Tel Gezer: On the Crossroads of the World

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Gezer: On the Crossroads of the World

 

Location

 

1. Gezer is in the eastern foothills of the coastal plain (Shaphelah) of western Israel. It is about 14 miles (22.5 km.) east of the Mediterranean Sea and about 19 miles (30.5 km.) west of Jerusalem. Tel Aviv sits about 17 miles (27 km.) to the northwest of Gezer.

 

2. Gezer was on the main north-south travel route called the Via Maris. It was also on a major east-west route that linked the coastal plain to Jerusalem and beyond.

 

  • The Via Maris connected three continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

 

  • This location is significant because Israel forms a narrow land bridge to connect these three continents.

 

  • To the east is a desert and to the west is the Mediterranean Sea. This forced trade and travelers to use the Via Maris.

 

  • Whatever happened in Israel was taken to the known world at that time.

 

3. Whoever controlled Gezer, controlled trade and influence in the ancient world in biblical times.

 

4. God, in His sovereignty, placed Israel on the crossroads of the known world so they could be a light to the world and communicate His message to them.

 

5. Gezer was in the territory of Ephraim.

 

Historical Background

 

1. Gezer is one of the largest tels in Israel.

 

2. Whoever controlled Gezer had significant control over the ancient world.

 

3. Gezer began to be inhabited some 5,000 years ago.

 

4. It has around 21 layers of civilizations.

 

5. A tel is a mound of earth that develops as one civilization builds upon another.

 

6. The Canaanites first lived here from around 3000 BC to around 2000 BC.

 

7. When the Israelites arrived in 1406 BC, they failed to drive out the Philistines and occupy Gezer.

 

8. As a result, the Philistines lived here from around 2000 BC until King David subdued them in around 1000 BC.

 

9. Gezer existed during the time of Christ.

 

10. Gezer is mentioned 14 times in the Bible.

 

11. During the Hasmonean revolt (167 BC) the Jews lived close-by to Gezer and used it for battle purposes.

 

12. The Ottomans (15th and 16th centuries) lived here as well.

 

Places of Interest

 

1. Parking

 

2. Canaanite Tower

 

3. Canaanite Gate

 

4. Water System

 

5. Sheikh's Tomb

 

6. Israelite City

 

7. Solomon’s Gate

 

8. Standing Stones

 

9. Lookout Point

 

Gezer in the Bible

 

1. In the conquest of the Promised Land, God gave the Israelites victory over Gezer.
Joshua 10:33: Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish. And Joshua struck him and his people, until he left none remaining.

 

2. The tribe of Ephraim was allotted Gezer, but they didn’t fully drive out its inhabitants and conquer them.
Joshua 16:10: However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor.

 

3. Gezer was one of the cities given to the Kohathite clans of the Levites. It was also a city of refuge.
Joshua 21:20–22: As to the rest of the Kohathites belonging to the Kohathite clans of the Levites, the cities allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim. 21 To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasturelands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasturelands, 22 Kibzaim with its pasturelands, Beth-horon with its pasturelands-four cities.

 

4. King David, some 200 years later, conquered the Philistines who lived in Gezer. 

2 Samuel 5:25: Then David did so, just as the Lord had commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

 

5. After King David, it appears Egypt also conquered Gezer and gave it to Solomon, who rebuilt and fortified it.
1 Kings 9:15–17: And this is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon drafted to build the house of the Lord and his own house and the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer 16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and captured Gezer and burned it with fire, and had killed the Canaanites who lived in the city, and had given it as dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife; 17 so Solomon rebuilt Gezer) and Lower Beth-horon.

 

Faith Lesson from Gezer

 

1. In the same way Gezer is on a hill found on the crossroads of the world, we too have been placed by God in the world to influence those around us.

 

2. Unlike the Ephraimites who failed to conquer Gezer and attain what God had promised them, we should subdue what God wants us to become and accomplish for Him.

 

3. Like the standing stones at Gezer, we should be firm in our faith and persevere under persecution and pressure. We should not allow the world to mold us, but instead, we should impact the world for Christ.

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