Daily Archives: March 2, 2008

More on the Rapaihu seal and Gath

Jim West has published a letter from Robert Deutsch and a page from a published book by Deutsch and Lemaire, Biblical Period Personal Seals in the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, showing a seal that “probably belonged to the father of Rapayahu from Jerusalem.”

Read the entire letter and see the seal here.

Aren Maeir also notes a Tell es-Safi/Gath connection with the Rephaim here. He says,

Notice the name Rapaihu – basically it means the Rapa of Yahu. How does that connect to Gath and Safi?

Well, here it is: In the late 9th century BCE, Stratum A3, at Tell es-Safi/Gath (the level which we believe was destroyed by Hazael of Aram, a short 3-4 letter post-firing, incised inscription (as yet not fully published), was found on the body of storage jar, which has preliminarily been read as rpa’. This reading is reminiscent of the connection in the biblical narrative between the Rephaim and the Philistines in general, and the association of the enigmatic yldy hrph (roughly, “the offsprings of the rph) to several figures originating from the city of Gath (e.g., II Sam 21: 16-22).

Here is a photo I made of the tell of Gath in 1969 before the area was cluttered with power lines.

Tell Gath in 1969. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Philistine city of Gath provides us with the memorable statement of David when he mourned for Saul and Jonathan.

“Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult” (2 Samuel 1:20 NASB).