Visitors to this historic wonder in central Israel are treated to an abundance of stunning Biblical archeology.
By Nosson Shulman, Licensed Tour Guide
“Pharaoh, King of Egypt, had come up and conquered Gezer and burnt it in fire, and killed the Canaanite who lived in the city. He gave it as a wedding present to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, and Solomon then build up Gezer. (1 Kings 9:16)”
Today we visit Tel Gezer, an exciting biblical site in central Israel that tourists seldom visit. From afar it seems to be a non-descriptive desolate hill, but visitors to this historic wonder are immediately treated to an abundance of stunning Biblical archeology!
In Canaanite times, Gezer was a major city-state with its own king. Its importance was largely due to its location on an important trade route junction.
The city’s infrastructure was quite advanced for its day, including a sophisticated water system.
When the Children of Israel entered into the Holy Land after 40 years in the desert, they waged war with the 31 Canaanite city-states. The King of Gezer and his army fell in battle against Joshua, though they failed to capture the city (Joshua 10:33), which was designated a Levite city (Joshua 21:21).
So Gezer remained in Canaanite hands until the times of King Solomon.
Many generations later, Pharaoh (not the same one from Exodus) conquered Gezer and destroyed the city by fire. When his daughter married King Solomon, Pharaoh gave Gezer to his new son in law as a wedding gift . Solomon rebuilt and fortified Gezer (and many other cities) making it a regional capital.
Several hundred years later during the Assyrian invasion of Tiglath-Pileser, Gezer was captured and destroyed.
During the Hellenistic wars against the Jewish Maccabees (of Chanukah fame circa 167-142 BCE) Gezer was rebuilt as a fortress and utilized by the Hellenists as one of their main military headquarters. The Maccabees captured Gezer and ultimately won the 25-year-war, declaring Jewish independence in Israel once again.
After the Roman conquest, Gezer became a small, insignificant farming town and was eventually abandoned.
Since the early 1900s, several major archeological excavations took place, which yielded important finds including the “Gezer Calendar,” the oldest (according to some historians) Hebrew inscriptions ever found anywhere!
Although few visit this site, the tourists I have brought here very much enjoyed seeing it! I highly recommend including it on your itinerary for your next visit!
Nosson Shulman is a journalist and Licensed Tour Guide in Israel specializing in Biblical tours. To allow tourists to experience Israel during the Corona era, he created the new hit Israel tour video series, which brings Israel to the home of viewers by simulating actual tours. To check out his free sneak preview tour videos, click here. To view sample tour itineraries or to inquire about private tour opportunities with a personalized itinerary on your next trip to Israel, click here.