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Ziklag was a provincial town in Biblical times. It was part of the Philistine Kingdom of Gat, and later in the kingdom of Judah. Its location is uncertain, although several sites have been suggested by Biblical scholarship.

Ziklag in the Bible

Ziklag is first mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Joshua, as a city in the lot of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:31), or the tribe of Simeon (19:5). The Book of Samuel records Ziklag to be under the control of Achish, king of Gat, and that Achish gave Ziklag to David when he was seeking asylum from Saul (1 Samuel 17). David turned Ziklag to his base of raids against neighboring villages, as well as the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30).  At Ziklag David Heard of the Death of Saul and his sons, to which we replied with a famous lamentation:


[box] 2 Samuel 1:17-27
“A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
    How the mighty have fallen!20 “Tell it not in Gath,
    proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.21 “Mountains of Gilboa,
    may you have neither dew nor rain,
    may no showers fall on your terraced fields.
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
    the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

22 “From the blood of the slain,
    from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
    the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
23 Saul and Jonathan—
    in life they were loved and admired,
    and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
    they were stronger than lions.

24 “Daughters of Israel,
    weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
    who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.

27 “How the mighty have fallen!
    The weapons of war have perished!”

The Search After Ziklag

Various scholars have suggested to locate Ziklag at different locations, yet only recently an archaeological expedition excavating at Khirbet e-Ra’i, a site that is 7 miles south of Biblical Gat yielded finds dating to both Philistine and Early Israelite periods.

Visiting Ziklag / Khirbet e-Ra’i

Khirbet e-Ra’i is by the junction of road 35 and Highway 6. Trails lead to the top of the summit from a comfortable parking spot on road 38. It is also possible to reach the car with an off-road vehicle.

Combined with the Battle site of David and Goliath, the site is a great place to review the events that led to the Kingship od the David and the establishment of Jerusalem as the capital of the United Monarchy in Biblical times.

A visit to the site can be combined in a guided day tour in the Judean Foothills (the Shephelah).

Contact Us to Inquire About a Tour to the Shephelah

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Additional Day Tours

(11/2019) David’s first capital discovered? The Quest for Biblical ZIKLAG.

Ziklag in the Bible Ziklag was was Biblical town within the kingdom of Achish , the Philistine king of Gath, and later part of the kingdom of Judah. According to the book of Samuel (I Sam. 17), although David slew Goliath, a native of Gat, he later approached Achish, king of Gat, seeking asylum from Saul. Achish gave him the site of Ziklag, where David and 600 of his man and their families settled for 16 months. David then raided against other villages, acting more like a bandit, and later even attempted to join Achish and a philistine army to