A city of the Philistines, and one of their five principalities, 1Sa 5:8; 6:17. It was a notable city, in the border of the Philistines nearest to Jerusalem; but its site has long been lost. It was the home of Goliath, 1Sa 17:4. Compare Jos 11:22; 2Sa 21:19-22. Here David sought a refuge form Saul, 1Sa 21:10; 27:2-7. It came under his power in the beginning of his reign over all Israel, 1Ch 18:1, and continued subject to his successors till the declension of the kingdom of Judah. Rehoboam rebuilt or fortified it, 2Ch 11:8. It was afterwards recovered by the Philistines, but Uzziah reconquered it, 2Ch 26:6. Its inhabitants were called Gittites, Jos 13:3; and David had tow of them in his service, who faithfully adhered to him during the rebellion of Absalom, 2Sa 15:18-22.
a wine-vat, one of the five royal cities of the Philistines (Jos 13:3) on which the ark brought calamity (1Sa 5:8-9; 6:17). It was famous also as being the birthplace or residence of Goliath (1Sa 17:4). David fled from Saul to Achish, king of Gath (1Sa 21:10; 27:2-4; Ps 56), and his connection with it will account for the words in 2Sa 1:20. It was afterwards conquered by David (2Sa 8:1). It occupied a strong position on the borders of Judah and Philistia (1Sa 21:10; 1Ch 18:1). Its site has been identified with the hill called Tell esSafieh, the Alba Specula of the Middle Ages, which rises 695 feet above the plain on its east edge. It is noticed on monuments about B.C. 1500. (See Metheg-ammah.)
("a winepress"), Gath being in a vine-abounding country. One of the five great Philistine cities (Jos 13:3; 1Sa 6:17). Goliath's abode (1 Samuel 17). Its people were the "Gittites," of whom was David's devotedly loyal friend Ittai (2Sa 15:19-22). In undesigned coincidence with the presence of giants in Gath, according to 1 Samuel 17; 2Sa 21:19-22, is Jos 11:22; "only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod there remained Anakims." Gath was one of the five cities to which the Philistines carried about the ark of God (the five formed one political unity), and thereby brought on the people God's heavy visitation with emerods. It was' represented by one of the five golden emerods and five golden inlet sent to propitiate Jehovah (1Sa 5:9; 6:4-5,10-18).
David there reigned madness to save his life; a second time he visited king Achish, and had Ziklag assigned to him as a residence (1Sa 21:10-15; 27:12). Thence he attached and drew after him 600 Gittite followers, with Ittai their chief (2Sa 15:18); probably some at the time of his sojourn in Gath, and most when he smote and subdued the Philistines (2Sa 8:1). Though tributary to Israel, Gath still retained its own king (1Ki 2:46). Hazael fought against it and took it (2Ki 12:17). Uzziah gave a heavy blow to Gath, breaking down its wall (2Ch 26:6; Am 6:2). "Hamath ... Gath, be they better than these kingdoms?" Gath, once "better (stronger) than" Israel and Judah, fell; how vain then is your confidence in the strength of mounts Zion and Samaria!
In Am 1:6, etc., Zep 2:4-5; Zec 9:5-6, Gath is omitted; probably it had lost by that time its place among the five primary cities. Hezekiah, after Uzziah, conquered Philistia (2Ki 18:8; Isa 14:29-32). Tell es Safieh occupies the site of Gath, which lay on the border between Judah and Philistia, between Shocoh and Ekron (1Sa 17:1,52). Saul came down from the hills by the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, which passes near Shocoh, and encountered the Philistines near the bend in the valley. Saul was on the E. of the valley, the Philistines on the W., as they came from the W. Gath was from its strength often alternately in the hands of Judah and of Philistia (2Ch 11:8). It lay on a hill at the foot of Judah's mountains, ten miles E. of Ashdod, and ten S.E. of Ekron.
A city of the Philistine Pentapolis. It is mentioned in Jos 11:22 as a place where the Anakim took refuge; but Joshua is significantly silent about the apportioning of the city to any of the tribes. The ark was brought here from Ashdod (1Sa 5:8), and thence to Ekron (1Sa 5:10). It was the home of Goliath (1Sa 17:4; 2Sa 21:19), and after the rout of the Philistines at Ephes-dammim it was the limit of their pursuit (1Sa 17:52 Septuagint). David during his outlawry took refuge with its king. Achish (1Sa 21:10). A bodyguard of Gittites was attached to David's person under the leadership of a certain Ittai; these remained faithful to the king after the revolt of Absalom (2Sa 15:18). Shimei's servants ran to Gath, and were pursued thither by him contrary to the tabu laid upon him (1Ki 2:40). Gath was captured by Hazael of Syria (2Ki 12:17). An unsuccessful Ephraimite cattle-lifting expedition against Gath is recorded (1Ch 7:21). The city was captured by David, according to the Chronicler (1Ch 18:1). and fortified by Rehoboam (2Ch 11:8). It was again captured by Uzziah (2Ch 26:6). Amos refers to it in terms which imply that some great calamity has befallen it (2Ch 6:2); the later prophets, though they mention other cities of the Pentapolis, are silent respecting Gath, which seems therefore to have dropped out of existence. The exact circumstances of its final fate are unknown. The topographical indications, both of the Scripture references and of the Onomasticon, point to the great mound Tell es-Safi as the most probable site for the identification of Gath. It stands at the mouth of the Valley of Elah, and clearly represents a large and important town. It was partially excavated by the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1899, but, unfortunately, the whole mound being much cumbered with a modern village and its graveyards and sacred shrines, only a limited area was found available for excavation, and the results were not so definite as they might have been.
R. A. S. Macalister.
One of the five royal cities of the Philistines, and to which Goliath belonged. It is not mentioned as having been given to any of the tribes. It was to this city that the ark was carried when taken in war. 1Sa 5:8. To Achish king of Gath David resorted when his faith failed him as to God's protection. 1Sa 27:2-4: cf. 1Sa 21:10,12. Afterwards when he was king and in power he took Gath and her towns out of the hand of the Philistines. Uzziah also fought against the place and broke down its walls. 1Ch 18:1; 2Ch 26:6. After Mic 1:10 we hear no more of Gath among the cities of the Philistines: cf. Zep 2:4; Zec 9:5-6. It may have been ruined. Its site is identified with Tell es Safl, 31 43' N, 34 51' E, where there are extensive ruins and cisterns hewn out of the rock. It commanded the entrance to the valley of Elah.
(a wine press), one of the five royal cities of the Philistines;
and the native place of the giant Goliath.
It probably stood upon the conspicuous hill now called Tell-es-Safieh, upon the side of the plain of Philistia, at the foot of the mountains of Judah; 10 miles east of Ashdod, and about the same distance south by east of Ekron. It is irregular in form, and about 200 feet high. Gath occupied a strong position,
on the border of Judah and Philistia,
and from its strength and resources forming the key of both countries, it was the scene of frequent struggles, and was often captured and recaptured.
The ravages of war to which Gath was exposed appear to have destroyed it at a comparatively early period, as it is not mentioned among the other royal cities by the later prophets.
It is familiar to the Bible student as the scene of one of the most romantic incidents in the life of King David.
GATH, the fifth of the Philistine cities. It was a place of strength in the time of the prophets Amos and Micah, and is placed by Jerom on the road between Eleutheropolis and Gaza. It appears to have been the extreme boundary of the Philistine territory in one direction, as Ekron was on the other. Hence the expression, "from Ekron even unto Gath," 1Sa 7:14.