Biblical Archaeology David

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15)

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Passages concerning David

David Rohl deals extensively with David.

Captures Jerusalem | Egypt during the rise of the kingdom | The Hebrews David's rise to power after Saul's fall | Table of Contents

Captures Jerusalem

From the Bible From Archaeology
Page numbers from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl
The king [David] and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. . . . David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David. (2 Samuel 5:6,7) The Philistines used David's mercenaries to settle an old score with the Jebusites of Jerusalem (David seized Jerusalem) but they realize they made a fatal error of judgment. David is now more powerful than the former king of Jerusalem. David forgets his loyalty oath to the ruler of Gath. (pg 225)

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Egypt during the rise of the kingdom

The kingdom of Israel could only have come to power if the influence of Egypt were severely limited. And this is precisely what the archaeological evidence shows happened.

From Archaeology
Page numbers from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl
Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) started a religious and cultural revolution (the Amarna period). He elevated the sun-disk to the head of the Egyptian pantheon. This resulted in impoverishment for the existing priesthood. Akhenaten's experiment nearly brought the Egyptian empire to its knees. (pg 197-198)
Palestine was out of Egypt's political control for nearly half a century. This provided a window of opportunity for Israel — an opportunity for a new state to come into being in Canaan and this is precisely what happened. (pg 198-199)
The Amarna period is contemporary with the rise of the Israelite monarchy. (pg 198)
The Amarna Letters log the whole process. (pg 198)

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The Hebrews

The Amarna Letters refer to a group of people called the Habiru who were roaming all over Palestine during the time of King Saul offering their services as mercenaries. The Habiru are David's Hebrews as well as other refugees.

A bit of background on the Amarna Letters. . . .

From Archaeology
Page numbers from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl
The Amarna Letters are over 380 small clay tablets that document the correspondence between the city-state rulers of the Levant and Pharaoh. They present us with a marvellous opportunity to examine the political world surrounding Akhenaten. (pg 196)
In the Amarna Letters we find copious references to a group of people called the Habiru. (pg 200)
The Habiru were stateless persons who were outside the protection of city-state laws. The adult males were fighting men who hired themselves out to the local rulers as mercenaries. Habiru = Apiru = Hebrew. (pg 200)

Examples of the Hebrews exploits. . . .

From the Bible Commentary
Page numbers from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl
So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish. . . king of Gath. (1 Samuel 27:2) David was a Hebrew. The rebel king David broke away from King Saul and offered his services to the Philistine king of Gath. (pg 201)

600 men was a veritable army! (pg 202)
So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag. (1 Samuel 27:6) Achish assigned them quarters in Ziklag. (pg 202)
Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. (1 Samuel 14:21) The Hebrews made up part of the armed forces of King Saul. (pg 201)
Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is this David? . . . Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?" (1 Samuel 25:10-11)

Night and day [David and his men] were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them. (1 Samuel 25:16)
David's gang roam the countryside seeking favor and protection of cities, wealthy individuals and kings. (pg 201-202)

The biblical account of David's band of Hebrews fits perfectly with the content of the Amarna Letters. . . .

From Archaeology
Page numbers from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl
In biblical traditions there are repeated examples of the sort of phenomena associated with the Amarna Habiru. The clearest example is that of David. He lost status in the Israelite community by flight caused by the enmity of king Saul. There gathered around him other refugees motivated by economic as well as other concerns. All were similarly without legal protection and had to maintain themselves by forming a band under the leadership of David. (pg 201)
The most striking parallels by far are found in the story of David's outlawry. David's gang roam the countryside seeking favor and protection of cities, wealthy individuals and kings. Finally David offers the services of his band to Achish, king of Gath. Ziklag becomes the military base of their marauding operations. (pg 201-202)
Like the Hebrews known from the Amarna Age, David and his men were soldiers of fortune who lived by hiring themselves out as mercenaries or subsisted on plunder. (pg 202)

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David's rise to power after Saul's fall

From the Bible From Archaeology
Page numbers from "Pharaohs and Kings" by David Rohl
The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. (2 Samuel 3:1) A fragment of a tablet found at Tell Dan in Israel mentions the House of David. It is dated to the 9th century BC. This does not sit well with the thesis that the Early Israelite Monarchy period is nothing more than myth and legend. (pg 34)

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 Revised: Nov 11, 2000