The Identification and Function of Khirbet Qeiyafa: A New Suggestion

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One of the more intriguing archaeological sites to be excavated in Israel in recent years is that of Khirbet Qeiyafa, a small, more-or-less single-period early Iron Age fortified site in the Judean Shephelah, situated on a low hill overlooking the Elah Valley, at approximately the place described in 1 Sam. 17 as the site if the duel between David and Goliath. The site has been excavated since 2007, and it seems to have been occupied only during the Iron I/Iron IIa transition. Various scholars have suggested different identifications, most notably Shaaraim and Netaim. However Khirbet Qeiyafa is not a city, but rather a fortified military installation. This paper refutes previous suggestions while proposing that this site be identified with the ma‘agal, Saul's fortified camp at which David leaves his pack according to verse 20, or at least the site that the author of the story, who obviously knew the area well, identified as Saul's camp. However the real value of the site is not its biblical identity but its position, on both the geographic frontier between Iron-Age Judah and Philistia and the chronological transition from Iron Age I to Iron Age IIa. - See more at:
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2011
EventThe Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 19 Nov 201122 Nov 2011 (Website)


ConferenceThe Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address


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