The place Gezer, later known as Tel Gezer, means “steep” and “a portion.” Today Gezer lies within the border of Israel near Lamula, desolate land where people once founded a farming village in 1945.

Gezer was a fortified city in ancient Canaan, situated thirty kilometers west of Jerusalem and twenty-seven kilometers to the southeast of Joppa (or today’s Tel Aviv-Jaffa). Strategically located, Gezer sat on the west hills of Judah, overlooking the Ajalon Valley. It also happened to fall on the intersection of two trade routes. To the west of Gezer, the first route went from Egypt up to Syria along the coast, while the second route north of Gezer began in the Joppa harbor of the Mediterranean sea and westward to Jerusalem. Gezer, therefore, was sought after for its key economic and military place in the surrounding region.

In addition, Gezer has a long historical standing—with evidence of human inhabitance as far back in time as in 3000 B.C. After the 19th century B.C., Gezer gradually grew into a big city in Canaan. Around mid-15th century B.C. when Egyptians defeated the Canaanite army in Megiddo, they ruled over the Canaanite region for almost three centuries. In addition, Egypt also controlled and governed Canaan when the Israelites were entering into the land. From the time of the Judges to Israel’s united kingdom, and to the divided kingdom, Gezer fell under the reign of Canaanites, Israelites, Philistines, and Egyptians before Assyrian occupation in 733 B.C. Later, Babylonians, Persians, as well as Greeks also exerted dominance over the city one after another. However, towards the end of Greek governance, there were few residents left in the city.

基色日曆複製版 The Gezer Calendar replication

According to Scriptural record, after David became King of Israel and Judah and established Jerusalem as the capital in 1003 B.C., the Philistines attempted to invade the surrounding region of Gezer to the Valley of Rephaim, about five kilometers south of Jerusalem. With God’s help, David fought and defeated the Philistines twice in the valley, chasing them down as far as Gezer (2 Samuel 5:17-25 and 1 Chronicles 14:8-16). Years later, the Israelites defeated the Philistines once again in Gezer (1 Chronicles 20:4).

In the third or fourth year of Solomon’s reign (possibly 967 or 966 B.C. but exact time unknown), Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh for political and economic security and gains (1 Kings 3:1). Before then, the Pharaoh had already taken Gezer, set it on fire, and killed the Canaanites living there at the time. Giving his daughter to Solomon for marriage, Pharaoh also gave her the city of Gezer as the dowry. Consequently, Solomon had the right of control over Gezer, a militarily strategic location. As Solomon built palaces and walls around Jerusalem later, he also engineered defense structures around key cities like Gezer (1 Kings 9:15-17).

所羅門時代城門遺跡 The remains of Solomon’s gate

There was also a mention of Girzites in 1 Samuel 27:1-8. When David was fleeing from Saul with his wife, his followers and their families, he asked the Philistine king Achish for protection. According to his wish, King Achish gave Ziklag to David, the land south of Judah where David lived for a year and four months. It wasn’t until Saul had died where David could resettle in Hebron from Ziklag. While David was based in Ziklag, he made raids on the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. The Girzites mentioned here most likely resided in the wilderness of Shur, a place northeast of Egypt, though the exact location could not be found.

“And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.” (1 John 2:17)

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