“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.”
I love it when archaeologists dig the Bible out of the ground. I’m cautious not to over-promote ancient artifacts, particularly when they have hazy trails through the antiquities market, but there are lots of recent archaeological discoveries in Israel that precisely fit the text in the Bible. Since the excavation of the steps of the Pool of Siloam by Ir David Foundation archaeologists in 2004, digs in the City of David have produced an impressive, rapidly growing catalog of artifacts and discoveries. Critics continue to debate the interpretation of these findings, but the preponderance of evidence is piling up rapidly.
The video below highlights recent finds in the City of David. You may be amazed to learn just how strongly the archaeology matches the text in the Bible, and the text in extra-biblical sources, such as the writings of Josephus. The video describes:
- A Phoenician capital that prominent archaeologist Eilat Mazar suspected must have rolled downhill from King David’s palace. She started searching for the palace uphill from the capital’s resting place, and unearthed what many archaeologists agree are the remains of King David’s palace. 2 Samuel 5:11 states that King David’s palace was built by (Phoenician) King Hiram of Tyre. What kind of capitals would Phoenician craftsmen put on the palace columns? Makes sense to me.
- Jebusite pottery from the Iron Age, right where it is supposed to be in the stratigraphy. David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5).
- Two seals (bullae) that were found 30 feet apart containing the exact names of two officials, who in the same sentence of the Bible were part of a plot to kill Jeremiah (400 years after David and right where they should be in the layers of the excavation).
- A cistern that could be the muddy cistern recorded in Jeremiah 38:1-13, into which those officials threw Jeremiah.
- An underground tunnel leaving the temple area, where according to Josephus, the Roman 10th legion blocked escaping Jews headed to Masada in 70 CE, then opened the tunnel and butchered them. Archaeologists found a sword in its scabbard from the Roman 10th legion in that tunnel, along with pottery that had food caked on it—indicating the last 2,000 fleeing Jews were indeed hiding or stuck in the tunnel for some period of time. These artifacts match accounts in Josephus’ Jewish Wars.
- A golden bell that matches the raiment prescribed for Hebrew priests in the Bible.
- An incomplete inscribed depiction of the Jewish menorah from the Second Temple period, one of only three depictions ever found.