Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
In Israel, archeologists began a dig this week at the remains of the Philistine city of Gath. Long regarded in the Hebrew Bible as the “bad guys” of the ancient world, the Philistines are emerging as a complex civilization with Hellenistic roots. In fact, the Philistines arrived from ancient Greece about 1200 BCE, and gained control of the major seaports of Ashkelon and Ashdod, as well as the Gaza strip. The ancient city of Gath stood on the far frontier of the coastal-bound Philistine empire and adjacent to the Israelites, who occupied the inland hills. Gath had been inhabited since prehistoric times and the conquering Philistines were all too happy to take up residence in a ready-made encampment.
As with most primitive tribal cultures war was inevitable and glorified, and, in due course, the most famous Philistine became the warrior Goliath. He was a giant of a man who probably stood no taller than 6 feet in a world where the average man stood around 5 feet, but the varying Biblical accounts have him going from 4.5 cubits (about 6’9″) to the inhumanly height of 6.5 cubits (9’9″). Regardless of his stature we all know the Biblical account of the shepherd boy, David, and the improbable victory over the giant armed only with a sling and a few smooth stones. Fat chance of finding any archaeological proof of that bout, but another Biblical tale holds more promise.
The archeologists from several countries including the U.S., have made an intriguing find that could conceivably support the story of Samson. For newborns out there, Samson was the beautifully adorned Israelite warrior who managed to defeat scores of Philistine warriors (and a lion or two) with only the jawbone of an ass as a weapon. (Insert troll joke here). Ultimately captured, he was undone by the wiles of Delilah who discovered the secret of his strength –his flowing locks — and had a servant girl shave them off while the great warrior slept following a lover’s tryst. Delilah would go on to become the iconic femme fatale, and Samson would go to the stocks.
Bound between two pillars at the temple in Gath, Samson would call upon the Hebrew God for one last moment of physical strength, and pull the imprisoning structure down on him and the gawking Philistine crowd. In one of the first significant finds, the workers uncovered a structure resembling an ancient Philistine temple with two pillars . Coincidence likely, but intriguing in that it matches the design stated in the Bible.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
19 thoughts on “The Search For Goliath and Samson”
This seems mildly relevant.
Also, if you read the story with an unbiased eye: Samson was an uncontrollably violent and capricious murderer and Delilah reluctantly brought him to justice. She comes out looking much better when you don’t factor in tribal allegiances.
Tom Jones may disagree.
Quicksilver Messenger Service is way better than a Methodist choir singing “Onward! Christian Soldiers” in a hot, stuffy church.
I had a Jewish friend named Jacobsohn in high school. When he started wearing a really cool multi-colored jacket, I started referring to him as “Jacob and His Coat of Many Colors”. He chided me for my lack of Biblical scholarship and pointed out that it was Joseph who had the Coat of Many Colors, not Jacob. I probably should have gone to Hebrew School instead of Methodist Sunday School.
HenMan: “What’s that piece of cloth down there in the dirt. It looks like a man’s coat. Wow! Look at the many colors!”
This may also be the theme-song of Marcus Bachmann’s Christian counseling service, at least the sessions for Gay’s.
Let me know when you find Delilah’s string bikini. It should be right over there- next to Samson’s hairpiece. No!- not that! That’s just an ordinary pillar of salt. Damned shapely, though. What’s that piece of cloth down there in the dirt. It looks like a man’s coat. Wow! Look at the many colors! Hey- this archaeology stuff isn’t all that difficult.
So the Philistines were Gathic eh? Wonder if they battled the Gothic Goths?
There are some things to consider via cosmic archeology that indicate some Goliath / Samson civilizations may also have existed, but they are for rebels only.
Now wait an Alaskan second….Wasn’t that the marketing concept for the Palin Troll Doll…..
Mespo & Mike S.,
There’s still hope for you to live your dream. Maybe you two can get a job at the proposed Bible theme park that’s to be built in Kentucky.
The more that I visit websites and learn about the veracity of Biblical accounts and the shoddiness of Biblical “scholarship”, the more I come to the opposite conclusion – that very, very little in the Bible has any historical basis whatsoever! 😀
Indeed, much of what we see is rehashing of previous scripture, and most of that is a variation of mythical narratives themselves borrowed from earlier myths.
And all of it impossibly incoherent. And some of it, including one of the synoptic Gospels, appearing to be actual dramatic farce, as far as one can get from myth with a historical core.
So far, it looks like David, Pontius Pilate and Solomon were likely real. Maybe a few others. But the rest -and I mean the *major* players – Moses, Jesus, the Apostles, most of Paul/Saul are fictional. Jesus and Moses, in particular, have almost no chance of being based on a real person. Amazing stuff.
Same catalog but with the Noah raft, you have to buy two.
I thought it was the Noah blow up raft? Maybe I have a different catalog than you. 🙂
Damn. Is the Moses blow up raft still available?
For those of you searching for a Jesus slingshot, sorry, it’s sold.
Ah….But Today…We still have the Davy and Goliaths of the world……The Turley Blawger vs the Turley Trolls…..
“Had I been a more dutiful student and one who followed his dreams, today I
would be either an archaeologist or anthropologist.”
Had I been a more dutiful student and one who followed his dreams, today I
would be either an archaeologist or anthropologist. I am fascinated by the subject of Ancient History. As it is, I do try to keep up with the field. The field is rife with internecine battles and theories defended to the death, as the battle for research money is ongoing and the egotism of the participants is unbridled.
One of the ways that I think these battles have obstructed the discovery of new concepts is in the discounting of various ancient mythologies as completely a historical. My belief is that there is more than a grain of truth in most and those nuggets should be pursued.
Goliath and Samson have long been seen as containing nothing of historical interest, the Torah undoubtedly is not a recording of historical
purity, but its writers have to have gotten some of their information from the world around them and from the mythologizing of ancient incidents.
This is easily seen in our own times. Consider the myth of Wyatt Earp, compared to the historical reality of the man. He was a real man, but the fact that he wound up as a car salesman in LA, didn’t serve the myth-makers that embellished his story,, with the “stuff” they needed.
LOL, for movie-goers of a certain generation the jungle-themed movies and sword and sandal epics were the only movie genera’s that offered any beefcake. And fine some of it was. 🙂
I loved the Bible history we read in parochial school. Great stories!
I heard that Sampson didn’t really die in the temple’s collapse and was spotted in Memphis.
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