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Gezer, a Biblical City *

הבמה הגזרית. האבנים נמצאו הפוכות, וחלקן קבורות, בחפירות מקאליסטר. גובה חלקן עולה על 3 מטרים. Photo: Ori~

Gezer, a Biblical City

Gezer was a significant Caananite city during the Bronze Age and Israelite city during the Iron Age. The city is mentioned in the Merneptah Stele, dating from the end of the 13th century BCE.

Merenptah_Israel_Stele_Cairo Photo: Webscribe
Photo: Webscribe

 Gezer was a Canaanite high place with ten monumental megaliths (up-ended stones, each of which is called a masseba or matseva. [See the header photo above.]

Gezer  is listed in the Book of Joshua as a Levitical city, one of ten allotted to the Levite children of Kehoth.

 In the hill country of Ephraim they were given Shechem (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Gezer  (Joshua 21:21)

Joshua defeated the King of Gezer in his battles for Caanan.

Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army—until no survivors were left(Joshua 10:33)

The surrounding valleys and fields were the site of major battles between Maccabee forces and Seleucids at the Battle of Emmaus during the Hellenistic Period and between the Crusaders, led by Baldwin IV, and the Ayyubidsfrom Egypt, led by Saladin, at the Battle of Montgisard during the Crusades. The Crusaders called the place Mont Gisart.

Gezer held a strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient coastal trade route to Egypt,  Syria, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Jerusalem, and Jericho.

Gezer Calendar

The Gezer Calendar tablet is one of the earliest Hebrew texts. The so-called “Calendar” narrates the agricultural phases of a year in puzzles, using a poetic language. Dated from early Iron Age, 10th century BCE.

The Gezer Calendar tablet, early iron age, 10th century BCE, Museum of Archaeology, Istanbul, Turkey Photo: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)
The Gezer Calendar tablet, early iron age, 10th century BCE, Museum of Archaeology, Istanbul, Turkey
Photo: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)

Abu Shusha

Abu Shusha (ابو شوشة‎) was a Palestinian Arab village located on the slope of Tel Jazar, which is commonly identified with the ancient city of Gezer. It was depopulated in May 1948. The Israeli settlement of Karmei Yosef (Yosef Sapir – Ameilim) founded in 1948, and Pedaya ( 2 Kings 23:36) established in 1951, and Tel Gezer National Park are all on village land.

The name “Abu Shusheh” is said to derive its name from a derwish who prayed for rain in a time of drought, and was told by a sand-diviner that he would perish if it came. The water came out of the earth (probably at Khirbat al-Tannur -خربة التنور) and formed a pool, into which he stepped and was drowned. The people, seeing only his topknot left, cried Ya Abu Shusheh (“Oh Father of the Topknot”).

Fake History?

The editor of the “Abu Shusha” page in Wikipedia claims that Israeli forces executed “war crimes”, the description of which I choose not to detail, based on references of Benny Morris,  a member of the group of Israeli historians known as the “New Historians.” However the editors of the “Abu Shusha” page in the pro-Palestinian site, Zochrot, chose not to mention the alleged crimes. Is this a case of “Fake History”?

Kibbutz Gezer

Kibbutz Gezer was established in 1945 on land, close to Tel Gezer, purchased by the Ancient Order of Maccabeans in England. The pioneers named the kibbutz after the biblical city of Gezer  on the tell (archaeological mound) located nearby.

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