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Timnah/Tel Batash
תל בטש
Tel batash
Timnah is located in Israel
Shown within Israel
Alternate name תמנתה
Location Israel
Coordinates 31°47′06″N 34°54′40″E / 31.785019°N 34.911203°E / 31.785019; 34.911203
Area 10 acre
Periods Middle Bronze Age
Site notes
Excavation dates 1979-1990s
Archaeologists Amihai Mazar & George L. Kelm

Timnath or Timnah was a Philistine city in Canaan that is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in Judges 14. It has been identified with Tel Batash (Hebrew: תל בטש‎), a tel located in the Sorek Valley, near moshav Tal Shahar, Israel.

It was uncovered through 1977-1979 by Amihai Mazar and George L. Kelm while Kelm was serving as professor of Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, on a dig sponsored by the Seminary.[1][2]

The town of Timnath, Colorado in the United States is named for the city.


The site is strategically located in the Sorek Valley, an access point from the Coastal Plain through the Shephelah and into the Central Judean Mountains. The site is not to be confused with the copper smelting site of Timna in the Arabah near Eilat.


The site was first settled in the Middle Bronze Age by creating an earthen rampart that enclosed the 10 acre (4 hectare) site. Excavations under the leadership of Amihai Mazar and George L. Kelm during the 1980s-1990s uncovered twelve strata of continuous settlement at the site through the Hellenistic period, with sparse settlement nearby during the Byzantine period. It included fortifications and buildings from the Kingdom of Judah period, dating to the 7th and 8th Centuries BCE. In one of the buildings, a ceramic potsherd bearing a written LMLK was found. Not far from the tel, on the edge of Nahal Sorek are the remains of a Roman road as well as settlement dating to the Chalcolithic and Canaanite-periods.

Timnah is mentioned in Genesis 38 in the context of the story of Tamar. More important, the city is featured in Judges 14 in the Samson saga. Samson goes to Timnah in order to find a wife. On his way there, he rends a lion. Samson marries a "girl of the Philistines" from Timnah. In Joshua 15:10, the city is mentioned describing the borders of the Tribe of Judah.


Other References[edit]