King Davids Walled City Surfaces
A wall 21 feet thick from the First Temple period has been excavated in Jerusalem’s old City of David. The Jerusalem Post reported on Eilat Mazar’s latest discovery: “A wall from the First Temple was recently uncovered in Jerusalem’s City of David, strengthening the claim that it is the site of the palace of King David, an Israeli archeologist said Thursday.” The First Temple was built in the time of Solomon, David’s son and successor, in the 10th century BC. Mazar estimates that the 20-meter-long section represents one fourth of the wall.
Some modern “minimalist” archaeologists deny that David was more than a local chieftain; others relegate the stories about him to myth. This new find, however – the largest structure yet found in the old city – “indicates that the City of David once served as a major government center, Mazar said.” In 2005 she had found a large building that she has claimed was David’s palace (02/09/2007, 08/09/2005).
This story was found from a link on the website of the Biblical Archaeology Society. On April 10, Todd Bolen added some cautions about interpreting this find on Bible Places Blog.
Keep digging and you will find the evidence corroborating the Bible’s accuracy. For a good example of this, see the film “The Second Battle of Jericho” from Associates for Biblical Research, where further digging “re-corroborated” the Biblical account of Jericho after results by an earlier dig cast doubt on the story. Not long ago, skeptics were pointing to the lack of evidence for King David in support of their minimalist views. Then the Tel Dan inscription was found, mentioning the “house of David” in plain text for all to see (see Bible Places). Other pieces of the puzzle continue to surface (examples, 04/12/2003 04/17/2005). Mazar’s excavations are the most spectacular in a long trend of findings that show the Bible to be a reliable historical record.
Why are mentions of David so rare in extrabiblical sources? It’s easy to understand for anyone who has visited Jerusalem. Almost every square yard is occupied by buildings. Real estate in this center of three world religions is hotly contested. It is very difficult or impossible to get access to the most interesting sites (like the Temple Mount; see 10/31/2006). Considering how many times in history Jerusalem has been leveled, pillaged and burned, the remarkable thing is that any trace of David’s glory would remain. Mazar’s dig concerns a small section of a hill otherwise covered by modern-day Palestinian dwellings. To their credit, the Israeli government has made this a national historic park which tourists can visit. Now past its second year of excavation, Mazar’s site is certainly one to watch.
A thousand years after King David came another king, the Son of David, whose kingdom is not of this world. An easy walk north of the palace dig are sites famous in the Easter story, where Jesus of Nazareth rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, only to be put on trial and crucified a week later. Within an afternoon, tourists can walk the Temple Mount, where Jesus confronted the Pharisees; visit the location of the upper room, where the Last Supper occurred; walk up the Mount of Olives, where Jesus was arrested; climb down into the dungeon where He was most likely held (under the modern church of St. Peter of Gallicantu); tour the Citadel, where the trial before Pilate took place; see remnant stones of Golgotha, where He carried the cross and was crucified and rose again (inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher). Within a day’s drive are Emmaus, where He appeared to the two disciples after His resurrection; Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, where He performed the miracle of the draft of fishes and told Peter to “feed My sheep”; and the summit of the Mount of Olives, where some 500 eyewitnesses saw Him ascend to heaven (see Christian Answers, Gary Habermas and Josh McDowell). The millions who will shout, “Christ is risen – He is risen indeed” this Easter morning have a faith grounded on real estate. Will your estate in heaven be real? If any doubt, watch the Christian Answers video and read I John.