Bible Archaeology

What was Israel’s ‘Capital’ Before the Monarchy?

Quick… off the top of your head, name 5 of the most important biblical cities.

No doubt Jerusalem is on your list? Go ahead and stretch it to 10 important biblical cities.

Perhaps your list has cities such as Bethlehem (a city of judges, kings and Jesus),  or Jericho. Maybe your list includes Samaria, Dan, Jezreel, even Antioch, Ephesus or Rome.

Does the list include Shiloh? Shiloh was Israel’s most important city for several hundred years. Its occupation by Israelites and its destruction centuries later marked the beginning and end of an important era. I imagine many of us would not list Shiloh as a ‘Top 5′ city, perhaps not even a ‘Top 10′. Pity, because Shiloh was central to early Israel.

Shiloh is not so famous among Christians. This is understandable. The city of Shiloh was prominent in the time of the Judges, a centuries-long period of which we know relatively little. Shiloh usually serves as a backdrop to famous stories and people…

Read what they are over at Luke Chandler’s blog here.

2 thoughts on “What was Israel’s ‘Capital’ Before the Monarchy?

  1. Well, according to the bible Siloh was in fact the capital of the early israel in the judges-age. But there are several problems with declaring it to be a “important city”:
    – the ‘Siloh-Age’ was long before the first parts of the bible were written. So we have much better sources for understanding the early monarchy and the following ages.
    – because of this lack of sources we know only very little of what happened to the southern Levant (and the Ancient Near East at all) around 1000 BC.
    – You cannot call Siloh an israelian city without problems! Israel is a term used in the 1 millenium BC and it usually meant the northern part of today Israel (most likely the territory of Samaria) whereas Jerusalm was the capital of Judah and therefor not even part of Israel!

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