A massive gate unearthed in Israel may have marked the entrance to a biblical city that, at its heyday, was the biggest metropolis in the region.Gath (or Geth) was one of the five cities of the Philistine Pentapolis, the others being Ascalon (or Ascalan or Ashquelon), Azotus (or Ashdod), Accaron (or Akron or Ekron), and Gaza (or Gaza) From PJ Media:
The town, called Gath, was occupied until the ninth century B.C. In biblical accounts, the Philistines — the mortal enemies of the Israelites — ruled the city. The Old Testament also describes Gath as the home of Goliath, the giant warrior whom the Israelite King David felled with a slingshot.
The new findings reveal just how impressive the ancient Philistine city once was, said lead archaeologist of the current excavation, Aren Maeir, of Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
"We knew that Philistine Gath in the 10th to ninth century [B.C.] was a large city, perhaps the largest in the land at that time," Maeir told Live Science in an email. "These monumental fortifications stress how large and mighty this city was."
The gates were uncovered in Tell es-Safi, which was occupied almost continuously for nearly 5,000 years, until the Arab village at the site was left in 1948, Maeir said. Though archaeologists have been excavating at the site since 1899, it wasn't until the past few decades that they realized how massive the Iron Age remains really were.
Both the impressive settlement size and mentions in biblical accounts suggest to scholars that the site is the historic city of Gath, which was ruled by the Philistines, who lived next to the Jewish kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Most scholars think that Gath was besieged and laid to waste by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus, in 830 B.C., Maeir said.
The book of 1 Samuel describes Goliath this way:Osmar Schindler portrayed Goliath this way:
4 Then a champion stepped out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. [9 feet, 9 inches] 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and a breastplate of scale armor; the weight of the bronze breastplate was 5,000 shekels. [125 pounds] 6 He also had bronze shin-guards on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron,[15 pounds]; and his shield-bearer was marching ahead of him.
I'm curious, though, if Gath ever posted signs at the city limits reading "WELCOME TO GATH: THE PROUD HOME OF GOLIATH."