King David is the most fully documented character in the Torah. His narrative is epic, filled with the kind of detail—heroic and unsavory—that makes David such a compelling character. We identify with his yearning for a relationship with G-d, his courage in battle, we see aspects of ourselves in his tragic weakness as a man, a husband and father. David is, above all, profoundly human.
As a screenwriter, I consider the David story the greatest narrative never properly filmed. Saul’s daughter, and David’s (sometime) wife Michal is worthy of her own movie.
The bible critics who label themselves minimalists have made it their mission to attack the story of King David as a fabrication. They claim that no such man ever lived. The biblical narrative, they further assert, is probably based on some minor tribal chieftan who, for religious and nationalist motives, has been elevated to kinghood.
Of course, the 1933 Tel Dan “House of David” inscription provided archeological proof of David’s rule and the ongoing excavations in the City of David in Jerusalem provides further evidence, but the minimilists—true believers—dismiss the discoveries and continue their jihad of denial.
Now, another exciting archeological discovery in Israel provides even more physical evidence of David’s kingdom.
Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, the Yigal Yadin Professor of Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, announced the discovery of objects that for the first time shed light on how a cult was organized in Judah at the time of King David. During recent archaeological excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a fortified city in Judah adjacent to the Valley of Elah, Garfinkel and colleagues uncovered rich assemblages of pottery, stone and metal tools, and many art and cult objects. These include three large rooms that served as cultic shrines, which in their architecture and finds correspond to the biblical description of a cult at the time of King David.
The absence of cultic images of humans or animals in the three shrines provides evidence that the inhabitants of the place practiced a different cult than that of the Canaanites or the Philistines, observing a ban on graven images.
This discovery is extraordinary as it is the first time that shrines from the time of early biblical kings were uncovered. Because these shrines pre-date the construction of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem by 30 to 40 years, they provide the first physical evidence of a cult in the time of King David, with significant implications for the fields of archaeology, history, biblical and religion studies.
Full story at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs