Khirbet Qeiyafa is a site which:

1. Is not Philistine.

2. Has its two four-chambered gates facing to the south and west.

3. Does not contain pig bones.

4. Is out of context with the rest of Judah and Israel, which show only Canaanite and Philistine city-states in its days (Late Iron I), and, perhaps, a city-state of Jerusalem.

5. Has a pre-Early Byblian inscription.

It is probably to be attributed to an Elah Valley polity ruled from Socoh or Azekah. Its identification as Shaarayim is appealing (it does have two gates!) but suspect; it seems to have been viewed by the Deuteronomistic Historian as a site existing in his day, being mentioned as having a road leading to it and being in a late 7th C BC town list. As Todd Bolen has pointed out, there are other improbabilities with this identification. Todd’s identification of it as Ephes-Dammim (the only other proposed identification that is plausible) is speculative, but possible.

Advertisements