In a groundbreaking development, Israeli scientists have harnessed cutting-edge technology to authenticate the obliteration of the Philistine city mentioned in the Second Book of Kings from the Bible.
A collaborative effort involving researchers from Tel Aviv University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, and Ariel University utilized a novel method based on measuring the Earth’s magnetic field to corroborate the destruction of Gath by Hazael, the king of Aram, as chronicled in 2 Kings 12:17.
During this period, Hazael, King of Aram, besieged and successfully seized Gath before directing his forces towards Jerusalem, according to the biblical account.
Dr. Yoav Vaknin, the lead scientist from the Sonia & Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, elucidated that their innovative technique differed from previous approaches by precisely gauging the intensity of the fire and the extent of the devastation in Gath, famously known as the hometown of Goliath.
This groundbreaking methodology resolved an archaeological dispute regarding whether the previously unearthed bricks forming the city wall were charred in a widespread fire or if they had been kiln-fired before construction.
Contrary to earlier research suggesting a gradual collapse over several decades, Vaknin and his team determined through their method that the discovered bricks were not kiln-fired but instead incinerated in a large-scale fire, aligning with the historical account in 2 Kings 12:17.
The study, co-authored by Professor Aren Maeir from the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, emphasized the significance of these findings for comprehending the intensity of the destruction in Gath, which held the status of the largest and most formidable city in the region during that era. It also shed light on construction practices prevalent in the area.
Detailed in the PLOS One journal, the study clarified that mud-based bricks contain millions of ferromagnetic particles. Heating these bricks in a fire causes the magnetic particles to align with the Earth’s magnetic field. The researchers observed that the orientation of these particles differed between bricks fired in a kiln before construction and those used in a wall built after being burned in situ.
In essence, the method confirmed that the Gath bricks uncovered during excavation experienced combustion through a large fire rather than being kiln-fired. This verification corroborates the historical narrative in 2 Kings 12:17, attesting that the city succumbed to a common method of warfare—destruction by fire. Vaknin added that their methodology allowed them to discern the varying temperatures at which the bricks burned, offering insights into the dynamics of the city’s demise.