Gat The Philistine city of Gat was located near the Israelite territory at the end of the Valley of Elá. Gat is frequently mentioned in the Bible. The most famous inhabitant of Gat is Goliath, the giant who fought with David in the Valley of Elá to take the territory from the Israelites. It was one of the five Philistine city-states, located to the northwest of the area controlled by them. According to the Bible, in the days of David and Solomon the King of the city was Achish, without being clear that the Bible refers to a single king with this name or to two. It was the largest city on the planet during the 19th century BC.
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- 1 Contents
- 2 White Cliffs
- 3 Excavations
- 4 Sources
The name of the city in Hebrew is “gat,” which means “grape press.” The area around Gat was very fertile and the city may have had quite a few grape presses. Archaeological excavations at Ekron (Gat’s neighbor) found oil presses in abundance.
Most scholars agree to identify Gat with Tell es-Safi. This Arabic name means “White Mound.” The term is suitable due to the white and limestone cliffs visible on the sides of the tell. The Biblical site Libna (meaning “white”) should not be related to Tell es-Safi despite the meaning of the names.
The site was identified as Gat in 1887 and excavated by Bliss and Macalister in 1899. It was then occupied by an Arab villa, which was later abandoned in 1948. Bar Ilan University recently began excavations at the site under the supervision of Aren Maeir . Recent excavations discovered a 2.41 km moat. long (1.5 miles). This moat surrounded the city on three sides and dates from the 9th century BC. Apparently it was built by Hazael and his Aramaic army when they besieged the city in 811 BC. A short account of this battle appears in 2R 12:17.