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Geshur

Geshur was a territory in the ancient Levant. There is little historical information we have about Geshur; and most of it is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: the biblical narrator places it at what is today the Golan Heights. Surveys conducted within the Golan Heights have not discovered many settlements within the territory of Geshur. Some scholars suggest it was established as an independent city-state from the middle of the tenth century BCE; maintained its autonomy for about a century until it was annexed in the ninth century by Hazael; the king of Aram.

Biblical Mentionings of Geshur 

Firstly, The name “Geshur” is found primarily in biblical sources and has been taken to mean “stronghold or fortress”. Also the Bible describes it as being near Bashan, adjoining the province of Argob (Deuteronomy 3:14); and the kingdom of Aram or Syria (2 Samuel 15:8; 1 Chronicles 2:23). According to the Bible, it was allotted to the half-tribe of Manasseh which settled east of the Jordan River. But its inhabitants, the Geshurites, could not be expelled (Joshua 13:13).

Moreover, in 1st Samuel 27:8 reports that David undertook raids against the Geshurites. He did that while stationed in Ziklag in the kingdom of Gath. In fact, we know that in the time of David’s rule over Israel; Geshur was an independent Aramean kingdom. Furthermore, King David married Maachah, a daughter of Talmai; the king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3, 1 Chronicles 3:2). Then we learn, that her son Absalom fled to his mother’s native country after the murder of his half-brother and David’s eldest son, Amnon. In fact, Absalom stayed there for three years before being rehabilitated by David (ib. 13:37, 15:8). Finally, by the 9th century BCE, the kingdom of Geshur had disappeared from history.

Religion 

Their religious worship appears to have centered around the worship of the moon-god in the form of a bull which was common in southern Syria; whilst an Egyptian influence can be seen in their art and amulets. The bull stele from the city gate has alternatively been interpreted as either a symbol of the chief god Hadad; in charge of rainfall; the moon god, who brought about the swelling of the rivers; or a combination of the two.

Archaeological Evidence 

Archaeologists tend to agree that the capital of the kingdom was situated at et-Tell, a place also inhabited on a lesser scale during the first centuries BCE and CE and sometimes identified with the town of Bethsaida of New Testament fame. Imposing archaeological finds; mainly the Stratum V city gate; date to the post-Geshurite 8th century BCE. But there are indications, as of 2016; that the archaeologists are close to locating the 10th-century BCE, that is Geshurite, city gate as well. The et-Tell site would have been easily the largest and strongest city to the east of the Jordan Valley during the Iron II era. 

The city gate complex is the most significant discovery. In fact, it is quite large; and it seems that it had six inner chambers that might have been used for storage as well. For example, grains like wheat and barley. I am saying that since archeologists found a great number of grains on the floor of the gate.





arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

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