Click to donate today!
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(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 (Amwâ 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 (Amwâ 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.
These files are public domain.
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gezer'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/g/gezer.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Third Week after Epiphany