The archeological evidence for Kind David. I once had a Facebook exchange with another Christian that claimed the Bible was just a book of faith. His claims were similar to the ones I often hear from Christians and non-Christians alike:
“History relies on certain proofs like artifacts and written documents from the time. The Bible has very little scientific proof in it (creation, the resurrection, are two examples). And while some historical evidence can be found, there isn’t much for the OT (no evidence of the Hebrews being slaves in Egypt, and not even any archeological evidence that David ever existed). BUT the Bible IS a book of faith which I completely embrace as the guiding principal of my life.”
Is His Statement True?
While this statement may sound very inclusive and open minded, it is factually incorrect. I try to extend grace in situation like this. The other person may simply not know about the large amount of corroborating evidence for the historicity of the Bible.
The claims about there being no archeological evidence for the existence of King David are common. I often wonder how much people actually look into claims such as this before they make them. I have a feeling many are just parroting things they have heard without really looking into them.
That’s ok. Many Christians are guilty of this. As I said, I always try to assign pure motives to people in conversations. And if they are truly unaware of the evidence for the existence of a Biblical figure, I am happy to offer evidence to the contrary.
The Tel Dan Inscription
Israeli archeologist Avraham Biran discovered what is referred to as the “Tel Dan” inscription in 1993. The stone slab with an inscription has been dated to the 9thcentury B.C. Broken into several pieces, the stone relays the account of an Aramean king over his southern neighbors. It makes reference to the Aramean king defeating the “king of Israel” and the “king of the house of David”.
Why Is the Inscription Significant?
This inscription is remarkable in a couple of senses. First, it is remarkable because it is from a hostile source. The writers of this inscription were bragging about their victory over the Israelites. They were not attempting to verify information given to us in the Bible. This lends credibility to the source, because they were not actively trying to confirm a Biblical character.
The second thing that is remarkable is that the stone refers to the “house of David”. Why is this significant? Because it doesn’t just mention King David. It says that there was an entire dynasty that stemmed from the great Israeli King. Hershel Shanks makes this statement in a March 1994 edition of Biblical Archeological Review:
“King of Israel” is a term frequently found in the Bible, especially in the Book of Kings. This, however, may be the oldest extra-Biblical reference to Israel in Semitic script. If this inscription proves anything, it shows that both Israel and Judah, contrary to the claims of some scholarly Biblical minimizers, were important kingdoms at this time.”
What Do We Make Of This?
While the extent of David’s kingdom is still debated among scholars, there is little doubt from this inscription that he was a historical figure. These are the types of things Christians need to be aware of. We should be knowledgeable enough about the history and evidence for our faith so that we can correct errors when we hear them. At minimum, we may stop the spread of misinformation about Christianity.
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone that made a claim that a person mentioned in the Bible did not exist? Was it one of the people we have archeological evidence for? How did you respond?
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