Here comes the second city of the philistines, maybe the
most famous one, at least in the Bible. Gat is known for being the city
of Golyat, the giant who fougth against the young David. The story of the
battle became one of the most well-known stories in the history of mankind,
for it changed the history of Israel. Emek Ha-Ela is identified in it's
present known location, in the valley between the ancient cities of Yarmoot
and Soho, near Azeka, and near Kibbutz Ha-Lamed-He (in Efes Damim...).
After Shaul began persecuting David for being young, beautiful
and successful, David ran to Gat to hide there, and tried to convince Achish,
the King of Gat, that he is suffering from a severed mental desease (in
Plishtit: a-meshugener). He went to Gat gates dressed up like a crazy man,
with epileptic simptoms...
This is one of Achish's most famous sayings:
"And Achish said to his
slaves: Look there, and see a
crazy man. Why did you bring him to me ? Am I lacking crazy people in my
house, that you bring this one to me ? (Samuel A, 21,15-16)"
What was not mentioned in the Bible, but was added later
(Midrash), is that the wife and daughter of Achish were both crazy, and
that he knew what it was to handle crazy men at home...
But where is Gat ? Not in Kiryat-Gat, that's for sure,
for there was nothing found there. No other Arab village held the name
of Gat, and there were few places which were possible. One of them was
Tel-Tzafi, but the arab name indicates "White Hill", and the Crusader name
was "Blanche Garde" - the white fortress. The historians disagreed on this
place. So one suggesiton was that this place is Livnat.
In the year 1989 came here an expedition from the famous
PIF - Palestine Exploraiton Found, headed by the archeologists Bliss and
McAllister. They asked for a permission to dig only there, but they received
a 10kmX10km area, so they digged four places with one Turquish paper...
The expedition found remains of a large city from the
times of the Philistines, and this more or less concluded the discussion,
and it was only a matter of time until all agreed with this assumption.
Where is it ?
What to see ?
Tel Tzafi is near Kfar Menahem, near Reem (Masmi'a) junction.
From Kfar Menahem take south, and you will see a white hill to the south
of Nahal Ha-Ela. Leave the car in the playground of the KKL forest, and
walk to the hill. It's a half an hour walk, not too hard.
Not much, if you expect walls of fortresses and an old city.
There was no dig there after 1899, which is a pity...
Playground, to the north of Tel-Tzafit, in the KKL forest.
Ekron, already mentioned in the last chapter.
Don't forget to take the Bible with you !!