Aphek - Antipatris

Turkish Fortress at Anitpatris

Ahab, king of Israel soundly defeated a drunken Benhadad, king of Syria near Samaria with 7000 men. While Benhadad and his officers were drunk in their tents, Ahab attacked and Ben Hadad fled on horseback with his horsemen. Ben Hadad's advisors said to him, "Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain and surely we shall be stronger than they" (1 Kings 20:23)

At the first of the next year (854 BC) Benhadad went to Aphek to fight against Israel at Aphek (1 Kings 20:26-30). Ben Hadad lost 100,000 men in one day.

The Sharon Plain and Headwaters of the Yarkon

Over the ages, Aphek has been ruled by Egypt, Syria, the Philistines, Israel, Rome, Turkey and others as well. Aphek held a strategic position, sitting astride the coastal routes for North-South traffic. The Yarkon River forced ancient traffic to pass close by Aphek enroute to the gap between the hills to the east of Aphek and the headwaters of the Yarkon.

It was at Aphek that the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 4). The Philistines were at Aphek and the army of Israel was encamped at Ebenezer. They fought and the Philistines won the battle, killing 7,000 of Israel. Israel brought the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh to Ebenezer and again fought, losing the battle, 30,000 warriors, and the Ark of the Covenant.

Herod rebuilt Aphek in 37 BC, renaming it Antipatris in honor of his father, Antipater.

The apostle, Paul stayed overnight at Antipatris on the way to Cesarea to be delivered to Felix after he was rescued from a death plot of the Jews. (Acts 23:31)

The Crusaders, and later, the Turks built fortresses at Antipatris, and most of the ruins now above ground are of the Ottoman Turk fortress.

Photos Courtesy of BiblePlaces.com