Megiddo’s location, guarding the intersection of four ancient and strategic highways, has given it a tumultuous history.
- Megiddo was one of several cities defeated, but not occupied, by the Israelites as a result of Joshua’a conquest. (Joshua 12:21; Judges 1:27)
- Solomon fortified Megiddo as a regional administrative center and military center. (1 Kings 9:15)
- Ahaziah, king of Judah, died at Megiddo during Jehu’s purge. (2 Kings 9)
- King Josiah of Judah was killed at Megiddo by pharaoh Neco. (2 Kings 23:29)
Professor Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University has become known for a ‘minimalist’ interpretation of Israel’s history, particularly with the settlement of Canaan and the kingdom years. Although he doubts the Bible’s accuracy of those periods, he believes the biblical accounts still contain true historical memories. (There are other scholars that Bible believers would consider far more liberal in their views, but Finkelstein’s books have arguably made him the best-known.) He makes frequent appearances in television documentaries. The Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations have stirred up the biblical debate with fresh evidence of David and his kingdom. I recently read Finkelstein’s 2006 book “David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition.” Even though his conclusions are challenged by certain evidence, it is an interesting and well-written read.
Israel Finkelstein directs excavations at Megiddo, and I bumped into him while on the tell. He mentioned that he plans to visit the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavations during my time there. His visit last year created some buzz among the Qeiyafa staff.
Keep checking back for more updates, photos and videos. We have already seen and done too much to cram into one or two posts, so I’ll work my way through one site (and/or interesting experience) at a time.