Duby Tal/Albatross

Tell es-Seba‘, long identified as Biblical Beer-Sheva, lies 4 miles east of the modern city of Beer-Sheva, beside the Wadi es-Seba‘ in the Negev. Archaeologist Volkmar Fritz disagrees that the tell is ancient Beer-Sheva. He places Biblical Beer-Sheva at the site of Iron Age II remains that still lie beneath today’s Beer-Sheva. The misidentified Tell es-Seba‘, he asserts, is Ziklag, the town given to David by the Philistine king, Achish of Gath (1 Samuel 27:6). David, fleeing for his life from a jealous King Saul, lived at Ziklag for 16 months serving the Philistines, Israel’s enemy. When he became king, first of Judah, then of the United Kingdom of Judah and Israel, David kept Ziklag as part of his domain. Early in the tenth century B.C.E.—around the time the monarchy was established—the village at Tell es-Seba‘ was transformed into a well-planned town protected by an encircling wall. This evidence, Fritz says, is consistent with its identification as Ziklag. David’s special relationship with the town and his strong central government would have provided the impetus, planning and financing necessary for expanding the town.