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Timnah is mentioned several times in the Bible as being in the Judean Foothills (the Shephelah). It is identified at Tel Batash (Arabic: Tel Butashi), an archaeological site along the Soreq valley, about 4 miles northwest of Beth Shemesh.

Timnah in the Bible

Timnah is mentioned twice in the Bible and, in both cases, in events related to sexual scandals. Genesis 38 records the immoral relationship between Judan and his daughter-in-law, Tamar. Judah Impregnated her when she was in disguise, thinking she was a harlot, and when he realized his error, he wanted to burn her to death. Later, in the Book of Judges, Samson desires a Philistine woman in Timnah (Judges 14).

Excavations at Timnah

Identified at Tel Batash, an Israeli archaeological expedition excavated the site between 1977 to 1989. The site was continuously inhabited from the 18th century BCE to the Persian period. The finds from the 18th century BCE correlate with the time of the story of Judah and Tamar. The finds from level 5, dated to the 12th-11th century BCE, correlate with the time of Samson and the Philistines.

Touring Timnah

Tel Batash is 1 mile south of Moshav Tal-Shachar. It can only be reached by foot or by an off-road vehicle. The site is not rich in finds but bears some architectural remains from the Iron Age. In the spring, the area blooms with beautiful carpets of wildflowers.

A tour of Timnah / Tel Batash can be combined with a guided day tour in the Judean Foothills (the Shephelah).

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