ABSTRACT

Archaeological Data In the history of Palestine, Beer-sheba-a town lying in southern Judah-has not always been part of the state(s). At the time of the migration of the Sea Peoples (thirteenth/twelfth centuries BCE), the lands on the boundaries of Judah and Negev were probably conquered by the Philistines or by one of the related tribes.1 During the Judean monarchy a steady inux of the Edomite2 people occurred and this intensied during the Babylonian period. By the fourth century BCE the population of Beersheba was already a mixture of Jewish, Edomite and Arabic peoples.3 In this period Beer-sheba probably played some role in the network of the Persian administration; the discovery of fragments of Aramaic documents is evidence of this. Archaeological excavations have provided us with fairly exhaustive information about the history of the settlement in Beer-sheba. The layers of stratication indicate that although the rst buildings in Beer-sheba went up in the thirteenth century, the settlement that existed there before the eleventh century was of marginal signi-cance (strata I-8, I-9). During the Iron Age (strata I-2 to I-7) there was a fortied town there which was destroyed in the tenth and then the

1. J. Strange, “The Philistine City-States,” in M.H. Hansen (ed.), A Comparative Study of Thirty City-State Cultures, Copenhagen, 2000, 129-39. 2. Bert Dicou, Edom, Israel’s Brother and Antagonist: The Role of Edom in Biblical Prophecy and Story, JSOTSup 168, Shefeld, 1994, 180-81. See John R. Bartlett, Edom and the Edomites, JSOTSup 77, Shefeld, 1989; idem, “Edom in the Nonprophetical Corpus,” in Diana Vikander Edelman (ed.), You Shall Not Abhor an Edomite for He is Your Brother: Edom and Seir in History and Tradition, Archaeology and Biblical Studies 3, Atlanta, 1995, 13-21; J.M. Myers, “Edom and Judah in Sixth-Fifth Centuries B.C.,” in Hans Goedicke (ed.), Near Eastern Studies in Honor of William Foxwell Albright, Baltimore, 1971, 377-92. 3. Y. Aharoni, “Beersheba, Tel,” in EAEHL, 1:167.