Gezer stands to the east of Israel?s coastal plain, a fertile stretch of land that lines the Mediterranean Sea. To the east are foothills?called the Shephelah?beyond which lie the Judean mountains and the Arabian Desert. Only fifteen miles away from Gezer, Jerusalem is nestled among the Judean hills.
Gezer was one of three great cities that guarded the Via Maris. The city stood at a strategic point where the major trade route jutted inland to avoid swampy areas along Israel?s coast. Today, the Tel Gezer is one of the largest tells in Israel, a testimony to its significance in ancient times.
The world powers of the day?Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia?depended on each other to supply goods through trade. And since the inhabitants of Gezer could control the Via Maris, they had influence over the world powers of the day. Gezer also guarded an east-west trade route that traveled from the Via Maris to Jericho.
People who see Gezer today may imagine it as a quiet, agricultural area. But because of its critical position at the intersection of two trade routes, the city bustled with commercial activity. People frequently fought for the city?s control.
Joshua defeated it during the Israelites? entry into the Promised Land (Josh. 16:10), and Solomon later made it one of his chariot cities (1 Kings 9:15).
At Gezer, archaeologists have made some remarkable discoveries from the time of Israel?s monarchy, including the gate built by Solomon. The tel is also known for the large standing stones that were found there. The stones were probably erected by pagans?long before Israel entered Canaan?to mark the site of a significant event.