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GEZER:

Ancient Canaanitish city mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions and the Amarna letters as being the seat of a local prince (comp. Josh. x. 33, xii. 12). The Israelites failed to conquer it (Josh. xvi. 10; Judges i. 29; comp. II Sam. v. 25; I Chron. xiv. 16). Solomon received it as a present from the Egyptian king (who had destroyed it), and rebuilt it (I Kings ix. 15-17). The city is mentioned in Josh. xvi, 3 and I Chron. vii. 28 as an Ephraimite border city; in Josh. xxi. 21 and I Chron. vi. 52 as a Levitical city (comp. I Chron. xx. 4: reading uncertain). At the time of the Maccabees it is again met with; it was fortified by Bacchides, but was conquered by Simon, who drove out the inhabitants and settled it with faithful Jews (I Macc. iv. 15; vii. 45; ix. 52; xiii. 43, 53; xiv. 7, 34; xv. 28; xvi. 1). Under Gabinius, Gazara (Greek, "Gadara") became the chief town of its district. The site was unknown until Clermont-Ganneau in 1873 discovered it in Tell al-Jazar, near 'Amwas. Here the famous boundary-stone was found with the inscription in Maccabean characters. See illustration under Boundaries.

Bibliography:
  • Max Müller, Asien und Europa, p. 160;
  • Comptes Rendus des Séances de I'Académie des Inscriptions, 1874;
  • Pal. Explor. Fund, Memoirs, ii. 428;
  • Schürer, Gesch. i 245 et seq., 339.
E. G. H. F. Bu.
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