The Reliable Bible – The Davidic Kingdom

As I have mentioned before, contrary to the regular atheist meme there is actually a large body of evidence supporting the events chronicled in the Bible. Not only does such evidence exist in large quantities, it is constantly growing. And the evidence is not merely that which supports the general claims of the Bible in terms geography and place names, but it goes to the existence of very specific details concerning the experiences of the people mentioned in Scripture.

And such evidence often flies in the face of secular claims about Jewish history. One such example concerns the existence of the kingdom of King David. Atheists claim that the existence of such a kingdom is mythological, and the stories in the Old Testament were conveyed long after the supposed events took place. David and the kingdom the Old Testament claims he founded play a central role in both the Old and New Testaments. It is through the Davidic line that it was foretold the Messiah would come, and Jesus was understood to be from the line of David which helped establish His claim to be that promised Messiah. If the secular claim that David was mythological figure and no such kingdom existed is true, then the claims of both Jews and Christians could be rightly called into question and there is much reason to be skeptical of the accuracy of Scripture.

Recent evidence however appears to show that the Jewish traditions were already being practiced in the time period when the Davidic kingdom was said to exist, and that there were fortified cities and temples as befits an established nation. As ScienceDaily reports:

According to Prof. Garfinkel, “This is the first time that archaeologists uncovered a fortified city in Judah from the time of King David. Even in Jerusalem we do not have a clear fortified city from his period. Thus, various suggestions that completely deny the biblical tradition regarding King David and argue that he was a mythological figure, or just a leader of a small tribe, are now shown to be wrong.” Garfinkel continued, “Over the years, thousands of animal bones were found, including sheep, goats and cattle, but no pigs. Now we uncovered three cultic rooms, with various cultic paraphernalia, but not even one human or animal figurine was found. This suggests that the population of Khirbet Qeiyafa observed two biblical bans — on pork and on graven images — and thus practiced a different cult than that of the Canaanites or the Philistines.”

Specific objects mentioned in the Old Testament chronicle were also discovered, establishing the veracity of details mentioned there, as well as the familiarity of the writer with objects and time period considered:

The three shrines are part of larger building complexes. In this respect they are different from Canaanite or Philistine cults, which were practiced in temples — separate buildings dedicated only to rituals. The biblical tradition described this phenomenon in the time of King David: “He brought the ark of God from a private house in Kyriat Yearim and put it in Jerusalem in a private house” (2 Samuel 6).
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The clay shrine is decorated with an elaborate façade, including two guardian lions, two pillars, a main door, beams of the roof, folded textile and three birds standing on the roof. Two of these elements are described in Solomon’s Temple: the two pillars (Yachin and Boaz) and the textile (Parochet).

It is impossible to explain how a writer could include such details unless he was personally familiar with them; certainly no writer could be so accurate hundreds of years later when secularists claim the text was written. Mythologies certainly aren’t known for detailed accuracies.

While this doesn’t in and of itself prove the miraculous aspects of the Old Testament, it does lend credence to the idea that the writer’s weren’t attempting to write mere fiction.

And it shows once again how vapid the secular criticisms of the Bible are.

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3 Responses to The Reliable Bible – The Davidic Kingdom

  1. Tafacory says:

    William Dever, Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, has investigated the archeology of the ancient Near East for more than 30 years and authored almost as many books on the subject. In the following interview, Dever describes some of the most significant archeological finds related to the Hebrew Bible, including his own hot-button discovery that the Israelites’ God was linked to a female goddess called Asherah.

    NOVA: Have biblical archeologists traditionally tried to find evidence that events in the Bible really happened?

    William Dever: From the beginnings of what we call biblical archeology, perhaps 150 years ago, scholars, mostly western scholars, have attempted to use archeological data to prove the Bible. And for a long time it was thought to work. [William Foxwell] Albright, the great father of our discipline, often spoke of the “archeological revolution.” Well, the revolution has come but not in the way that Albright thought. The truth of the matter today is that archeology raises more questions about the historicity of the Hebrew Bible and even the New Testament than it provides answers, and that’s very disturbing to some people.
    The fact is that archeology can never prove any of the theological suppositions of the Bible. Archeologists can often tell you what happened and when and where and how and even why. No archeologists can tell anyone what it means, and most of us don’t try.

    NOVA: According to the Bible, the first person to form a covenant with God is Abraham. He is the great patriarch. Is there archeological evidence for Abraham?

    Dever: One of the first efforts of biblical archeology in the last century was to prove the historicity of the patriarchs, to locate them in a particular period in the archeological history. Today I think most archeologists would argue that there is no direct archeological proof that Abraham, for instance, ever lived. We do know a lot about pastoral nomads, we know about the Amorites’ migrations from Mesopotamia to Canaan, and it’s possible to see in that an Abraham-like figure somewhere around 1800 B.C.E. But there’s no direct connection.

    NOVA: The Bible chronology puts Moses much later in time, around 1450 B.C.E. Is there archeological evidence for Moses and the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Israelites described in the Bible?

    Dever: We have no direct archeological evidence. “Moses” is an Egyptian name. Some of the other names in the narratives are Egyptian, and there are genuine Egyptian elements. But no one has found a text or an artifact in Egypt itself or even in the Sinai that has any direct connection.

    NOVA: What have archeologists learned from these settlements about the early Israelites? Are there signs that the Israelites came in conquest, taking over the land from Canaanites?

    Dever: The settlements were founded not on the ruins of destroyed Canaanite towns but rather on bedrock or on virgin soil. There was no evidence of armed conflict in most of these sites. Archeologists also have discovered that most of the large Canaanite towns that were supposedly destroyed by invading Israelites were either not destroyed at all or destroyed by “Sea People”—Philistines, or others.

    So gradually the old conquest model [based on the accounts of Joshua's conquests in the Bible] began to lose favor amongst scholars. Many scholars now think that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites, displaced Canaanites, displaced from the lowlands, from the river valleys, displaced geographically and then displaced ideologically.

    So what we are dealing with is a movement of peoples but not an invasion of an armed corps from the outside. A social and economic revolution, if you will, rather than a military revolution. And it begins a slow process in which the Israelites distinguish themselves from their Canaanite ancestors, particularly in religion—with a new deity, new religious laws and customs, new ethnic markers, as we would call them today.

    Therefore, the atheist meme is correct. The evidence touted by men such as JP Moreland is seemingly non-existent and if there is evidence for a particular claim of the Bible it’s either for something trivial or overplayed by apologists.

    Taken from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html

  2. jackhudson says:

    I appreciate the comment, but I am not sure why you chose not to respond to the actual article cited (which is obviously one of many evidences of the Davidic kingdom) and chose instead to quote a four-year-old interview on completely unrelated matters, some of which have been since shown to be wrong. One good example is this statement:

    So gradually the old conquest model [based on the accounts of Joshua's conquests in the Bible] began to lose favor amongst scholars. Many scholars now think that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites, displaced Canaanites, displaced from the lowlands, from the river valleys, displaced geographically and then displaced ideologically.

    So what we are dealing with is a movement of peoples but not an invasion of an armed corps from the outside. A social and economic revolution, if you will, rather than a military revolution. And it begins a slow process in which the Israelites distinguish themselves from their Canaanite ancestors, particularly in religion—with a new deity, new religious laws and customs, new ethnic markers, as we would call them today.

    In fact since the interview such evidence of a military invasion around the time of Joshua has been found:

    “The ‘foot’ structures that we found in the Jordan valley are the first sites that the People of Israel built upon entering Canaan and they testify to the biblical concept of ownership of the land with the foot,” said archaeologist Prof. Adam Zertal of the University of Haifa, who headed the excavating team that exposed five compounds in the shape of an enormous “foot” — likely to have been used at that time to mark ownership of territory.

    The finding is believed to represent the first time that enclosed sites identified with the biblical sites termed in Hebrew “gilgal”, which were used for assemblies, preparation for battle, and rituals, have been revealed in the Jordan valley. The Hebrew word “gilgal” (a camp or stone-structure), is mentioned thirty-nine times in the Bible. The stone enclosures were located in the Jordan valley and the hill country west of it. To this day, no archaeological site has been proposed to be identified with the gilgal.

    Interestingly this corresponds exactly with God’s promise to Joshua given in the beginning of the book of Joshua:

    After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them —to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
    Joshua 1:1-3

    The text and the finding correspond precisely. Again the trend of modern findings is to confirm the Biblical text, and deny the atheist meme.

  3. Mike D says:

    Alright, so first I’ll be charitable, and assume for the sake of discussion that this is completely, 100% accurate and correct. It would not change the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Bible is based on myths for which there is either no evidence or, in many cases, contrary evidence. We know with as reasonable empirical certainty as possible that Adam & Eve, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, and most of the stories of military conquest in the Old Testament (such as the genocide of Canaan) are all fictional. Even if this story were true, which I don’t think it is, it wouldn’t do much to bolster the Bible other than to actually show that a small fraction of its characters may have actually existed. By that logic, the case for the truth of Scientology is bolstered because we have overwhelming evidence that L Ron Hubbard really existed.

    But I call shenanigans on this guy, who doesn’t appear to have had his claims vetted by any other researchers (kind of a big deal). Firstly, dating something based on the “Davidic Kingdom” is like basing a medieval discovery on the life of King Arthur. There’s no independent evidence that a King David ever existed and, as Steven Pinker said, if he had a vast empire then no one seemed to notice. It’s certainly plausible that the Biblical tales were based on a real person, but a King David as described in the Bible is a work of fiction. Again, it’s a case of a total dearth of evidence where, if the narratives were true, there ought to be mountains of unequivocal evidence.

    Secondly, he’s taking an arbitrary and rather charitable interpretation of scriptures to corroborate his discovery, just like you’re doing when you assert that “every place where you set your foot” must have meant literal giant stone feet just because some archeologists found some. That’s just as ludicrous as asserting that because he found some cult rooms, they must be corroborating scripture that used the conveniently vague description of “private house”. That’s the nice thing about scripture – it’s ambiguous enough that you can interpret it in whatever way is convenient for you at the time.

    But let’s go back to something you said earlier:

    If the secular claim that David was mythological figure and no such kingdom existed is true, then the claims of both Jews and Christians could be rightly called into question and there is much reason to be skeptical of the accuracy of Scripture.

    The ‘secular claim’ (you say that as though there is only one non-biblical view) is simply that David did not exist as he is described in the Bible. It’s no different than the hullabaloo among non-believers over the existence of a historical Jesus. Most reasonable people agree that it’s plausible that the myth of Jesus was based on a real person, but it’s easily established (which, ironically, I did in comments the post you link to at the top of this one) that there is zero evidence that Jesus as he is described in the gospels actually existed.

    So, sure, it’s plausible that there was a historical David. He could have been a king over several tribes. But the notion of a vast Davidic empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Red Sea, conquering its enemies with a powerful military, is wholly unsupported by the historical record and even the most charitable view of this discovery doesn’t do anything to change that. If the Bible were really the work of a god, the historicity shouldn’t even be subject to debate.

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