In the wake of similar claims in recent years, we’ve published some guidelines for evaluating sensational archaeological claims, and those points remain valid. However, here are three good articles talking specifically about more recent archaeological claims, including the “King David’s palace” story:
- Biblical Archaeology Review’s website has a good overview of the claims being made about Khirbet Qeiyafa.
- At the Gospel Coalition, John Currid has written a post that walks through the “King David’s palace” news, providing some important scholastic and ideological context for this claim.
- The BiblePlaces.com blog has an excellent post that looks at the purported discovery of Elisha’s house, and which lays down a good model for evaluating these kinds of claims.
So have archaeologists discovered David’s palace? Currid sums up the proper attitude nicely:
Where, then, should we stand on this discovery? On the one hand, we need to be careful not to buy into the speculative sensationalism that we see and read in the news and that, unfortunately, is sometimes purveyed by archaeologists.
On the other hand, we need not fall into the trap of an automatic hermeneutic of suspicion that dominates the field of archaeology. Let us patiently wait for all the evidence of the excavation to emerge. Then we will have a better idea if this is really “King David’s Palace.”
While we all wait for more information on the Khirbet Qeiyafa discoveries, I recommend setting the controversial claims aside and reading up on the subject itself: David’s palace. In 2 Samuel 5, we read about the construction of one such structure:
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. — 2 Samuel 5
David’s palace at Jerusalem—not the one alleged to have been found at Khirbet Qeiyafa—was the scene of much drama throughout David’s reign. It was impressive enough that David was uncomfortable living there while the Ark of the Covenant was sheltered in a mere tent. It was in David’s palace that the tragedy of David’s affair with Bathsheba played out.
Photo by Wikipedia user YaelS.