Two prominent archaeologists have released a list of the greatest archaeological finds in Israel over the last 25 years. This list was created on behalf of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Looking it over, it is actually a list of sites rather than artifacts.
This list includes Khirbet Qeiyafa, where I have volunteered the past three summers. Other sites on the list include Hazor, Tel Dan, Tel es-Safi (Gath), and Herodium (location of Herod the Great’s tomb).
Why is Khirbet Qeiyafa on the list? Some scholars insist ancient Israel had no national king or centralized government until the Divided Kingdom period, roughly 3/4 of a century after David’s biblical reign. Under this theory David would have been just a regional chieftain, incapable of commanding the resources to construct a powerful border fortress miles away under the aggressive eye of the Philistines. Khirbet Qeiyafa challenges these assumptions. It dates to the period of David’s reign. It was a planned, powerfully fortified city, well beyond the resources of the local inhabitants to construct. Only a centralized power (i.e. – a government) would have had the money, men, and materials to construct this kind of distant fortress while defending the work area from Philistine attacks. From a biblical perspective, Khirbet Qeiyafa affirms the existence of a central government in Judah in David’s time. (Compare with 2 Samuel 2:1 – 7.)
HT: Ferrell Jenkins