Shalom Life | December 25, 2014

Ancient Tablet Could Prove The Existence Of King David

The stone, on display at the Met, has textual evidence supporting the existence of the “House of David” in Israel

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: December 16th, 2014 in News » Israel

Ancient Tablet Could Prove The Existence Of King David

Photo Caption: Ancient rock with House of David inscription

Photo Credit: Meidad Suchowolski, JTA


A significant discovery has been made in validating the legend of King David, and it’s on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Arts in their “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” exhibit, which runs until January 4th. A stone has been found that’s been dated to come from, approximately, 830 BCE and has thirteen lines of visible text, which have been translated by Eran Arie, curator of the Israelite and Persian periods at the Israel Museum.

However, the translation in the stone’s museum catalog is less than perfect, with sections not having been deciphered and bracketed notes added in. But two things are clear in the translation, and it’s exciting scholars and museum goers from around the world. That, firstly, the Aram-Damascene King Hazael is bragging about killing 70 kings and that, secondly, one of these kings comes from Israel and the “House of David.”

According to JTA, Ira Spar, a professor of history and ancient studies at Ramapo College in New Jersey, who also works as a research Assyriologist at the Met., claims that the House of David inscription, represented by the markings “bytdvd,” are “absolutely intact and clear.” He continued to say in the interview that, “While it is clear that David was a king of Israel, the archaeological evidence for the extent of his kingdom remains unclear.”

In the catalog for the exhibit, Arie writes that the reference to David’s name only 150 years after his passing is a, “clear indication that the ‘House of David’ was known throughout the region and that the king’s reputation was not a literary invention of a much later period… (this) clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem.”

Another interesting note about the stone is that it talks of a siege of Jerusalem that’s mentioned in the Bible, as well as a 10th century BCE “Tannach Cult Stand” that is claimed to have, possibly, a depiction of the Jewish God. However, media attention, as well as attention by the Jewish community, has basically been nonexistent concerning these artifacts.

Despite the interesting lack of attention in this historical find, Steven Fine, a professor of Jewish history and the director of the Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University, believes that there’s been an increased interest in biblical-era discoveries. He explains in an interview to JTA that, “People care about this stuff. They don’t care about the Middle Ages that much, They care about biblical history… and it’s part of the grappling with secularization that makes this so important to some people.”

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