Have the Archaeological Giants Killed King David?

by | Nov 24, 2020 | Poimenas

I have a friend who is especially amused by YouTube videos featuring the scientific experiments of Blendtec founder, Tom Dickson. While many more questions could be raised to evaluate the world’s latest products or gadgets, the Blendtec analysis focuses on only one question: “Will it blend?”


Sticking to this one question has proven to be a brilliantly successful advertising move, significantly boosting sales for Blendtec products. And the videos themselves are deemed so entertaining that a massive Internet following has turned the ads into a craze of their own. To date, the series has accumulated 290.5 million hits! [1]


But while focusing on only one question can be fantastically successful in an advertising campaign, it really isn’t a good approach to understanding the complex issues of archaeology. In the world of Bible history, many scholars (ranging across the entire spectrum from Bible-believing to über-critical anti-believers), have become fixated on a single question: Will it blend? Does the archaeological evidence blend with the biblical account? To put it another way, does archaeology confirm the Bible?


Denial—Not Just a River in Egypt!

The trend in the academic arena is to challenge society’s cherished beliefs and disparage traditional values. And it is common to assume that the Bible is merely a spiritual book for the religiously inclined, disproven long ago by archaeologists and historians. Discoveries of early extra-biblical creation accounts from the ancient Near East have caused many to view the stories of Adam and Eve as the handiwork of mythmakers. Ancient flood accounts similarly caused faith in the existence of a biblical Noah to sink. These concessions gave way to the rejection of the patriarchal narratives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. And the lack of evidence for Israelites in Egypt plagued scholars enough to make them harden their hearts toward the biblical notion of the Exodus. Further, when excavations in Israel at Late Bronze and early Iron Age sites did not exhibit the destruction layers that archaeologists expected to find, belief in Joshua’s conquest of Jericho came tumbling down.


Some (often anti-Semitic) conspiracy theorists even claim that there was never an Israel at all, or that modern Jews are merely European imports to Israel with no ancient connection to the land—an impossible notion, though some hold it dogmatically.


The United Monarchy

A current hot topic of archaeological debate is the emergence of Israel as a political state—something Bible students have called the United Monarchy. Some archaeologists and biblical scholars now reject the biblical stories of Israel’s early kings Saul, David, and Solomon. Yes, many will agree that these are historical personages, but they deny that Israel existed as major state. For them, Israel was a small tribal kingdom, not a kingdom united under a strong central government.


It has become fashionable for skeptics to distinguish between the more mythical part of the biblical storyline and the more historical. The skeptic’s wedge is driven precisely between the eras of the United Monarchy (under Saul, David, and Solomon) and the Divided Monarchy (beginning with Rehoboam in the South and Jeroboam in the North). [2]


A mere 40 years ago, scholars viewed Israel’s early kingdom as one of the most thoroughly documented periods of the Hebrew Bible—and very helpful for understanding what was happening in Israel’s history. [3] The United Monarchy was safe! Even in secular and theologically liberal circles it was commonly held that real history in Israel began with David. But now a strong tide of doubt and skepticism has swept across this once unshakeable period of early Israel’s past. The problem of severe “bibliophobia” among historians has been so widely diagnosed that even unbelieving critical scholars must plead with their colleagues to at least “treat the Hebrew Bible in a similar way as we treat other ancient literature” [4] when attempting to write about the history of Israel.


Today it is common to emphasize the improbability that David could have been all that the Bible makes him out to be. How could one man be a shepherd, a great warrior, a singer/songwriter/musician/poet, a fugitive, a sinner and saint, and though the youngest of a large family crowned king? To some, these disparate descriptions sound more like the makings of an ancient legend than an historical account of a king’s rise to power. Now, new archaeologically-remixed versions of David and Solomon have emerged that bear little resemblance to the biblical versions of their lives. These extreme denials suggest that “David and Solomon, the united monarchy of Israel, and indeed the entire biblical description of the history of Israel are no more than elaborate, skillful ideological constructs produced by priestly circles in Jerusalem in post-exilic or even Hellenistic times.” [5]


A “Not Unless I have to” Attitude

But how could this confidence in the biblical history of the United Monarchy erode so quickly—in just 40 years? The simple answer is that archaeological methods and attitudes changed. It is not as if hard evidence was found that squarely debunked previous understandings, but new conflicting interpretations of previous excavations have come into vogue. With the rise of a culture of skepticism known as postmodernism, the tendency across most academic disciplines has been to challenge all past beliefs in order to overturn dominating power structures and belief systems. Consensuses on any subject, according to this approach, are probably wrong and must be defied. Only if the evidence is absolutely undeniable, will archaeologists and historians of this new school approach accept a traditional view of a past event. The attitude toward agreeing with the Bible’s version of historical events can be summarized by the words “Not unless I have to!” If such unavoidable evidence is not forthcoming, another saying applies: “Everything you’ve ever thought is wrong!”


These scholars quote one another in the attempt to demonstrate that “the ‘ancient Israel’ of biblical studies is a scholarly construct [i.e., ‘fiction’] based upon a misreading of the biblical traditions and divorced from historical reality.” [6] And with such a starting point, they are only reluctantly [7] willing to accept biblical claims as historical when such items absolutely cannot be explained otherwise.


No Smoking Gun

Archaeology is fascinating because there is always the possibility that a new find will turn up that confirms the biblical record. This has happened time and time again. Many biblical personalities are mentioned outside the Bible. Kings Ahab, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Hoshea, Jehoiachin, Jehu, Josiah, Jotham, Manasseh, Omri, Pekah, Uzziah, Zedekiah and others are all named in extra-biblical literature from the ancient world—not to mention various pharaohs and Mesopotamian rulers. The once dubious figure called Pontius Pilate was unknown outside the New Testament, but in 1961 when a monumental inscription was found bearing his name (and title), it was time to “reevaluate” previous doubts and come on board with the traditional view of Pilate’s existence. Of course some scholar is probably psychoanalyzing him and will come out with a book next year explaining his repressed homosexuality, but at least people are admitting that he existed in history!


When it comes to David and the United Monarchy, there is no smoking gun (or sling for that matter) found amidst the archaeological remains that “proves” the biblical narrative to the satisfaction of every skeptic. To date, archaeologists have not unearthed any monumental inscription claiming, “King David the Israelite ruled in Jerusalem in the 10th century B.C.” And since the biblical books of I and II Samuel, I Kings, and I Chronicles are the only written record of his rule, many are content to assume these Scriptural accounts are contrived pieces of unreliable myths. The basic assumption is that because the kingdoms of David and Solomon are mentioned only in the Bible, they must be religious myths—developed as later Israelite folklore. If it only says it in the Bible, it must be wrong!


As archaeologist Steven Ortiz (an evangelical) has warned, “These issues are no longer discussed among a small isolated group of scholars, but are becoming the dominant paradigm in the public arena. Anyone who teaches or preaches from the Bible will encounter this trend and must be able to offer a response and defense of the historicity of the biblical narratives.” [8] Believers cannot simply bury their heads in the sand, leaving them to be excavated by future archaeologists looking for people who once believed in the Bible.


On the other hand, we cannot—and should not feel the need to—prove the Bible to unbelieving skeptics, especially its religious and theological truth claims. Certainly the Scriptures do not ask believers to pressure skeptics to believe. Rather, early believers were simply told to “bear witness” to the truth (John 15:27; Acts 1:8) and to be prepared to “give a defense” to those who ask (1 Peter 3:15). It is appropriate to provide answers to the sincere questions of those who wonder why we believe the message of Scripture—and exploring these issues can also encourage our own faith. Archaeology can be part of this defense.


Rather than asking if archaeology can prove the biblical record, a more modest question can be even more effective. Does the archaeological record suggest that the biblical record is probable? In terms of presenting a solid argument, such a question is a case when less is actually more. Asking for probability instead of proof drives home the point that since archaeology can only provide a limited amount of the story, faith is needed to fill in the gaps in any attempt to reconstruct the specifics of Israelite history.


A number of key finds suggest that the Bible provides an accurate historical account of David and his kingdom. Even apart from sincere faith in the Bible, the following archaeological discoveries lend support to the claim that it is indeed probable (and not unreasonable) to believe that the David of the Bible is the David of history. [9]


The Tel Dan (House of David) Inscription

From 1993 to 1995, archaeologists began to find fragments of an Old Aramaic monumental inscription at Tel Dan in northern Israel. King Hazael of Aram (Syria) appears to have commissioned the writing in 841 B.C. in honor of his victory over local enemies including Israelite kings. Lines 8-9 read, “I killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin]g of the House of David.” This reference to the “House of David” is the earliest extra-biblical reference to King David and demonstrates that within 150 years of his reign there was an internationally recognized dynasty [house] of Davidic kings. Since this recognition comes from a boastful foreign king, its remarkable weight as an extra-biblical historical confirmation of David’s kingdom is overwhelming.


The Mesha Stele/Moabite Stone

Discovered in 1868 in Dhiban, Jordan, this arch-shaped black basalt stele (a stone monument) dates to c. 830 B.C. The piece was damaged by local Bedouin who, using fire and cold water, cracked it into pieces when negotiations for its purchase broke down. Thankfully one of the people sent to examine the stone after its initial discovery made a paper copy before the artifact was dismembered. The inscription recounts the military success of King Mesha of Moab in a revolt against the neighboring “Omri King of Israel” and his son—an event also recorded in 2 Kings 3. While the stone mentions a number of items that are interesting to biblical scholars (e.g., the name of YHWH, the Moabite deity Chemosh, devoting the town of Nebo to destruction under “the ban,” and numerous biblical place names), the most intriguing find came years after its initial discovery. French epigrapher, André Lemaire reexamined both the artifact and the paper copy and concluded that, like the Tel Dan Inscription from the same time period, the Mesha Stele also contains a reference to the House of David. He supplied one missing letter to Line 31 to complete the previously ambiguous phrase, “As for Horonen, there lived in it the House of [D]avid,” or “And the house [of Da]vid dwelt in Horonên.” [10] The phrase suggests that the Judahites [House of David] occupied the site of Horonen in southern Moab. To date, no expert has offered a solution that has gained more support from the scholarly community. And this text provides further historical probability for the existence of David’s kingdom and dynasty.


The Shoshenq Relief

Shoshenq I of Egypt (who ruled from c. 945-924 B.C.) is thought to be identified as Shishak in the Bible. In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s wicked reign, the prophet Shemaiah announced that Shoshenq would bring God’s judgement. He invaded the kingdom of Judah and looted the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 14:25-27; 2 Chr 12:1-9). The famous entryway to the Temple of Amun in Karnak, Egypt, is known as the Bubastite Portal. A commemorative relief on one wall of the portal displays Shoshenq’s military exploits against Israel and Judah with a long list of conquered cities shown in cartouches (oval shapes within the hieroglyphs). Among these, “It is possible that the inscription also mentions the ‘highlands of David’ in its reference to Israel. If so, it is the earliest extra-biblical reference to David in existence and as such affords powerful evidence that he was in fact the great king the Bible portrays him to be.” [11]


Stay Tuned for More

While the above inscriptions provide the only known possible references to David to date, there are a few documents that may prove to be valuable in the discussion of ancient Israelite history related to the world of David in the 10th century B.C. Scholarly discussion on such items is readily available on archaeology websites and blogs. The Merneptah Stele is an Egyptian victory stele from c. 1220 B.C. that provides the earliest indisputable reference to “Israel” outside the Bible. The specific hieroglyphic markings indicate that Israel was already established in the land as a people group, but not yet a kingdom, well before David’s time. The Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon (found in 2008 and dated to c. 1050-970 B.C.) is a broken potsherd inscribed with five partial lines written in ink that was discovered in the Elah Valley—where David fought Goliath. It appears to be a brief text expressing concern for the just treatment of various people in society. Since it contains the word king, and dates to the time and location of David, the inscription may be an evidence of an early Israelite kingdom—but the jury is definitely still out on this one. The Goliath Shard/Inscription, found in 2005 at Philistine Gath (Tell es-Safi), is not a reference to the biblical Goliath, but according to archaeologist Aren Maeir, the inscription demonstrates that “names very similar to Goliath were in use at Philistine Gath” around the time of the biblical dates for David. And the find “provide(s) some cultural background for the David/Goliath story.” [12] Finally, The City of David Excavations, though controversial, are ongoing and worthy of continued interest. One archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, has found a large building and claims that it is David’s palace—but by nearly all accounts she “has overstated her case.” [13] Thankfully, archaeological inquiry always offers the potential for more finds, and technology holds out the hope of deciphering previously illegible texts.

Archaeology: As Seen on TV!

The folks at Blendtec often warn their viewers, “Don’t try this at home!” Perhaps similar subtitles should warn viewers of the Bible-related programming on the History Channel, PBS, and National Geographic. When the next archaeological discovery is purported to prove or disprove the Bible, it is a good idea to remember that there are likely multiple interpretations of the evidence. And expert opinions are often announced prematurely—directly from the dig site without the benefit of peer review—to media outlets in search of the next captivating headline.


But sitting around the television is probably not the best place to make an informed decision about archaeology and the Bible. Seldom do these programs encourage a careful reading of the biblical text and a careful attempt to understand the complexities of the archaeological data—data that must be interpreted. More often, sensational claims are designed by producers who splice together select quotes from scholars who are not attempting to be as sensational as they are made to sound. Nevertheless, every extreme view has its poster scholar who can be depended upon for the necessary sound bite. Thankfully, in our age of instant communication, researching such claims becomes a little easier. And before becoming too troubled about the newest new news from the field that disproves the Bible, a little fact checking on the web and blogosphere may provide some perspective. (see a list of suggested websites below)


The Hype and Hope of David

Why all this hype about David? Should it really bother some scholars that thinking people (even other scholars) believe King David was a real historical figure?


For the anti-Zionists, anti-Semites, and anti-Jesus crowd, David is simply too nationalistic, too Jewish, and too messianic. If there really is a Jewish King David, perhaps there could really be a Jewish Messiah—and we can’t have that!


David is mentioned over a thousand times in Scripture and plays a critical role in the progression of God’s redemptive plan. He demonstrates child-like faith in facing Goliath evidenced by his daring declaration, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Sam 17:45). He shows humility and faith in God’s sovereign plan to protect and defend him by not seeking revenge against King Saul: “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” (1 Sam 24:6) He received God’s promise of a dynasty of kings who sit on his throne: “He will make you a house” and “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam 7:11-13) Though he became ensnared and haunted by his sin, he knew the joy of restoration: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” (Ps 32:1)


In the New Testament, Matthew introduces Jesus’ messianic credentials with the words: “Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” (Mat 1:1) Those who recognized Jesus’ messiahship cried out, “have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David.” (Mat 20:30-31) Peter reasons about the resurrection with the holiday crowd gathered in Jerusalem, “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David.” (Acts 2:29) Paul explained to the Roman believers that the gospel was the message “concerning [God’s] Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David.” (Rom 1:3) And Paul urged Timothy to “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” (2 Tim 2:8) And Jesus describes himself to the Church at Philadelphia as the One with unique access and authority “who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens.” (Rev 3:7; NASB) Much is at stake if there was no David.


As it turns out, some of the same scholars who deny the existence of ancient Israel and the United Monarchy are on a mission to de-evangelize a believing public and dissuade them from trusting the Bible’s message of a past, present, or future Messiah. The fact that this campaign goes far beyond the circles of mere scholarly discussion to attempts at public disinformation is seen in the use of such titles as The Messiah Myth or The Invention of Ancient Israel and their intentionally targeting of popular audiences in numerous languages and mass marketing as “must read” material on best-seller lists. [14]


Asking Better Questions

Instead of focusing on only one question (Does archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?), the following questions are much more helpful for understanding the relationship between archaeological investigation and the biblical text.

    • How does this discovery help fill in the gaps where the Bible is silent? Bible writers often reported only items that were important to the overall point of their messages. But archaeological discoveries can tell us intriguing facts and fill in the details. For instance, only a few biblical verses discuss the reign of Omri, and it would seem that he was a rather unimportant Israelite king. But excavations of his capital at Samaria demonstrate that his fortifications were some of the most impressive architectural remains of Iron Age Israel. Further, his name appears in multiple extra-biblical written sources that speak of him or his dynasty as a powerful force on the international military scene. His name appears on the Mesha Stele and the Black Obelisk, and his dynasty is mentioned in annalistic records of the Assyrian kings Shalmanesar III, Tiglath-Pileser III, and Sargon II. [15] The fact that Omri was so powerful and important in the estimation of his peers gives even greater significance to the Bible’s dismissal of his accomplishments with the simple evaluation that “Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all who were before him” (1 Kings 16:25). While the Bible is nearly silent on the life of Omri, archaeology fills in the gaps.


    • Does this discovery illustrate how people lived in Bible times? When key artifacts are discovered in Bible lands, it is as if modern readers are able to look into a time capsule from the past and imagine how biblical personages conducted various aspects of everyday life: how they worked, conducted business, governed, fought wars, ate, dressed, worshipped, celebrated, mourned, built homes and temples, and observed various customs throughout their lives. Archaeology can often illustrate these and many other aspects of everyday life. The David & Goliath account (1 Sam 17) may seem like a strange way to determine a victory by modern military standards, but choosing a representative warrior to engage in battle on behalf of an army is well attested in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Babylonian texts. Such ancient accounts illustrate how the warriors merely represented the gods who empowered them. And David expressed this same belief: “the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam 17:47)


    • Does this discovery correct a misunderstanding about the biblical text? Our modern assumptions often interfere with an accurate understanding of the biblical text. David gave the following incentive for anyone who could assist in his capture of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. “Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft (Heb. tsinnor) and defeats the Jebusites . . ., he shall be chief and captain.” (2 Sam 5:8) Another texts states that “Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, and became chief.” (1 Chr 11:6) After British explorer Charles Warren discovered a large hand-cut tunnel in the ancient water system on the eastern slope of the City of David in 1867, many believed he had found Joab’s tsinnor—a large man-made horizontal tunnel and a 52-foot deep natural vertical fissure. But later archaeologists dated the horizontal tunnel to the Iron Age, well after David’s time, because the best parallels were the Megiddo and Hazor water systems from the time of Ahab in the 9th century. However, recent excavations by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron have revealed an enormous spring water pool within the Jebusite walls that connects to Warren’s horizontal tunnel. This pushes the date of the tunnel back to Canaanite times (Middle Bronze Age, c. 1800-1700 B.C.) and demonstrates that various water systems existed long before David. Now it is clear that there is a direct convenient connection between the Gihon Spring and the city via Warren’s Shaft. Joab may well have entered through one of several subterranean shafts in the water system near the pool and Spring Towers by the Gihon Spring—though he probably didn’t enter through the deep vertical shaft. [16] Since the word tsinnor is used in only two verses in the Hebrew Scriptures, its meaning was debated, but it now seems clear that Joab entered via some type of water shaft.


  • Does this discovery encourage our faith? Occasionally, artifacts and inscriptions provide an extra-biblical confirmation of what was already written in the Bible. While we can be grateful when such encouragement comes, these amazing finds cannot be the basis of our faith. Artifacts as amazing as the Tel Dan Inscription or the Mesha Stele don’t turn up during every season of excavation; but when such items are unearthed and carefully studied, they certainly are an encouragement.


Archaeology and Faith

Don’t expect too much from archaeology. Archaeology is not a substitute for faith. Faith provides us with “the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Archaeology is no substitute for faith—which only comes as a gift from God (Eph 2:8-9). Therefore, our mental agreement with the Bible’s historical statements based merely upon external archaeological verifications is not evidence that our trust is in the Lord, that we love Him, that we belong to Him, that we have experienced his forgiveness and salvation, or that our intellectual conclusions are pleasing to Him. As Hebrews reminds us, “. . . without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6).


Archaeology will never prove the Bible’s religious truth claims to the satisfaction of every skeptic. While excavators may unearth ancient artifacts from biblical times, and while extra-biblical accounts may provide outside confirmation of biblical narratives, archaeology cannot prove the Bible in the way that most of us think we would like it to—just as science cannot demonstrate what must be believed by faith. We should not look to archaeology to verify God’s call of Abraham, the predictions of Daniel, or the resurrection of Jesus. These things must be accepted by faith—a faith that should be not grounded “in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor 2:5).


Suggested Websites: (from a variety of perspectives)


This article originally appeared as “The Great Debate on Israelite History – Have the Archaeological Giants Killed King David?” in Messianic Perspectives (July / August, 2010) published by CJF Ministries and may be viewed here. Used by permission. Many other helpful archived articles are available at www.cjf.org.



1 According to Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” YouTube channel, accessed November 24, 2020, the number is actually 290, 598, 349 hits. https://www.youtube.com/willitblend/about

2 Even more skeptical is the view of Philip R. Davies who reserves the notion of an “historical” Israel only for the latest possible period in our timeline, the Hasmonean period (c. 140-37 B.C.). See his In Search of Ancient Israel (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992), 149.

3 Gary N. Knoppers, “The Vanishing Solomon: The Disappearance of the United Monarchy from Recent Histories of Ancient Israel,” Journal of Biblical Literature 116 (1997): 19.

4 Hans M. Barstad, “The Strange Fear of the Bible: Some Reflections on the ‘Bibliophobia’ in Recent Ancient Israelite Historiography,” in Lester L. Grabbe, ed., Leading Captivity Captive: ‘The Exile’ as History and Ideology (European Seminar on Historical Methodology 2; JSOTsup 278; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), 122.

5 Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (New York: The Free Press, 2001), 128. While the authors distance themselves from the “radical biblical critics” whose views they summarize here, they also suggest that “from a purely literary and archaeological standpoint, the minimalists have some points in their favor” and go on in their book to argue that the real David and Solomon of history are nothing like the ones we know from the Bible. See p. 234.

6 Keith Whitelam, The Invention of Ancient Israel: the Silencing of Palestinian History (New York: Routledge, 1996), 3. Here, Whitelam is summarizing Davies. For a similar view, see Thomas L. Thompson, Early History of the Israelite People: from the Written & Archaeological Sources (Leiden: Brill, 2000). For a critique by evangelical scholars, see V. Philips Long, Gordon J. Wenham, David Weston Baker, eds. Windows into Old Testament History: Evidence, Argument, and the Crisis of “Biblical Israel” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002).

7 Note the early suggestions that the Tel Dan Inscription mentioning the “house of David” may have been a forgery, and then the cautious warnings not to draw any real conclusions from it if it turned out to be authentic. See for instance, Niels Peter Lemche, “‘House of David’: The Tel Dan Inscription(s),” in Jerusalem in Ancient History and Tradition (ed. Thomas L. Thompson; Copenhagen International Seminar 13; JSOTsup 381; New York: T&T Clark, 2003), 46-67.

8 Steven M. Ortiz, “Deconstructing David: Current Trends in Biblical and Archaeological Studies,” Ola Farmer Lenaz Lecture, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, May 2001, 2.

9 Bridges, For a discussion of various extra-biblical witnesses to David and further implicit testimony to his existence in history, see Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 92-93, 98-102.

10 André Lemaire, “‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” Biblical Archaeology Review (May/Jun 1994): 30-34, 36-37.

11 Walter C. Kaiser, ed. The Archaeological Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 635. See Kitchen, p. 93, for an explanation of the inscription and its difficulties.

12 Aren Maeir, “Comment on the news item in BAR on the “Goliath Inscription” from The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog. Accessed March 16, 2010. http://gath.wordpress.com/2006/02/16/comment-on-the-news-item-in-bar-on-the-goliath-inscription/

13 “‘David’s Palace’ And Contrary Opinions,” Accessed March 16, 2010. http://blog.bibleplaces.com/2008/01/palace-and-contrary-opinions.html

14 See for example, Thomas L. Thompson, The Messiah Myth: The Near Eastern Roots of Jesus and David, (New York: Basic Books, 2005; London: Jonathan Cape, 2006; London: Pimlico, 2007); also available in Arabic (Damascus, 2007) and Greek Athens, 2007). One has to wonder about the motivation for honing in on Arabic speakers as a target audience for this type of work.

15 Bryant Wood, “Omri, King of Israel,” Bible and Spade (1998). Accessed online at https://biblearchaeology.org/research/chronological-categories/divided-monarchy/3774-omri-king-of-israel.

16 Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, “Light at the End of the Tunnel: Warren’s Shaft Theory of David’s Conquest Shattered,” Biblical Archaeology Review (Jan/Feb 1999): 22-25, 27, 30-33, 72.


(Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Provost and Dean and Professor of Hebrew and Biblical Studies at Shepherds Theological Seminary. Prior to STS, Tim served with distinction at the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago for 18 years. He also serves as the Israel Scholar-in-Residence for CJF Ministries.

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