From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("cut off," i.e. "isolated".) An old Canaanite city, whose king, Horam or Elam, helping Lachish, was slain with his people by Joshua ( Joshua 10:33;  Joshua 12:12). A landmark of Ephraim, between lower Beth-horon and the Mediterranean ( Joshua 16:3), on the S.W. border ( 1 Chronicles 7:28). Now Tell el Djezir near Abou Shusheh (Ganneau). Allotted to the Kohathite Levites ( Joshua 21:21;  1 Chronicles 6:67). At a short distance from Tel el Djezir, on the E. side, engraved on a horizontal rock, is a bilingual Greek and Hebrew inscription marking the limit of Gezer ( Numbers 35:5) as a Levitical city with its portion without the city.

The inscription is at least as old as one century B.C.; also a second similar inscription exists on the N.W. Thus the sacred boundary was a square, having its four angles at the four cardinal points (Ganneau). The original inhabitants remained and paid tribute to Israel ( Judges 1:29;  1 Kings 9:16-17). It must have been independent when Pharaoh slew the Canaanite inhabitants, burnt the city, and gave it a present to his daughter, Solomon's wife. Solomon rebuilt it. Gob is identified with it  1 Chronicles 20:4; compare  2 Samuel 21:18. It lay in the maritime plain, on the coast road to Egypt, an important post to fortify as it lay between Egypt and Jerusalem

It is the last point to which David pursued the Philistines ( 2 Samuel 5:25;  1 Chronicles 14:16). Being 50 miles distant from "the S. of Judah ... and the Kenites," it cannot be meant in  1 Samuel 27:8. (See Gerzites .) The inscription in the rock discovered by Ganneau, "the boundary of Gezer," verifies the conjecture that Abou Shusheh on the plain between Jaffa and Jerusalem is the site of Gezer The discovery of the limit outside the city probably defines "a sabbath day's journey."

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

Joshua defeated the king of Gezer when he tried to aid the king of Lachish ( Joshua 10:33 ). Gezer formed the boundary for Ephraim's tribal allotment ( Joshua 16:3 ), but Israel did not control the city ( Joshua 16:10;  Judges 1:29 ). Still, it was assigned as a city for the Levites ( Joshua 21:21 ). David finally wrested control of it from the Philistines ( 2 Samuel 5:25;  1 Chronicles 20:4 ). A few years later, Egypt's pharaoh captured the city from the Canaanites and gave it to Solomon as a wedding gift for Solomon's marriage with the pharaoh's daughter. Solomon rebuilt its walls ( 1 Kings 9:15-17 ). Between the Testaments, Gezer became known as Gazara. The Seleucid general Bacchides fortified it ( 1 Maccabees 9:52 ). In 142 B.C. the Jewish leader Simon Maccabeus captured Gazara and built himself a home there. Then John Hyrcanus, his son, assumed command of the Jewish army and established his headquarters there ( 1 Maccabees 13:43-53 ).

Gezer thus is a peripheral city in the Bible whose magnificent history had begun to recede a century before Joshua entered Palestine. Still, it marked an important military outpost for Philistines, Egyptians, Israelites, and Assyrians trying to control the important trade and military routes.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Gezer ( Gç'Zer ), Steep Place, called also Gazer, Gazara, Gazera, and Gad, a royal city of Canaan, and one of the oldest cities of the land.  Joshua 10:33;  Joshua 12:12. Gezer was in Ephraim; given to Kohath,  Joshua 21:21;  1 Chronicles 6:67; noticed in the wars of David,  1 Samuel 27:8;  2 Samuel 5:25;  1 Chronicles 20:4; burned by Pharaoh in Solomon's days,  1 Kings 9:15-17; given to Solomon's Egyptian wife, and rebuilt by him; was an important city in the time of the Maccabees.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

GEZER . A very ancient city of the Shephçlah, on the borders of the Philistine Plain; inhabited c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 3000 by a race probably kin to the Horites, who were succeeded by the Semitic Canaanites about b.c. 2500. These were not driven out by the invading Israelites (  Judges 1:29 ). In David’s time the city was in Philistine hands (  1 Chronicles 20:4 ). The king of Egypt captured it, and gave it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife (  1 Kings 9:16 ). Simon Maccabæus besieged and captured it, and built for himself a dwelling-place ( 1Ma 13:43-53 Gazara RV [Note: Revised Version.] ). The city has been partly excavated by the Palestine Exploration Fund, and Simon’s dwelling-place discovered, as well as a great Canaanite high place, and innumerable other remains of early Palestinian civilization.

R. A. S. Macalister.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

A royal city of the Canaanites,  Joshua 10:33   12:12; between Bethhoron and the Mediterranean,  Joshua 16:3; afterwards on the western border of Ephraim, and assigned to the Levites,  Joshua 16:3   21:21 . The Canaanites long retained a foothold in it,  Joshua 16:10   Judges 1:29; but were dispossessed by a king of Egypt, and the place given to his daughter, the wife of Solomon,  1 Kings 9:16 , who fortified it.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Joshua 10:33 12:12 1 Chronicles 6:67 Joshua 16:3 1 Kings 9:17 2 Samuel 5:25 1 Chronicles 14:16 1 Kings 9:15-17

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

gē´zẽr ( גּזר , gezer ): A city of great military importance in ancient times, the site of which has recently been thoroughly explored. The excavations at this spot are the most thorough and extensive of any in Palestine, and have not only done much to confirm the history of the place, as known from Biblical and other sources, but have also thrown a flood of light upon the general history, civilization and religion of Palestine in pre-Israelite and Israelite times.

1. The Discovery and Position of the Site

The long-lost site of Gezer was discovered by M. Clermont-Ganneau in 1873, and his suggestion that the modern name for the place, Tell Jezer (or Tell el Jezereh ) was a survival of the ancient name was confirmed by his further discovery of three bilingual inscriptions, in Hebrew and Greek, cut on surfaces of rock by a certain Alkios, apparently once the governor of the city; in one of them occurred the expression "the boundary of Gezer."

The natural features and the position of Tell Jezer abundantly explain the extreme importance of Gezer in ancient times. The buried remains crown a narrow hill, running from Northwest to Southeast, about 1,700 ft. long by 300 to 500 ft. broad. The approach is steep on every side, and in early times, before the accumulation around the sides of the rubbish of some millenniums, must have been much more so. The hill stands, like an outpost, projecting into the great plain, and is connected with the low hills behind it, part of the Shephelah, with but a narrow neck. At the foot of the hill runs a great high road from Egypt to Syria; to the North lies the Vale of Aijalon, across which runs the modern carriage road to Jerusalem, and up which ran the great high road, by the Beth-horons, to the platenu North of Jerusalem; to the South lies the Vale of Sorek, where stood Bethshemesh, and along which went a great highway from the country of the Philistines to the hill country of Judah. Today the Jerus-Jaffa railway, after sweeping some miles away in the plain round the whole western and southern sides of the site, passes along this open vale to plunge into the narrow defile - the Wady Isma‛in , which it follows to Jerusalem. From the summit of the Tell , a vast expanse of country is visible between the long blue line of the Mediterranean to the West, and the abrupt and lofty mountains of Judah to the East. That it has been all through history the scene of military contest is fully understood when its strategic position is appreciated; no military leader even today, if holding the highlands of Palestine against invasion, could afford to neglect such an outpost.

2. History of Gezer

Although the excavation of the site shows that it was occupied by a high civilization and a considerable population at an extremely early period, the first historical mention is in the list of the Palestinian cities captured by Tahutmes 3 (18th Dynasty, about 1500 bc). From this time it was probably under Egyptian governors (the Egyptian remains at all periods are considerable), but from the Tell el-Amarna Letters , a century or so later, we learn that Egyptian influence was then on the wane. Three of these famous clay tablets are dated from Gezer itself and are written in the name of the governor Yapaḥi  ; he was then hard pressed by the Khabiri, and he appealed for help in vain to Egypt. In other letters belonging to this series, there are references to this city. In one, a certain freebooter named Lapaya makes excuses that he had broken into the city. He "has been slandered. Is it an offense that he has entered Gazri and levied the people?" (no. Ccxl , Petrie's translation).

In the well-known "Song of Triumph" of Merenptah, who is considered by many to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, occurs the expression "Gezer is taken." (In connection with this it is interesting to notice that an ivory pectoral with the cartouche of Meren-ptah was unearthed at Gezer.)

In the time of Joshua's invasion a certain "king of Gezer" named Horam ( הרם , hōrām , but in Septuagint Αἰλάμ , Ailám , or Ἐλάμ , Elám ) came to the assistance of Lachish against the Israelites, but was slain (  Joshua 10:33 ). Gezer was taken, but the Canaanites were not driven out, but remained in servitude ( Joshua 16:10;  Judges 1:29 ). The city became one of the towns on the southern border of Ephraim ( Joshua 16:3 ), but was assigned to the Kohath clan of the Levites ( Joshua 21:21 ). In  2 Samuel 5:25 (the King James Version "Gazer") we read that David chased the Philistines after their defeat in the valley of Rephaim "from Geba until thou come to Gezer," showing that this was on the frontier of the Philistine territory; and in   1 Chronicles 20:4 it states, "There arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Sippai, of the sons of the giant; and they were subdued." In the corresponding account in   2 Samuel 21:18 the scene of this event is said to be Gob, which is probably a copyist's error - גוב for גזר . According to Josephus ( Ant. , VIII, vi, 1), at the commencement of Solomon's reign Gezer was in the hands of the Philistines, which may explain  1 Kings 9:16 , where it is stated that a certain Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married, captured and burnt Gezer and gave the site to his daughter. Solomon rebuilt it ( 1 Kings 9:17 ). There are no further references to Gezer during the later Jewish monarchy, but there are several during the Maccabean period. Judas pursued Gorgias to "Gazara and into the plains of Idumaea and Azotis and Jamnia" (1 Macc 4:15); Bacchides, after his defeat by Jonathan, "fortified also the city of Bethsura, and Gazara, and the tower, and put forces in them and provision of victuals" (1 Macc 9:52 the King James Version); a little later Simon "camped against Gazara and besieged it round about; he made also an engine of war, and set it by, the city and battered a certain tower, and took it" (1 Macc 13:43 the King James Version), after which he purified it (1 Macc 13:47, 48). From Josephus ( Ant. , Xiii , viii, 2) we gather that Antiochus had taken Gezer from the Jews.

The governor, Alkios, who made the bilingual inscriptions, may come in about this time or a little later; the rock inscriptions, of which half a dozen are now known, give no information regarding their date.

In the period of the Crusades this site, under the name "Mount Gisart," was a crusading fort and gave its name to a family. Here King Baldwin 4 gained a victory over Saladin in 1177, and in 1191 the latter monarch camped here while conducting some fruitless negotiations with King Richard Coeur de Lion. In 1495 a skirmish occurred here between the governor of Jerusalem and certain turbulent Bedouin. The history of Gezer, as known, is thus one of battles and sieges extending over at least 3,000 years; from the archaeological remains we may infer that its history was similar for at least 1,000 years earlier.

3. History of the Excavations

In 1904 the Palestine Exploration Fund of England obtained a "permit" for the excavation of Tell Jezer . The whole site was the private property of certain Europeans, whose agent, living much of the time on the Tell itself, was himself deeply interested in the excavations, so that unusually favorable conditions obtained for the work. Mr. (now Professor) R. A. Stewart Macalister, M.A., was sent out, and for 3 years (1904-7) he instituted an examination of the hidden remains in the mound, after a manner, till then, unexampled in Palestine exploration. His ambition was to turn over every cubic foot of soil down to the original rock, so that nothing of importance could be overlooked. As at the expiration of the original "permit" much remained unexplored, application was made to the authorities for a second one, and, at the end of 1907, Mr. Macalister embarked on a further 2 years of digging. Altogether he worked for the greater part of 5 years, except for necessary interruptions of the work due to unfavorable weather. Some two-thirds of the total accumulated débris on the mound was ransacked, and besides this, many hundreds of tombs, caves and other antiquarian remains in the neighborhood were thoroughly explored.

4. Chief Results of the Explorations

It was found that the original bare rock surface of the hill was crowned with buried remains, in some parts 20,30 ft. deep, made up of the débris of all the cities which had stood on the site during three or four thousand years; on the part excavated there were no remains so late as the commencement of the Christian era, the Gezer of that time, and the crusading fort, being built on a neighboring site. The earliest inhabitants were Troglodytes living in the many caves which riddled the hill surface; they were apparently a non-Sem race, and there was some evidence that they at least knew of cremation. These, or a race soon after - the earliest Semites - enclosed the hilltop with high earth rampart faced with rough stones - the earliest "walls" going back at least before 3000 bc. At an early period - probably about 3000 bc - a race with a relatively high civilization fortified the whole hilltop with a powerful and remarkably well-built wall, 14 ft. thick, with narrow towers of short projection at intervals of 90 ft. At a point on the South side of this was unearthed a very remarkable, massive, brick gateway (all the other walls and buildings are of stone), with towers on each side still standing to the height of 16 ft., but evidently once much higher. This gate showed a strong Egyptian influence at work long before the first historic reference (18th Dynasty), for both gateway and wall to which it belonged had been ruined at an early date, the former indeed, after its destruction, was overlaid by the buildings of a city, which from its datable objects - scarabs, etc. - must have belonged to the time of Amenhotep III, i.e. as early as 1500 bc.

The later wall, built, we may conclude, soon after the ruin of the former, and therefore about 1500 bc, was also a powerful construction and must have existed considerably over a thousand years, down, indeed, till 100 bc at least, when Gezer disappears from history as a fortitled site. These walls enclosed a larger area than either of the previous ones; they show signs of destruction and repairs, and Mr. Macalister is of the opinion that some of the extensive repairs - in one place a gap of 150 ft. - and the 28 inserted towers are the work of Solomon ( 1 Kings 9:17 ). This wall must have existed in use through all we know of Gezer from Bible sources. When, from the ruined remains, we reconstruct in imagination these mighty ramparts, we need not wonder that the' Hebrews, fresh from long wanderings in the wilderness, found it no easy task to capture cities so fortified as was this ( Numbers 13:28;  Deuteronomy 1:28 ).

The foundations of a powerful building, which were found inserted in a gap in the southern walls, turned out conclusively to be the palace of Simon Maccabeus - who captured the city ( 1 Maccabees 13:43 ) - a graffito being found upon one of its stones running thus:

ρ Ο2 Παμπαπ ( ρ Ο2 ςπ ) ρ Ο2 Σιμῶνος κατεπάγηπ (?) ρ Ο2 ππ ( ρ Ο2 ῦρπ ) βασίλειον Literature

In Bible Side-Lights from the Mound of Gezer Professor R. A. S. Macalister has described in a poplar form with illustrations some of his most remarkable discoveries; while in the Memoirs of the Excavations at Gezer (1912), published by the Palestine Exploration Fund, Professor Macalister deals with the subject exhaustively.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [8]

(Heb. id. גֵּזֶר prob. a Precipice, from גָּזִר , to Cut Off; Sept. Γἀξερ , , but in  1 Chronicles 6:67;  1 Chronicles 20:4 Γαξέρ , , in  1 Chronicles 14:16 Γαξηρά ; in pause Gazer which Emerald, Isr. Gesch . 2:427, note , deems the original form), an ancient city of Canaan, chosen king, Horam, or Elam, coming to the assistance of Lachish, was defeated, and probably killed, with all his people, by Joshua ( Joshua 10:33;  Joshua 12:12). The town, however, is not said to have been destroyed; it formed one of the landmarks on the southern boundary of Ephraim, not far from the lower Beth-horon, towards the Mediterranean ( Joshua 16:3), the western limit of the tribe (1 Chonicles 7:28). It was allotted, with its suburbs, to the Kohathite Levites ( Joshua 21:21;  1 Chronicles 6:67); but the original inhabitants were not dispossessed ( Judges 1:29); so that in the time of David the Philistine territory seems to have included it (2 Samuel 10:25;  1 Chronicles 20:4); and even down to the reign of Solomon the Canaanites (or, according to the Sept. additioe to  Joshua 16:10, the Canaanites and Perizzites) were still dwelling there, and paying tribute to Israel ( 1 Kings 9:16). At this time it must, in fact, have been independent of Israelitish rule, for Pharaoh had on some occasion burnt it to the ground and killed its inhabitants, and then presented the site to his daughter, Solomon's queen. But it was immediately rebuilt by the latter king ( 1 Kings 9:15-21); and, though not heard of again till after the captivity, yet it played a somewhat prominent part in the later struggles of the nation, being the Gazera ( Γάξηρα ,  1 Maccabees 4:15;  1 Maccabees 7:45), or Gazara ( Γάξαρα ,  1 Maccabees 15:28;  1 Maccabees 15:35;  1 Maccabees 13:53;  2 Maccabees 10:32), of the Apocrypha and Josephus (Γάξαρα , Ant. 13:9, 2), who once calls it Gadara ( Γάδαρα , , Ant. 13: 9, 2). Strabo (16:759) also mentions a town called Gadaris (Γαδαρίς ). Ewald (Gesch. 3:280), somewhat arbitrarily, takes Gezer and Geshus to be the same, and sees in the destruction of the former by Pharaoh, and the simultaneous expedition of Solomon to Hamath- zobab, in the neighborhood of the latter, indications of a revolt of the Canaanites, of whom the Geshurites formed the most powerful remnant, and whose attempt against the new monarch was thus frustrated. In one place Gob is given as identical with Gezer ( 1 Chronicles 20:4; comp.  2 Samuel 21:18). Gezer was perhaps the original seat of the Gezrites (q.v.) whom David attacked ( 1 Samuel 27:8), in the vicinity of the Amalekites; and as they are mentioned in connection with the Geshurites, they may have lived a considerable distance north of Philistia. Finally, Mount Gerizim (q.v.) appears to have derived its name from the vicinity of this tribe (compare the name Ar-Gerizim, by Thecodotius, in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. 9:22).

Gezer must have been between the lower Beth-horon and the sea ( Joshua 16:3;  1 Kings 9:17), therefore on the edge of the great maritime plain which lies beneath the hills of which Beit-ur et-tahta is the last outpost, and forms the regular coast road of communication with Egypt ( 1 Kings 9:16). It is therefore appropriately named as the last point to which David's pursuit of the Philistines extended ( 2 Samuel 5:25;  1 Chronicles 14:16), and as the scene of at least one sharp encounter ( 1 Chronicles 20:4), this plain being their own peculiar territory (comp. Josephus, Ant., 8:6, 1, Γάξαρα Τῆν Τῆς Παλαιστίνων Χώρας Ὑπἁρχονσαν ); and as commanding the communication between Egypt and the new capital, Jerusalem, it was an important point for Solomon to fortify. By Eusebius (Onomast. s.v. Γαζέρ ) it is mentioned as four miles north of Nicopolis (Amw  s), a position exactly occupied by the inportant town Jimzu, the ancient Gimzo, and corresponding well with the requirements of Joshua. But this hardly agrees with the indications of the first book of Maccabees, which speak of it as between Emmaus (Amw  s) and Azotus and Jamnia; and again as on the confines of Aztus. In the neighborhood of the latter there is more than one site bearing the name Yasur; but whether this Arabic name can be derived from the Hebrew Gezer, and also whether so important a town as Gazara was in the time of the Maccabees can be represented by such insignificant vilages as these, are doubtful questions. Schwartz (Palest. page 85) identifies it with Y'Azur, a little village two miles east of Jaffa; but this has long since been identified with the Hazor of Eusebius (see Robinson's Res. 2:370, note). Van Senden proposes to identify it with El-Kubab, a place on a tell northwest of Anwas; but Van de Velde suggests that this would require the supposition of two Gezers (Memoir, page 315). The site seems rather to be that of the modern Urn-Rush, a village with ruins and a well on the Jaffa road (Robinson, Researches, 3:57), a place which must, from its position (commanding the thoroughfare), have always been of great importance, like Gezer.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [9]

Ge´zer. Formerly a royal city of the Canaanites, and situated in what became the western part of the tribe of Ephraim. The Canaanites were not expelled from it at the conquest . It was, nevertheless, assigned to the Levites . In after times, having been, on some occasion, destroyed by the Egyptians, it was rebuilt by Solomon.