|King of Israel|
|Reign||c. 1010–970 BCE[a]|
|Born||c. 1040 BCE|
Bethlehem, United Kingdom of Israel
|Died||c. 970 BCE|
Jerusalem, United Kingdom of Israel
|House||House of David|
David (//; Hebrew: דָּוִד, Modern: Davīd, Tiberian: Dāwīḏ, "beloved one")[b] was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the third king of the United Kingdom of Israel. In the Books of Samuel, he is described as a young shepherd and harpist who gains fame by slaying Goliath, a champion of the Philistines, in southern Canaan. David becomes a favourite of Saul, the first king of Israel; he also forges a notably close friendship with Jonathan, a son of Saul. However, under the paranoia that David is seeking to usurp the throne, Saul attempts to kill David, forcing the latter to go into hiding and effectively operate as a fugitive for several years. After Saul and Jonathan are both killed in battle against the Philistines, a 30-year-old David is anointed king over all of Israel and Judah. Following his rise to power, David conquers the city of Jerusalem and establishes it as Israel's capital, subsequently taking the Ark of the Covenant into the city to be the central point of worship in the Israelite religion.
According to the biblical narrative, David commits adultery with Bathsheba, leading him to arrange the death of her husband, Uriah the Hittite. David's son Absalom later schemes to overthrow him and, during the ensuing rebellion, David flees from Jerusalem, but returns after Absalom's death to continue his reign over Israel and Judah. He desires to construct a temple to Yahweh in which to house the Ark but, because he shed much blood, Yahweh denies David the opportunity to do so. David rules as king of the Israelites until his death at age 70, prior to which he chooses Solomon—a son born to him and Bathsheba—as his successor instead of Adonijah, his eldest surviving son with Haggith. He is honoured in Jewish prophetic literature as an ideal king and the forefather of the future Hebrew Messiah, and many psalms are ascribed to him.
Historians of the Ancient Near East agree that David probably lived around 1000 BCE, but there is little else that is agreed on about him as a historical figure. According to Jewish tradition, as defined in the works Seder Olam Rabbah, Seder Olam Zutta, and Sefer ha-Qabbalah, David ascended the throne as the king of Judah in 885 BCE. The Tel Dan stele, a Canaanite-inscribed stone that was erected by a king of Aram-Damascus in the late-9th/early-8th centuries BCE to commemorate his victory over two enemy kings, contains the Hebrew-language phrase BYTDWD (ביתדוד), which is translated to "House of David" by most scholars. The Mesha stele, erected by king Mesha of Moab in the 9th century BCE, may also refer to the "House of David" although this is disputed. Apart from this, all that is known of David comes from biblical literature, the historicity of which has been extensively challenged, and there is little detail about David that is concrete and undisputed.
David is richly represented in post-biblical Jewish written and oral tradition, and is also discussed in the New Testament. The early Christians interpreted the life of Jesus of Nazareth in light of references to the Hebrew Messiah and to David; Jesus is described as being directly descended from David in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. In the Quran and hadith, David is described as an Israelite king as well as a prophet of Allah. The biblical David has inspired many interpretations in art and literature over the centuries.
The First Book of Samuel and the First Book of Chronicles both identify David as the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, the youngest of eight sons. He also had at least two sisters, Zeruiah, whose sons all went on to serve in David's army, and Abigail, whose son Amasa went on to serve in Absalom's army, Absalom being one of David's younger sons. While the Bible does not name his mother, the Talmud identifies her as Nitzevet, a daughter of a man named Adael, and the Book of Ruth claims him as the great-grandson of Ruth, the Moabite, by Boaz.
David is described as cementing his relations with various political and national groups through marriage. In 1 Samuel 17:25, it states that King Saul had said that he would make whoever killed Goliath a very wealthy man, give his daughter to him and declare his father's family exempt from taxes in Israel. Saul offered David his oldest daughter, Merab, a marriage which David respectfully declined. Saul then gave Merab in marriage to Adriel the Meholathite. Having been told that his younger daughter Michal was in love with David, Saul gave her in marriage to David upon David's payment in Philistine foreskins (ancient Jewish historian Josephus lists the dowry as 100 Philistine heads). Saul became jealous of David and tried to have him killed. David escaped. Then Saul sent Michal to Galim to marry Palti, son of Laish. David then took wives in Hebron, according to 2 Samuel 3; they were Ahinoam the Yizre'elite; Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; Maacah, the daughter of Talmay, king of Geshur; Haggith; Abital; and Eglah. Later, David wanted Michal back and Abner, Ish-bosheth's army commander, delivered her to David, causing her husband (Palti) great grief.
The Book of Chronicles lists his sons with his various wives and concubines. In Hebron, David had six sons: Amnon, by Ahinoam; Daniel, by Abigail; Absalom, by Maachah; Adonijah, by Haggith; Shephatiah, by Abital; and Ithream, by Eglah. By Bathsheba, his sons were Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon. David's sons born in Jerusalem of his other wives included Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama and Eliada. Jerimoth, who is not mentioned in any of the genealogies, is mentioned as another of his sons in 2 Chronicles 11:18. His daughter Tamar, by Maachah, is raped by her half-brother Amnon. David fails to bring Amnon to justice for his violation of Tamar, because he is his firstborn and he loves him, and so, Absalom (her full brother) murders Amnon to avenge Tamar. Despite the great sins they had committed, David showed grief at the deaths of his sons, weeping twice for Amnon [2 Samuel 13:31–26] and weeping seven times for Absalom.
God is angered when Saul, Israel's king, unlawfully offers a sacrifice and later disobeys a divine command both to kill all of the Amalekites and to destroy their confiscated property. Consequently, God sends the prophet Samuel to anoint a shepherd, David, the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, to be king instead.
After God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul, his servants recommend that he send for a man skilled in playing the lyre. A servant proposes David, whom the servant describes as "skillful in playing, a man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the Lord is with him." David enters Saul's service as one of the royal armour-bearers and plays the lyre to soothe the king.
War comes between Israel and the Philistines, and the giant Goliath challenges the Israelites to send out a champion to face him in single combat. David, sent by his father to bring provisions to his brothers serving in Saul's army, declares that he can defeat Goliath. Refusing the king's offer of the royal armour, he kills Goliath with his sling. Saul inquires the name of the young hero's father.
Saul sets David over his army. All Israel loves David, but his popularity causes Saul to fear him ("What else can he wish but the kingdom?"). Saul plots his death, but Saul's son Jonathan, one of those who loves David, warns him of his father's schemes and David flees. He goes first to Nob, where he is fed by the priest Ahimelech and given Goliath's sword, and then to Gath, the Philistine city of Goliath, intending to seek refuge with King Achish there. Achish's servants or officials question his loyalty, and David sees that he is in danger there. He goes next to the cave of Adullam, where his family joins him. From there he goes to seek refuge with the king of Moab, but the prophet Gad advises him to leave and he goes to the Forest of Hereth, and then to Keilah, where he is involved in a further battle with the Philistines. Saul plans to besiege Keilah so that he can capture David, so David leaves the city in order to protect its inhabitants. From there he takes refuge in the mountainous Wilderness of Ziph.
Jonathan meets with David again and confirms his loyalty to David as the future king. After the people of Ziph notify Saul that David is taking refuge in their territory, Saul seeks confirmation and plans to capture David in the Wilderness of Maon, but his attention is diverted by a renewed Philistine invasion and David is able to secure some respite at Ein Gedi. Returning from battle with the Philistines, Saul heads to Ein Gedi in pursuit of David and enters the cave where, as it happens, David and his supporters are hiding, "to attend to his needs". David realises he has an opportunity to kill Saul, but this is not his intention: he secretly cuts off a corner of Saul's robe, and when Saul has left the cave he comes out to pay homage to Saul as the king and to demonstrate, using the piece of robe, that he holds no malice towards Saul. The two are thus reconciled and Saul recognises David as his successor.
A similar passage occurs in 1 Samuel 26, when David is able to infiltrate Saul's camp on the hill of Hachilah and remove his spear and a jug of water from his side while he and his guards lie asleep. In this account, David is advised by Abishai that this is his opportunity to kill Saul, but David declines, saying he will not "stretch out [his] hand against the Lord's anointed". Saul confesses that he has been wrong to pursue David and blesses him.
In 1 Samuel 27:1–4, Saul ceases to pursue David because David took refuge a second time  with Achish, the Philistine king of Gath. Achish permits David to reside in Ziklag, close to the border between Gath and Judea, from where he leads raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites, but leads Achish to believe he is attacking the Israelites in Judah, the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites. Achish believes that David had become a loyal vassal, but he never wins the trust of the princes or lords of Gath, and at their request Achish instructs David to remain behind to guard the camp when the Philistines march against Saul. David returns to Ziklag and saves his wives and the citizens from the Amalekites. Jonathan and Saul are killed in battle, and David is anointed king over Judah. In the north, Saul's son Ish-Bosheth is anointed king of Israel, and war ensues until Ish-Bosheth is murdered.
With the death of Saul's son, the elders of Israel come to Hebron and David is anointed king over all of Israel. He conquers Jerusalem, previously a Jebusite stronghold, and makes it his capital. He brings the Ark of the Covenant to the city, intending to build a temple for God, but the prophet Nathan forbids it, prophesying that the temple would be built by one of David's sons. Nathan also prophesies that God has made a covenant with the house of David stating, "your throne shall be established forever". David wins additional victories over the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites, Amalekites, Ammonites and king Hadadezer of Aram-Zobah, after which they become tributaries. His fame increase as a result, earning the praise of figures like king Toi of Hamath, Hadadezer's rival.
During a siege of the Ammonite capital of Rabbah, David remains in Jerusalem. He spies a woman, Bathsheba, bathing and summons her; she becomes pregnant. The text in the Bible does not explicitly state whether Bathsheba consented to sex. David calls her husband, Uriah the Hittite, back from the battle to rest, hoping that he will go home to his wife and the child will be presumed to be his. Uriah does not visit his wife, however, so David conspires to have him killed in the heat of battle. David then marries the widowed Bathsheba. In response, Nathan, after trapping the king in his guilt with a parable that actually described his sin in analogy, prophesies the punishment that will fall upon him, stating "the sword shall never depart from your house."[c] When David acknowledges that he has sinned, Nathan advises him that his sin is forgiven and he will not die, but the child will. In fulfillment of Nathan's words, the child born of the union between David and Bathsheba dies, and another of David's sons, Absalom, fueled by vengeance and lust for power, rebels. Thanks to Hushai, a friend of David who was ordered to infiltrate Absalom's court to successfully sabotage his plans, Absalom's forces are routed at the battle of the Wood of Ephraim, and he is caught by his long hair in the branches of a tree where, contrary to David's order, he is killed by Joab, the commander of David's army. David laments the death of his favourite son: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" until Joab persuades him to recover from "the extravagance of his grief" and to fulfill his duty to his people. David returns to Gilgal and is escorted across the River Jordan and back to Jerusalem by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
When David is old and bedridden, Adonijah, his eldest surviving son and natural heir, declares himself king. Bathsheba and Nathan go to David and obtain his agreement to crown Bathsheba's son Solomon as king, according to David's earlier promise, and the revolt of Adonijah is put down. David dies at the age of 70 after reigning for 40 years, and on his deathbed counsels Solomon to walk in the ways of God and to take revenge on his enemies.
The Book of Samuel calls David a skillful harp (lyre) player and "the sweet psalmist of Israel."[d] Yet, while almost half of the Psalms are headed "A Psalm of David" (also translated as "to David" or "for David") and tradition identifies several with specific events in David's life (e.g., Psalms 3, 7, 18, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63 and 142), the headings are late additions and no psalm can be attributed to David with certainty.
Psalm 34 is attributed to David on the occasion of his escape from Abimelech (or King Achish) by pretending to be insane. According to the parallel narrative in 1 Samuel 21, instead of killing the man who had exacted so many casualties from him, Abimelech allows David to leave, exclaiming, "Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?"
Interpretation in Abrahamic tradition
David is an important figure in Rabbinic Judaism, with many legends around him. According to one tradition, David was raised as the son of his father Jesse and spent his early years herding his father's sheep in the wilderness while his brothers were in school.
David's adultery with Bathsheba is interpreted as an opportunity to demonstrate the power of repentance, and the Talmud states that it was not adultery at all, quoting a Jewish practice of divorce on the eve of battle. Furthermore, according to Talmudic sources, the death of Uriah was not to be considered murder, on the basis that Uriah had committed a capital offense by refusing to obey a direct command from the King. However, in tractate Sanhedrin, David expressed remorse over his transgressions and sought forgiveness. God ultimately forgave David and Bathsheba but would not remove their sins from Scripture.
In Jewish legend, David's sin with Bathsheba is the punishment for David's excessive self-consciousness who had besought God to lead him into temptation so that he might give proof of his constancy as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who successfully passed the test) whose names later were united with God's, while David eventually failed through the temptation of a woman.
According to midrashim, Adam gave up 70 years of his life for the life of David. Also, according to the Talmud Yerushalmi, David was born and died on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). His piety was said to be so great that his prayers could bring down things from Heaven.
King David the Prophet
|Holy Monarch, Prophet, Reformer, Spiritual Poet and Musician, Vicegerent of God, Psalm-Receiver|
|Venerated in||Roman Catholicism|
|Feast||December 29, 6 October – Roman Catholicism|
|Attributes||Psalms, Harp, Head of Goliath|
The Messiah concept is fundamental in Christianity. Originally an earthly king ruling by divine appointment ("the anointed one", as the title Messiah had it), the "son of David" became in the last two centuries BCE the apocalyptic and heavenly one who would deliver Israel and usher in a new kingdom. This was the background to the concept of Messiahship in early Christianity, which interpreted the career of Jesus "by means of the titles and functions assigned to David in the mysticism of the Zion cult, in which he served as priest-king and in which he was the mediator between God and man".
The early Church believed that "the life of David foreshadowed the life of Christ; Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds; the betrayal by his trusted counsellor, Ahitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ's Sacred Passion. Many of the Davidic Psalms, as we learn from the New Testament, are clearly typical of the future Messiah." In the Middle Ages, "Charlemagne thought of himself, and was viewed by his court scholars, as a 'new David'. [This was] not in itself a new idea, but [one whose] content and significance were greatly enlarged by him".
Western Rite churches (Lutheran, Roman Catholic) celebrate his feast day on 29 December or on 6 October, Eastern-rite on 19 December. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches celebrate the feast day of the "Holy Righteous Prophet and King David" on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (two Sundays before the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord), when he is commemorated together with other ancestors of Jesus. He is also commemorated on the Sunday after the Nativity, together with Joseph and James, the Brother of the Lord.
In European Christian culture of the Middle Ages, David was made a member of the Nine Worthies, a group of heroes encapsulating all the ideal qualities of chivalry. His life was thus proposed as a valuable subject for study by those aspiring to chivalric status. This aspect of David in the Nine Worthies was popularised firstly through literature, and was thereafter adopted as a frequent subject for painters and sculptors.
David was considered as a model ruler and a symbol of divinely-ordained monarchy throughout medieval Western Europe and Eastern Christendom. David was perceived as the biblical predecessor to Christian Roman and Byzantine emperors and the name "New David" was used as an honorific reference to these rulers. The Georgian Bagratids and the Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia claimed a direct biological descent from him. Likewise, kings of the Frankish Carolingian dynasty frequently connected themselves to David; Charlemagne himself occasionally used the name of David as his pseudonym.
David (Arabic: داوود Dā'ūd or Dāwūd) is an important figure in Islam as one of the major prophets sent by God to guide the Israelites. David is mentioned several times in the Quran with the Arabic name داود, Dāwūd or Dā'ūd, often with his son Solomon. In the Quran David killed Goliath (Q2:251), a giant soldier in the Philistine army. When David killed Goliath, God granted him kingship and wisdom and enforced it (Q38:20). David was made God's "vicegerent on earth" (Q38:26) and God further gave David sound judgment (Q21:78; Q37:21–24, Q26) as well as the Psalms, regarded as books of divine wisdom (Q4:163; Q17:55). The birds and mountains united with David in uttering praise to God (Q21:79; Q34:10; Q38:18), while God made iron soft for David (Q34:10), God also instructed David in the art of fashioning chain mail out of iron (Q21:80); this knowledge gave David a major advantage over his bronze and cast iron-armed opponents, not to mention the cultural and economic impact. Together with Solomon, David gave judgment in a case of damage to the fields (Q21:78) and David judged the matter between two disputants in his prayer chamber (Q38:21–23). Since there is no mention in the Quran of the wrong David did to Uriah nor any reference to Bathsheba, Muslims reject this narrative.
Muslim tradition and the hadith stress David's zeal in daily prayer as well as in fasting. Quran commentators, historians and compilers of the numerous Stories of the Prophets elaborate upon David's concise quranic narratives and specifically mention David's gift in singing his Psalms as well as his beautiful recitation and vocal talents. His voice is described as having had a captivating power, weaving its influence not only over man but over all beasts and nature, who would unite with him to praise God.
Biblical literature and archaeological finds are the only sources that attest to David's life. Some scholars have concluded that this was likely compiled from contemporary records of the 11th and 10th centuries BCE, but that there is no clear historical basis for determining the exact date of compilation. Other scholars believe that the Books of Samuel were substantially composed during the time of King Josiah at the end of the 7th century BCE, extended during the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), and substantially complete by about 550 BCE. Old Testament scholar Graeme Auld contends that further editing was done even after then—the silver quarter-shekel which Saul's servant offers to Samuel in 1 Samuel 9 "almost certainly fixes the date of the story in the Persian or Hellenistic period" because a quarter-shekel was known to exist in Hasmonean times. The authors and editors of Samuel drew on many earlier sources, including, for their history of David, the "history of David's rise" and the "succession narrative". The Book of Chronicles, which tells the story from a different point of view, was probably composed in the period 350–300 BCE, and uses Samuel and Kings as its source.
Biblical evidence indicates that David's Judah was something less than a full-fledged monarchy: it often calls him negid, meaning "prince" or "chief", rather than melek, meaning "king"; the biblical David sets up none of the complex bureaucracy that a kingdom needs (even his army is made up of volunteers), and his followers are largely related to him and from his small home-area around Hebron.
Beyond this, the full range of possible interpretations is available. A number of scholars consider the David story to be a heroic tale similar to King Arthur's legend or Homer's epics, whereas others think that such comparisons are questionable. One theme that has been paralleled with other Near Eastern literature is the homoerotic nature of the relationship between David and Jonathan. The instance in the Book of Jashar, excerpted in Samuel 2 (1:26), where David "proclaims that Jonathan's love was sweeter to him than the love of a women", has been compared to Achilles' comparison of Patroclus to a girl and Gilgamesh's love for Enkidu "as a woman". Others hold that the David story is a political apology—an answer to contemporary charges against him, of his involvement in murders and regicide. The authors and editors of Samuel and Chronicles did not aim to record history, but to promote David's reign as inevitable and desirable, and for this reason there is little about David that is concrete and undisputed.
Some other studies of David have been written: Baruch Halpern has pictured David as a brutal tyrant, a murderer and a lifelong vassal of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath; Steven McKenzie argues that David came from a wealthy family, was "ambitious and ruthless" and a tyrant who murdered his opponents, including his own sons. Joel S. Baden has described him as "an ambitious, ruthless, flesh-and-blood man who achieved power by any means necessary, including murder, theft, bribery, sex, deceit, and treason.[page needed] William G. Dever described him as "a serial killer".
Jacob L. Wright has written that the most popular legends about David, including his killing of Goliath, his affair with Bathsheba, and his ruling of a United Kingdom of Israel rather than just Judah, are the creation of those who lived generations after him, in particular those living in the late Persian or Hellenistic periods.
Isaac Kalimi wrote about the tenth century BCE that: "Almost all that one can say about King Solomon and his time is unavoidably based on the biblical texts. Nevertheless, here also one cannot always offer conclusive proof that a certain biblical passage reflects the actual historical situation in the tenth century BCE, beyond arguing that it is plausible to this or that degree."
The Tel Dan Stele, discovered in 1993, is an inscribed stone erected by Hazael, a king of Damascus in the late 9th/early 8th centuries BCE. It commemorates the king's victory over two enemy kings, and contains the phrase Hebrew: ביתדוד, bytdwd, which most scholars translate as "House of David". Other scholars have challenged this reading, but it is likely that this is a reference to a dynasty of the Kingdom of Judah which traced its ancestry to a founder named David.
Two epigraphers, André Lemaire and Émile Puech, hypothesised in 1994 that the Mesha Stele from Moab, dating from the 9th century, also contain the words "House of David" at the end of Line 31, although this was considered as less certain than the mention in the Tel Dan inscription. In May 2019, Israel Finkelstein, Nadav Na'aman, and Thomas Römer concluded from the new images that the ruler's name contained three consonants and started with a bet, which excludes the reading "House of David" and, in conjunction with the monarch's city of residence "Horonaim" in Moab, makes it likely that the one mentioned is King Balak, a name also known from the Hebrew Bible. Later that year, Michael Langlois used high-resolution photographs of both the inscription itself, and the 19th-century original squeeze of the then still intact stele to reaffirm Lemaire's view that line 31 contains the phrase "House of David". Replying to Langlois, Na'aman argued that the "House of David" reading is unacceptable because the resulting sentence structure is extremely rare in West Semitic royal inscriptions.
Besides the two steles, Bible scholar and Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen suggests that David's name also appears in a relief of Pharaoh Shoshenq, who is usually identified with Shishak in the Bible. The relief claims that Shoshenq raided places in Palestine in 925 BCE, and Kitchen interprets one place as "Heights of David", which was in Southern Judah and the Negev where the Bible says David took refuge from Saul. The relief is damaged and interpretation is uncertain.
Of the evidence in question, John Haralson Hayes and James Maxwell Miller wrote in 2006: "If one is not convinced in advance by the biblical profile, then there is nothing in the archaeological evidence itself to suggest that much of consequence was going on in Palestine during the tenth century BCE, and certainly nothing to suggest that Jerusalem was a great political and cultural center." This echoed the 1995 conclusion of Amélie Kuhrt, who noted that "there are no royal inscriptions from the time of the united monarchy (indeed very little written material altogether), and not a single contemporary reference to either David or Solomon," while noting, "against this must be set the evidence for substantial development and growth at several sites, which is plausibly related to the tenth century."
In 2007, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman stated that the archaeological evidence shows that Judah was sparsely inhabited and Jerusalem no more than a small village. The evidence suggested that David ruled only as a chieftain over an area which cannot be described as a state or as a kingdom, but more as a chiefdom, much smaller and always overshadowed by the older and more powerful kingdom of Israel to the north. They posited that Israel and Judah were not monotheistic at the time, and that later seventh-century redactors sought to portray a past golden age of a united, monotheistic monarchy in order to serve contemporary needs. They noted a lack of archeological evidence for David's military campaigns and a relative underdevelopment of Jerusalem, the capital of Judah, compared to a more developed and urbanized Samaria, capital of Israel during the 9th century BCE.
In 2014, Amihai Mazar wrote that the United Monarchy of the 10th century BCE can be described as a "state in development". He has also compared David to Labaya, a Caananite warlord living during the time of Pharaoh Akhenaten. While Mazar believes that David reigned over Israel during the 11th century BCE, he argues that much of the Biblical text is “literary-legendary nature”. According to William G. Dever, the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon are reasonably well attested, but "most archeologists today would argue that the United Monarchy was not much more than a kind of hill-country chiefdom".
Lester L. Grabbe wrote in 2017 that: "The main question is what kind of settlement Jerusalem was in Iron IIA: was it a minor settlement, perhaps a large village or possibly a citadel but not a city, or was it the capital of a flourishing – or at least an emerging – state? Assessments differ considerably …" Isaac Kalimi wrote in 2018 that: "No contemporaneous extra-biblical source offers any account of the political situation in Israel and Judah during the tenth century BCE, and as we have seen, the archaeological remains themselves cannot provide any unambiguous evidence of events."
The view of Davidic Jerusalem as a village has been challenged by Eilat Mazar's excavation of the Large Stone Structure and the Stepped Stone Structure in 2005. Eilat Mazar proposed that these two structures may have been architecturally linked as one unit, and that they date back to the time of King David. Mazar supports this dating with a number of artifacts; including pottery, two Phoenician-style ivory inlays, a black-and-red jug, and a radiocarbon dated bone, estimated to be from the 10th century. Amihai Mazar, Avraham Faust, Nadav Na'aman and William G. Dever have also argued in favour of the 10th century BCE dating and have responded to challenges against it. In 2010, archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced the discovery of part of the ancient city walls around the City of David which she believes date to the tenth century BCE. According to Mazar, this would prove that an organized state did exist in the 10th century. In 2006, Kenneth Kitchen also came to a similar conclusion, arguing that "the physical archaeology of tenth-century Canaan is consistent with the former existence of a unified state on its terrain."
Scholars such as Israel Finkelstein, Lily Singer-Avitz, Ze'ev Herzog and David Ussishkin do not accept these conclusions. Finkelstein does not accept the dating of these structures to the 10th century BCE, based in part on the fact that later structures on the site penetrated deep into underlying layers, that the entire area had been excavated in the early 20th century and then backfilled, that pottery from later periods was found below earlier strata, and that consequently the finds collected by E. Mazar cannot necessarily be considered as retrieved in situ. Aren Maeir said in 2010 that he has seen no evidence that these structures are from the 10th century BCE, and that proof of the existence of a strong, centralized kingdom at that time remains "tenuous."
Excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa by archaeologists Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor found an urbanized settlement radiocarbon dated dating to the 10th century, which supports the existence of an urbanised kingdom. Following such discovery, the Israel Antiquities Authority stated, "The excavations at Khirbat Qeiyafa clearly reveal an urban society that existed in Judah already in the late eleventh century BCE. It can no longer be argued that the Kingdom of Judah developed only in the late eighth century BCE or at some other later date." However, the techniques and interpretations to reach some conclusions related to Khirbet Qeiyafa have been criticized by other scholars, such as Israel Finkelstein and Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University, who have, instead, proposed that the city is to be identified as part of a northern Israelite polity.
In 2018, Avraham Faust and Yair Sapir stated that a Canaanite site at Tel Eton, about 30 miles from Jerusalem, was taken over by a Judahite community by peaceful assimilation, and transformed from a village into a central town at some point in the late 11th or early 10th century BCE. This transformation used some ashlar blocks in construction, which they argued supports the United Monarchy theory.
Art and literature
Literary works about David include:
- 1517 The Davidiad is a neo-Latin epic poem by the Croatian national poet, Roman Catholic priest, and Renaissance humanist Marko Marulić (whose name is sometimes Latinized as "Marcus Marulus"). In addition to the small portions that attempt to recall the epics of Homer, The Davidiad is heavily modeled upon Virgil's Aeneid. This is so much the case that Marulić's contemporaries called him the "Christian Virgil from Split." The philologist Miroslav Marcovich also detects, "the influence of Ovid, Lucan, and Statius" in the work.
- 1681–82 Dryden's long poem Absalom and Achitophel is an allegory that uses the story of the rebellion of Absalom against King David as the basis for his satire of the contemporary political situation, including events such as the Monmouth Rebellion (1685), the Popish Plot (1678) and the Exclusion Crisis.
- 1893 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have used the story of David and Bathsheba as a foundation for the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Crooked Man. Holmes mentions "the small affair of Uriah and Bathsheba" at the end of the story.
- 1928 Elmer Davis's novel Giant Killer retells and embellishes the biblical story of David, casting David as primarily a poet who managed always to find others to do the "dirty work" of heroism and kingship. In the novel, Elhanan in fact killed Goliath but David claimed the credit; and Joab, David's cousin and general, took it upon himself to make many of the difficult decisions of war and statecraft when David vacillated or wrote poetry instead.
- 1936 William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! refers to the story of Absalom, David's son; his rebellion against his father and his death at the hands of David's general, Joab. In addition it parallels Absalom's vengeance for the rape of his sister Tamar by his half-brother, Amnon.
- 1946 Gladys Schmitt's novel David the King was a richly embellished biography of David's entire life. The book took a risk, especially for its time, in portraying David's relationship with Jonathan as overtly homoerotic, but was ultimately panned by critics as a bland rendition of the title character.
- 1966 Juan Bosch, a Dominican political leader and writer, wrote David: Biography of a King, as a realistic portrayal of David's life and political career.
- 1970 Dan Jacobson's The Rape of Tamar is an imagined account, by one of David's courtiers Yonadab, of the rape of Tamar by Amnon.
- 1972 Stefan Heym wrote The King David Report in which the historian Ethan compiles upon King Solomon's orders "a true and authoritative report on the life of David, Son of Jesse"—the East German writer's wry depiction of a court historian writing an "authorized" history, many incidents clearly intended as satirical references to the writer's own time.
- 1974 In Thomas Burnett Swann's biblical fantasy novel How are the Mighty Fallen, David and Jonathan are explicitly stated to be lovers. Moreover, Jonathan is a member of a winged semi-human race (possibly nephilim), one of several such races coexisting with humanity but often persecuted by it.
- 1980 Malachi Martin's factional novel King of Kings: A Novel of the Life of David relates the life of David, Adonai's champion in his battle with the Philistine deity Dagon.
- 1984 Joseph Heller wrote a novel based on David called God Knows, published by Simon & Schuster. Told from the perspective of an aging David, the humanity—rather than the heroism—of various biblical characters is emphasized. The portrayal of David as a man of flaws such as greed, lust, selfishness, and his alienation from God, the falling apart of his family is a distinctly 20th-century interpretation of the events told in the Bible.
- 1993 Madeleine L'Engle's novel Certain Women explores family, the Christian faith, and the nature of God through the story of King David's family and an analogous modern family's saga.
- 1995 Allan Massie wrote King David, a novel about David's career that portrays the king's relationship to Jonathan as sexual.
- 2015 Geraldine Brooks wrote a novel about King David, The Secret Chord, told from the point of view of the prophet Nathan.
- 2020 Michael Arditti wrote The Anointed, a novel about King David, told by three of his wives, Michal, Abigail and Bathsheba. 
- 1599 Caravaggio David and Goliath
- c. 1610 Caravaggio David with the Head of Goliath
- 1616 Peter Paul Rubens David Slaying Goliath
- c. 1619 Caravaggio, David and Goliath
- 1440? Donatello, David
- 1473–1475 Verrocchio, David
- 1501–1504 Michelangelo, David
- 1623–1624 Gian Lorenzo Bernini, David
David has been depicted several times in films; these are some of the best-known:
- 1951 In David and Bathsheba, directed by Henry King, Gregory Peck played David.
- 1959 In Solomon and Sheba, directed by King Vidor, Finlay Currie played an aged King David.
- 1961 In A Story of David, directed by Bob McNaught, Jeff Chandler played David.
- 1985 In King David, directed by Bruce Beresford, Richard Gere played King David.
- 1996 In Dave and the Giant Pickle
- 1976 The Story of David, a made-for-TV film with Timothy Bottoms and Keith Michell as King David at different ages.
- 1997 David, a TV-film with Nathaniel Parker as King David and Leonard Nimoy as the Prophet Samuel.
- 1997 Max von Sydow portrayed an older King David in the TV-film Solomon, a sequel to David.
- 2009 Christopher Egan played David on Kings, a re-imagining loosely based on the biblical story.
- King David is the focus of the second episode of History Channel's Battles BC documentary, which detailed all of his military exploits in the bible.
- 2012 Rei Davi, a Brazilian miniseries with Leonardo Brício as David.
- 2013 Langley Kirkwood portrayed King David in the miniseries The Bible.
- 2016 Of Kings and Prophets in which David is played by Olly Rix
- The traditional birthday song Las Mañanitas mentions King David as the original singer in its lyrics.
- 1622 Thomas Tomkins's choral anthem "When David Heard", about David's response to the death of his son Absalom, is published in the anthology Songs of 1622.
- 1738 George Frideric Handel's oratorio Saul features David as one of its main characters.
- 1921 Arthur Honegger's oratorio Le Roi David with a libretto by René Morax, instantly became a staple of the choral repertoire.
- 1954 Darius Milhaud's opera David premieres in Jerusalem in celebration of the 3,000th anniversary of the establishment of that city by David.
- 1964 Bob Dylan alludes to David in the last line of his song "When The Ship Comes In" ("And like Goliath, they'll be conquered").
- 1983 Bob Dylan refers to David in his song "Jokerman" ("Michelangelo indeed could've carved out your features").
- 1984 Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" has references to David ("there was a secret chord that David played and it pleased the Lord", "The baffled king composing Hallelujah") and Bathsheba ("you saw her bathing on the roof") in its opening verses.
- 1990 The song "One of the Broken" by Paddy McAloon, performed by Prefab Sprout on the album Jordan: The Comeback, has a reference to David ("I remember King David, with his harp and his beautiful, beautiful songs, I answered his prayers, and showed him a place where his music belongs").
- 1991 "Mad About You", a song on Sting's album The Soul Cages, explores David's obsession with Bathsheba from David's perspective.
- 2000 The song "Gimme a Stone" appears on the Little Feat album Chinese Work Songs chronicles the duel with Goliath and contains a lament to Absalom as a bridge.
- 1997 King David, sometimes described as a modern oratorio, with a book and lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Alan Menken.
For a considerable period, starting in the 15th century and continuing until the 19th, French playing card manufacturers assigned to each of the court cards names taken from history or mythology. In this context, the King of spades was often known as "David".
- David and Jonathan
- David's Mighty Warriors
- David's Tomb
- Kings of Israel and Judah
- Large Stone Structure
- Midrash Shmuel (aggadah)
- Sons of David
- Some scholars think that the biblical description of David reigning for exactly "forty years", like Solomon, is formulaic in nature and not intended as historical, which calls into question our understanding of the exact length of David's reign and the exact years it traverses. Some scholars propose that David's rule occupied the middle third of the 10th century BCE.
- Arabic: داود (traditional spelling), داوود, Dāwūd; Koinē Greek: Δαυΐδ, romanized: Dauíd; Latin: Davidus, David; Ge'ez: ዳዊት, Dawit; Old Armenian: Դաւիթ, Dawitʿ; Church Slavonic: Давíдъ, Davidŭ; possibly meaning "beloved one".
- Some commentators believe this meant during David's lifetime. Others say it included his posterity.
- Other translations say, "the hero of Israel's songs," "the favorite singer of Israel," "the contented psalm writer of Israel," and "Israel's beloved singer of songs."
- Nadav Na'aman, "Was Khirbet Qeiyafa a Judahite City?: The Case against It", JHS (2017), pp. 15–16.
- H.M. Niemann, "Comments and Questions about the Interpretation of Khirbet Qeiyafa: Talking with Yosef Garfinkel", Journal of Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Law (2017), p. 255.
- Garfinkel, Yosef; Ganor, Saar; Hasel, Michael G. (2018). In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City. Thames & Hudson. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-50077428-1. Archived from the original on 2020-10-11. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
- Avioz, Michael (2015). Josephus' Interpretation of the Books of Samuel. Bloomsbury. p. 99. ISBN 9780567458575. Archived from the original on 2020-10-11. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
- Botterweck, G. Johannes; Ringgren, Helmer (1977). Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-8028-2327-4.
- "Strong's Hebrew: 1732. דָּוִיד (David) -- perhaps "beloved one," a son of Jesse". biblehub.com.
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- Falk, Avner (1996). A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-83863660-2. Archived from the original on 2020-10-11. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
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- Isbouts, Jean Pierre (2018-12-21). "Why King David is one of the Bible's most compelling characters". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 2020-01-13. Retrieved 2020-08-19.
- Ben Halpetha, Jose (1971). M.D. Yerushalmi (ed.). Seder Olam Rabba (in Hebrew). Gil Publishers, in affiliation with the Haredi Youth Organization. OCLC 233090728., s.v. Seder Olam Zutta, p. 107 (who gives the year of his ascension as 2875 anno mundi)
- "New reading of Mesha Stele could have far-reaching consequences for biblical history". phys.org. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
- Amanda Borschel-Dan. "High-tech study of ancient stone suggests new proof of King David's dynasty". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
- Writing and Rewriting the Story of Solomon in Ancient Israel; by Isaac Kalimi; page 32; Cambridge University Press, 2018; ISBN 9781108471268
- Moore & Kelle 2011, pp. 232–233.
- "David". Oxford Islamic Studies. Oxford. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
- Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj; Khodaverdian, Shahram (2017-09-28). "David (Dāwūd)". Encyclopaedia Islamica. Brill. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
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- "1 Chronicles 2:16 Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. And the three sons of Zeruiah were Abishai, Joab, and Asahel". biblehub.com. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-23.
- Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Bava Batra 91a
- Lemaire 1999, p. [page needed].
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- 1 Chronicles 3:1–3
- 2 Samuel 5:14–16
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- Soṭah, 10b
- 1 Sam 13:8–14
- 1 Sam 15:1–28
- 1 Sam 16:1–13
- 1 Sam 16:14–23
- 1 Sam 17:1–11
- 1 Sam 17:17–37
- 1 Sam 17:38–39
- 1 Sam 17:49–50
- 1 Sam 17:55–56
- 1 Sam 18:5–9
- 1 Samuel 21:10–11
- 1 Samuel 22:1
- 1 Samuel 22:5
- 1 Samuel 23:1–13
- 1 Samuel 23:14
- 1 Samuel 23:27–29
- 1 Samuel 24:1–22
- 1 Samuel 26:11
- 1 Samuel 26:25, NIV text
- cf. 1 Samuel 21:10–15
- 1 Sam 29:1–11
- 1 Samuel 30:1
- 1 Sam 31:1–13
- 2 Sam 2:1–4
- 2 Sam 2:8–11
- 2 Sam 5:1–3
- 2 Sam 5:6–7
- 2 Sam 6:1–12
- 2 Sam 7:1–13
- 2 Sam 7:16
- 2 Sam 8:1–14
- Lawrence O. Richards (2002). Bible Reader's Companion. David C Cook. pp. 210–. ISBN 978-0-7814-3879-7. Archived from the original on 2019-12-16. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
- Carlos Wilton (June 2004). Lectionary Preaching Workbook: For All Users of the Revised Common, the Roman Catholic, and the Episcopal Lectionaries. Series VIII. CSS Publishing. pp. 189–. ISBN 978-0-7880-2371-2.
- David J. Zucker (2013). The Bible's Prophets: An Introduction for Christians and Jews. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 51–. ISBN 978-1-63087-102-4.
- "2 Samuel 11:2–4". Archived from the original on 2018-12-02. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
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- Sara M. Koenig (2011). Isn't This Bathsheba?: A Study in Characterization. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 69–. ISBN 978-1-60899-427-4.
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- 2 Sam 11:14–17
- "2 Samuel 12:10". Bible Hub. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01.
- "2 Samuel 12:10". Salem Web Network. Archived from the original on 2017-07-29.; 2 Sam 12:8–10
- 2 Samuel 12:13
- Adultery was a capital crime under Mosaic law: Leviticus 20:10
- 2 Samuel 12:14: NIV translation
- 2 Sam 15:1–12
- 2 Sam 18:1–15
- 2 Sam 18:33
- "2 Samuel 19". Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Archived from the original on 2017-07-31. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
- 2 Samuel 19:1–8
- 2 Samuel 19:15–17
- 1 Kings 1:1–5
- 1 Kings 1:11–31
- 2 Sam 5:4
- 1 Kings 2:1–9
- Helen C. Evans; William W. Wixom, eds. (1997-03-05). The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 86. ISBN 9780870997778. Retrieved 2018-03-05 – via Internet Archive.
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- Commentary on II Samuel 22, The Anchor Bible, Vol. 9. II Samuel. P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., 1984. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-06808-5
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- Psalm 34, Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament, Kohlenberger, J.R, 1987. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House ISBN 0-310-40200-X
- 1 Samuel 21:15
- Ginzberg, Louis (1909). The Legends of the Jews. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.
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- Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin. p. 107a.
- Zohar Bereishis 91b
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The events of the book took place in the last half of the eleventh century and the early part of the tenth century BC, but it is difficult to determine when the events were recorded. There are no particularly persuasive reasons to date the sources used by the compiler later than the events themselves, and good reason to believe that contemporary records were kept (cf. 2 Sam. 20:24–25).
- Auld 2003, p. 219.
- 1 Samuel 16:14–2, 5:10
- 2 Samuel 9–20 and 1 Kings 1–2
- Knight 1991, p. 853.
- McKenzie 2004, p. 32.
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- *Thompson, Thomas L. (2001). "A view from Copenhagen: Israel and the History of Palestine". The Bible and Interpretation. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
The history of Palestine and of its peoples is very different from the Bible's narratives, whatever political claims to the contrary may be. An independent history of Judea during the Iron I and Iron II periods has little room for historicizing readings of the stories of I-II Samuel and I Kings.
- Redford 1992, pp. 301–302: One (perversely perhaps) longs to see the result of the application of such a criterion to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s treatment of Arthur, to the anonymous Joseph and Asenath, to the Alexander Romances, or a host of other Pseudepigrapha. Mesmerized by the literary quality of much of the writing in 1 and 2 Samuel—it is in truth a damned good story!—many scholars take a further step: "The Succession story must be regarded as the oldest specimen of ancient Israelite history writing.”; Pfoh 2016, p. 54 n. 126: Isser links the David story with other heroic tales, like Homer's epics and King Arthur's legend
- Kalimi, Isaac. Writing and Rewriting the Story of Solomon in Ancient Israel, Cambridge University Press, 2019, p. 53
- Gordon 1995, p. 89. sfn error: no target: CITEREFGordon1995 (help)
- Horner 1978, p. 19.
- Baden 2013, p. 12: the biblical narrative may be considered the ancient equivalent of political spin: it is a retelling, even a reinterpretation, of events, the goal of which is to absolve David of any potential guilt and to show him in a positive light.
- Carasik, Michael (June 2014). "Review of Baruch Halpern's David's Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-10.
- Baden, Joel (2014-07-29). The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-218837-3.
- Dever 2020.
- "David, King of Judah (Not Israel)". bibleinterp.arizona.edu. July 2014. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- Pioske 2015, p. 180.
- Lemaire 1994.
- Pioske 2015, p. 180, Chapter 4: David's Jerusalem: The Early 10th Century BCE Part I: An Agrarian Community: ‘…the reading of bytdwd as "House of David" has been challenged by those unconvinced of the inscription's allusion to an eponymous David or the kingdom of Judah.’
- Pioske 2015, p. 210, fn. 18.
- Finkelstein, Na’aman & Römer 2019.
- "New reading of the Mesha Stele inscription has major consequences for biblical history" (news release). American Friends of Tel Aviv University. 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2020-10-22 – via American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
- Langlois 2019.
- Na'aman 2019, p. 196.
- 1 Kings 14:25–27
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- Kuhrt, Amélie (1995). The Ancient Near East, c. 3000–330 BC, Band 1. New York: Routledge. p. 438. ISBN 978-0-41516-762-8.
- Finkelstein & Silberman 2007, pp. 26–27; Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, pp. 189–190, Chapter 8: Archaeologically and historically, the redating of these cities from Solomon's era to the time of Omrides has enormous implication. It removes the only archeological evidence that there was ever a united monarchy based in Jerusalem and suggests that David and Solomon were, in political terms, little more than hill country chieftains, whose administrative reach remained on a fairly local level, restricted to the hill country.
- Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, p. 23; 241–247.
- Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, pp. 158. "We still have no hard archaeological evidence—despite the unparalleled biblical description of its grandeur—that Jerusalem was anything more than a modest highland village in the time of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam."
- Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, p. 131, Table Two.
- Finkelstein & Silberman 2002, p. 181. Speaking of Samaria: "The scale of this project was enormous."
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The stories of Solomon are larger than life. According to the stories, Solomon imported 100,000 workers from what is now Lebanon. Well, the whole population of Israel probably wasn't 100,000 in the 10th century. Everything Solomon touched turned to gold. In the minds of the biblical writers, of course, David and Solomon are ideal kings chosen by Yahweh. So they glorify them. Now, archeology can't either prove or disprove the stories. But I think most archeologists today would argue that the United Monarchy was not much more than a kind of hill-country chiefdom. It was very small-scale.
- Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? By Lester L. Grabbe; page 77Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017
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- Mazar, Amihai. Archaeology and the biblical narrative: the case of the United Monarchy. 2010. Full text.
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- Faust & Sapir 2018, p. 1: ‘The lack of evidence for public construction and state apparatus in the region of Judah before the 8th century, expressed for example by the total lack of ashlar construction, is one of the oft-quoted evidence against the historical plausibility of a kingdom centered in Judah. The building of the “governor’s residency,” along with other lines of evidence, suggests that the settlement at Tel‘Eton was transformed in the 10th century BCE, lending important support to the historicity of the United Monarchy’
- Proof Of King David? Not Yet. But Riveting Site Shores Up Roots Of Israelite Era, By Amanda Borschel-Dan; Times Of Israel; 14 May 2018; At 
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