GEZER, gi'zer.

Documentary History ( 1).
Excavations; the Troglodytic Period ( 2).
Semitic Period to the Exile ( 3).
Syro-Greek Period ( 4).
Results of Excavation ( 5).

The city of Gezer, known from the Old Testament as a stronghold of the Canaanites or frontier fortress of the Philistines, has acquired no slight interest at present owing to the thorough and scientific excavations, covering about half the area, carried on there during 1902-05 by R. A. S. Macalister for the Palestine Exploration Fund. It is the modern Tel-Jezar, 18 m. w. in a direct line from Jerusalem, 20 m. s.e. of Jaffa, to the north of the railroad, near the foot of the hills which border the extreme northeast of the Plain of Philistia. The name is in the list of names of places in Palestine left by Thothmes III. at Karnak (c. 1500 B.C.) as held by him under an Egyptian governor. In the Amarna Tablets it figures frequently, part of the time as loyal and furnishing provisions to Jerusalem (then a city asserting its fidelity to the Egyptians), later as among the ene I. Docu- mies of Ebed-tob, king of Jerusalem, mentary and unfaithful to the Egyptian overHistory. lord. The inscription of the Pharaoh

Meneptah (c. 1280 B.c.) mentions the city, though the meaning of the inscription is not clear in this part, since it has been rendered as saying that Gazer was captured by the Egyptians, and on the other hand that it was taken by the Ashkelonites. According to Josh. x. 33, xii. 2, its king and people were defeated by Joshua, and the city itself was assigned (theoretically) to Ephraim (Josh. xvi. 3) and to the Kohathite Levites (Josh. xxi. 21), though it was not captured by the Hebrews but became tributary to them (Josh. xvi. 10; Judges i. 29). In II Sam. v. 25 it appears as the limit of David's pursuit of the Philistines. According to I Kings ix. 15-16 it figures as the conquest of a Pharaoh who assigned it to his daughter, the consort of Solomon. Solomon strengthened its fortifications and it became an important fortress, commanding one of the principal routes from the coast to Jerusalem. Because of this fact it was in Maccabean times, under the name Gazara, the object of constant struggle between the Syrians and Maccabees (I Macc. iv. 15, vii. 45, ix. 52, xiii. 43, 53, xiv. 7, 34, xv. 28; II Macc. x. 32). It is the Mont Gisart of the period of the Crusades, where Baldwin V. gained the victory over Saladin in 1177. Its site was identified by C. Clermont-Ganneau in 1873,


who discovered there three bilingual inscriptions in Greek and Hebrew, one has the phrase "Boundary of Gezer." The results of the recent excavations are in a measure checked and confirmed by excavations at Tel-Hesy, Taanak, and Megiddo, a. Excava- though the value of the Gezer exca tions; The vations is in some respects far greater Troglodytic than at either of the other places Period. named because of the continuous his tory uncovered and the greater an tiquity to which that history is traced. No less than eight stages in the story of the population of Palestine are revealed in these researches, as repre sented by eight series of dwellings. The lowest of these stages is referred to troglodytes of a period about 3000 B.C. or earlier, the latest to a period about 100 B.C. The two lowest strata involve the existence of two series of cave-dwellers, of low stature, averaging little above five feet two.inches in height; they inhabited a chain of underground chambers somewhat extensive in plan, used flint and bone weapons of the neolithic type, domesti cated the cow, pig, sheep, and goat, sacrificed the pig to an underground deity, and cremated their dead; the later of them employed extensively the yoni as a religious emblem. The city of this period was defended by walls of earth faced with stone. The next two periods, covering perhaps 2500 1200 B.C., are early Semitic; the people ranged in height from five feet seven inches to five feet eleven inches, flint is gradually replaced by bronze while iron begins to appear toward the end, and the fe male phallic emblems of the previous period are replaced by those of the male type. 3. Semitic One of the distinguishing features of Period to this period is a "high place" on which the Exile. a megalithic temple is indicated in a series of rough stone pillars, ten in num ber, of which eight remain, while the places of the other two are marked, these ten being separated by an interval into groups of three and seven. Of the eight still standing seven are of native stone, while the other has been brought from a distance, and is still marked by a groove which perhaps held the ropes by which it was dragged. These pillars range in height from five feet five inches to ten feet six, and one of them shows clear traces of having been an object of worship. The city wall of these periods and the next was of stone, fourteen feet in thickness and nearly a mile in circumference. These two strata, as well as the one immediately preceding, yielded many scarabs, most of them belonging to the middle kingdom of Egypt, and in particular abundance rude pottery images of a cow the emblem of fertility and connected with Astarte. This period also yielded several examples of the foundation sacrifice, including infants, a young girl, and an aged and deformed woman and an old man. Some such cult as Moloch-worship is implied by the many charred remains of skeletons of infants. One object belonging to the end of this period is a masonry box-tomb with objects of art in silver and alabaster and a mirror, an exotic suggesting, per haps the Philistine occupation. The fifth and sixth strata cover the Hebraic period, the fifth being apparently that of the city destroyed by the Pharaoh of I Kings ix. 16, and the next the Gezer of the Hebrew regal period. In this age foundation sacrifice was merely symbolical, indicated by deposition of bowls without the skeleton. The end of this age, corresponding to the Assyrian occupation, is represented by two tablets in the cuneiform, neither of them entire, but both dated, one either 649 or 651 B.C., the other two years later. The first relates to the sale of an estate of which a slave and his family formed part, and the governor is Hur-wasi, an Egyptian name, regarded as showing, when taken in conjunction with other Egyptian remains, Egyptian control of the city continuously from Solomonic times. The second records the sale of a field by a Hebrew named Nethaniah. The record of dealings in the Assyrian script under an Egyptian governor repeats the characteristic of the Amarna Tablets.

The seventh period is the Syro-Greek, including the Maccabean age. Characteristic of this is a votive altar, bearing on one side a

4. Syro- dedication to Heracles, on the other Greek the name Yahweh in its Greek form. Period. This reflects the religious eclecticism of the pre-Maccabean age in which Jason the high priest led in promoting the circu lation of Greek ideas. A result of the excavations here is the uncovering of the bastions added to the wall by the Syrian occupants and of the palace or castle of Simon, identified by a graffito of limestone with inscription in rude Greek, reading probably, "(Says) Pampras, may fire follow Simon's palace !" This is interpreted as a magic charm made by a hater of that ruler. The eighth stratum is that of the late Syrian, pre-Roman occupation, after the palace of Simon had been destroyed and on its site a structure reared in which a remarkable series of baths with basins and drain and furnace existed.

The special results of the excavation are the following: (1) The tracing of successive populations backward to the earliest troglodytic g. Results inhabitants; (2) the existence of conof Excava- tinueus traces of Egyptian occupation

tion. from the second troglodytic popula tion (a scarab of Usertesen III., c. 2500 B.C.) to about the middle of the seventh pre Christian century, including an inscribed statuette of the period of the twelfth dynasty, four and one eighth inches in height; (3) the existence of a ,high place where the worship of Astarte is abundantly indicated, especially by a bronze statuette of two horned Astarte and by numerous phallic emblems; (4) the votive altar already described; (5) the possibility that an inscribed sherd carries back Phenician writing four centuries earlier than the Baal-Hermon inscriptions (c. 600 B.C.) to an age when it was written bodstrophedon like the early Greek and the Hittite inscriptions; (6) the illus tration of many Biblical features, such as the " tongue" of gold (R.V., " wedge," Josh. vii. 21), two ingots of gold in this form being discovered, one of them being fifty-two shekels in weight. Of gold and silver objects comparatively few were found, but bronze was relatively abundant; the pottery, while fragmentary, is valuable for its


epigraphic illustration of Hebrew names and per haps also of Hebrew genealogy.

Geo. W. Gilmore.

Bibliography: C. Clermont-Gannesu, ArAmological Re searches in Palestine ii. 257, London, 1881; idem, Recueil d'arch&logie orientate, i. 351-391, Paris, 1885; PEF, Quarterly Statements, 1903-date, particularly that for July, 1907, giving latest results; R. A. S. Macalister, Bible Side Lights from the Mound of Gezer, London, 190'; H. Vincent, Canaan d'aprls l'exploration rtcente, pp. 109 sqq., Paris, 1907


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