New Evidence Surfaces of David’s Kingdom

The Village of Sha’arayim

“New Evidence Surfaces of David’s Kingdom”: This is the title of an article written by Matthew Kalman, a writer for The San Francisco Chronicle and published in the SFGate.

The article describes the discovery of the city of Sha’arayim (Khirbet Qeiyafa), a Hebrew name that means “Two Gates.” The city was discovered by Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University.

The name of the city is mentioned in 1 Samuel 17:52 as the place where many Philistines were killed: “The troops of Israel and Judah rose up with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.”

The finding of this 10th century city is important because “Garfinkel believes the city provides evidence that King David ruled a kingdom from his capital of Jerusalem.”

He also said that Sha’arayim “appears to have been a fortress on the western border with the Philistines” and “indicates a kingdom with a developed political and military organization that was powerful enough to include a major fortified city.”

The discover of Sha’arayim comes a few weeks after Garfinkel and his team of archaeologists discovered the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found in Israel. That inscription was the 3,000-year-old pottery fragment bearing five lines of text in proto-Canaanite script, a precursor of Hebrew. The ostracon found at the site contains the words “king,” “judge,” and “slave” (see my posts on this Hebrew text here and here).

According to the article, “Garfinkel knew from the biblical text that Sha’arayim was near the location of the famous duel between David and Goliath and wondered whether the ruins might be the city. Locating the second gate confirmed his belief that he had found the only site mentioned in the David and Goliath narrative that has yet to be discovered.

Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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3 Responses to New Evidence Surfaces of David’s Kingdom

  1. Harper says:

    >Hi Dr. Claude,Am I right to say that the existence of the city and the dating given by Oxford does show at least that the David-Goliath text was grounded in a historically accurate setting? It does not Prove the existence of David in an outright manner, does it?Not playing Devil’s advocate here (no double meaning intended here)! Just trying to be cautious with the evidence…


  2. >Harper,You are right. The discovery does not prove the existence of David but it goes along way to show that some of the facts mentioned in 1 Samuel 17 are based on historical events.If the ancient text found at the site mentions some of the events of 1 Samuel 17, then we can say that there are real history behind the events.Have you read my article on David and Goliath?Claude Mariottini


  3. Harper says:

    >I just did, Dr. Claude. This is all fascinating stuff! Especially since I plan to jump into OT graduate work in the near future…


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