Sunday Reader: Existence of King David Backed by Archaeology

king david map

Map appears courtesy of the University of Haifa.

Detractors of the biblical text like to assert that its passages are filled with little more than folklore and myth. But new archaeological finds have again provided evidence that biblical figures like Kind David did exist and did rule over a large portion of the ancient Near East.

Leading journals recently wrote on the discovery of eight significant sites in Turkey and northern Syria which revealed the existence of a large Philistine kingdom under the rule of Tai(ta) of Hamath.

Prof. Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa says this is clearly the same regional ruler as the “Toi, king of Hamath” referenced in II Samuel 8:10, which records that when this king “heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, he sent his son Joram to King David, to greet him and to congratulate him on defeating Hadadezer in battle — for Hadadezer had been at war with Toi.”

According to Prof. Galil: “We know for sure now that Toi of Hamath existed, and that he was indeed a historical figure. The biblical text in the Book of Samuel is therefore well supported by the historical reality of the 10th century BC.”

These discoveries also helped to clarify more earlier Egyptian finds according to which the Ramses III boasted of having conquered Philistine cities in northern Syria. Previously, archaeologists had believed the pharaoh was exaggerating.

The finds in Syria and Turkey coincide with the recent discovery of a stele, or stone slab, from a later Aramean king, Hazael, who spoke of having killed 70 rival kings during his conquests. Among his listed victims are kings from the “House of David.”

This new evidence backs up the biblical account not only of the existence of King David, but of the fact that he was far more than a small-time, hill-top chieftain.

On the Web: 

‘Homely’ ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence

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