Guest / Limited Access /
Philistine Digs Define David and Solomon
Philistine Digs Define David and Solomon

Two small portable shrines are giving Bible scholars new clues about Israelite religious practices during the time of David and Solomon. They also indicate a pendulum swing in the world of biblical archaeology.

Hebrew University archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel showcased the shrines at a news conference in May. They were discovered during last summer's excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a ruin overlooking Israel's Elah Valley dated to 1020-980 B.C.

The Elah Valley was where David brought down the giant Goliath, signaling the beginning of the end of Philistine hegemony over the Israelites. Similarly, the discoveries at Khirbet Qeiyafa herald the diminishing influence of minimalist Bible critics who have discounted the importance of the biblical kings.

John Monson, an archaeologist at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is excavating at Khirbet Qeiyafa this summer. He believes Garfinkel's excavations are revealing a fortress built to defend one of the most important routes between the Israelites in the Judean hills and the Philistines on the coastal plain.

"This is a front-row seat to what transpired in that ebb and flow between Israel and the Philistines, as we see it recorded in 1 and 2 Samuel," he said.

Archaeologists have been arguing for decades over whether David and Solomon had the kingly stature described in the Bible or were more like tribal chieftains. Garfinkel is helping clear up the dispute.

More archaeologists are now focusing on this border region. "I see a gold rush mentality now in the lowlands of Judah," Monson said.

This summer, archaeologists are beginning a new excavation at nearby Azekah. Socoh, another site overlooking the Elah Valley, will open up soon. These will join ongoing excavations at nearby Tel Burna, Tel ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedAn Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News
An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News
Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. You embarrass us all when you do.
TrendingMelinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’
Melinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’
One of the wealthiest and most controversial women in the world believes that all lives have equal value. She’s willing to spend $3.6 billion a year to prove her point.
Editor's PickHow to Protect Endangered Religious Groups You Admire
How to Protect Endangered Religious Groups You Admire
When religious liberty and billions of dollars for the poor and oppressed are threatened.
Comments
Christianity Today
Philistine Digs Define David and Solomon
hide thisJuly/August July/August

In the Magazine

July/August 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.