The many artifacts of iron found in this building, including a knife with a carved ivory handle, also underscore the biblical statement on the Philistine monopoly of production of iron weaponry. (1 Samuel 13:19)
According to the Bible, Ekron was assigned to the Tribe of Judah (Jos. 15:45-46; Judges 1:18) and later, to the Tribe of Dan. (Jos. 19:43) But archeological evidence indicates a flourishing Philistine city during the 12th and 11th centuries BCE. When the Ark of the Covenant fell into Philistine hands, they displayed it in the Temple of Dagon in Ashdod and from there took it to Ekron; (1 Samuel 5:10) and after David defeated Goliath in the Elah Valley on the Philistine border with Judah, the Israelites pursued the Philistines to the gates of Ekron. (1 Samuel 17:52)
Ekron was probably destroyed by King David during his campaign against Philistia at the beginning of the 10th century BCE and over the next 300 years, Philistine Ekron was again reduced to the acropolis area of the tel. The prophet Amos prophesied its destruction in the 8th century BCE. (Amos 1:8) In 712 BCE Sargon II, King of Assyria conquered Ekron and immortalized the siege of the city in reliefs on the walls of his palace in Khorsabad.
During the 7th century BCE, Ekron was once more an important city-state and some of its kings are mentioned in the annals of the Neo-Assyrian kings. The city enjoyed economic prosperity under Assyrian rule, evidence of which is the expansion of the lower city and a new quarter to the north. At its peak it covered an area of some 85 acres and was thus one of the largest cities of biblical times. This city was carefully planned and divided into residential quarters, with a separate quarter for the rulers and the elite, and industrial and trade areas.
The economic mainstay was olive oil production and trade. The industrial buildings were built in a dense belt along the inner perimeter of the city walls. A survey has revealed some 115 oil installations, of which only a few have been excavated. The oil factory buildings consist of three rooms and are of a more or less uniform plan: one room for crushing and pressing olives, one for oil separation and storage and a front room facing the street, used for textile production. The factories had a multiple function four months a year for olive oil production and eight months a year for making textiles.