.  During the Romans occupation, it was renamed Antipatris.

I SAMUEL 5:1-2 ~ 5The Philistines carried God’s Holy Box, from Ebenezer to Ashdod. The Philistines
carried God’s Holy Box into the temple of Dagon and put it next to the statue of Dagon.

The site of Ashdod in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages was at a tell just south of the modern city. It has
been excavated by archaeologists David Noel Freedman of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary,
Moshe Dothan, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Ashdod is mentioned in ancient documents of the Canaanites. At the end of the 13th century BCE
the Sea Peoples conquered and destroyed the city. By the beginning of the 12th century BCE, the
Philistines, generally thought to have been one of the Sea Peoples, ruled the city. During their reign,
the city prospered and was a member of the Philistine pentapolis, which included the five city states
of Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza in addition to Ashdod.

I SAMUEL 5:8,10 ~ The people of Ashdod called the five Philistine rulers together. The people of
Ashdod asked the rulers, “What must we do with the Holy Box* of the God of Israel?” The rulers
answered, “Move the Holy Box* of the God of Israel {to Gath}”....So the Philistines sent God’s Holy
Box to
Ekron.  But when God’s Holy Box came into  Ekron, the people of Ekron complained.

The W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and Trude Dothan of Hebrew University of
Jerusalem excavated at Tel Miqne in Israel and discovered it was the city of
Ekron, one of the
leading cities of the Philistines and had a temple to their god Dagon.   An inscription found in the
temple being excavated called the city “
Ekron”. It was a royal inscription carved into a slab of

I SAMUEL 10: 24-26 ~ Samuel said to all the people, “See the man the Lord has chosen. There is no
person like Saul among the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” Samuel
explained the rules of the kingdom to the people. He wrote the rules in a book. He put the book
before the Lord. Then Samuel told the people to go home. Saul also went to his home in
God touched the hearts of brave men, and these brave men began to follow Saul

The first king of the Jews was Saul.  He built his palace at Gibeah.  It has been identified as Tell el-
Ful located at the northern outskirts of Jerusalem.  Archaeologist Albright excavated
Gibea and
found the ruins of the fortress which Saul had built there.  The excavations by Albright, checked by
Lapp, agreed that it was Saul who built the first fortress, later repaired by him or David. The first fort
(quadrangular) had at least one rectangular corner-tower at its southwest angle; it may have had
others at the other corners, but no traces were detected."

Saul's stronghold was built in 1015 BC.  The outer citadel walls were 170 feet by 155 feet, and were
8-to 10- feet thick.  It had two stores with a stone staircase.  Casemented walls and separately
bonded towers are unique to this period.  The palace was of simple design and was more of a
fortress than a residence.

King Hussein of Jordan began construction on his Royal Palace in Tel el-Ful, but construction was
halted and the palace was never finished.  Today, all that remains is the skeleton of the building.

I SAMUEL 11:1, 9 ~ Nahash the Ammonite and his army surrounded Jabesh Gilead.... Saul and his
army told the messengers from
Jabesh, “Tell the people at Jabesh in Gilead that by noon tomorrow,
you will be saved.”

Tell Maqlub is identified with Jabesh Gilead. Eusebius in his Onomasticon locates Jabesh Gilead
in the mountains near the 6th milestone from Pella on the road to Gerasa. This description fits with
Tell Maqlub. A surface survey of the site has found Iron Age pottery.  It is located in a fertile hilly area.

I SAMUEL 13:3 ~ Jonathan defeated the Philistines at their camp in Geba.

One of the Philistine garrisons was at Geba. Their forces included 3,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen,
and foot soldiers.  
Geba is identified with Modern Jeba, located opposite Michmash.  Southwest of
Michmash is the modern Arab village of Jaba, which is the biblical site of
Geba. Because of the
present day occupation the site has not been excavated.

I SAMUEL 13:16, 23 ~ The Philistines were camped at Micmash....A group of Philistine soldiers
guarded the mountain pass at

Michmash is present day Mukhmas (fig. 5), on the northern ridge of Wadi Suweinit, east of Bethel
on the way to Jericho.  The Arab village of Mukhmas preserves the name of the biblical city of
Michmash. The town sits next to “the pass” mentioned twice in the Bible.

I SAMUEL 14:4-5, 12-13 ~ Jonathan was planning to go through a pass to get to the Philistine camp.
There was a large rock on each side of
the pass. The large rock on one side was named Bozez.
The large rock on the other side was named Seneh. One large rock stood looking
north toward
The other large rock stood looking south toward Geba....The Philistines in the fort
shouted to Jonathan and his helper, “Come up here"....So Jonathan climbed up the hill with his
hands and feet.

The hill country in the area of Michmash and Geba is deeply cut by deep canyons (wadis). These
restrict traffic to the ridges above the wadis, making passage difficult. One exception to this is the
pass in the
Wadi Suweinit - a broad place in the canyon where passage is easy. You can see the
Wadi Suweinit in the lower mid section of the picture, what was referred to as "the pass."

I SAMUEL 16:1, 4,13 ~ Fill your horn [to anoint someone priest or king] with oil and go to
Bethlehem. I am sending you to a man named Jesse. Jesse lives in Bethlehem. I have chosen one
of his sons to be the new king”....Samuel did what the Lord told him to do. Samuel went to
Bethlehem....Samuel took the horn with the [ceremonial] oil in it, and poured the special oil on
Jesse’s youngest son in front of his brothers. The Lord’s Spirit came on David with great power from
that day on..

The first historical reference to Bethlehem appears in the Amarna Letters (c. 1400 BC) when the
King of Jerusalem appeals to his overlord, the King of Egypt, for help in retaking "Bit-Lahmi" in the
wake of disturbances by the Apiru [Hebrews].  

Bethlehem was first settled by the Canaanite tribes, naming the city Beit Lahama. They built a temple
to the God Lahama on the present mount of the Nativity. Around 1200 BCE, the Philistines had a
garrison stationed in Bethlehem because of its strategic location.

I SAMUEL 17:1-3 ~ The Philistines gathered their armies together for war. They met at Socoh in
Judah. Their camp was
between Socoh and Azekah, at a town called Ephes Dammim.  Saul and
the Israelite soldiers also gathered together. Their camp was in the
Valley of Elah. Saul’s soldiers
were lined up and ready to fight the Philistines. The Philistines were on one hill. The Israelites were
on the other hill. And the valley was between them.

Aerial of Socoh in Elah Valley. In the distance (just right of wing brace at top) you can see tel
. (Photo ©Leon Mauldin).  Elah Valley is also called Wadi es-Sant.  It is 17 miles southwest of
modern Jerusalem.

The picture under the
Elah Valley is what is believed to be the remains of the "Philistia Gate" into  
Ephes Dammim.   Azekah can be seen in the distance. The Valley of Elah is to the left. This depicts
the two hills with the valley between.

1 Sam. 22: 1-2; David ran away to the cave of Adullam. David’s brothers and relatives heard that
David was at
Adullam. They went to see David there. Many people joined David.  All those kinds of
people joined David, and David became their leader. David had about 400 men with him.

Adullam is a region of Israel near the Valley of Elah, west of Gush Etzion. The villages of Aderet,
Neve Michael/Roglit, and Aviezer are located here.

The site at
Aid-el-ma (Hurvat Adulam), about 4 km south of the Valley of Elah, and about 20 miles
west from Bethlehem, is commonly accepted as the place David hid. At this place is a hill some 140 m
high pierced with numerous
caverns, some of them large enough to hold 200 or 300 men.

I SAMUEL 23:1 ~ People told David, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against the city of Keilah.
They are robbing grain from the threshing floors."

Keilah has been Identified as Khirbet Qila, six miles east of modern Beit Guvrin, 18 miles southwest
of Jerusalem, three miles south of Adullam.  Today, it is a Palestinian village located twelve
kilometers north-west of Hebron

One of the Amarna tablets originates from Keilah and reads as follows:

“To the king, my Lord, my God and Sun, thus speaks Shuwardata, your servant, the dust under your
feet. At the feet of my Lord, the king, my God and Sun, I have prostrated myself seven times seven
times . The king, my Lord, has sent me to do battle with
Keilah. After the fighting there is peace. My
city has been preserved for me. Why has Abdu-Heba [ruler of Hebrews] asked of the people of
Keilah to accept silver and stand behind him? The king, my Lord, ought to know, that Abdu-Heba
[ruler of Hebrews] has conquered my city. Moreover, may the king, my Lord, examine me. If I have
taken one man, one ox or one ass from him, then he is in the right. Moreover, Labayu [ruler of
Shechem] who conquered our cities has died and Abdu-Heba [ruler of Hebrews] is a second Labayu
taking our cities. May the king judge his servant according to his deeds. He will do nothing until the
king conveys his will to his servant.”

I SAMUEL 23:14-15  ~ David also went to the hill country in the Desert of Ziph. Every day Saul
looked for David, but the Lord didn’t let Saul catch him. David was at Horesh in the
Desert of
He was afraid, because Saul was coming to kill him.

The desert of Ziph is below Hebron.  See more about the wildernesses/deserts of Judea below under

I SAMUEL 23:25-26 ~ David then went down to “The Rock” in the Desert of Maon. Saul heard that
David had gone to the
Desert of Maon. So Saul went to that place to find David.  Saul was on one
side of the mountain. David and his men were on the other side of the same mountain. David was
hurrying to get away from Saul. Saul and his soldiers were going around the mountain to capture
David and his men.

The desert of Maon is below Hebron.

Because of its lack of water and good routes, the Judean wilderness has been (mostly) uninhabited
throughout history. Consequently it was an ideal place for those seeking refuge from enemies or
retreat from the world.

I SAMUEL 23:29; 24:1-3, 24 ~ David left the Desert of Maon and went to the fortresses near En
...After Saul had chased the Philistines away, people told Saul, “David is in the desert area
near En Gedi
.” So Saul chose 3,000 men from all over Israel. Saul took these men and began
looking for David and his men. They looked near Wild Goat Rocks. Saul came to the sheep pens
beside the road. There was a
cave near there. Saul went into the cave to relieve himself. David and
his men were hiding far back in the
cave....David and his men went up to the fort.

En-Gedi was at first called Hazezon-tamar, a city of the Amorites. It is the modern 'Ain Jidy.

It is 16 miles straight east from Ziph and is ten miles from the fortress Mesada..
En Gedi  has the
largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea.  A beautiful waterfall flows out of the rocks at
one point, thus creating the oasis.  

En Gedi means literally “the spring of the kid (goat).”  Evidence exists that young ibex have always
lived near the springs of
En Gedi.  One time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers
searched the “Crags of the Ibex” in the vicinity of
En Gedi.  Goats still graze in parts of En Gedi

I SAMUEL 27:1-2, 6; 30:1 ~ But David thought to himself, “Saul will catch me some day. The best
thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines”....So David and his 600 men left Israel. They
went to Achish son of Maoch. Achish was king of
Gath....That day Achish gave David the town of
Ziklag. And Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since....On the third day, David and his
men arrived at
Ziklag. They saw that the Amalekites had attacked Ziklag. The Amalekites invaded
the Negev area. They attacked
Ziklag and burned the city.

Tell Sera (Tell esh-Sharia), is identified as Ziklag. The site is situated midway between Beersheba
and Gaza at 535 ft (168 m) above sea level. About five acres at the summit, the tell is horseshoe
shaped with steep slopes on all sides except on the west side. Six seasons of excavations by Eliezer
Oren uncovered remains from the Chalcolithic period and forward.

(See Joshua above for verifications of Gath.)

I SAMUEL 28:4; 29:1; 31:1  ~ The Philistines prepared for war. They came to Shunem and made
their camp at that place....The Philistines gathered all their soldiers at Aphek. The Israelites camped
by the spring at
Jezreel....31The Philistines fought against Israel, and the Israelites ran away from
the Philistines. Many Israelites were killed at
Mount Gilboa.

(See the beginning of this section ~ Samuel ~ for verifications of Aphek.)

The Plain of Esdraelon which was united with the Jordan valley with the maritime plain, along the
Mediterran​ean, and separated from the mountain ranges of Carmel and Samaria from those of
Galilee. Its western portion was known as the Plain of Megiddo, while its
eastern slope was called
Vale of Jezreel.  On the east is Endor, Nain and Shunem, ranged around the base of the "hill
of Moreh with Beth Shean in the center of the plain here the
Valley of Jezreel opens toward Jordan

Shunem has been Identified with modern Solem or Sulem at the eastern foot of “Little Hermon”.

Jezreel is a large fertile plain and inland valley south of the Lower Galilee region in Israel. The
Samarian highlands and
Mount Gilboa, border the valley from the south and the northern
outskirts of the West Bank cities of Jenin and Tulkarm have spread into the southern part of the
valley. To the west is the Mount Carmel range, and to the east is the Jordan Valley.

I SAMUEL 31:8-10 ~ The next day,  the Philistines went back to take things from the dead bodies.
They found Saul and his three sons dead on
Mount Gilboa. The Philistines cut off Saul’s head and
took all his armor. They carried the news to the Philistine people and to
all the temples of their
They put Saul’s armor in the temple of Ashtoreth. The Philistines also hung Saul’s body on
wall of Beth Shan.  

(I CHRONICLES 10:10 ~ The Philistines put Saul’s armor in the temple of their false gods. They hung
Saul’s head in the
temple of Dagon.)

Bethshan is just east of Mt.Gilboa. Archaeologists from the University Museum of Pennsylvania
Beth Shan and found ruins of a temple to Ashtaroth and another temple of Dagon
dated around 1000 BC, the exact time that Saul’s body and head were put on display in those very

Beth Shan became an important Canaanite site in the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (3300-1500 B.
C.), but came under the domination of Egypt's 18th dynasty in the Late Bronze Age. The name
shean (or -shan)
is mentioned in the Egyptian texts of Thutmose III (1468 B.C.), the Amarna letters
(1350 B.C.), Seti I (1300 B.C.), Ramses II (1280 B.C.) and Shishak (925 B.C.)

Pictured is the Basalt stele of Seti I, mentioning his victory over cities and tribes in the
Beth Shan
region. It was found at Beth Shan by University Museum expedition.

2nd SAMUEL 2:10-1    Ish Bosheth was Saul’s son. Ish Bosheth was 40 years old when he began to
rule over Israel. He ruled two years. But the family group of Judah followed David. David was
king in Hebron. David ruled over the family group of Judah for seven years and six months....the
officers of David also went to
Gibeon....They met Abner and Ish Bosheth’s officers at the pool of
Abner’s group sat on one side of the pool. Joab’s group sat on the other side of the pool.

The Pool of Gibeon is dated to about the 11th or 12th century BC.  It is 37 feet a across and 82
feet deep.  It is carved from solid rock and is accessed by a circular staircase of 79 stone dsteps.  At
the bottom is a 167-foot tunnel leading to the cistern that was fed by a spring outside of the city’s
walls, in the eastern slope of the hill.

II SAMUEL 5:11 ~ Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David. Hiram also sent cedar trees,
carpenters and stonemasons. They built a house for David.   

During the 1st millennium BC Tyre experienced its golden age, especially during the reign of Hiram
(Ahiram), King of Tyre. Hiram was the first to join this island city to the mainland by filling in the
ocean, something he also did along to coast to expand the area of the city itself.
Hiram is
responsible for a number of other improvements to the city, including cisterns for collecting rain
water, enclosing part of the sea to create a stable port and shipyard, as well as a large palace and
important temples. Phoenician traders began to seriously expand their range, giving
Tyre the
nickname "Queen of the Seas".

II SAMUEL 5:18, 22; 23:18 ~ The Philistines came and camped in the Rephaim Valley....Again the
Philistines came and camped in
Rephaim Valley....

Valley of Rephaim descends southwest from Jerusalem to the Valley of Elah below.  It is an ancient
route from the coastal plain to the Judean Hills, probably named after the legendary race of giants.

Jerusalem the City on a Hill ran down to the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the
Jebusite city (that is, Jerusalem)​. At the west end of the Hinnom Valley was a hill over which began
Valley of Rephaim.   It extends several miles southwest from Jerusalem, then contracts into a
narrow passage leading toward the Mediterranean.

II SAMUEL 17:11; 24:2 ~ You must gather all the Israelites together from Dan to Beersheba....King
said to Joab, the captain of the army, “Go through all the family groups of Israel from Dan to
Beersheba, and count the people. Then I will know how many people there are.”

Archaeologist, Avraham Biran, who has excavated Tel Dan in the north of Israel at the foot of Mount
Hermon, discovered a broken fragment of basalt stone being used as a building block in a wall. It
turned out to be a stone erected to pay tribute to a Syrian king, and a record of his victories over

The stone mentions Kind David’s dynasty,
“the House of David”

The Tel Dan Stele was erected by an Aramaic king in the mid-9th century BC. Ancient Aram was to
the northeast of Israel, in present day Syria. The inscription on the basalt stele, written in Old
Aramaic, describes his accession to the throne and his victory over the
King of Israel and over “the
House of David.”
The stele was broken in antiquity; only three fragments have been discovered to
date, preserving about 13 lines of text. The writing on the stones is dated through paleography to the
mid-9th century BC.
Upper and Lower RAMAH

Excevation of
Ruins at APHEK
Ruins of the sea fortress and
Mezuda Gate of ASHDOD.
EKRON Inscription and excavations
King Saul's Palace ruins at GIBEAH
Ancient GEBA in foreground
by modern Jeba.
Present-day MICHMASH (Mukhmas)
"The Pass" Suweinit among many
wadis/canyons in the area
BETHLEHEM's old city in 1800s
1882 painting of BETHLEHEM
SOCOH and tel
AZEKAH in the
Elah Valley
Ephes Dammim
Caves at ADUL-LAM
Amarna Tablet
Wilderness of ZIPH
Wilderness of MAON
Wilderness of EN GEDI by Dead Sea
Caves of EN GEDI
Waterfall out of rock of EN GEDI
Excavation of ZIKLAG
(Tell Sera)
JEZREEL Valley as seen from
Village of
Excavatiion of BATH SHAN &
Stele found there mentioning Egyptians
consquering it.
Pool of GIBEON
L-TYRE in Today's Lebanon
R-Tomb of King HIRAM
Valley of REPHAIM looking toward
Tel Dan Stele referring to defeating
"the house of DAVID".
DAGON, fish god of the Philistines
whose land bordered the sea.