“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.
HT: Jim West
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary