Solomon rebuilds the cities of Israel

1 Kings 9:1-25   After Solomon’s royal building programme in Jerusalem is completed in c.948BC, he goes on to rebuild the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lower Beth Horon, Baalath and Tamar (see Map 57).

 

Tel Hatzor from the air ( אסף.צ  )

The site of Hatzor from the air  ( אסף.צ  )

 

Gezer

Gezer was one of the southern Canaanite cities - about 18 miles / 30 km west of Jebus (Jerusalem) - whose army attacked Joshua during the initial conquest of Canaan by the Israelites in c.1406BC (see Joshua 10:33). But while Joshua is recorded as defeating the army of the king of Gezer near Lachish, Gezer itself appears to have continued as an independent Canaanite city state for another four hundred years, like the independent Canaanite stronghold of Jebus (Jerusalem).

While the Jebusites of Jerusalem were eventually conquered by King David in c.1004 BC (see 2 Samuel 5:6-9), David never conquered Gezer. After he defeated the Philistines at the Battle of Baal-Perazim, David pursued them all the way from Gibeon to their stronghold at Gezer (see 2 Samuel 5:25). Indeed, the Bible records that it was Israel’s chief ally, Pharaoh Haremheb of Egypt, who ultimately conquered Gezer and handed it over to King Solomon as a wedding gift when his daughter married the Israelite king in an act of political alliance in c.970BC (see 1 Kings 3:1 & 9:16).

Gezer was later re-built as a chariot city by King Solomon in c.947BC (see 1 Kings 10.26-27). As it looked out from the foothills of the Shephelah across the coastal plain (the Plain of Sharon), it was the ideal location from which to deploy chariots that could race across the flat land to defend the main north-south trading route between Egypt and Mesopotamia.

 

Tel Gezer underground water system Tel Gezer underground water system (ד

Entrance to the underground water system at Gezer  ( ד"ר אבישי טייכר  )

 

Modern-day visitors to the site of Gezer at Tell el-Jezer - about half-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv where the Valley of Ajalon meets the coastal plain - can see the remains of ten monumental standing stones that marked the Canaanite ‘high place’ of worship to Baal. Other excavated remains include a magnificent six-chambered monumental gateway similar to the entrance gateways that Solomon constructed at the chariot-cities of Hazor and Megiddo, and also nine boundary stones inscribed with the words 'boundary of Gezer' (see the features on Hazor and Megiddo).

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