So Was King David Real?

Our current culture is a strange mix of skepticism and gullibility. When it comes to believing the Bible—rather than believing it as the Word of God—we are being trained to doubt everything about it, while at the same time believing that the scoffers and doubters are the ones who really know better. In the area of biblical scholarship, it really is a shame that someone who is considered “learned” can undermine truth with one or two articles or theories.

One such argument has been that King David did not exist, citing there is no record of him outside of the Bible. However, in the last few decades of excavations in the Holy Land, evidence has come to light that has doubting scholars looking foolish in my estimation. Yet there will continue to be those who prefer to believe the scholars’ unbelief rather than the obvious truth.

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The ruins of Khirbet Qeiyafa, a tenth century BC Judean city

The first good piece of evidence concerning the existence of King David was from an inscription found in the early 1990’s in excavations in the ancient city of Dan, the northernmost ancient city in Israel. The inscription mentions “the House of David” on what is called the Tel Dan Stele, a stone with an inscribed account of a victory of the King of Damascus over the ruling kings of Israel and Judah. House of David is synonymous with kingdom of David, so the term “House of David” means that there was a King David.

Another clue to the existence of the kingdom of David are the many excavations of fortified cities with four-chamber gates. These ancient cities in Judah date to the tenth century BC, roughly the time of David and his son Solomon. The latest fortified city to be found is located near the Valley of Elah, where David defeated Goliath. On this high hill, referred to in the Bible as Shaaraim (meaning “gates” in Hebrew), a protection wall with the standard four-chamber gate was uncovered in excavations from 2007-2013. This city was positioned closest to the land of the Philistines and served as a lookout over the activity of the Philistines in the valleys below (1 Samuel 17:52).

One of the other finds is David’s royal palace in Jerusalem, David’s capital (2 Samuel 5:9-12). There is a scarp of land south of the Temple Mount referred to as the City of David. This area was inhabited originally by the Jebusites until they were conquered by King David and made into the residential and civic part of Jerusalem. During the time of King Solomon, the first temple was built to the north of the City of David and became the religious center of Jerusalem. There is now an archaeological park that can be easily visited to view what is believed by most to be the palace area built by King David. In what is termed “Area G” a man-made ancient rock wall that had been pondered upon for years has now been identified as the support for the palace of King David.

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The Tele Dan Stele mentions the “House of David”

It is becoming harder and harder to come up with explanations that deny the existence of King David and cast the Bible into a mythical light like the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. King David, the Kingdom of Judah, and the House of David are all real. It takes a lot of effort to explain them away. And every season of digging in the Holy Land brings to light things that only the Bible mentions. One such example from 2015 locates a citadel built by the Greeks as mentioned in the book of 1 Maccabees. In Jerusalem, very close to the City of David, an excavation uncovered the citadel and artifacts dating to the period of the Maccabean Revolt. Though scientists and scholars may still want to disprove everything the Bible claims, the more that is uncovered, the more is brought to light just how accurate the history is in the Bible.

So please place your faith in God’s Word and use science to back it up rather than tear it down. Jesus truly is a descendant of a real human king who walked this earth and is recorded in the Bible.

There are many more resources that prove the historicity of King David. Learn more about the archeological evidence by following the links below:


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Emily Cavins

Emily received her BA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of Minnesota and is a tour leader of annual pilgrimages to Israel and other Bible related destinations. Her most recent publication is Lily of the Mohawks: The Story of St. Kateri, the first Native American Saint from North America. She is the developer of the “Great Adventure Kids” bible study materials. She co-wrote the “Walking Toward Eternity: Making Choices for Today” Bible Study Series One and Two with her husband, Jeff. She is also the author of “Catholic Family Night,” a series of lessons covering all three liturgical reading cycles with one lesson per week throughout the entire year. Emily lives in Minnesota with Jeff, her husband of over 30 years.

  • Reed Chauffe

    Emily,

    Blessed day,

    What a great article on the proof of the existence of the Great King David and Solomon. It was most enjoyable to read how history is once again shown the Truth in the Word written in the Book of 2 Samuel 5:11-12 to built a great home for David.

    On April 5, 2016, I came across an article from a Catholicism news group that spoke about the finding one of the great walls of King Solomon’s temple as the archaeologist describes it in the video. I posted it to the Great Adventures Leaders Facebook page to give proof of the increase of the extension of the walls. Within these walls, also was found artifacts that would only have been used by royalty.Enjoy!

    Yours with the Lord, Jesus Christ, Our Savior,

    Reed