DAVID AND ARCHAEOLOGY
THIS PAPER IS A REQUIREMENT BY DR.RODNEY CLOUD TO FULFILL COURSE OF ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE (TH6315A) OF SPRING 2010, AMRIDGE UNIVERSITY, FEBRUARY 11, 2010
CONFIRMATION OF DAVID'S EXISTENCE 6
DAVID AND ARCHAEOLOGY 8
A PLAN OF THE CITY OF JERUSALEM 9
"The archaeological record of Jerusalem in the late 11th and early 10th centuries B.C. is not nearly as prolific as we might wish it were. Indeed, one of the noteworthy products of excavation in Jerusalem, commonly called the Tower of David, excavated by archaeologist R.A.S. Macalister in the 1920s, bears a title that can easily mislead. Although the tower's name associates the structure with Israel's most famous monarch, in fact only the lower courses of the tower are from the Davidic period. Most of this fortified edifice dates to the Maccabean period of the 2nd century B.C." Other archaeological work convincingly documents the history of the Bible. In particular, the grande dame of British biblical archaeology, Kathleen Kenyon, revealed an important archaeological feature from the time of David. In 1961 her excavation exposed a part of the Jebusite wall that surrounded Jerusalem when David took the city near the end of the 11th century B.C. (2 Samuel 5:6,7).
In earlier issues The Good News has examined archaeological discoveries that confirm and help us better understand the biblical accounts in the five books of Moses and Israel's history as recorded in Joshua and Judges. In this issue we focus on the beginning of the Israelite monarchy, the time of King David. The Bible discusses this period in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles.
When the period described in the book of Judges ended, a new age arrived with the kings of Israel, an era lasting more than 400 years. The monarchy lacked an auspicious beginning. God eventually rejected Saul, the first king, because of his continual disobedience. David, the son of Jesse, replaced Saul.
David's reign began the golden age of Israel. This powerful king wisely governed the tribes of Israel, forging them into a unified nation. God blessed this obedient and multitalented man. David was not a valiant soldier, but a great military strategist, able administrator, diplomat, composer and musician.
Under David's inspired leadership, Israel soon became powerful, extending its northern frontiers to the River Euphrates and its southern borders to the Red Sea. "And David defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah as far as Hamath, as he went to establish his power by the River Euphrates ... So David reigned over all Israel, and administered judgment and justice to all his people" (1 Chronicles 18:3, 14).
After centuries of Israelite struggle against the Canaanites and Philistines, it was David who finally triumphed decisively over Israel's enemies. The ensuing peace freed the Israelites to make full use of the formidable natural resources of the area. This liberty produced great prosperity. From their humble beginning as a slave people, then as pastoral tribes, they ascended to great heights. David transformed Israel into a highly organized state that would later leave a lasting mark on Western civilization.
"The reign of David," comments one authority, "marks-politically speaking-Israel's golden age. A power vacuum in both Egypt and Mesopotamia made it possible for the tribes that had entered Canaan under Joshua a few centuries earlier to become a mighty nation ... David was king of an area extending from the Red Sea to the Euphrates" David was originally headquartered in Hebron, in southern Judah, but now, with all 13 tribes accepting his rulership, he needed a central base from which to govern. An ideal place was on the northern border of Judah, the city of Jebus, also called Jerusalem, but it was in the hands of the Jebusites, a remnant Canaanite tribe that had heavily fortified the city. "And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land" (1 Chronicles 11:4). The city was built on a mount in the midst of a large valley in the Judean mountains. It seemed impenetrable. When the Jebusites noticed David and his men were ready to attack them, they mocked their feeble efforts. "And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, 'You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,' ..." (2 Samuel 5:6).
Yet David did not attempt a frontal attack on the fortress. Instead, he found the Achilles heel of the Jebusite defenses, a hidden water shaft that wound its way up into the city. Such a shaft for transporting water was a common feature of many fortified cities of that time. When David discovered the entrance, he realized it was a way to secretly enter the city and open its gates. "Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites," he told his men, "shall be chief and captain" (2 Samuel 5:8).
In 1 Chronicles 11:6-7 we find who gained the honor: "And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief. Then David dwelt in the stronghold; therefore they called it the City of David." After David conquered the Jebusite fortress, it became known as the City of David. As his reign prospered he soon began building to extend the city. "Then David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the City of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward. So David went on and became great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him" (2 Samuel 5:9-10).
The mount on which the Jebusite fortress stood was called Mount Zion. Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)" (verse 7). Close by, to the north, was a hill called Mount Moriah, which David bought from Ornan the Jebusite.
Therefore, the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite... So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the Lord; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering" (1 Chronicles 21:18, 25-26).
Eventually David moved the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant to this area, and later King Solomon built his magnificent temple on Mount Moriah. "Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (2 Chronicles 3:1).
II. CONFIRMATION OF DAVID'S EXISTENCE
Some historians and critics have questioned the existence of King David and have relegated Old Testament accounts about him to the status of mythology. "I am not the only scholar," remarks Philip Davies, "who suspects that the figure of King David is about as historical as King Arthur". Such professors cast doubt on the reliability of the biblical record and undermine the faith of others. They also rarely acknowledge the many discoveries that have corroborated the biblical account.
"There Avraham Biran and his team of archaeologists found a remarkable inscription from the ninth century B.C.E. that refers both to the 'House of David' and to the 'King of Israel.' This is the first time that the name David has been found in any ancient inscription outside the Bible". More and more extrabiblical evidence involving Bible names and places is being discovered as the years go by. The skeptics are gradually having to retreat."
Later another scholar found the name "House of David" in the inscriptions of the famous Moabite Stone, also called the Mesha stela, dated to the ninth century B.C., about 100 years after David's reign. It is hard to understand how David's name could appear in historical records if he were nothing but a later literary creation.
Anson Rainey, professor of ancient Near Eastern cultures, cautions the unwary about believing that the accounts of David and other biblical characters are but legends. "As someone who studies ancient inscriptions in the original, I have a responsibility to warn the lay audience that the new fad, the 'deconstructionist school,' ... is merely a circle of dilettantes. Their view that nothing in Biblical tradition is earlier than the Persian period [540-330 B.C.], especially their denial of the existence of a United Monarchy, is a figment of their vain imagination. The name 'House of David' in the Tel Dan and Mesha inscriptions sounds the death knell to their specious conceit. Biblical scholarship and instruction should completely ignore the 'deconstructionist school.' They have nothing to teach us"
Although some critics will not admit as much, the accumulating physical evidence confirms rather than denies what is written in God's Word. But, for those who have faith in what God has said in the Bible, it is not necessary to find material remains to corroborate these accounts. The apostle Paul boldly affirms that God "cannot lie" (Titus 1:2).
III. DAVID AND ARCHAEOLOGY
1. The Elah Valley. This is the traditional site of the confrontation between David and Goliath. The brook in which David found the stones for his sling is at the bottom right of the large hill that dominates the center of the valley.
2. Goliath, one of the Bible's great bullies. David used the slingshot to kill him. The slingshot used by David was a basic weapon common among soldiers and herdsmen at the time. As the story of David and Goliath shows, it could inflict fatal damage if used skillfully. It was a cheap, efficient projectile weapon used in the same way as a bow and arrow. Since it was made of perishable materials such as wool or palm fiber rope, or leather, none have survived from ancient times. Excavations around Israelite cities usually unearth hundreds of round sling stones, ranging from 2-3inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in diameter. An adult man could fling a stone at 100-150miles per house (160-240km per hour).
3. In this ivory plaque found at Megiddo, a harpist plays before the throne of the King, just as David played the harp to soothe Saul's anxiety.
4. The well in Gibeon may be the Pool of Gibeon mentioned in the fight between David's and Ishbosheth's twelve chosen men 'Abner said to Joab "Let the young men come forward and have a contest before us." Joab said "Let them come forward." So they came forward and were counted as they passed by, twelve for Benjamin and Ishbaal (Ishbosheth) son of Saul, and twelve of the servants f David. Each grasped his opponent by the head, and thrust his sword in his opponent's side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called Helkath-hazzurim, which is at Gibeon. The pool is about 35ft. deep, with a stairway leading down into a tunnel which gives on to a subterranean pool. This would have provided essential water, especially during a seige.
IV. A PLAN OF THE CITY OF JERUSALEM/JEBUS AT THE TIME OF DAVID
1. "The Stepped Stone Structure - the only area in Jerusalem thought to date from the reign of King David, circa 10th century BC. Its strong foundations may have supported large stone walls which have since disappeared. The stones may have supported the walls of David's citadel, the fortress of Zion (2 Samuel 5:7-9) - though this point is hotly debated by archaeologists. There have been many elaborate reconstructions of the Ark of the Covenant but in all probability the Ark was similar to the Shrine of Anubis found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun."
3. The stone inscription.
In 1993, archaeologists discovered a stone inscription at the ancient city of Dan, which refers to the "House of David." The "House of David Inscription" (Tel Dan Inscription) is the first ancient reference to King David outside the Bible. Specifically, the stone is a victory pillar of a King in Damascus dated a couple hundred years after David's reign, which mentions a "king of Israel of the House of David." Over the next year, more inscription pieces were discovered at the site, which allowed archaeologists to reconstruct the entirety of the declaration: "I killed Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel and I killed Ahaziahu son of Jehoram king of the House of David." Remarkably, these are Jewish leaders linked to the lineage of David as recorded in the Bible.
"The House of David Inscription was discovered in 1994 during excavations at the ancient city of Dan. It is considered by many to be the first reference to the "House of David" discovered outside the biblical text. The House of David Inscription appears to be a fragment of a victory monument erected by a king of Damascus (Aram) during the 9th century BC, some 250 years after King David's reign. The fragment specifically mentions victories over a "king of Israel" (probably Joram) and a king of the "House of David" (probably Ahaziah). The House of David Inscription (Tel Dan Inscription) currently resides in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem."
Perhaps more than any other academic discipline, archaeology has enlarged our understanding of the historical record in the Bible. Archaeologists have found some of their most spectacular artifacts in the City of David, an area of 12 square miles in the southeast part of modern-day Jerusalem.
The City of David itself contains only a limited amount of material from the actual Davidic period of Iron Age I and II. To date, diggers have unearthed no evidence of Solomon's Temple.
Alfred J. Hoerth. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Baker Books Published; March 2001.
Biblical Archaeology Review, July-August 1994, p. 55
Biblical Archaeological Review, March-April 1994, p. 26
Joseph Free, Howard Vos. Archaeology and Bible History. Zondervan: October 1992.
James K. Hoffmeier. The Archaeology of the Bible. Lion Uk, May 2008.
John H. Saihamer. Biblical Archaeology. Zondervan, August 1998.
NIV Archaeological Study Bible, an illustrated walk through biblical history and culture. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan 2005.
Wermer Keller. The Bible as History. Bantam; November 1983.
 NIV Archaeological Study Bible, an illustrated walk through biblical history and culture. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan 2005.
 (Biblical Archaeology Review, July-August 1994, p. 55)
 (Biblical Archaeological Review, March-April 1994, p. 26)
 Wermer Keller. The Bible as History. Bantam; November 1983.
 John H. Saihamer. Biblical Archaeology. Zondervan, August 1998.
 James K. Hoffmeier. The Archaeology of the Bible. Lion Uk, May 2008.
 Joseph Free, Howard Vos. Archaeology and Bible History. Zondervan: October 1992.
 Alfred J. Hoerth. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Baker Books Published; March 2001.
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