The research from the Hebrew University determines for the first time, through archaeological and historical means, the boundaries of the kingdom of King David and his grandson, King Rehoboam and resolves the long-standing debate about the very existence of the kingdoms and their urban boundaries
A new study by Prof. Yossi Garfinkel from the Institute of Archeology at the Hebrew University, which was published in the prestigious Jerusalem Journal of Archeology, determines for the first time what the boundaries of the urbanization process and the planning of the early phase of the Kingdom of Judah were during the time of King David and where the central administration of King David's Kingdom was located at the beginning of the tenth century BCE XNUMX and of King Rehoboam, at the end of the tenth century BC.
From around 1980, heated disagreements arose about the historical value of the biblical traditions dealing with the tenth century BC, the time of Kings David, Solomon and Rehoboam. Some researchers claimed that urbanization in Judah only began at the end of the ninth century BC, about 200 years after David, and even at the end of the eighth century BC, about 300 years after David. A vulgar view even claimed that in the days of David there were 500 people who walked with sticks, shouted, cursed and spat. The new study is important for the historical study of the First Temple period, and for the study of the biblical tradition about King David and it proves beyond all doubt the existence of the kingdom.
The way in which David's kingdom was defined is through a group of cities in the form of "enclosing walls" (a wall with two parallel walls, divided into rooms), which are established only on the perimeter of the kingdom and protect a main road to the heart of the kingdom. Fortified walls have been found over the years at a number of sites and now, as Prof. Garfunkel found in his article, these walls date back to the beginning of the tenth century BC, the days of King David's reign, and they teach us where the Kingdom of Judah extended during his reign.
The analysis in the article shows that during the time of David there was a kingdom in Judah, which controlled territories on the back of the mountain and in the north of the Judean lowlands. Cities in the form of enclosing walls marked the borders of the kingdom, and protected the axes of the main roads that led towards Jerusalem. The location of the closing walls, on roads known to us as main roads at a distance of up to a day's walk from Jerusalem, which was the heart of the kingdom of Judah, and the fact that the walls were built in a similar style suitable for the period, teaches us that these are the borders of the ancient kingdom.
According to the new study, the borders of the kingdom were at the ruins of Kyapa, which sits on the Elah Valley road, at the western end. Beit Shemesh, sits on Nahal Sorek Road, at the western end. Tel Netzva, on the main road on the side of the mountain, which sits on the northern edge and the ruins of Duara, which sits on the northeastern edge. The location of the walls and the way they were built teaches us that in the days of King David it is possible to find a strong central government, with a clear concept and urban plan that delineates the central borders of his kingdom with thought and intention first.
Also, the research found that during the time of King Rehoboam, at the end of the tenth century BC, the Kingdom of Judah grew and it included additional urban centers, some on the back of the mountain, and some in the north and central lowlands. Then Lachish was also built, the second most important city in the Kingdom of Judah. This corresponds with the series of Rehoboam's fortifications, as stated in the book of 15 Chronicles, chapter XNUMX, according to which Rehoboam fortified XNUMX cities.
Prof. Garfinkel explained the findings of the research and said that "finding a barrier wall in this area de facto marks the boundaries of the urban core of the Kingdom of David and ends the historical debate that has been going on for decades about the very existence of the Kingdom of David and its borders." Prof. Garfinkel continued and explained that "this shows that the biblical documentation regarding the expansion and strengthening of King Rehoboam is indeed true and we are indeed offered evidence on the ground, dated to this time, of the urban expansion mentioned in the Book of Chronicles." These are one of the only times in which it was possible to give empirical historical and archaeological evidence regarding what is said in the Bible book about the tenth century B.C. Prof. Garfinkel explained the date of publication of the study and said that "the evidence was always there, it is not about new findings, someone was needed to come and see the overall picture that they tell. Glad I was able to do that."
The excavations on which the conclusions were based were carried out in collaboration with Sa'ar Ganor from the Antiquities Authority and Prof. Michael Hazel from the Southern Adventist University.
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