1200-1100 BCE

From Joshua to Samuel

Ancient Tel of Jericho

Joshua 6: 4-5
…and on the seventh day you shall encircle the city [of Jericho] seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

And it shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down in its place and the people shall go up, every man straight ahead.

James Smith / Alamy Stock Photo

Joshua’s Altar on Mt. Ebal

Joshua 8:30-31

At that time Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, as Moses, the servant of the LORD, had commanded the Israelites—as is written in the Book of the Teaching of Moses—an altar of unhewn stone upon which no iron had been wielded. They offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and brought sacrifices of well-being.

Israel Antiquities Authority

Photos by AnaRina Kreisman

Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal

Joshua 8:33-34
...Half of them facing Mount Gerizim and half of them facing Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded, to bless the people of Israel first.  And afterward, he read all the words of the law, the blessing, and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the Torah.

Till today, Mount Gerizim is called the mountain of blessing with lavish vineyards and orchards growing atop it. Mount Ebal remains uncultivated.

Israel Antiquities Authority

In 2021, skeletal remains from approximately 1200 BCE were discovered in the location of the city of Azekah, mentioned several times in the Bible.

Joshua Conquers Azekah

Joshua 10:7-10
So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his whole fighting force, all the trained warriors.

…Joshua took them by surprise, marching all night from Gilgal. The LORD threw them into a panic before Israel: [Joshua] inflicted a crushing defeat on them at Gibeon, pursued them in the direction of the Beth-horon ascent, and harried them all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.

The Israelite Tabernacle at Shiloh, 1200 BCE

Joshua 18:1
“The whole community of the Israelite people assembled at Shiloh, and set up the Tent of Meeting there.”

Heritage Division of the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, English translation courtesy of George Blumenthal

Settlements in Canaan from the Period of the Judges
1200-1000 BCE

Biblical Archaeology Society

Jael Killing Sisera
By Rembrandt

Judges 4:22-23
Now Barak appeared in pursuit of Sisera. Jael went out to greet him and said, “Come, I will show you the man you are looking for.” He went inside with her, and there Sisera was lying dead, with the pin in his temple. On that day God subdued King Jabin of Canaan…

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Idol of the Phoenician God Baal

Judges 6:28
Early the next morning, the townspeople found that the altar of Baal had been torn down and the sacred post beside it had been cut down, and that the second bull had been offered on the newly built altar...

The Louvre Museum, Paris 

Ruth and Naomi 
by Rembrandt

Ruth 1:15-17
So she (Naomi) said, “See, your sister-in-law has returned to her people and her gods. Go follow your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth replied, “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more may the LORD do to me if anything but death parts me from you.”

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

The Philistines and the Collapse of the Bronze Age, 1200 BCE

Widespread famine and earthquakes along the Greek Islands and the southern coast of Turkey cause the Sea Peoples to attack Egypt, the “breadbasket” of the Mediterranean.   Wikipedia

The Philistines Enter History

Rameses III, 1175 BCE
“They (i.e. the Sea Peoples) were coming forward toward EGYPT… Their confederation was the Tjeker, Shekelesh, Denye(n), Weshesh and the Peleset (Philistines).”

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Philistine Captives in Feathered Headdress
Medinet Habu, Egypt 

The Philistines Battle the Egyptians
1175 BCE

Drawing based on sculpted reliefs at the Egyptian site of Medinet Habu depicts Egyptians in a sea battle with three different Sea Peoples—the Danunu, the Sikils and the Philistines, who originated from the area around Greece.

Yigael Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands 

The Philistine Pentapolis

The five main Philistine cities in Canaan , known as the Pentapolis, were Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron.

Biblical Archaeology Society


Ashkelon: A Retrospective
Israel Museum Virtual Tour by Ardon Bar-Hama, Courtesy of George Blumenthal

View Exhibit

Israel Museum / Israel Antiquities Authority

Philistine Female Figure from Ashdod, 12th Century BCE

This schematic figurine of a woman whose body merges with her throne is nicknamed “Ashdoda,” after the Philistine city of Ashdod, the city in which it was found.

It seems to have been inspired by figurines of seated women from Greece. In some of them, the woman is shown holding a child. Thus they may represent a mother goddess.

Samson and Delilah 
By Rembrandt

Judges 16:15-17
Then she (Delilah) said to him, "How can you say you love me, when you don’t confide in me?..."

Finally, after she had nagged him… (Samson) said to her, “No razor has ever touched my head, for I have been a nazirite to God since I was in my mother’s womb. If my hair were cut, my strength would leave me and I should become as weak as an ordinary man.”

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

The Blinding of Samson
By Rembrandt

Judges 16:19-21
She lulled him to sleep on her lap. Then she called in a man, and she had him cut off the seven locks of his head; thus she weakened him and made him helpless: his strength slipped away from him.

The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and shackled him in bronze fetters, and he became a mill slave in the prison.

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Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Pillar Bases of a Philistine Temple Discovered Near Tel Aviv

Judges 16:25-30
As their spirits rose, they said, ‘Call Samson here and let him dance for us.’ Samson was fetched from the prison, and he danced for them. Then they put him between the pillars.

…Samson called to the LORD, "O Lord GOD! Please remember me, and give me strength just this once…"

He embraced the two middle pillars that the temple rested upon, one with his right arm and one with his left, and leaned against them; Samson cried, "Let me die with the Philistines!" and he pulled with all his might. The temple came crashing down …

Israel Antiquities Authority

Battles With The Philistines and the Destruction of Shiloh

Biblical Archaeology Society

The Route of the Ark of the Covenant after its Capture by the Philistines

1 Samuel 5:1
When the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they brought it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod.

Biblical Archaeology Society

City of David Megalim Institute, Courtesy of George Blumenthal and the Gol Family

The Philistines Capture the Ark of the Covenant

1 Samuel 4:10-11
The Philistines fought; Israel was routed, and they all fled to their homes. The defeat was very great, thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell there. The Ark of God was captured...

לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבְנוֹ יְהוֹנָתָן מֵתִים בַּקְּרָב, פּוֹנִים רָאשֵׁי הַשְּׁבָטִים לְדָוִד, שֶׁמָּלַךְ כְּבָר שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וָחֵצִי בְּחֶבְרוֹן. הֵם מְמַנִּים אוֹתוֹ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל הַקּוֹנְפֵדֵרַצְיָה הַשִּׁבְטִית הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל.     

דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ פּוֹנֶה מִיָּד לְכִוּוּן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁטֶּרֶם נִכְבְּשָׁה בְּמַהֲלַךְ כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ בִּידֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.   דָּוִד בּוֹחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם מֵאַרְבַּע סִבּוֹת עִקָּרִיּוֹת: מַיִם, בִּטָּחוֹן, אִחוּד וְשִׁלְטוֹן קַרְקָעִי נֵיטְרָלִי, אַךְ חָשׁוּב מֵהַכֹּל, בִּגְלַל הַקְּדוֹשָׁה שֶׁל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַטְּבוּעָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַנִּבְחָר, שֶׁבּוֹ יִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָעֲתִידִי.     

לְפָנֶיךָ סִרְטוֹן הַמְּסַפֵּר אֶת הַסִּבּוֹת שֶׁל דָּוִד בְּכִבּוּשׁ הָעִיר.