Australian and Israeli archaeologists announced this week the discovery of the biblical city of Ziklag, whose ruins have been found in Tel a-Rai, near the town of Kiryat Gat in Israel. An initial dating places them in the early 10th century BCE, during the time of King David.

This reinforces the theory that David was more than just a local leader, as some researchers argue, and indeed may have ruled over a united kingdom in the area of Judea, though not as powerful as previously thought.

Ziklag is mentioned in the biblical books of Joshua and Samuel as a Philistine settlement adjacent to the city of Gat. Its name stands out in the biblical record because it is not Semitic or Canaanite, but Philistine (recent DNA studies have revealed the origin of this people). According to these books, Ziklag served as a refuge for the future King David when he fled from Saul. There, he and 600 of his men settled for 14 months and used it as a base to attack neighboring peoples.

Photo: Archaeological Expedition in Khirbet a-Ra’i

Later, in the book of Nehemiah, Ziklag is mentioned as one of the places to which the Jews returned from Babylon.

After seven seasons of excavations, about a thousand square meters of the settlement were unearthed, with findings that include massive stone structures and typical Philistine cultural artifacts, including pottery, offerings, olive pits, and other organic objects.

The analysis and carbon-14 dating of all these objects identify the site as the lost city where David settled, as narrated in the first and second books of Samuel.

In fact, the place provides evidence of all biblical periods, including later Persian remains.

There are two levels of destruction in the site, one from the early 10th century BCE and another from the mid-11th century BCE. The destruction layer from the 10th century corresponds to the biblical narrative.

However, not all experts are convinced that this is Ziklag, as they believe it should be located further inland, near the desert and away from the coastal plain.

  • Share this article:

Discover more from LBV Magazine English Edition

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.