Israel Demands a King & Izbet Sartah Ostracon

Finger Pointing UpI understand it now.  There isn’t a “partly” Your way, it’s all the way or no way.

On another note, they’ve been living for 300 years with no laws, are they ever going to get another judge?

1. Kiriath Jearim
Kiriath Jearim
The tourists who do pull over often do so only to snap pictures at the Elvis American Diner (also known as the “Elvis Inn”).

A 16-foot-tall bronze likeness of Elvis Presley greets every visitor.

Inside the diner, Elvis music is all they hear as they eat their Elvis Burgers.

But Elvis isn’t what makes this hill noteworthy.

Around the corner from the offbeat diner, near the modern Israeli Arab village of Abu Gosh, sits the site so few see and even fewer visit—the biblical site of Kiriath Jearim.

You’d never know by looking, but the physical symbol of God’s presence in Israel rested for about a century on this overlooked hill.

“And the men of Kirjath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 

And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. 

And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines” (1 Sam 7:1-3).

The Israelites got rid of Baalima and Ashtaroth and served only God.  And Samuel told them all to go to Mizpeh and he would pray for them. 

When the Philistines heard that Israel went back to God they decided to attack them and the Israelites were scared. 

Samuel then gave a suckling lamb as a burnt offering to God and when the Philistines came He thundered with a great thunder on them, discomfiting them so Israel smote them all the way to Beth-car.

2. The Elvis Inn in Israel.
The Elvis Inn in Israel.
Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, we pulled off Highway 1 into the parking lot of the Elvis American Diner (a.k.a. “Elvis Inn”).

The bottom picture above is their 16-foot-tall bronze likeness of The King.

Inside the diner, every inch of wall held pictures, postcards, LPs and all manner of Elvis memorabilia.

“Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us. 

So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel” (1 Sam 7:12-13).

The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored; from Ekron to Gath and the coasts, and Israel and the Amorites had peace.

“And Samuel Judged Israel all the days of his life. 

And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and Judged Israel in all those places. 

And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he Judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD” (1 Sam 7:15-17).

When Samuel was old he made his sons, Joel and Abiah, Judges in Beer-Sheba (Abraham was the one that had named it after digging a well – Gen 21:31).  But Joel and Abiah were not like Samuel.

“And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted Judgment” (1 Sam 8:3).

3. Kiriath Jearim
Hill of Kiriath Jearim, on the west side of Abu Ghosh, where the Ark of the Covenant stayed in the house of Abinadab from the time of Samuel until David brought it to Jerusalem.
During the time of the Judges, Kiriath Jearim became a camp of killers. Six hundred families of the tribe of Dan migrated from their tribe’s original allotment. The Danites were moving to a town far north in upper Galilee, planning to kill the people and occupy the site. On their trip, the Danites camped at Kiriath Jearim, specifically at a spot west of Kiriath Jearim (Jgs 18:11–12).
It is very likely that the Danites camped on the very hill where Yad Hashmona is located. The spot became famous, and was called Mahaneh-Dan, meaning “camp of Dan.”
The Ark of the Covenant was brought to Kiriath Jearim early in the ministry of Samuel (about 1070 BC). It had been taken from the town of Shiloh into battle against the Philistines, and was captured. The Philistines found the Ark to be “hot merchandise” and returned it to Israel on a cart pulled by cows. (1 Sm 4–6). The Ark remained at Kiriath Jearim for 20 years (1 Sm 7:2).
However, there is some debate as to whether the Ark remained located in Kiriath Jearim for the entire time. In 1 Samuel 14:18, according to the Masoritic Text (MT), during the battle near Michmash, King Saul commanded Ahijah to “Bring the Ark of God.”
We are told the Ark of God was with the Israelites at that time. However, in the Septuagint (LXX), the word “Ephod” is used instead of “Ark.” In his commentary on 1 Samuel, Ronald Youngblood mentions both sources, but cites Jobling in settling the matter (663):
4. Baal
Bronze figurine of a Baal, ca. 14th-12th century B.C., found at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) near the Phoenician coast.
Baal is also rendered Baʿal is a North-West Semitic title and honorific meaning “master” or “lord” that is used for various gods who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu. A Baalist or Baalite means a worshiper of Baal.

“Baal” may refer to any god and even to human officials.

In some texts it is used for Hadad, a god of the rain, thunder, fertility and agriculture, and the lord of Heaven.

Since only priests were allowed to utter his divine name, Hadad, Ba‛al was commonly used.

Nevertheless, few if any biblical uses of “Baal” refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven; most refer to a variety of local spirit-deities worshiped as cult images, each called Baal and regarded in the Bible in that context as a “false god”.

The elders (like City Council) were not happy with them and asked Samuel to appoint a king, so he prayed to God.

I haven’t found it in the Bible, but it has been said to be careful what you ask for.

“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 

According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. 

Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them” (1 Sam 8:7-9).

Samuel told them what God had said and then explained what the king would be like.

“…This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 

And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 

And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 

And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 

He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 

And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day” (1 Sam 8:11-19).

The people didn’t care what Samuel said, they wanted a king.  Samuel again turned to God and He said, …Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king….

7. Aphek
Located in the Sharon Plain, on the outskirts of Petah Tikva, at the headwaters of the Yarkon River,

Aphek was among the earliest (fortified) royal Canaanite cities.

It guarded the Aphek Pass of the Via Maris.

This is the place where the Israelite’s suffered one of the most devastating defeats – the loss of the Ark of the Covenant, to the Philistines.

Paul was taken here on the way to Caesarea, according to the Acts of the Apostles.

Paul had said,

“Be not deceived; God  is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:7-8).

Jesus had said,

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).

5. The stele of Baal
The stele of Baal with Thunderbolt found in Ugarit
The stele of Baal with Thunderbolt found in Ugarit

In the Bronze Age, Hadad (or Haddad or Adad) was especially likely to be called Baal. However, Hadad was far from the only god to have that title.

In the Canaanite pantheon as attested in Ugaritic sources, Hadad was the son of El, who had once been the primary god of the Canaanite pantheon.

El and Baal are often associated with the bull in Ugaritic texts, as a symbol both of strength and fertility.

Prior to the discovery of the Ugaritic texts it was supposed that ‘the Baals’ referred to distinct and local Canaanite deities.

However, according to John Day, in Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, these texts have revealed that these are simply local manifestations of one great, cosmic deity named Hadad.


3Jesus had said,

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve god and mammon” (Matt 6:24).

Jesus had said,

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name have cast out devils?  And in thy name done many wonderful works? 

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt 7:21-23).

Izbet Sartah Ostracon

6. Izbet Sartah Ostracon
Izbet Sartah Ostracon Recreation (resin half cast, about 7 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches).

About 12th century B.C.

One of the oldest Hebrew inscriptions.

Found in 1976 by Israeli archaeologist Moshe Kochavi.

The Izbet Sartah inscription has an abecedary, and was probably a practice text, written on a potsherd.

The last line has the complete Hebrew alphabet.

Note the pe is before the ayin, this can be used to date the Psalms.

The first line may read, “Oreph son of Nahum.”

In 1 Samuel 4 Israel is encamped at Ebenezer in order to face the Philistines at Aphek, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) to the west.

Although Ebenezer’s size in debated, the site has been tentatively identified by some archaeologists as a moderate hill called Izbet Sartah.

In 1977 the lead archaeologist at Izbet Sartah, Moshe Kodavi, published in ostracon, an inscribed pottery sherd, that sheds new light upon the development of the Proto-Canaanite script used by the ancient Israelites.

The ostracon was unearthed in a storage pit in stratum II, a short-lived (approximately 20-year) level at Izbet Sartah, probably destroyed due to Philistine encroachment.

The inscription appears to have been a practice text used by someone learning the alphabet.

Not all the letters are present, and those that are do not appear in a standard order.

When compared with other inscriptions from roughly the same period, the shape and form of the letters place the ostracon in the early 12th century B.C., approximately the time Israel was fighting the Philistines in this area.

If indeed Izbet Sartah is the modern site for the Biblical Ebenezer, the ostracon may have been inscribed by an Israelite.

If this is so, this pottery fragment provides a small but intriguing archaeologi­cal glimpse into the life of 12th century Is­rael.

Additional finds like the Izbet Sartah os­tracon may one day indicate the literacy rate among Israelites of the Late Bronze Age.

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