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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


Gath, one of the five princely cities of the Philistines, of which mention is made in . It was one of the cities upon which the ark is said to have brought calamity (), and which offered in connection therewith a trespass-offering, each one a golden emerod (). Goliath, of the family of giants which Joshua spared (), of which other members may be found mentioned in Scripture (; ), has rendered Gath a word familiar from our childhood; but it is not certain whether Goliath was a native or merely a resident of Gath (). To Achish, king of Gath, David fled for fear of Saul (;; Psalms 56). At his own entreaty David received from Achish the city of Ziklag. David dwelt in the country of the Philistines 'a full year and four months.' It was conquered by David, and fortified both by him and by Rehoboam (;; ). From , it appears that David had a band (600 men) of Gittites in his service at the time of the rebellion of Absalom. Their devotedness to him under Ittai their leader forms a beautiful episode in the history of David's varied fortune (, sq.). Shimei's visit to Gath and its fatal consequences to himself may be read in . In the reign of Solomon mention is made of a king of Gath (), who was doubtless a tributary prince, but powerful enough to cause apprehension to Solomon, as appears from the punishment he inflicted on Shimei. Under Jehoash, Hazael, king of Syria, took Gath (); from his successor, Benhadad, the place was recovered (). It must, however, have soon revolted; for Uzziah (), finding it necessary to war against the Philistines, 'broke down the wall of Gath.' Probably the conquest was not of long duration. This constant withstanding of the power of Jerusalem shows that Gath was a place of great resources and high eminence—a conclusion which is confirmed by the language employed by the prophets (; ). 'Gath,' says Jerome, (on Micah 1), 'is one of the five; Philistine cities lying near the confines of Judah, on the road from Eleutheropolis to Gaza; now it is a very large village.' On Jeremiah 25 the same authority declares that Gath was not far from Azotus. Modern travelers give no description of the place.

There was a Gath-hepher belonging to the children of Zebulun (, sq.), the birth-place of the prophet Jonah (), lying not far from Sepphoris on the road to Tiberias. Another Gath (Gath rimmon, ) lay in the territory of Dan. It was a Levite city (; ). In the time of Eusebius it was a very large village, 'twelve miles from Diospolis, as you go hence to Eleutheropolis.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Gath'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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