The anticipation of David as a “man after Yahweh’s own heart” in 1 Sam 13:14 is to be understood as a statement about Yahweh’s election of David to kingship, rather than about David’s own moral qualities. Comparison of similar phrases in Akkadian texts shows that the phrase is part of the rhetoric of divine election to kingship. The focus on divine election does not mean David has no positive attributes. On the contrary, he is depicted as a man with clear leadership qualities. The phrase serves the Davidic apologia in distinguishing David from Saul as Yahweh’s personal choice for king.
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In a press release today, the Israel Antiquities Authority reports that the excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa have unearthed a palace of King David, along with a storehouse.
Here’s some of what the release has to say:
Today (Thursday) the excavation, which was conducted over the past seven years, is drawing to a close. According to Professor Yossi Garfinkel and Sa’ar Ganor, “Khirbet Qeiyafa is the best example exposed to date of a fortified city from the time of King David. The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of c. 1,000 sq m was revealed at the top of the city. The wall enclosing the palace is c. 30 m long and an impressive entrance is fixed it through which one descended to the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah. Around the palace’s perimeter were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt. The palace is located in the center of the site and controls all of the houses lower than it in the city. From here one has an excellent vantage looking out into the distance, from as far as the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east. This is an ideal location from which to send messages by means of fire signals. Unfortunately, much of this palace was destroyed c. 1,400 years later when a fortified farmhouse was built there in the Byzantine period”.
…The palace and storerooms are evidence of state sponsored construction and an administrative organization during King David’s reign. “This is unequivocal evidence of a kingdom’s existence, which knew to establish administrative centers at strategic points”, the archaeologists say. “To date no palaces have been found that can clearly be ascribed to the early tenth century BCE as we can do now. Khirbet Qeiyafa was probably destroyed in one of the battles that were fought against the Philistines circa 980 BCE. The palace that is now being revealed and the fortified city that was uncovered in recent years are another tier in understanding the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah”.
The identity of the ‘administration’ at Khirbet Qeiyafa has, to my knowledge, not yet been definitively proved. Nonetheless, this 10th century BC site in the Shephelah is very important for understanding the era. It will be interesting to see how discussion of this pans out.
The full press release can be read HERE. The release also includes a link to some nice hi-res images.
On Tuesday, May 8, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will hold a press conference and private tour to announce all-new findings related to the time of Kings David and Solomon, including presentation of artifacts never before seen by the public related to construction of Solomon’s temple and palace.
The findings relate to the excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa—a site that has led to a storm of debate about the origins of the kingdom of Judah. It’ll be interesting to see what is announced tomorrow.