Geshur

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For the Israeli settlement, see Geshur, Golan Heights. For the village in Iran, see Geshur, Iran.
Location of biblical Geshur (top right area, east of the Sea of Galilee)

Geshur was a territory in ancient Levant mentioned in the early books of the Hebrew Bible. One of the Amarna letters may contain a possible mention of Geshur.[1]

Hebrew Bible[edit]

The Bible describes it as being near the 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).

In the time of David, Geshur was an independent Aramean kingdom, and David married Maachah, a daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3, 1 Chronicles 3:2). Her son Absalom fled to his mother's native country after the murder of his half-brother and David's eldest son, Amnon. Absalom stayed there for three years before being rehabilitated by David (ib. 13:37, 15:8). By the 9th century BCE the kingdom of Geshur had disappeared from history.[1]

Location[edit]

Geshur is identified with the area stretching along the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and reaching south up to the Yarmuk River.[1] Israeli archaeologists are holding this view and therefore place Geshur in what is now the southern Golan Heights.[2]

Capital at et-Tell[edit]

Archaeologists tend to agree that the capital of the kingdom was situated at et-Tell, a place later made famous under the name Bethsaida by the important position it takes in the New Testament.[3] 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, that is: Geshurite, city gate as well.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Avraham Negev and Shimon Gibson (2001). Geshur. Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land. New York and London: Continuum. p. 196. ISBN 0-8264-1316-1. 
  2. ^ Rediscovered! The Land of Geshur, Moshe Kochavi, Timothy Renner, Ira Spar and Esther Yadin, BAR 18:04, Jul/Aug 1992
  3. ^ a b Philippe Bohstrom (20 July 2016). "Mighty Fortifications Found by Archaeologists Show Kingdom of Geshur More Powerful Than Thought". Haaretz. Retrieved 20 July 2016. 

Further reading[edit]