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Walls of Beth Shean

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  • David Hall
    Recently I posted information from a report by A. Mazar that at the beginning of Iron II there were no walls at Beth Shean, it was an unfortified city. 
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 2, 2009
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      Recently I posted information from a report by A. Mazar that at the beginning of Iron II there were no walls at Beth Shean, it was an unfortified city.  Through his summary of Beth Shean I concluded Saul's body might not have been hung on the walls of Beth Shean as it was not a walled city then.   
       
      Recently I have read more reports about Beth Shean including:
       
      The Iron Age at Beth-Shean, A Study of Levels VI-IV, by Frances James, University of Pennsylvania, 1966
       
      The U. of Pennsylvania excavations removed significant tons of earth from layers VI-IV destroying parts of the mound in the process.  It turns out there were walls around Beth Shean, as evidenced by remnants of a double wall and gate near the NW angle of the mound dated to the lower levels of V after the conquest of Shoshenq. The Israelite walls were built between the very last part of the tenth century and the end of the ninth century. As James reported the city as far as the gate was destroyed by fire about 800 B.C. The place remained abandoned long after the fire. The Assyrians layed waste to areas in the north after the Aramaens.

      Reading a summary of N. Naaman's work amongst the ruins in the valley to the north of Beth Shean, it was concluded that Hazael the Aramaen from Damascus destroyed numerous cities in this area c. 850-805.  Thus the 1966 U. Pennsylvania James' estimate of the date of the destruction of 800 may have been off by a few years. Later excavations such as the one by Mazar might not have been able to comment on parts of the mound that were removed by the earlier excavations.  
       
      During the supposed time of Saul there may have been house or temple walls, but as of yet no report of any city walls has been found. The areas under Philistine control were much further south than Beth Shean. At this point it is not possible to confirm Philistine campaigns as far north as Beth Shean.  
       
      David Q. Hall
      dqhall59@...
       
    • Jon Smyth
      The thought that comes to mind then is, which Philistine campaigns can be confirmed, anywhere, and by what means was this done? Regards, Jon Smyth Toronto,
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 6, 2009
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        The thought that comes to mind then is, which Philistine
        campaigns 'can' be confirmed, anywhere, and by what means was this
        done?

        Regards, Jon Smyth
        Toronto, CAN.

        --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, David Hall <dqhall59@...> wrote:
        > At this point it is not possible to confirm Philistine campaigns as
        far north as Beth Shean.  
        >  
        > David Q. Hall
        > dqhall59@...
        >  
        >
      • frankclancy
        Hello - there was an article published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly about 1960-1964 - I think the title has something about the hills of Gilboa and
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 7, 2009
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          Hello - there was an article published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly about 1960-1964 - I think the title has something about the "hills of Gilboa" and it was written by a rabbi who had just died - I wish I could remember more and I would have to travel to the nearest available library to find it for you. In the article, he argued that the original story may have been about the walls of "Beth-Shan" and not about "Beth-Shean". Beth-Shan, of course, is in the Gezer region and within the are controlled by the Philistines at various times. Just a thought.

          Frank Clancy
        • Sam WOLFF
          Er... Beth Shan and Beth Shean are just variants on the spelling of the same site, the one located in the Jordan Valley, south of Tiberias. I haven t seen the
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 7, 2009
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            Er... Beth Shan and Beth Shean are just variants on the spelling of the same site, the one located in the Jordan Valley, south of Tiberias. I haven't seen the PEQ article to which you referred, but you/it certainly mean Beth Shemesh (or Beit Shemesh), located on the periphery of Philistia, where ca. 5% of the Stratum III (Iron I) pottery assemblage is the Philistine type.

            Sam Wolff

            Frank Clancy wrote:

            In the article, he argued that the original story may have been about the walls of "Beth-Shan" and not about "Beth-Shean". Beth-Shan, of course, is in the Gezer region and within the are controlled by the Philistines at various times. Just a thought.






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          • David Hall
            I looked up this issue and found the following passage:   1 Samuel 31:7 (ASV)  7 And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 7, 2009
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              I looked up this issue and found the following passage:
               
              1 Samuel 31:7 (ASV)

               7 And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

              The valley described as being across from Gilboa was probably the Beth Shean Valley that was also described as the Jezreel Valley in areas to the north of Beth Shean as far as Megiddo. The same valley extended to the north as far as the coastal plain of the Acco/Haipha area. Have driven the road along this valley system numerous times. The central Jordan Valley to the east has been surveyed by A. Mazar and no Philistine pottery was found there. No Philistine pottery was found at Beth Shean. Some Philistine pottery was found at Megiddo. At Megiddo there are some new theories about old layers (Megiddo IV, 2006), but the 11th century Philistine bichrome strata yet exists in Finkelsteins' low chronology.

              David Q. Hall
              dqhall59@...




              --- On Sat, 3/7/09, frankclancy <clancyfrank@...> wrote:

              From: frankclancy <clancyfrank@...>
              Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Walls of Beth Shean
              To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Saturday, March 7, 2009, 7:03 AM






              Hello - there was an article published in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly about 1960-1964 - I think the title has something about the "hills of Gilboa" and it was written by a rabbi who had just died - I wish I could remember more and I would have to travel to the nearest available library to find it for you. In the article, he argued that the original story may have been about the walls of "Beth-Shan" and not about "Beth-Shean" . Beth-Shan, of course, is in the Gezer region and within the are controlled by the Philistines at various times. Just a thought.

              Frank Clancy
            • victor avigdor hurowitz
              I don t know which site was referred to in the original posting, but you are certainly right about Beth-Shean and Beth Shan being variants of the same name. It
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 8, 2009
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                I don't know which site was referred to in the original posting, but you
                are certainly right about Beth-Shean and Beth Shan being variants of the
                same name. It is a well attested phonetic phenomenon in BH that when an
                aleph is preceded by a consonant pointed with a sheva the aleph will
                disappear in the pronunciation (and sometimes in the orthography as
                well) and the vowel of the aleph will move forward and replace the sheva.

                Victor Hurowitz

                BGU







                On Sun, 8 Mar 2009, Sam WOLFF wrote:

                > Er... Beth Shan and Beth Shean are just variants on the spelling of the same site, the one located in the Jordan Valley, south of Tiberias. I haven't seen the PEQ article to which you referred, but you/it certainly mean Beth Shemesh (or Beit Shemesh), located on the periphery of Philistia, where ca. 5% of the Stratum III (Iron I) pottery assemblage is the Philistine type.
                >
                > Sam Wolff
                >
                > Frank Clancy wrote:
                >
                > In the article, he argued that the original story may have been about the walls of "Beth-Shan" and not about "Beth-Shean". Beth-Shan, of course, is in the Gezer region and within the are controlled by the Philistines at various times. Just a thought.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
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              • frankclancy
                I had to look this up again. Ah well. The article is called Ye Mountains of Gilboa , PEQ 1970: 116-136 - by H. Bar-Deroma. He argued that the battle
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 8, 2009
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                  I had to look this up again. Ah well. The article is called "Ye Mountains of Gilboa", PEQ 1970: 116-136 - by H. Bar-Deroma. He argued that the battle between Saul and the Philistines could only be fought in the Jaffa region and there are clues within the story to substantiate that claim. In addition, he argues that the Biblical texts are careful to distinguish between Beth-Shean (spelled always with an Aleph) and Beth-Shan (without the Aleph). In 1 Sam 7:12 it says Samuel fought the Philistines between Mizpeh and Shen. He identifies Beth-Shan with the Philistine (Beth-)Shen.

                  I am not promoting or defending his claims, I simply added this paper to the discussion. It is a fun read and he does raise some interesting questions about the story of the death of Saul.

                  By the way, I do know where Beth-Shemesh is and I do not confuse the two.

                  Frank Clancy
                • Yitzhak Sapir
                  Dear Frank Clancy and all, Beth Shean is a modern pronunciation of the place name. The Tiberian (Masoretic) pronunciation is Beth Sha?a:n, where in Tiberian
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 8, 2009
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                    Dear Frank Clancy and all,

                    Beth Shean is a modern pronunciation of the place name. The Tiberian
                    (Masoretic) pronunciation is Beth Sha?a:n, where in Tiberian pronunciation,
                    there is a qamats in place of a. This is because the schewa had the
                    quality of the following vowel when it preceded a guttural (with a small
                    exception that doesn't apply here). I think it is important because it is
                    easier and simpler to see how: Beth Sha?a:n > Beth Sha:n, when you
                    keep this pronunciation in mind.

                    I think it is much more reasonable to suppose an original story nearer to
                    Benjamin, because that is Saul's primary arena of activity. The text in
                    1 Sam 31, 2 Sam 21 as it currently stands, though, specifically identifies
                    the Gilboa. If the original battle did describe somewhere closer to Benjamin
                    and it was relocated, do we need to even worry about whether or not there
                    were walls, though?

                    Speaking of 1 Sam 7:12, I think it is important to point out that we have now
                    discovered the Tel Zayit stone on which Michael Welch noted there were also
                    the letters (zr: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/9611
                    This must be a clear indication that this Tel Zayit stone is the very same
                    Even Ha(ezer.

                    Yitzhak Sapir
                  • David Hall
                    Beth Shean and the northern valleys aside, if the Philistines would have overtaken Jerusalem, you might find Philistine pottery in the hill country above Beth
                    Message 9 of 10 , Mar 9, 2009
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                      Beth Shean and the northern valleys aside, if the Philistines would have overtaken Jerusalem, you might find Philistine pottery in the hill country above Beth Shemesh.  There were many springs and settlements in the Central Hill country during the Iron Age I - Iron Age II that did not use the Philistine motif decorations on their pots.  If Jerusalem was an insignificant crossroads in the middle of nowhere, the Philistine pottery styles might have continued for hundreds of years longer.  The Greeks on their islands continued to use highly decorated pottery for centuries.  The details of exactly what happened has been distorted over the course of time. 
                       
                      There is also a record from Amarna of Jerusalem being ruled by an Abdi Hepa in the Amarna period, but not enough ruins and pottery on that rocky ridge to prove it archaeologically.  Akhenaten (Amenophis/Amenemhet IV), the Pharaoh of Egypt did not send letters to rulers of two horse towns. 
                       
                      David Q. Hall 
                      dqhall59@...
                       
                       
                       


                      --- On Sun, 3/8/09, frankclancy <clancyfrank@...> wrote:

                      From: frankclancy <clancyfrank@...>
                      Subject: [ANE-2] Re: Walls of Beth Shean
                      To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Sunday, March 8, 2009, 7:58 PM






                      I had to look this up again. Ah well. The article is called "Ye Mountains of Gilboa", PEQ 1970: 116-136 - by H. Bar-Deroma. He argued that the battle between Saul and the Philistines could only be fought in the Jaffa region and there are clues within the story to substantiate that claim. In addition, he argues that the Biblical texts are careful to distinguish between Beth-Shean (spelled always with an Aleph) and Beth-Shan (without the Aleph). In 1 Sam 7:12 it says Samuel fought the Philistines between Mizpeh and Shen. He identifies Beth-Shan with the Philistine (Beth-)Shen.

                      I am not promoting or defending his claims, I simply added this paper to the discussion. It is a fun read and he does raise some interesting questions about the story of the death of Saul.

                      By the way, I do know where Beth-Shemesh is and I do not confuse the two.

                      Frank Clancy



















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                    • Brian Colless
                      ... Brian Colless rushes in (where even fools would fear to tread) and asks: Dear Yitzhak I think you are suggesting that the sequence `ZR on the Tel Zayit
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 18, 2009
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                        On 9/03/2009, at 4:54 PM, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
                        > Speaking of 1 Sam 7:12, I think it is important to point out that we
                        > have now
                        > discovered the Tel Zayit stone on which Michael Welch noted there
                        > were also
                        > the letters (zr: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/9611
                        > This must be a clear indication that this Tel Zayit stone is the
                        > very same
                        > Even Ha(ezer.
                        >
                        > Yitzhak Sapir

                        Brian Colless rushes in (where even fools would fear to tread) and asks:

                        Dear Yitzhak

                        I think you are suggesting that the sequence `ZR on the Tel Zayit
                        stone (written above and below a copy of the Hebrew alphabet, which
                        has the letters in a somewhat unorthodox order, like the Izbet Sartah
                        ostracon) is not the name of the scribe (so Michael Welch) , but the
                        word `ZR 'help', and it is therefore a candidate for being the stone
                        mentioned in 1 Samuel 7:12.

                        Accordingly, we might suppose the scribe would have been the prophet
                        Shmuel himself.

                        Cor blimey!

                        And in my ingenious ingenuous way I would add that the alphabet is
                        there as the priestly 'Urim and Tummim (I am not the first to suggest
                        this expression means the letters from 'Aleph to Taw). There have
                        already been suggestions that the alphabet here has mystical or
                        magical purposes.

                        Looking at G.M. Grena's drawing on his MLK site (also in Wikipedia)
                        I am struck by the two archaic vertical Mems at the end of the
                        alphabet, after the T (+) which has to be guessed, and there may even
                        be two Taws, hence TMM ('complete'? Or tummim?).

                        I would toy with the idea of the ephod in 1 Sam 30:7-8, where David
                        asks the priest Abiathar in (Ziklag?) to bring the ephod, and David
                        inquired of the Lord: Shall I pursue ...? And the answer came: Pursue...

                        Was the oracle obtained by pulling out tokens from a pocket in the
                        ephod, each with a letter of the alphabet on it, to form words? That
                        would be like using the OUIJA board, which sounds, however, like a
                        divining object that gives yes (and no ) answers.

                        There is another possibility: the heads and tails method (there is a
                        Chinese method with two objects, which resembles 'Australasian 'two-
                        up'). Saul used the `U & T in such an either-or way (1 Sam 14:41) .

                        But down below a sequence KSMM has apparently been detected.

                        That first says to me: KS MM 'a cup of water'. So the stone was
                        (also) for pouring libations?
                        (Are there any cup-holes?!)

                        Of course, kôs can mean 'lot' (fortune, destiny): "Y is my cup" (Psalm
                        16:5); "a cup of horror and desolation" for Samaria (Ezk 23:33).

                        Now, if this was the Help Stone, is Tel Zayit then the place named
                        'Eben `Ezer?

                        Moshe Kochavi (Tel Aviv 4, 1977, 1-13) thought Izbet Sartah could be
                        the Eben-Ezer of 1 Samuel 4:1;Hershel Shanks thinks so, too (in a BAR
                        article about the site) and I have followed this idea in my study of
                        the Izbet Sartah ostracon:

                        http://cryptcracker.blogspot.com/2007/01/ancient-abagadary-abecedary-this-is.html

                        http://collesseum.googlepages.com/abgadary

                        Does the location for the Eben-Ezer stone, described in 1 Sam 7:12,
                        fit either Tel Zayit or Izbet Sartah?

                        "between Mizpah and Shen (Yeshanah? Gk Syr)"

                        Brian Colless


                        On 9/03/2009, at 4:54 PM, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

                        > Speaking of 1 Sam 7:12, I think it is important to point out that we
                        > have now
                        > discovered the Tel Zayit stone on which Michael Welch noted there
                        > were also
                        > the letters (zr: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/9611
                        > This must be a clear indication that this Tel Zayit stone is the
                        > very same
                        > Even Ha(ezer.
                        >
                        > Yitzhak Sapir

                        Michael Welch had said (27/12/2008):

                        I just received a copy of Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan:
                        The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context, edited by Dr. Ron E. Tappy and Dr.
                        P. Kyle McCarter Jr.(Eisenbrauns 1998). Included in the book, there is
                        a DVD with the same title containing pictures of the Tell, the Stone,
                        the Abecedary, and Figures 22 and 23 which say this:

                        "Fig. 22 Three letters above abecedary: '-z-r (B. Zuckerman and M.
                        Lundberg).
                        Fig. 23 Three letters above abecedary: '-z-r (R.E. Tappy)."

                        As far as I can tell none of the authors, Drs. Tappy, McCarter,
                        Rollston, Sanders, or
                        Carr, discuss these three letters. They are not in any of the hand
                        drawings by Drs. McCarter and Rollston. Could this be, like ABY (Aleph
                        Bet Yod or Abi) on the Gezer Calendar, the signature of the scribe who
                        made the Tel Zayit Abecedary? We have 'ZR, Ayin Zayin Resh or 'Ezer.

                        With Much Gratitude, Sincerely Yours, Michael Welch Deltona, Florida






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