Gate to Prominent Biblical City from the Reign of King David Discovered

Updated: Mar 28

A gate dating to the 10th century B.C. in the time of King David has been discovered by archaeologists after 32 years of excavation in the Golan Heights’ Jordan Park.

The excavation took place where the ancient city of Bethsaida is thought to have existed. Bethsaida was the Biblical hometown of the apostles Peter and Andrew and is also the Biblical location of where Jesus healed a blind man in the book of Mark. Around 1,000 years earlier, King David would have passed through this gate to marry the princess of Bethsaida, or Geshur, as the city was called during the Israelite period.

The newly discovered gate is close to a city wall, which a team discovered last year and identified as the gate to the ancient city of Zer. The site is on a rocky hill that overlooks a valley and the Sea of Galilee. Not much remains of the gate, only a few dressed stones, but it is believed to be an entrance to the city.

The Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Welcome Images CC BY 4.0

The Jerusalem Post reports, “According to Professor Rami Arav of the University of Nebraska, chief archaeologist overseeing the excavations, the gate and further findings found within the ancient city give the notion that it was possible that Solomon and David might not have been the sole kings of the Israelite kingdom at their respective times, but instead chieftains of large tribes of Israelites.”

Excavations at the Pool of Bethesda showing the ruins of the Temple of Serapis with a column from an early Christian church, Aelia Capitolina. Photo byCarole Raddato CC BY-SA 2.0

Another relevant find was a 3,000-year-old monument, or “stele,” of a pagan idol. It was discovered by a team that included Dr. Chris Sinkinson of The Christian Institute.

Experts from around the world have been involved in the decades-long hunt, with Professor Arav leading the work. He told The Christian Institute that the area has shown no disturbance from construction, making it a “unique example of a capital city from the 11th-8th century.”

Ruins of a city gate to Bethsaida. Photo by Bukvoed CC BY 4.0

He explained: “Bethsaida was the name of the city during the Second Temple period, but during the First Temple period it was the city of Zer,” the name used in Joshua 19:35.