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Archaeologists Discover Biblical City of Ziklag
by Helen Mitchell | Aug 12, 2019 | Israel, Judea and Samaria
In yet another archaeological find that confirms the biblical account of events, experts believe they have uncovered the ancient city of Ziklag.

Ziklag was the city that the king of the Philistines gifted to David when he fled from Saul and took refuge amongst the Philistines in Gath (1 Samuel 27). The Bible says that Ziklag, previously a Philistine city, remained in Jewish hands from then on. On one occasion, while David was away from Ziklag, the Amalekites invaded, burnt the city to the ground and took David's wives and animals captive. David pursued the Amalekites, ambushed them and took back his wives and property (1 Samuel 30).

Later, Ziklag is mentioned as one of the towns of Judah that the Jewish people who returned with Nehemiah from Babylonian exile resettled (Nehemiah 11:28).

Until recently, the exact location of Ziklag remained unknown and about 12 different possibilities were put forward by various experts. But that all changed earlier this month.

During a joint press release, researchers from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia claimed to have found the ancient city.

In 2015, archaeologists began an excavation at the site of Khirbet a-Ra'i in the Judean foothills, between the ancient sites of Gath and Lachish, and uncovered evidence of ancient continuous settlement.

There were several factors that stood out during the dig that led the team to conclude with a high degree of certainty that this was in fact biblical Ziklag.

Firstly, they found evidence of a Philistine settlement from the 11th to 12th centuries BCE. Items such as bowls and oil lamps were discovered in the foundations of the buildings, which point to the Philistine custom of laying offerings to the gods beneath the floor of a new building to bring blessing and favor. Utensils such as stone and metal tools were also found, which were similar to those found in other Philistine towns from the same period.

Above the remains of the Philistine settlement, archaeologists found evidence of an early 10th century Jewish town, which equates to the time of King David. Nearly 100 pottery vessels were uncovered, which would have been used to hold oil or wine, and which were identical to vessels found in the neighboring Judean city of Sha'arayim.

The settlement's transition from Philistine to Judean hands matches the biblical account of 1 Samuel, where King Achish of the Philistines gives David the town, and he settles there with his household.

Even more remarkably, the research team found evidence of a massive fire during the period when the town was in Jewish hands, which fits the biblical description of the Amalekite raid.

So, are these archaeological findings just a strange coincidence, or do they point to the fact that King David was a real historical figure who truly did take refuge with the Philistines and settle in the town of Ziklag?