Sack of Gezer

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For the siege of Gezer by Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III see Siege of Gezer (c.733 BC)
Siege of Gezer
Date 10th century BC
Location Gezer, Palestine
Result Egypt takes Gezer, Egyptian victory
Egypt Philistines
Commanders and leaders
Siamun Unknown
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Many killed

The Sack of Gezer reportedly took place at the beginning of the 10th century BC according to the Hebrew Bible, when the city was conquered and burned by an Egyptian pharaoh, most likely Siamun, during his military campaign in Palestine. This anonymous Egyptian pharaoh then gave it to King Solomon as the dowry of his daughter. This campaign and capture of the city was mentioned in the Bible.

The Bible states:

Pharaoh King of Egypt had come up and captured Gezer; he destroyed it by fire, killed the Canaanites who dwelt in the town, and gave it as dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife.

— (1 Kings 9:16)

Identifying the Pharaoh[edit]

The only mention in the Bible of a Pharaoh who might be Siamun is the text from 1 Kings quoted above, and we have no other historical sources that clearly identify what really happened. As shown below, Kenneth Kitchen believes that Siamun conquered Gizer and gave it to Solomon. Others such as Paul S Ash and Mark W. Chavalas disagree, and Chavalas states that "it is impossible to conclude which Egyptian monarch ruled concurrently with David and Solomon".[1] Professor Edward Lipinski argues that Gezer, then unfortified, was destroyed late in the 10th century (and thus not contemporary with Solomon) and that the most likely Pharaoh was Shoshenq I. "The attempt at relating the destruction of Gezer to the hypothetical relationship between Siamun and Solomon cannot be justified factually, since Siamun's death precedes Solomon's accession."[2]


One fragmentary but well-known surviving triumphal relief scene from the Temple of Amun at Tanis depicts an Egyptian pharaoh smiting his enemies with a mace. There can be no doubt that the person shown on this relief was Siamun as the eminent British Egyptologist, Kenneth Kitchen, stresses in his book, On the Reliability of the Old Testament.[3] Siamun appears here "in typical pose brandishing a mace to strike down prisoners(?) now lost at the right except for two arms and hands, one of which grasps a remarkable double-bladed axe by its socket."[4] The writer observes that this double-bladed axe or 'halberd' has a flared crescent-shaped blade which is close in form to the Aegean influenced double axe but is quite distinct from the Palestinian/Canaanite double-headed axe which has a different shape that resembles an X.[5] Thus, Kitchen concludes Siamun's foes were the Philistines who were descendants of the Aegean-based Sea Peoples and that Siamun was commemorating his recent victory over them at Gezer by depicting himself in a formal battle scene relief at the Temple in Tanis. More recently Paul S Ash has put forward a detailed argument that Siamun's relief portrays a fictitious battle. He points out that in Egyptian reliefs Philistines are never shown holding an axe, and that there is no archaeological evidence for Philistines using axes. He also argues that there is nothing in the relief to connect it with Philistia or the Levant.[6]

The first season of the Gezer excavations concluded successfully and revealed some interesting details. Among other things, is a discovery of thick destruction layer that may be dated to the destruction of Siamun (1 Kings 9:16).[citation needed]


  1. ^ Chavalas, Mark W.; Ash, Paul S. (Spring 2001). "Review of David, Solomon and Egypt: A Reassessment by Paul S. Ash". Journal of Biblical Literature 120 (1): 152–152. doi:10.2307/3268603. JSTOR 3268603. 
  2. ^ Lipinski, Edward (2006). On the Skirts of Canaan in the Iron Age (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta). Leuven, Belgium: Peeters. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-90-429-1798-9. 
  3. ^ K.A. Kitchen, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 109
  4. ^ Kitchen, OROT, op. cit., pp. 109 and 526
  5. ^ Kitchen, OROT, op. cit., pp. 109–10
  6. ^ Ash, Paul S (November 1999). David, Solomon and Egypt: A Reassessment (JSOT Supplement). Sheffield Academic Press. pp. 38–46. ISBN 978-1-84127-021-0. 

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 31°51′32″N 34°55′08″E / 31.859°N 34.919°E / 31.859; 34.919