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Have Archaeologists Found King David’s Palace?

The excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa.

Has a palace belonging to King David been discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa? What are Christians to make of sensational claims like this one? It’s hard to discern the significance of impressive-sounding archaeological finds when most of us aren’t scholars or archaeologists ourselves. And after years of sensational claims that didn’t pan out (the Jesus Tomb, the crucifixion nail, the “lost gospels,” etc.), it’s natural to be skeptical.

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:

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.

Filed under Archaeology