The recent archaeological discovery of a fortified wall in southern Israel shows the accuracy of the Biblical story that David ruled a powerful kingdom in the 10th century B.C. It also reignites ongoing controversy among those who reject the idea that such a kingdom ever existed, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
Skeptics of the Biblical narrative point to a lack of archaeological evidence that David and his son Solomon ruled over a united kingdom in Israel. If such a kingdom existed, they say, it wasn’t the mighty empire portrayed by the Bible. They also claim the kingdom of Judah in southern Israel only began to wield any influence at all in the ninth century B.C.
The Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles describes Lachish, the site where archaeologists found the wall, as one of the cities fortified by Solomon’s son King Rehoboam, who ruled Judah in roughly the late 10th century B.C. The discovery bolsters the arguments that Rehoboam fortified the city and that a united and powerful kingdom under David and Solomon was already established by the time of his reign. Carbon dating of olive pits unearthed at the wall dates it to exactly Rehoboam’s time.
“We have discovered that Lachish was a fortified city and that it was established around the year 920 B.C.E.,” Yossi Garfinkel, head of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, told Haaretz. —J.B.