Tag Archives: Shephelah

Looking for Libnah

A new blog, called The Tel Burna Excavation Project, has been launched to report on the preliminary survey of Tel Burna. The tel is located in the Shephelah of Israel among such sites as es-Safi/Gath, Zayit, Goded, Mareshah, Azekah and Lachish.

The Shephelah. Map: Tel Burna Excavation Project.

The Shephelah. Map: Tel Burna Excavation Project.

In the case of Tel Burna, with no excavation material available, the problem is even more difficult. despite this, several scholars have suggested identifying the site with Biblical Libnah (although one should note that nearby Tel Zayit is a very likely candidate as well – as Ron Tappy, the excavator there, has recently published).

Libnah was a Canaanite town that was conquered by Joshua who allotted it to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 10:29-30; 15:42). The city was chosen as one of the Levitical cities (Joshua 21:13), which points to its role as a border site. According to 2 Kings 8:22 (and 2 Chronicles 21:10), the city of Libnah was involved in the rebellion against Jehoram the king of Judah (in 9th century BCE) and later, a woman from Libnah married King Josiah in the 7th century BCE (Kings 23:31-32;2 Kings 24:17-18; Jeremiah 22:11).

In any case, even if the site is not Libnah, it is clear for the survey results (which will be mentioned in an upcoming post) that the site was a very important site in the Iron Age, along the border between Judah and the Philistines.

HT: Luke Chandler’s Blog; Aren Maeir.