A short account of Sha’arayim (Khirbet Qeiyafa), given by your Gilad Suffrin, your Israel private tour guide
“Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Sha’arayim as far as Gath and Ekron.” (1 Samuel 17).
This is the climax of the famous story about the victory of young David over the giant Goliath. We know exactly where it happened in the Elah Valley and we do know very well, for many years, the Philistine cities of Gath and Ekron, both well-excavated. But where, for God’s sake, is Sha’arayim?
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Closing in on the Elah Valley from the north side, there is a line of hills. In 2007, excavations began on top of one of the hills, at a place that seemed to contain ruins from the Iron Age. The excavations revealed a very well-planned and fortified small city that existed for only a short time between 1030 and 970 BCE (based on carbon dating of olive pits found in the ruins).
A huge wall (made of about 200,000 tons of rock) was dug around the hill with a massive gate facing the west. It was a great surprise when a second gate facing the south was found. That made the city the only one during that time period that had two gates. Was Sha’arayim (“Two Gates”) found at last?