Solomon's network of military border fortresses in the Negev


Introduction document: Solomon's network of military border fortresses

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K. Ajrud

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  1. At least 50 fortresses have been discovered in the Negev of Israel. These fortresses were built by Solomon in 950 BC to protect the southern borders with Egypt and Edom. If Solomon did not built them, then the next candidate would have to be David. It is possible but quite unlikely that Saul built them. Solomon is clearly the best choice from a historical, Biblical and archeological point of view.
  2. It is clear that Pharaoh Shishak destroyed the fortresses in 924 BC. We even have his account etched into the stone at Temple of Amon in Karnak. (see below) Since we know that the fortresses had a short occupation life, this fits perfectly with Solomon as the builder just 26 years earlier.
  3. The opinion on the builder and dates of these fortresses varies depending on the bias of the archeologist and fall into two categories: Those who believe the Bible and those who do not. Basically, those archeologists who believe the Bible attribute these 50 fortresses to Solomon in 950 BC. Those archeologists who say Solomon and David are mostly a myth, will attribute dates before or after David/Solomon, but fight hard to avoid any suggestion that confirms the historicity of David/Solomon as revealed in the Bible. Sure these Bible trashing archeologists believe David and Solomon were real people, just that most of what the Bible says is untrue. They have a peculiar vested interest in dating that is a few years before or after Solomon, any date as long as it excludes the possibility that the Bible is true. Having examined most of the archeological data, it is clear that these fortresses were indeed built by Solomon in 950 BC.
  4. This study focuses only on the outmost ring of these fortresses in an effort to map the border of Israel at the time of Solomon. Israel's borders with Egypt at Wadi El Arish and Edom at the Arabah valley are noted. These 50 military fortresses were dotted throughout the Negev, and end at the Egyptian border and the southern Arabah valley. By simply plotting the locations of these fortresses, we can therefore determine where the border between Israel and Egypt lie, from an archeological point of view.
  5. Special attention is placed in this study on refuting Qudeirat as a candidate for Kadesh Barnea. One of the problems with locating Kadesh Barnea at Ein el Qudeirat or Ein el Qedeis, is that it is 28 km inside the formal border of the promised land. Stated simply, Israel did not spend 38 years "wandering in the wilderness" in the promised land they were forbidden to enter. Archeologically, it can be proven that Ein el Qudeirat was part of a series of up to 50 military fortresses built by King David and or Solomon about 1000 BC. Excavations have shown that many of the 50 military fortresses were built on virgin soil about 1000 BC, including Qudeirat. Archeologists assign ranges from 1100 BC - 950 BC for Qudeirat, therefore Ein el Qudeirat cannot be Kadesh Barnea because the exodus happened at 1450 BC.
  6. These unusual and varied shapes of the many fortresses is explained by the fact they were built to follow the contour of lookout plateau or hill top.
  7. "The archaeological findings reveal, first of all, that a network of fortresses, including the first three types, existed in the 10th century B.C., and that most of the sites, after a brief phase of occupation, were permanently abandoned. Second, at Kadesh-barnea in the 8th-7th centuries B.C. a solid-walled fortress was erected over its predecessor's remains." (The Iron Age Fortresses in the Central Negev, Rudolph Cohen, 1979 AD)
  8. One of the big discussions is the what the Fortresses were used for. Some Bible trashing archeologists believe the fortresses were not used for military purposes but were mere fortified stock yards to protect herds and small families of nomads. Although the Nomads would sing "Lord I was born a rambling man" as a the song goes, they decided, in the spirit of Jed Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies, to move into the big city. Well maybe not the big city, but they built small towns to live in. You know, the "hunter-gatherer, wanderer" settles down and become a farmer. Of course all the archeological evidence points away from these fortresses as small social communities and points directly to their military use soldiers stationed in some desolate outpost. They even had to make their own dinnerware! Once this fact is established, and it has been established, then we have no options but to conclude that these fortresses were built by the Solomon of the Bible!

A. Bible verses that indicate fortresses: "Strong holds"

  1. There is evidence from the Bible that Israel built fortresses. Although the one's in Judges 6:2 are not likely the one's under discussion here, they show a Biblical precedence for fortress building or "strongholds":
    "The power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds." Judges 6:2
  2. David Sheltered in strongholds he may have built or were already in existence:
    "David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand." 1 Samuel 23:14
    "Then Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is David not hiding with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?" 1 Samuel 23:19
    "David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi." 1 Samuel 23:29
  3. "When David fled from Saul, seeking refuge in the wilderness of Judah, he stayed in mesadim (fortresses) (1 Samuel 23:14). This same kind of fortress or stronghold is later referred to in 1 Samuel 24:22 as a mesudah. (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  4. Jerusalem is called a stronghold of David, which indicates he built them all since the same phrase is used:
    "Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David." 1 Chronicles 11:7
    "Then some of the sons of Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to David." 1 Chronicles 12:16
  5. There is an indication that there were strongholds in the wilderness:
    "From the Gadites there came over to David in the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and whose faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains." 1 Chronicles 12:8
  6. There is no indication that Solomon built the extensive network of 50 fortresses under discussion here. However, David's key was to establish control of Jerusalem and the promised land. Solomon greatly expanded his rule so he is the obvious candidate for these fortresses.

B. Locations of the 50 fortresses:

  1. "The site, [Ahoroni Fortress] named for the late Y. Aharoni, be-longs to the category of "Israelite fortresses," of which some 50 have been discovered in the Negev Highlands. ... According to the general plan of the site and the finds, it may clearly be classified as one of the "Israelite fortresses in the Negev."" (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  2. More than 40 sites in the Wilderness of Beer-sheba and the Wilderness of Zin have been surveyed, and 12 of them have been partially excavated to date. (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  3. In 1975, Ze'ev Meshel conducted a survey in the area of Nahal Sirpad, with the help of the staff of the field school at Sde Boqer. As a result of all these archaeological surveys, more than 40 Iron Age fortresses have now been identified in the Central Negev. (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  4. Here is a map that shows the fortresses we focus on in this document:
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  5. Here are two maps, that show a few of the fortresses Solomon built. One by Cohen, the other by Herzog.
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C. Dating the fortress network: The opinion of archeologists

  1. There are three basic opinions of the dating and use of the fortress network as represented by Cohen, Meshel, Dothan and Ussishkin.
  2. Cohen's view is the only one that states these fortresses were built by Solomon in 950 BC. Ussishkin on the other hand, dismisses much of the "house of David" as a myth.
  3. Meshel agrees with Cohen that a king of Israel (Saul, David, Solomon) built the fortresses under central directives, although: "Regarding the function of these fortresses, Meshel and Cohen do not see eye to eye either." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  4. "An accurate date for these Central Negev fortresses is not a merely academic issue. In the period embraced by the 11th and tenth centuries, Israel underwent a major transformation: It developed from a loose confederation of tribes into a unified state. (David's reign began in about 1000 B.C.) The earlier or later dating of these fortresses is, therefore, crucial. It determines the historical background against which the role of the fortress and settlement network will have to be interpreted. Those who favor the earlier date are inclined to view the fortifications in the context of King Saul's campaign against the desert nomads, such as the Amalekites. In my view, the fortresses were erected during the reign of King Solomon. Solomon's reign was undoubtedly a period of expansion and royal planning par excellence, and the establishment of a fortress and settlement network in the Negev would have been of vital importance for the strengthening of his kingdom's southern region. (On King Solomon's building of fortifications, see 1 Kings 9:15.) It is in this context that we must understand the Central Negev fortresses and associated settlements." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  5. "Aharoni, when contending for an 11th-century date, argued that the settlement and fortress complex in the Central Negev represented a natural extension of the ongoing process of sedentarization commenced by the Hebrew tribes in the 13th century: "We have before us an instructive illustration of settlement pressure and the diffusion of the excess population into the most remote and difficult regions. Israelite settlement in the northern Negev began towards the end of the 13th century, and by the end of the 11th century it had reached the Negev's southernmost corners."" (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  6. "The sites have produced no Midianite ware or other types that might imply a much earlier date. The exact date of construction could be anywhere between the late 11th and the mid-10th century. This wide margin enables some scholars to base their conjectures on historical interpretation or models of some sort (e.g., King Solomon as builder and Shishak as destroyer), rather than on typological considerations. Thus, Herzog proposes an 11th century date (Herzog 1990: 238); and Finkelstein, true to his multistage theory, dates the whole process to the end of the 11th and beginning of the 10th centuries (Finkelstein and Perevolotsky 1990: 78). This means that the oval fortresses were built in the 11th century, with the smaller fortresses and settlements coming somewhat later. Dating is, of course, crucial for both theories: a date earlier than the establishment of the kingdom of Israel would settle the argument once and for all. But as long as no finds permitting an unambiguous dating have surfaced, the controversy will continue." (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  7. David Ussishkin gives his view: "Dothan reached ... [this] conclusion: Three periods of settlement can be discerned at the site: a settlement which existed 'before the construction of the fortress', apparently in the tenth century B.C.E.; the rectangular fortress dating from the eighth-sixth centuries B.C.E.; and a settlement which existed after the destruction of the fortress, dating from the Persian period." ... "[Cohen believed...] The existence of three superimposed fortresses differentiates between Kadesh-Barnea and other Negev sites, in which a single fortress was constructed. The results of the excavations here 'attest to settlement continuity from the 10th to the 5-4th centuries B.C.E.'. ... "In my opinion [Ussishkin], the stratigraphic data of the rectangular fortress should be interpreted along the lines of Dothan's conclusions rather than Cohen's, taking into account, of course, the newly excavated data. It seems that only a single rectangular fortress was built above the early oval one" (The Rectangular Fortress at Kadesh Barnea, David Ussishkin, 1995 AD)
  8. Dothan said this in 1965: "CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY: Kadesh-barnea was settled even prior to the building of the fortress. At present it is difficult to fix the exact date of the sherds of this early occupation, though they appear to be from about the 10th century B.C.E. There is nothing in the construction of the fortress (which was built later than the 10th century B.C.E.) to indicate its age with certainty. Fortresses with casemate walls were built in Palestine from the 11th century to the 7th century B.C.E. From the ceramic finds, it is clear that this fortress was constructed in the 9th or 8th centuries B.C.E. Historically, this building may be attributed to Jehoshaphat, who reigned in Judah in the years 870-846 B.C.E. This king attempted to enter the Red Sea trade, appointing a governor in Edom and building protective forts along the roads in the South. In his time, the fortress at Kadesh-barnea would have served as a stronghold protecting the southern border of Judah, and may have been the administrative headquarters for the entire area. However, it is also possible that the fortress was built by Uzziah, who reigned in Judah circa 784-733 B.C.E., and who also fortified the southern limits of Judah, conquered Elath and Edom, and successfully waged war on the Arabs. ... After the destruction of the fortress, the site was resettled, in the Persian period, towards the end of the 6th century or at the start of the 5th century B.C.E. " (The Fortress at Kadesh-Barnea, M Dothan, 1965)
  9. "Dothan discovered no indication of different building phases during the time of the fortress's existence, but he recognized both pre- and post fortress settlement periods on the site. The pre fortress findings consisted of crude handmade pottery—mainly bowls, deep pots, and hole-mouth jars. Although these sherds could not be connected with wheel-made vessels or building remains, he dated them, on the basis of similar pottery finds at Ezion-geber, Ramat Matred, and elsewhere in the Negev, to the 10th or early 9th century B.C.E. (Dothan 1965: 139; 1977: 697)." (Excavations At Kadesh-Barnea: 1976-1978, Ein el-Qudeirat, Rudolph Cohen, 1981 AD)
  10. Cohen dismisses the view of Dothan of the "pre-fortress" period based upon Negev ware pottery alone: "The wheel-made pottery finds were mainly from the 8th-7th centuries B.C.E., though some seemed a century earlier. This 9th-century B.C.E. dating suggested to Dothan that the building of the fortress might be ascribed to the Judean king Jehoshaphat (ca. 870-846 B.c.E.), who, according to the biblical account, attempted to enter the Red Sea trade (1 Kgs 22:49) and appointed a governor in Edom (1 Kgs 22:48). If this date is too early, the likeliest ascription then would be to the later Judean king Uzziah (ca. 784-733 B.C.E.), who, in the context of his vigorous foreign policy, restored Eilat (2 Chr 26:10) and fortified the southern regions of Judah (2 Chr 26:10). Dothan assumed that the fortress had endured until its destruction in the Babylonian onslaught (Dothan 1965: 143)." (Excavations At Kadesh-Barnea: 1976-1978, Ein el-Qudeirat, Rudolph Cohen, 1981 AD)
  11. The data below applies only to the fortress at Qudeirat, but it is representative of the entire network of fortresses.




Cohen: 1981

(Excavations At Kadesh-Barnea: 1976-1978, Ein el-Qudeirat, Rudolph Cohen, 1981 AD)

Oval fortress built by Solomon and destroyed by Pharaoh Shishak's invasion of Palestine in about 920BC (1 Ki 14:25-26)

Rectangular fortress built by Uzziah of Judah 784-733 BC

Rectangular fortress rebuilt by Josiah, King of Judah 640-609BC. Josiah also rebuilt Solomon's Ezion-Geber sea port. Destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC

Dothan: 1965

(The Fortress at Kadesh-Barnea, M Dothan)

pre-fortress settlements 950 BC

single fortress Rectangular fortress built by Jehoshaphat 870-846 BC and destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC.

No fortress, but Persian era (post Babylonian) settlements.

Herzog: 1983

(Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog)

Fortresses near Beersheba built by David. Fortresses in Negev built by Solomon to protect trade routes to the Red Sea and Ezion-Geber.

Meshel: 1994

(The "Aharoni Fortress"), Zeev Meshel)

Meshel, while uncommitted, sees nothing that prevents the fortresses being dated at the time of Solomon: 950 BC. He also believes the fortresses were the result of a central initiative from the outside (ie Solomon). He also rejects the view that desert nomads transitioned from nomadism to sedentarization (settling down in one place). He openly rejects the views of Ussishkin.

Rothenberg: 1969

(Timna, Beno Rothenberg)

Built by Amalekites in 1300 BC.

Destroyed by King Hezekiah: 1 Chronicles 4:42-43

Aharoni: 1976

Built by Saul 1025 BC to guard against Amalekites

Destroyed by destroyed by Pharaoh Shishak in 925 BC.

Ussishkin: 1995

(The Rectangular Fortress at Kadesh Barnea, David Ussishkin)

Oval structure (not a fortress) for agricultural (sedentary) settlement. no date given but was before rectangular fortress

Single rectangular fortress probably built by Uzziah 784-733 BC or another king and destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC

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D. Solomon built the fortress network in 950 BC

  1. We believe the careful work of Rudolph Cohen best represents the reality of truth regarding the archeological history of the fortresses Solomon built in 950 BC. We include others for documentary purposes below.
  2. Rudolph Cohen gives an excellent summary of the era: "As noted above, Glueck and Aharoni believed that the fortresses had been erected by kings of Israel between the 10th and the 7th centuries B.C. for the purpose of defending the Negev road system (cf. Aharoni 1967: 11-13). Rothenberg, however, insists on an exceptionally early date for these wares, in the 13th century B.C. or before, and relates them to the inhabitants of the Negev in the period before the Exodus-the Amalekites-and attributes their destruction to David. He bases his earlier dating on the results of his excavations at the Timna sanctuary (1972: 153-54). Aharoni, incidentally, subsequently altered his position and later contended that the fortresses could be ascribed to the 11th century B.C. and that they had been established by Saul in the course of his wars with the Amalekites (1976: 55-76). In the author's opinion, the wheel-made pottery found in the excavations and surveys of the first three fortress types clearly belongs to the 10th-century B.C. assemblage. Therefore, in all probability the fortresses were constructed during the reign of King Solomon, a vigorous and powerful ruler, whose numerous public works included the fortification of cities, the construction of store-houses, and the founding of distant trading posts (cf. Yadin 1958: Ussishkin 1966). His reign was undoubtedly a period of expansion and royal planning, and the establishment of a fortress and settlement network in the Negev would have been of vital importance for the strengthening of his kingdom's southern border region. Accordingly, these fortresses served not only to guard the roads crossing the Central Negev, as suggested by Glueck and Aharoni, but also to form a strong defensive line along the southern boundary. In fact, there is a striking resemblance between the array of fortresses along the eastern edge of the Central Negev-from H. Rahba sourth to the Sede Boger area until beyond Mishor Ha-Ruah, and then west to 'Ain Qudeis and Kadesh-barnea-and the southern border of the tribe of Judah as described in Josh 15:1-4: "And the lot for the tribe of the children of Judah. . . And their south border was from the uttermost part of the Salt Sea, from the bay that looked southward.And it went out southward of the ascent of Akrabbim, and passed along by Hezron, and went up to Addar. . . and the goings out of the border were at the sea; this shall be your south border." This may also explain the fact that no remains of Israelite fortreses have been found south of Makhtesh Ramon; the fortress at Yotvata, as shown by Meshel's excavations at the site (1974: 273-74), does not belong to the complex of Israelite fortresses in the Central Negev. The 10th-century fortress network appears to have been destroyed in the course of Pharaoh Shishak's campaign into Palestine, several years after Solomon's death, following which the border of Judah retreated to its former line along the Beersheva Basin (Amiran 1953: 66). It is probable, therefore, as Mazar has proposed, that some of the fortresses may be included in the list of conquered sites and cities appearing on the victory stele that Shishak (Sheshonk I) erected in Karnak. Among the various place-names relating to the Negev is a group of seven composed with the base plmr or phgr, and Mazar has pointed out an "evident correlation between the hagarim in the list of Shishak and the haserim, the net of fortified settlements which is mentioned in biblical sources" (1957: 57-66). It is reasonable to assume that the destruction of these fortresses along the principal Negev routes was one of the objects of the pharaoh's campaign." (The Iron Age Fortresses in the Central Negev, Rudolph Cohen, 1979 AD)
  3. "Notable among these evidences of early human habitation is a series of sites dating to the Iron Age. They invariably consist of some sort of fortress surrounding or adjacent to a small settlement. Yohanan Aharoni identified many of these sites in his Negev survey of the late 1950's and attributed their existence and importance to the need to establish control over the road system of the Negev.2 Thus, a line of forts was established which would safeguard the lucrative trade routes with South Arabia and East Africa as well as with the various mining operations in the Arabah and Sinai." (Kadesh Barnea: Judah's Last Outpost, Carol Meyers, 1976 AD)
  4. "Another reason I believe these fortresses were constructed in King Solomon's reign is that they reflect a unified effort involving the systematic construction of dozens of remote but at the same time substantial strongholds. Such an effort clearly implies an initiative by a strong central authority, an authority not evident in the 11th century, the days of the Judges. In the tenth century, by contrast, there was a strong central authority in the person of King Solomon himself. In my view, the fortresses were erected during the reign of King Solomon, a vigorous and powerful ruler, whose numerous public works included the fortification of cities, the construction of storehouses, and the founding of distant trading-posts. Solomon's fortress network provided a firm defensive line against attack from the south, and accordingly can be understood as the southern border of his kingdom.19 Following Shishak's campaign, Judah's southern border retreated to its former line along the Beer-Sheva Basin. The Israelites continued to display a definite interest in their country's southern region, as witnessed by the succession of ambitious fortresses at Kadesh-Barnea. But the Central Negev, by and large, was abandoned, and no attempt at serious resettlement was undertaken for many centuries, until the coming of the Nabateans in the third and second centuries B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  5. In 1916 AD, it was mistakenly thought that these fortresses were around at the time of Abraham (2000BC). It is interesting that Woolley and Lawrence wrongly wondered if the fort at Qudeirat already existed when Moses arrived. Of course, this was in 1916 AD and now we know that the remains at Qudeirat were built some 400 years after Moses, by Solomon. Today, we know that Ein El-Qudeirat, is not even Kadesh Barnea, so Moses was never even here:
    "At a later date Moses, writing to the King of Edom, described Kadesh as `a city in the uttermost of thy border' (Numbers xx, 16). The word `city' is a vague one, and probably only means a settlement, perhaps a district, like the modern Arabic beled which is used to mean town, village, district, or country. In the former sense it might be used of such hut-settlements as those of Muweilleh and Kossaima; but would most temptingly apply to the fortress of Ain Guderat [Qudeirat], should we assume - we cannot prove it - that the fort was already built when Moses came." (The Wilderness of Zin, C. Leonard Woolley and T. E. Lawrence, CH IV, Ain Kadeis And Kossaima, 1914-1915 AD)
    "Concerning their specific historical background, they [Woolley and T. E. Lawrence] alternatively suggested that these fortresses may have belonged to the Patriarchal age, or that they were connected with the Red Sea "adventures" of one of the "Jewish" kings. ... Although in many respects their phraseology and descriptions are now obsolete, their discoveries and conclusions have provided a solid basis for subsequent study." (The Iron Age Fortresses in the Central Negev, Rudolph Cohen, 1979 AD)
  6. "Glueck and Aharoni maintained that the fortresses had been erected by the kings of Israel between the 10th and the 7th centuries B.C. in order to extend royal control over the Negev, the Aravah, and Eilat, and to protect their caravan routes (Aharoni 1967: 11-13). This southern road system was one of the Monarchy's chief economic assets, and thus it should be considered in greater detail." (The Iron Age Fortresses in the Central Negev, Rudolph Cohen, 1979 AD)
  7. "The tower fortresses, which existed from the ninth or eighth century B.C. on, testify to Israelite control of the Negev Highlands, which was maintained without the need for a dense network of forts. Such control was first achieved under Saul, David, or Solomon, who conquered the region and achieved a state of cooperation and coexistence with the inhabitants: the nomads maintained Israelite control of the region, its borders, and roads (like the desert tribes in the Byzantine period, Finkelstein 1984: n. 7), and were rewarded with food, grain, or some other commodity." (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  8. "As to the central question, I still favor the theory of externally imposed settlement by a king of Israel" (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  9. "To summarize this point: judging from the distribution and variety of sites in the Negev Highlands, I believe that they were ordinary settlements, not necessarily military outposts. This is not to say that some external agency could not have initiated the establishment of a network of sites along and near major routes, at key points and along the border of the region controlled by that agency." (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  10. "Israelite control of the Negev in the Iron Age II was based on a network of tower-fortresses, such as those excavated at Uzzah, Arad, Qadesh Barnea, and lately at `Ein Hazevah (Cohen 1988; 1991). It is generally believed that these structures were built "to carry out an administrative function and to defend the southern frontier of the Judaean monarchy" (Finkelstein 1984: 183; Eitam 1988: 318). (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  11. "Eitam, for his part, suggests military pressure of some sort, "undoubtedly [by] King David, who instituted a new order in the Negev" (I Chron. 18:12-13; Eitam 1988: 333-34)." (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  12. "Undoubtedly, the small forts and accompanying settlements were founded in connection with Solomon's trade operations in the Red Sea. In my opinion, the forts were intended to defend the caravans plying the routes of the Way of the Spies, the Way of the Hill Country of the Amorites, and the Way of the Red Sea (Meshel 1974: fig. 17; 1981: fig. 1). These royal enterprises enabled a network of open settlements to be interwoven with the forts, as an expansion of the earlier clusters of enclosed settlements in the north.4 Presumably there was mutual cooperation between the forts and the civilian settlements, the former providing protection and the latter logistical support in the form of agricultural products and perhaps even manpower. It was apparently Shishak's invasion that brought this network of settlements to an end. Some time afterwards, probably following an occupational gap in the 9th century B.C., attempts were made to rebuild this system, but that subject is beyond the scope of the present study." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  13. "All the rest of the "Negev fortresses" are characterized by two basic features: small square forts and small open villages, usually in close proximity to each other. They are found scattered over the Negev highlands (i.e., the Wilderness of Zin) between the two nuclei of enclosed settlements described above. Their establishment was undoubtedly connected with later geopolitical developments in the region involving royal initiative." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  14. "It is tempting to relate to this 11th century phase of settlement the recently found site at el-Quseima (Meshel 1981: 361-62; fig. 4) in the vicinity of Kadesh-barnea, which has all the appearances of an enclosed settlement. However, the oval fortress of Kadesh-barnea (i.e., "earliest fortress" of Cohen 1981: 107) and 'Ain Qudeis (Cohen 1980: fig. 3:1), probably belong to the 10th century. Hence, this region might have been another nucleus of 11th century occupation-as might be expected from the prominent role of Kadesh-barnea in the formative stage of Israelite history." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  15. "This wave of settlement must have led to a conflict of interests between the Israelites and the population of the "city of Amalek" (Tel Masos), eventually resulting in the campaign of Saul against the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:5, 7), which was apparently responsible for the destruction of Tel Masos Stratum II, while the destruction of Tel Esdar could have been the result of a counterattack by the Amalekites. All the rest of the sites continued to exist into the 10th century, when a new phase began in the history of the region with the ascension of David to the throne." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  16. "At first an administrative center was erected at Beersheba (Stratum V), probably under the initiative of this monarch [David] (Aharoni 1974), followed by construction of the large military fortresses at Arad Stratum XI, Kadesh-barnea ("earliest fortress," Cohen 1981: 107), and Tell el-Kheleifeh Period I (Glueck 1965: 71-82), all of which we believe are dated to Solomon's reign." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  17. Rothenberg is way off on a number of things. First he rejects the Bible's date for the Exodus of 1446 BC and believes it took place in 1270 BC. Second he then uses Negev Pottery as proof the fortresses predated Israel, since Negev ware pottery is found in most of the forts. The dilemma is solved if he had just read his Bible and learned the Exodus was in 1446 BC he would never had made the comments that the fortresses of the Negev could NOT be of Israelite origin. Rothenberg makes his final blunder in suggesting that Hezekiah wiped out the Amalekites in the Negev based upon 1 Chronicles 4:42-43: "From them, from the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to Mount Seir, with Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, as their leaders. They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day." Mt. Seir is transjordan and is not even located in the Negev! It is the capital of Edom. Poor Rothenberg. If only he had trusted the Bible much of his conclusions would have been truth and reality.
    "The peculiar pottery-making tradition in the Negev, which could not possibly have originated in Judean times and never occurs anywhere in Judah itself, would therefore exclude any possible identification of the Negev settlements as Israelite. Although not enough archaeological evidence exists so far for the accurate dating of these settlements, the Timna Temple finds strongly corroborate the view that many of the agricultural settlements and hill fortresses in the Central Negev predate the Israelite conquest of Palestine and already existed as fortified Amalekite villages at the time of the Exodus. It therefore seems plausible to conclude that some of the battles between the Israelite tribes on their way to the Promised Land and the Amalekites, their arch enemies, must have taken place around these settlements and fortresses. It appears also most likely that the destruction of many of the fortresses and settlements was actually caused by the continuous struggle carried on during most of the Kingdom of Israel between Amalekites and Israelites. Amalekites were still reported as settlers in the Negev Mountains as late as the time of Hezekiah, King of Judah. In 1 Chronicles 4:42-43 we find the latest date for Amalekite habitation in the Negev given as the end of the eighth century BC, whilst the Negev-type pottery found in the Timna Temple strongly suggests the existence of a sedentary civilization in the Central Negev at the end of the fourteenth and continuing well into the twelfth centuries BC." (Timna, Beno Rothenberg, 1969 AD)
  18. "Rothenberg's dating is incompatible with the Iron Age wheel-made pottery found in these sites (most of which, we should point out, came to light after the publication of Rothenberg's study." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  19. "Two of Rothenberg's basic arguments-namely that the Negev fortresses were actually agricultural settlements and that they were founded not as royal enterprises but by the semi-nomadic bearers of the Negev ware-were adopted by Etam in a short response to Cohen's Hebrew version of his summarizing article on the Negev fortresses (Cohen 1979; Etam 1980). But, unlike Rothenberg, Etam dates this settlement to the 11 th century B.C. and attributes the entire network of sites in the Negev highlands to an autochthonous population (he clearly avoids naming this population in more specific ethnic terms) that used this Negev ware. The termination of habitation was, according to Etam, caused by Saul, who destroyed the city of Amalek. Before considering this theory, I must point out a fundamental contradiction in Etam's hypothesis: he tries to prove that the settlements were not of defensive character, while at the same time he denies their attribution to Saul on the grounds that it is difficult to imagine that this king built defensive systems to fortify the southern border of the kingdom while it was still in its infancy." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)

E. Fortresses shaped according to local topography for security:

  1. In the discussion of the fortresses we find a variety of shapes including ovals, squares and rectangles which as generated much discussion. In the end, it is clear that the shape of and individual fortress was determined by the shape of the hill top on which it was built. The aim in all circumstances was to chose a shape that maximized security. They would use the natural hills and cliffs as additional brims to enhance the height of the walls they would build on top.
  1. "The site [Ahoroni Fortress] is particularly large in fact by far the largest of its type. The location is also unique: it was apparently of crucial importance to erect the fortress at this particular site. Most convincing is the way the building was built to conform to the topography: the outer wall encircles the entire summit, and it was built at the very edge of the cliff. ... The builders generally chose raised ground, a hill, a spur, sometimes even a steep mountain, and built their fortress on the summit. The casemates generally encircled the entire summit; and the outer enclosing wall was built at the very edge of the summit, directly overlooking the slope. If the summit was oval-shaped, so was the enclosure, as in the `Ein Qadis fortress and elsewhere. ... Why were most of the "fortresses" built to conform to the topography? Though here we are knowingly entering the area of interpretation rather than facts, I suggest that the goal was to increase security by perimetric observation and contro1. The principle is well demonstrated by the Aharoni fortress; as we have seen, the builders chose a high hill, rising to a considerable height over the surroundings, whose edges afforded a clear view in all directions of the lower land and roads at the foot of the hill. Had they built on the slope, according to Herzog's prescription, the personnel within could not have had an unobstructed view in all directions." (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  1. "Their overall shape is amorphous and adapted to the local topography." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  2. Clearly, the three fortress types-oval, rectangular and square-were contemporary with one another, and all belonged to the same overall defensive network in the Central Negev. This is shown by the pottery and, to a lesser extent, by the other similarities, including the similarities in building technique. (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  3. As a result of all this work, we have identified four different styles of fortresses-perhaps, more accurately, I should say we have identified four different types of architectural plans. Some of the fortresses are (1) roughly oval in plan; others are (2) rectangular but with unequal sides; still others are (3) square; finally, two of the fortresses are (4) rectangular but with outcropping towers at the corners and sides. Let us put aside the fourth category because the two fortresses with outcropping towers at their corners and sides date from the eighth to the sixth centuries B.C., considerably later in the Iron Age than the other three fortress plans; these other three are not only earlier, but contemporaneous. (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  4. "The other "fortresses" are classified by Cohen according to shape and by Meshel according to size and topographical conformity. Cohen's categories are: (1) roughly oval, (2) rectangular, and (3) square ... Meshel, aware of this incongruity, classified these fortresses into two main categories-large and small." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  5. The most common plan is the oval. We now know of 11 oval fortresses. (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  6. We call it Mesudat Nahal Aqrav. The first word means "fortress" in Hebrew. Aqrav, as I shall call it here, is surrounded by a casemate wall, which is a wall formed by two parallel walls subdivided into rooms by transverse walls. The inner and outer casemate walls of the fortress are two feet wide and were constructed with rough-hewn blocks of local limestone. (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)

F. Fortresses built for military personnel not families:

  1. The archeological evidence points to these fortresses being used a military outposts, not farming communities to protect their livestock.
  2. "Lack of Archaeological Proof for Use of the Courtyard as a Stockyard: Neither at these sites nor in the fortresses has excavation of the courtyard revealed a layer of dung or any other find that might testify to its use as a stockyard. Even if one doubts the very possibility of discovering such finds, and therefore does not consider the lack of finds to disprove the thesis, one cannot ignore the evidence of livestock pens that have indeed been discovered; some are attached to fortresses" (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  3. "This structural difference between the large enclosed settlements and the small casemate fortresses reflects different functions: the multi-roomed dwelling units of the enclosed settlements were suitable to accommodate whole families, while the single-room casemates fit the requirements of a military garrison." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)

G. Fortresses all built at a single period of brief occupation:

  1. "Both historical and strictly archaeological considerations have led me to the conclusion that the Central Negev fortresses and settlements were not in existence in the Period of the Judges; their brief occupation can be dated to the tenth century B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  2. "The excavations at the fortresses have revealed no evidence of raising of floors, sealing or piercing of openings, structural changes, or any other data that might point to stages or phases in their occupation. Hence all excavators have classified them as single period, briefly occupied sites" (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  3. We may therefore conclude that these three sites should be dated to the same period and defined likewise as enclosed settlements. (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  4. "The excavations of these sites have all indicated that they were occupied only for a brief period, 50 years at most. They could not have been erected long before their demise. Therefore, they must have been constructed some time in the tenth century. Other archaeological evidence, such as the presence of red-burnished pottery, supports this contention." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  5. "I should like to stress what in my opinion is the basic drawback of all of these studies: the assumption that the Negev "fortresses" were homogeneous in nature and that a single historical and functional interpretation can be attributed to all of them. Rather, they should be viewed as the result of a developing process. This conclusion was reached after an intensive study of the finds from the Early Iron Age strata at Tel Beersheba (Herzog, forthcoming), material that was not available to the authors of the earlier studies." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb , Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  6. This combined architectural and geographic data is apparently the key to unraveling the Gordian knot between two disparate types of settlements that for several decades were erroneously considered to be a single phenomenon. (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)

I. No fortresses found from Qudeirat to Ezion Geber:

  1. One of the puzzles of the fortress network Solomon built, is why we have found no forts between Borot Loz and the Red Sea.
  2. We believe the answer is simple and two fold: The mountains provided a difficult area to navigate and provided a natural barrier. Second, the border between Egypt and Israel from Borot Loz to the Red Sea was a kind of free zone that was used by everyone and Solomon did not want to control this in fear of sparking rebellion from many nations and peoples. He did build a fortress at Elat and Ezion-Geber (under shipping yards of modern Aqaba) but on the north side of the gulf of Aqaba, Solomon did not claim control. The ancient Egyptian mining port island of Jezirat Faraun remained in firm Egyptian control and Solomon dare not attempt to touch this.
  3. And "above all, south of Qadesh Barnea along important Darb Ghazza, the main route to the Gulf of Eilat, not even one fortress has been found" (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)

J. Negev ware pottery found at fortresses is unique

Detailed discussion of the Pottery of the Bible

  1. "Another common denominator of the Negev fortresses besides the casemate structure, is Negev ware (Cohen 1986: 385-94). One may dispute its significance and the identity of the makers, but one cannot ignore the fact that Negev ware is a distinctly regional phenomenon, never appearing in the Beersheba Valley sites, whether early (Arad, Esdar, Beersheba, Masos) or late (Arocer, Ira, Uzza, Kitmit). I agree with the attribution of Negev ware to the southern desert nomads, and consider this quite adequate for our purpose." (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  2. Although "Negev" pottery appears to have undergone some typological changes, it cannot be used as a chronological tool. It has to be dated itself on the basis of the wheel-made pottery found together with it. It was customary previously to assign it to the 10th century B.C., especially after the excavations at Ramat Matred (Aharoni et al. 1960: 97-111). However, Rothenberg's research in the Timna-Eilat area has shown that its origins may be several centuries earlier, and now, since the excavations at Kadesh-barnea, it is clear that it remained in use until the end of the Iron Age (below). In view of new ceramic material accumulated in recent years and its distribution geographically, the author believes that it may be possible to relate the hand-made pottery specifically to the Kenites, one of the Negev's nomadic tribes which, according to the Bible, had stood in an especially close relation to the Israelites since the time of Exodus (e.g., Num 10:29; Judg 4:11; 1 Sam 15:6; cf. Fensham 1964). (The Iron Age Fortresses in the Central Negev, Rudolph Cohen, 1979 AD)
  3. The pottery from these structures consists of two types: handmade Negev ware (sometimes called "Negebite ware") and wheel-made vessels of the types common in Judah at the time. Since recent discoveries have shown that the Negebite ware had an extremely wide chronological range-from the 13th century B.C. at Timna (Rothenberg 1972: 180-82) to the end of the Iron Age at Kadesh-barnea (Cohen 1980: 77)-the presence of this ware cannot, of course, support any particular date within the Iron Age for these sites. Cohen's suggestion to relate this ware to the Kenites (1980: 77) is apparently contradicted by the evidence from the only site so far attributed to this tribe, namely Stratum XII at Arad (Mazar 1965: 303), since no Negebite ware was uncovered in this stratum (M. Aharoni 1981). (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  4. The wheel-turned vessels found in the Negev fortresses are dated by Cohen exclusively to the 10th century B.C., and he thus attributes these sites to the reign of Solomon (Cohen 1980: 77-78). According to Meshel, however, this pottery cannot be dated any more precisely than the 11 th- 10th centuries B.C. On historical grounds, he prefers to associate these structures with "one of the kings who defeated the Edomites and Amalekites," Saul or David being the most likely candidates in his opinion (Meshel and Cohen 1980: 80). (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  5. Rothenberg's dating is incompatible with the Iron Age wheel-made pottery found in these sites (most of which, we should point out, came to light after the publication of Rothenberg's study). (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  6. "The principal method for dating these fortresses is to date the pottery found lying in the ashes on the floor. Although never found in large quantities in any of the fortresses, it is nevertheless homogeneous pottery and clearly datable, in our view, to the tenth century B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  7. "Interesting as this Negbite pottery is, it cannot be used at the present time to date the Central Negev fortresses because it has such a wide chronological range. True, at one time, the pottery was assigned to the tenth century B.C., but that was before my excavation at Kadesh-Barnea, where it clearly remained in use until the end of the Iron Age in the sixth century B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  8. "For example, in the Central Negev fortresses, which I date to the tenth century, virtually the only forms of Negbite ware were cooking pots and bowls. By the eighth-seventh centuries B.C., as seen in the so-called middle fortress at Kadesh-Barnea, we found a wide variety of shapes, many of them quite clearly modeled on contemporaneous wheel-made types." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  9. "In my view, the pottery associated with the oval fortresses throughout the Central Negev can be confidently assigned to the tenth century B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  10. "If my arguments as to the dating of this pottery are correct, then a re-dating of a number of excavation levels is required at several important sites somewhat north of the Central Negev fortresses, in the Beer-Sheva Basin (Tel Beer-Sheva, level VII; Tel Masos, level I; and Tel Esdar, levels II-III). The excavators of these sites date these strata earlier than the tenth century B.C. It seems to me that the firm chronology established for the Central Negev fortresses necessitates a re-evaluation of their views. My own examination of the pottery from these levels has convinced me that they date to the tenth century B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)

K. Fortresses destroyed by Shishak in 924 BC

  1. We take the firm view, based on archeological evidence that Shishak destroyed Solomon's entire network of border fortresses in 924 BC in a military campaign.
  2. Using just the Egyptian Chronologies, apart from the Bible, Shishak ascended the thone in 945 BCE. This agrees with the Bible record: "The chapter concludes that the most likely minimum reconstruction of the date of the accession of Shishak/Sheshonq I is 941 BCE, with dates in the mid-940s BCE being the most likely overall. This supports biblical dates for the attack well, which would conventionally place the accession of Shishak/Sheshong I in 945 BCE. It emphasizes that, while not perfect, the Egyptian chronology is very robust and internally consistent, even without reference to external events. ... As can be seen, the Egyptian chronology, like that of all other ancient chronologies, requires contradictory evidence to be weighed and assessed before a most likely chronology can be drawn up. It is not perfect, not free of error and not 'set in stone', but is subject to new findings and new interpretations. It does, however, stand up remarkably well to such findings, and the arguments now usually revolve around one or two years on the end of reigns and the affiliations of individual kings rather than wholesale changes in the length or nature of the chronology. As such we can be very confident of ascribing the accession of Sheshonq I to the middle of the 940s BCE. (The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating, Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Higham, A.J. Shortland, 2005, p43, 53)
  3. It is clear that Shishak destroyed Solomon's network of border fortresses in 924 BC. It is a sad judgement from God on the results of sin. All of Solomon's works and efforts came to nothing because his son Rehoboam acted foolishly causing the people to rebel and the kingdom to disintegrate into two. Of course just as archeologists are divided on who built the fortresses and when, so too are they divided on how they were destroyed. Those who accept the Bible as their guide believe that Pharaoh Shishak destroyed the network in 924 BC. Those who reject the Bible suggest they slowly were abandoned over a long period of time, not destroyed all together at once.
  4. Discussion among archeologists revolves around the ash layer found on the floor of most of the fortresses. Some ignore or discount it. But the ash layer, although small and scant, does indeed exist. Facts are facts!
    "Let us consider another archaeological fact. Many of the fortresses and the associated settlements contained an ash-layer that convincingly proves these fortresses and their nearby settlements suffered the same sorry end. What or who was the destroyer? I believe there is only one reasonable candidate: Pharaoh Shishak (Sheshonq I)." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  5. "There can be no doubt that the Central Negev fortresses and settlements constitute the principal evidence of Israelite settlement in the area south of Beer-Sheva. The reality of Shishak's devastating campaign to the Central Negev is accepted by everyone. Moreover, if the Central Negev fortresses and settlements were not among the sites enumerated by Shishak, we are confronted with an acute historico-archaeological problem: Where are the settlements destroyed by Shishak? There simply are no other possibilities. Following the destruction of these fortresses, the Central Negev was virtually abandoned. The conclusion is inescapable: Shishak demolished the Central Negev fortresses and settlements in about 924 B.C." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
  6. "A more extensive description of the campaign was inscribed by Shishak himself on the walls of the Temple of Amon in Karnak. In this victory inscription, which is one of the most important historical documents of its time, Shishak lists the names of the cities, villages and settlements he conquered. The first part of the inscription contains a long list of sites in the northern and central sections of Israel. The second part of the inscription, containing over 10 names, is apparently devoted to the Negev. Only a few of the names can be identified with cities known from the Bible. These include Arad, Yurza, Sharnhen, and the proposed identification of Ezion-Geber, which is doubtful. Of particular interest to us here are nine place-names formed with the component p.h\-q-r, which can be readily associated with the Semitic root h\-g-r ("fort"). The list includes, for example, the fortress of Great Arad, which clearly refers to the site still bearing that name. Identifying the other fortresses referred to by Shishak is more problematic, but it may well be that a number of the names refer to the fortresses we have been discussing." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)
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  7. The very sparse finds which are nevertheless characteristic and the lack of any conflagration of destruction layer indicate that the site was not destroyed in battle, but deliberately abandoned. (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  8. "Scholars who attribute the settlements to the royal Israelite initiative attribute their abandonment to Shishak's campaign, as stated above (Cohen 1986: 316, 413-18, 472; Haiman 1989: 56). But despite theories of war and conquest, no evidence has come to light of large-scale conflagration and total destruction. Although evidence of burning and ashes has been discovered in most of the fortresses, that evidence is of limited extent" (The "Aharoni Fortress" Near Quseima and the "Israelite Fortresses" in the Negev, Zeev Meshel, 1994 AD)
  9. "Cohen (1980: 78) attributes the disappearance of the "fortresses" to the havoc wrought during Pharaoh Shishak's campaign, while Meshel considers the burnt patches found occasionally in these structures to be insufficient evidence for a military destruction and concludes that the sites were abandoned when the "local inhabitants" recognized the permanency of the central authority and hence determined that there was no longer any need for fortresses (Meshel 1977: 133)." (Enclosed Settlements in the Negeb, Ze'ev Herzog, 1983 AD)
  10. About five years after Solomon's death (ca. 924 B.C.), Pharaoh Shishak launched an attack against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. There are cursory references to this Egyptian campaign in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. In 1 Kings 14:25-26, we read "In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt marched against Jerusalem and carried off the treasures of the House of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He carried off everything; he even carried off all the golden shields that Solomon had made." In 2 Chronicles 12:1-12, we are told that Shishak came with 12,000 chariots, 60,000 horsemen and innumerable troops. In the swath of destruction, he took the fortified towns of Judah. But Shishak "did not destroy [Rehoboam] entirely." (The Fortresses King Solomon Built to Protect His Southern Border, Rudolph Cohen, 1985 AD)


By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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