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The Battle Over David

Michael Hasel


Michael Hasel

Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University



  • March 18, 2017
    10:00 AM
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Heavenly Father we thank you for your word we thank you for Jesus Christ the Word made flesh we thank you that we can come on the Sabbath day that Jesus inaugurated in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve so many years ago and we thank you that we can come into your presence today knowing that we are worshipping with fellow believers around the world and that we are worshipping with our creator God Today we pray that you would guide us into his truth in Jesus' name amen. Now if the Bible has such an impact in the world today why is it that there is such skepticism about the Bible today I don't think that's a coincidence either by the way because whenever you have an inspired work like the Bible changing millions of lives over the centuries Satan is at work in unprecedented ways a few years ago I had the privilege to be invited here to Los Angeles to speak at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles it was a one day symposium on the history of David and Solomon and major scholars were invited from all over the world I don't know why I was invited I think somebody cancelled or something but anyway I was invited to be part of this part of four speakers that were speaking on that topic at the American Jewish University located right across from the Getty Institute here in Los Angeles and the first speaker in the morning was a professor from the University of California here in Los Angeles U.C.L.A. and his topic was to look at the biblical text and look at a particular passage relating to David and Solomon and I sat in the front row and listened as he carefully and systematically destroyed the biblical text and cut it apart and dissected it into pieces using the historical critical method and when he was done there was nothing left of the history of Solomon's building activity in Judah during. The tenth century B.C. the next speaker was from Claremont Graduate University and. Her topic that morning was on David in film. Interesting how K. I didn't buy I knew we were in Los Angeles and Hollywood wasn't very far away but I didn't realize that there was such a but anyway she was she was a film critic and a theologian and she went through systematically and looked at how Hollywood and other producers had depicted David over the centuries in film and she did this in a very systematic way but she also did it with a tinge of sarcasm all the way through a sarcasm that was growing with the film after film because she showed how Hollywood try to depict David as a kind of prefigured messianic figure that pointed towards Jesus and this was the American Jewish university in the audience which was in an in a theater I'm sorry they called us and ampitheater but it's and correct it's a theater here because an amphitheater if you know anything about ampitheater is that's like the Colosseum in Rome it has seating on all sides so when I heard I was coming to to the Demaio ampitheater today I thought oh I'm going to have to be turning around like this all the time but anyway it didn't happen so just something to keep in mind so anyway so so we were in the theater about this size about four hundred fifty people all Jewish businesspeople lay people students faculty members and so forth from the community here in Los Angeles and I knew of one had been this family that were sitting right in the back right about there they had come three hours to drive there just to hear this presentation these presentations and and so we were we were we were all there and she systematically went through person film by film mentioning the actors and so forth and and dissecting it and every time she mentioned Jesus as a as a kind of forward thinking prophetic view of David there was snickering in the room. In fact she kind of it got kind of became a a crowd and speaker thing that went back and forth and it kept building so that by the end of her presentation after an hour and a half people were actually downright laughing and it it kind of culminated in the last movie or a film production that she chose which was the vegetation's version of David as the sprig of asparagus meeting the giant cucumber and she said actually she says this version is the most accurate version of all of the versions as far as the Bible goes even though it's a cartoon but you know it's kind of funny and everybody laughed again I felt so uncomfortable during this hour and a half right before lunch that I almost left the room a couple of times but then I thought now I'm one of the speakers I'm sitting next to the other speakers in the front row and I probably out of politeness should stay but I thought how how how is this how's the symposium going to end so we had lunch then and I had lunch with the third speaker who had flown all the way from Jerusalem to be part of this conference he works for the Israel Antiquities Authority which is the government agency that gives licenses to excavate in Israel very high ranking office Ph D. from Oxford British a Jewish Israeli scholar and and we had lunch together with the other Abbot as family that was there and we talked a little bit and then it was his turn to speak after lunch and his job and my job were to talk about archaeology and David and Solomon he was to speak about Jerusalem and I was supposed to speak about archaeology and some of the recent findings in the rest of the country and when he was done with Jerusalem in fact he started out by referring to the impact of David in the arts and he talked about Michelangelo's famous sculpture of Davide which is today in Florence and he says this is a huge huge. You know sculpture and if you've ever been there and I have been it's quite moving. Actually who's an art historian started crying when she saw it but anyway there's this huge statue there in Florence he says this is a larger than life depiction of David and he says then there is the the more diminutive or or smaller depiction of which which was done by another sculptor and he says this is the one that was given you know two to the Citadel Museum in Jerusalem where it is standing today a copy of it he says this is a smaller version of of the of David you know it's flying off you see Goliath had there at the bottom in the corner Luckily this guy is dressed and Anyway so so you know and he says this is a you know he's only about this I have seen him many times only about this high this is a record he says this is this is another version and so forth but he says we don't really know who David is he says we have all these different ideas about David but we have no idea who he is and then he went systematically through the archaeology of Jerusalem and basically said this scholar says this this scholar says this This person says this This person says this I don't know who to believe and when he was done nobody in the room knew what to believe either. And I was next. So luckily that ampitheater unlike this sorry that theater unlike this one had a had a back back back stage area because they also used it for theatrical productions I guess at the university had a backstage area and I had been. Since the last few minutes of his presentation I'd been pacing back and forth in the backstage praying Lord what do you want me to say and how am I going to bring this around and what am I going to do and the Lord is always good to us isn't he because the Lord and His Spirit work in incredible ways and so I was introduced very kindly by Professor the organizer of the conference and then it was my turn to speak and I said to the audience that day I said we've gone today from. Michelangelo's idea of divied which is larger than life we've gone to the wreck yos version of divied which is smaller than life and we've gone to a sprig of asparagus meeting a giant cucumber and there was laughter of course because that was the mood everybody was in. And I said but for every single person in this room whether we are Christian or whether we are Jewish. There is a real David in history and that real David in history matters to every single person here and every single person in this city because that real David is not about a scholarly reconstruction that real David is about your identity and my identity and it is about who we are and it's about where we come from and at that moment you could hear a pin drop in the room there was no laughter at all and then I lifted up the recent National Geographic that had just come out the month before this conference and I said in this National Geographic we read about the search for King David the cover story was focusing on the project that I'm going to be talking about with you today and this this National Geographic issue talks about the search for King David and one of the scholars in this and I was reading from the issue I said one of the scholars here says that he destroyed Solomon and that Solomon never existed and that he destroyed Solomon as if you can do that after two thousand years but he destroyed him and in fact that David as well is as questionable in terms of the extent of his kingdom and so forth and then I mean I share this quote with them if you take David this is from the National Geographic article if you take David and his kingdom out of the book you have a different book the narrative is no longer a historical work but a work of fiction and what I'm going to share with you today is. What I shared at the American Jewish university there. Adapt a little bit for a Sabbath sermon that that basically we have new evidence now just uncovered in the last couple of years that have revolutionized our understanding of the early kingdom of Judah and the early United Monarchy of Saul and David and Solomon and this is new data and I'm just presenting the data and you can do with it what you like with it and I had their attention I think so we're going to look today at a small unknown site that has not been excavated or known until two thousand and seven when my colleague Professor Yosef Garfinkel the dean professor of Biblical archaeology at the Hebrew University the oldest chair in archaeology in Israel contacted me while we were in professional meetings here in San Diego just a little south from Loma Linda and he contacted me and said I have a new project that I'm starting we just had a two week season would you like to join us as the senior American partner for the project I was involved in another project in the north of Israel but it didn't take me long to see that this project had a lot of potential a small fortress located on a hillside overlooking the valley the valley that is described in second first Samuel Chapter seventeen as the valley where the famous battle between David and Goliath took place so I said to my colleague Professor Garfinkel I will think about this I will pray about it and I will come back to you now he's a completely secular individual secular Jew And so but we have since had a number of wonderful experiences together and and I pray on a regular basis with him now after twenty five years of working with him since we were doctoral students and so we started a collaboration between Southern evidence University the Hebrew University of Jerusalem yes the Israel Antiquities Authority where the professor who had come to this conference is in charge of all licenses and the Israel exploration society. Which publishes our final site reports the site of course is in ruins today of course we use all kinds of wonderful art this is my wife's artwork and reconstructing this particular site we have actually one of my former students here in the congregation today who worked with us Brianna who is here and. She worked with us at the site back I think in two thousand and ten or two thousand and eleven now it's interesting that the whole debate over David started in in the year nineteen ninety two with the publication of this book by a British oil Testament scholar by foot by the name of Philip R. Davis from the University of Sheffield and he argued in his book basically on the absence of evidence argument that the Biblical empire of David and Solomon has not the faintest echo in the archaeological record and then he went on to say that because we don't have any archaeological evidence for David and Solomon there Kingdom did not exist it is as mythical as the fables of King Arthur in the Knights of the Round Table and he went and I remember being at the Society biblical literature our major professional organization were ten to twelve thousand scholars meet every year around this country in different cities and I remember the. Impact that this made in those meetings and since then it has become a very interesting thing but he added two words at the end of the sentence which are very important words as yet and he recognised that you know there's a problem with making a scientific argument based on silence the science is based on evidence it's based on data it's not based on a lack of data OK And when you make an argument he's a biblical scholar not a scientist but when you make an argument based on the lack of evidence that is a fallacious argument it's a negative argument it's an argument that doesn't really mean very much and we need to be very careful because when we look at most of the critics. When they deal with biblical things they're making arguments out of silence they're making negative arguments based on the lack of evidence and there are hundreds of archaeologists and volunteers working in Israel every single year and you never know what is going to be uncovered that very next year Davies should have known better because guess what happened the very next year in one thousand nine hundred ninety three the year after his book was published this artifact was found in the very northern site of Tel Dan Remember the the Bible talks about the borders of Israel being from Dan to bear Sheva So at the very northern side of Tel Dan located right on the border two Lebannon this artifact was found part of a large steel a commemorating a victory by an era man came from Damascus not an Israelite an era minting from Damascus who is commemorating his victory over the northern kingdom of Israel in the southern kingdom of Judah and he describes these as the king of the house of Israel and the king and the king of the House of David beit Davide the very same phrase and designation that the Old Testament uses again and again to describe the descendants of David and the kingdom of Judah a dynastic name and the fact that this inscription dates one hundred forty years after the reign of save it during the divided monarchy is even more significant because it indicates that David is remembered as the founder of this dynasty written by a pagan King from Damascus who names Israel or names Judah precisely the way the Bible does as the House of David this sent shock waves throughout the scholarly world it was published on the cover of Wall Street Journal and and other magazines and newspapers around the world and of course it shattered the mythological argument about David because now David obviously existed I mean we knew that all along based on the work right but now we have ever. Side the word and so now as a secular scholar we can accept it anyway let's go on now the local analogy argument then was the next step that was in two thousand and six and Professor Israel Finkelstein a friend of mine a colleague of mine Neil Asher Silberman I worked with him at a number of different sites they came up with their book on David and Solomon in search of the Bible sacred kings in the roots of the Western tradition and again their argument based now not on the existence of David or not that's been settled but now arguing on the basis of how big was David's kingdom actually was David's kingdom as large as the Bible describes or or was it smaller and based again on well let's look at what is based on sparsely populated hin hinterland why because there is no evidence for major buildings or port fortifications there's Jerusalem was a small evident small village again because there's as as our professor he appear at the Jewish university says there's really not a lot of evidence in Jerusalem there's no evidence for extensive literacy the way the Bible describes you know David was writing a lot wasn't he and so forth and so was Solomon and there is no evidence for extensive wars what is the common theme that you see through here no evidence no evidence no evidence no evidence it's again it's an argument out of silence the same kind of argument we talked about before so I'm going to take this book for a moment and I'm going to show you how the side of care because has answered almost every single one of these no evidence questions just in the last ten years of work there are seven years of work there let's go first to the Biblical text we always want to go to the Bible as we begin any kind of discourse of this nature First Samuel seventeen introduces the story of David and Goliath probably one of the best known stories in Biblical history we've tell our children that since they were little I told my children and I always had to fall down and be to lie if they always killed me every time I told a story and I had to. Fall down and play dead and they pounced all over me and had fun and luckily they didn't cut my head off but anyway so first Samuel seventeen one through three now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and they pitched and they and they assembled at Sukkot in Judah where so when Judah so they had invaded into Judah and were and were pitching for war there they pitched camp and Fs to me between Sukkot and I was a Casal and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines the Philistines occupied one hill the Israelites another with a valley between them now two things here first of all did the biblical writer want you to know where this battle took place is there a lot of detail here that's provided geographically to to give us to try to give us a setting for this event yes but what does this event mean to you I mean what do these names mean to you when you read the Bible think about it for a moment what happens when you read the Bible don't these names kind of do this you're reading and all of a sudden a name comes and it's just like. Right because I mean you know you've never been there you don't know what it is it's kind of like me reading about I don't know Timbuktu I've never been to Timbuktu it's a doubt it's a real place by the way so so you know you kind of read about something and it's like you know it goes right past you well what is called Mean while it's a site will will see it in a moment I've got a book coming out actually in in a month it's in press right now it's coming out in a month the first book ever published on so called We did extensive survey there some years ago they camped that pitched camp an episode a meme that's a Hebrew transliteration it means boundary of blood. Because this was the border you see between Philistia and between Israel this was a place of war this was a place a boundary of blood where where where blood was being shed as people protected their borders OK So all in the Israelites assembled OK it between Zuko and as a couple look at this. A moment from A in aerial shot Sol in the Israelites assembled in camp in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines the Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another Let's look at this here's a map OK this is you know kind of not very good but it's the best we can do here is here is so ho Here's a here's our site care but this one it's smaller it's just bigger because it's our site anyway let's go on here's the site we're currently excavating look east which is the second most important city in Jerusalem in Israel after Jerusalem we were working there right now and in the summer we'll be back there again for six weeks so this is where we're looking at this is that you love Valley this is the river that's coming down here and to into the Mediterranean Sea All of these cities were built here as guardian cities to guard against advancement up to the capital of Hebron and later the capital of Jerusalem from the Philistine Philistine site you can see the border right over here that's kind of arbitrary but you can see where that is and this was a major highway it's the I ten if you will that goes from the coast all the way up to Jerusalem right not the kind of traffic we have here I'm always thankful I live in Tennessee and I have a seven minute commute to work when I come to San Bernardino But anyway so here we have an aerial shot of this place this is amazing here is our site here but here is Sue hall over here so I my hands shaking not because I'm nervous but it's shaky All right so here is a is a cot over here and here's the evil and Gaff is back here where did Goliath come from gaff that it is OK you can't see from from this Guardian city you can't see gas because as acres in the way but that's another Judy in city gap is over here and we believe the Israelite camp was over here and the Philistine camp you can see it over here with the valley between them and it's in this valley where the battle between David and Goliath took place isn't it neat to see this in context now now why is the green like this because it's green like this right now in California. Right by the way we are at the very same is that latitude or longitude I was getting mixed up but anyway latitude Thank you were at the same latitude here as we are in Israel so it's the exact same climate everything's the same I had to take people over there all the time I had Dan and Karen Houghton with me and Nathan green a few a few months ago he's doing a whole series of paintings now for the new Loma Linda Hospital Medical Center on the miracle stories of Jesus the healing miracles of Jesus and so we were in Israel and all that Dan and Karen Houghton were saying the whole time was oh my These are exactly the plans we had in our backyard home like this is just like any way so it's just like it's just like over here OK and this is taken in the spring time you can see before the you know the sun comes out and everything dried up so here's a Google map version of it here you can see so call here you can see as they colliers our side of here but it's much smaller now here this is a modern kibbutz and a town this is the gas station where we get gas anyway let's go on and this is where we think the Philistines and the Israelites were camped between Remember the Bible says between so call and as a cause where the Philistines camp the Israelites on the hillside opposite from them with a valley between them that's what we just read a few moments ago All right so if care becomes a office in the middle of the Israelite camp that should tell us something but let's continue this is our team back in two thousand and ten Brianna I'm not sure if you're in this picture but maybe you are at any rate and then we continue on over here this is the site that has been excavated over the years it's a small site these were not huge cities like Los Angeles and New York and you know what we think of as cities today these were small cities there were maybe five hundred to seven hundred people that lived in this city in this in this fortified Garrison fort if you will and town we'll look at it in a moment it was an iron age fortified city that is it dated back to the eleventh tenth century we'll talk about the date in a moment but here you can see the the walls around the city you can see the houses there are butting the walls over here you can see the. We can see that this is right at the time frame of Saul and David right at the beginning it's before Solomon Saul and David very interesting Now this comes back to the argument that was made before one of the arguments that was made was that Jerusalem was a small village with a small and unpopulated or sparsely populated hinterland this is all the way at the border of Philistia and yet it is a very important indication that we have a city that is Judean here at the very early part of the Judean Kingdom and the surveys that have been done prior to this excavation at cure but chaos of the surveys all showed that and this is what the data was based on that Finkelstein and his colleagues looked at they showed that there was no occupation during the iron to a the period of the eleventh and tenth century there was no occupation in this area so they base their conclusions on surveys not an excavation and our site was surveyed many times with intensive surveys and the pottery the primary pottery of the primary period of occupation the site that the pottery I just showed you none of that was on the surface or identified by the previous survey or so the primary period of occupation that we actually found was not indicated at all by the surveys that were done so this tells us that there is a problem with surveys and until you do excavation you don't really know who lived there and there could be dozens of other cities that have been undetected and not excavated of course because that we have not excavated met there are hundreds of sites in Israel that have not been excavated and not even been identified now how do we know what site we're talking about this is interesting as well and we have to go to the end of the story I'm not going to regurgitate the whole story of David and Goliath but at the very end of the story we have this statement when the Philistines saw that their hero was dead they turned and ran and the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a. Shoutin pursued the Philistines to the entrance of gaff and to the gates of Akron those are the two Philistines cities that are not located far away their dead were strewn along the shuttle Ryan road to Gaston Akron Now Sharon is one of these transliterated words that are just transliterated from Hebrew what I shall Ryan mean in Hebrew it means show are means gate and the I am ending is the dual ending which means two so literally shower I am means two gates now this is interesting because as we were excavating for the last seven years the site of care but we have two gates one facing the road that leads up to Jerusalem and one facing Philistia And why is this significant because no other site other than Jerusalem which we know had more than one gate but no other site in Israel or in Judah that has ever been excavated has more than one gate this was the weakest point of defense for the city this was the weakest thing you didn't you know people always went through the gate and so forth so here we have to contemporaneous gates that are right next to each other we didn't excavate this part to look for a third one because that would destroy our hypothesis not just kidding so anyway we did actually we did look up there but anyway so so is this then and we don't have and you know the definitive identification would be to find an inscription that says you are excavating shot or I am built by salt and refortified by David but we don't find those kinds of inscriptions very often so we'll talk about inscriptions in a moment so we believe our hypothesis is and we are backed up by a number of the leading historical geographers in Israel including from Tel Aviv University we believe that the gate of area be in the gate area see maybe a circumstantial identification of the site with the site of Shah Ryan and if that is the case because the date fits perfectly and this bit of data fits perfectly we have uncovered for the first time a city mention the Bible that has never been identified before and we have. Divided a a clear link now to a story that has been redated by historical critics five hundred years after the event with no historical bearing the story of David life they say is a late composition that has nothing to do with history and we now have tied it back to the tenth century and eleventh century to history and that drives them absolutely crazy but let's go on so David and Solomon so smartly populate enter into that what about no evidence for major buildings or fortifications Well we have a hugely fortified site this is not a a sheep pen that was built you know by a farmer who wanted to keep some sheep or a cow pen or anything that the walls alone of the city we estimate comprise of two hundred thousand tons of stone to build those walls this is an enormous undertaking and it required a great deal of organization and planning we believe central organization that this was not simply place your I was speaking at Emory University a couple of years ago at the Michael Carlos Museum there and one of the critical scholars there a friend of mine but asked me afterwards well how do you know the site was Judean and I'd just gone through all these points and I said well what do you think I always ask questions back you know so he said I think it was just an enclave of independent enclave that was placed there I said Well do you do you think Philistia existed at this time with its huge cities Oh yes oh yes we have evidence for that I said yes we do excavated two of them I said do you think that that somebody would just independently place a little six acre site here to be destroyed by the Philistines without any backup from somewhere else and he was quiet and then his graduate students who were sitting the front row said What arguments do you have that this is just an independent enclave and he says well I just think it makes more sense than to think there is a Jerusalem in the background you didn't have any data to go by so we have to be very very careful so two hundred thousand times this is one of the gates the threshold stone here a long ways nine tons that's where the door is closed on to you have three Piers this is the drain that goes out any way we have to move on. The the case mate walls these are double walls with rooms in them these are the rooms that you see over here is this is just a drawing of this over here the rooms the case made rooms that went throughout the city here you can see the line up of this wall goes around these huge stone these toned way two to three tons each and some of these are preserved to two or three metres in height they were obviously much higher in antiquity Here's the second gate that we uncovered with its drainage system Professor Finkelstein says we invented this gate it never existed well we didn't dig the drain the drain is there you don't have a drain out of a solid wall OK So there's something going on here at the gate is the exact same proportions as the first gate that we uncovered in two thousand and seven just perfect perfect symmetry with the same and look at the openings to the rooms look at architecturally how these openings extend away from the gate on this side and away from the gate on the side you see how that's designed we believe that the gates were built first then the outer wall and then the rooms were added as as they moved and we can see that architecturally with how the walls were bonded with one another I have to ask my cousin Jonathan about that he's an architect and he's sitting back here but that's what we think anyway so city planning in the Iron Age we have here again these these case made walls these gates and then we have these houses that are attached directly to them why is that significant because this is exactly the purse twice architectural element that we find in all Judea and cities. Two hundred years later so you've heard about there seven right that city has double casement walls the same type of gate with houses attached to the walls you see them they're just the same architect this is not Philistine architecture this is not Canaanite architecture Canaanites and Philistines built with mud brick not not stone walls the Israelites here are building with stone outer walls tell that mirror some Which is. Not tell onas Bay which is probably the site that that Samuel the prophet used to occupy and then we have here but all of these cities throughout Judah have the same plan ours is simply the earliest and maybe even a template for the other ones that would come later now there's another interesting aspect here and that is what people ate Have you ever heard the phrase you are what you eat yes I've heard that many times growing up and here we have this kind of fuzzy boundary between Philistia and between Judah but we can tell the difference of that boundary not only because of the architectural elements not only and how the cities were built not only based on the pottery and how the pottery was made in the stylistic decorations of the pottery but we can also tell the difference in those two cultures by what people ate because we not only collect the pottery and the artifacts we collect bones we collect all the bones and we have a zero archaeologist who analyzes those bones for us and who then publishes the forensic evidence for the bones and we can look at diet and we can look at what people ate and I can tell you this they weren't vegetarians they ate lots of sheep and goat and we find cattle bones we find all kinds of things there but what is fascinating is that after seven seasons of excavations that care but we have not found a single pig bone not one. On the other hand at Gath which is currently being excavated by my colleague Aaron my year of university and Akron where I dug in the one nine hundred ninety S. we have between fifteen and thirty percent of the bones that have come out of those sites being pig bone. OK And we know today based on D.N.A. analysis that these pig bones this is based on a study. In the department of zoology over at the Hebrew University we know that these pig bones did not originate in Israel but they were in. From Europe. And where did the Philistines come from if you read your bible scare fully they came from the Aegean world from Greece they migrated across and we know this also from the Egyptian records of Ramsay's the third and so forth so this is very significant and so these are these are these were put there now that Chamish has been excavated for twenty years by a couple of my colleagues and at Bet Shemesh we have a. Member was the city that the ark came to after it was captured by the Philistines you remember that story the ark is sent back by two oxen pulling it on a cart makes its way to Bet Shemesh And then there's an unfortunate incident with that happens after that particular event but this is a Judean city and it Bet Shemesh after twenty years of excavation point zero zero one five percent of the bones are picked bones somebody at that chamish indulged in pig and it just goes to show that three thousand years later your sins will find you out. So archaeologists working have discovered it and we don't know who the person was but they know who it was and there are others in the heavenly House who know who they work to so what we have also another ethnic indicator are these two D.N. baking trays and I was just at my friend's home last night. And he has one of these in his backyard because in the Middle East you still cook. You cook a bread over this today this is a concave baking dish made out of clay and with little stippling to allow the heat to move very nicely through this where they made their flat bread or their pita bread on a beautiful beautiful thing every single Judean house has one of these at our site fragments of it OK And guess what guess what Philistia doesn't have these OK They had a different diet they didn't they didn't have this stuff Canaanite sites don't have this stuff this is typical Judean material so again how do we identify our site is to D.N. there's a number of different aspects nobody today doubts that arse. Site is a Jew dnd site well the skeptics again some of those who have already mentioned they have now played a new game and their game as well they first said it was a Philistine site and when the pottery showed that that wasn't the case now they say it's a Canaanite site but again it doesn't match with the data that we have at all and we have published that so we have a few people still hanging on to their pet theories. So what about evidence for extensive literacy this was discovered in two thousand and eight at our site I still remember I was with Mark Finley doing a discoveries zero eight evangelist meeting we flew down to do some things on archeology in the Bible with him in Orlando Florida and I still remember the night that we were on stage together this made C.N.N. news and it was the second top story on C.N.N. dot com It was the it's the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found in history and why is that significant it's significant for writing the history of writing it is significant for of course the Jewish people and their heritage and today this is one of the prized artifacts that are in the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem I brought a copy here with me today it's over there if you want to see it afterwards but the original has never left we recognized it because of this letter that was seen here this letter here and this letter here they're all the same letter they're just angled a little differently you recognize this letter Yeah that's where we get our letter A from but it's really it's the Hebrew left and it really was originally written like this it's a hieroglyphic sign of an ox is had with two horns sticking out so next time you write your letter and you're writing it upside down actually with the horn sticking down and so you need to keep that in mind this is the snout of the ox down here and these are his horns but that's another story so we can't go in the history of the alphabet but this is a five line inscription and the problem was that the letters were faded. This was in the ground for for three thousand years until we uncovered it and the letters were extremely faded so we after its discovery in two thousand and eight we had our professional meetings in Boston Massachusetts and here my colleague Joseph Garfinkel is showing the inscription to the famed Harvard it Pig refer Frank more Cross who has since passed away Larry stagger from Harvard University is sitting in the background Professor Krause couldn't sleep for two hours that night because he was thinking about the excitement of this inscription which puts writing back to the time of David very clearly and. This was a very exciting thing we sent it to the top labs and imaging places in the country we came here to Los Angeles with it and went to Cedar Sinai Hospital where they had some very sophisticated imaging. Equipment to try to get the best photographs we could so we could make out the letters because some of the letters were so faded and here you can see one of those images and even today there have been at least a dozen articles written about this artifact by various scholars around the world and there are all kinds of ideas about what it says one French scholar from the Echo bleak in Jerusalem the Dominican school in Jerusalem a very well known a pig refer says that it is actually referring to the establishment of kingship in ancient Israel if that's the case that would be wonderful but it's disputed today we know that it's Hebrew because it begins with the phrase do not do a typical Hebrew phraseology that you don't find in other Semitic languages and it made of course the cover of Biblical Archaeology Review and many other things as well why is this important because it answers the the critic says I'm that there is very little literacy in ancient Israel at this time and and why is it important because it's not found in Jerusalem we have since found several artifacts dating to the same time period now in Jerusalem's inscriptions like this but it is found on the fringes of Judah right at the border to Philistia and if writing this taking place. So there it's taking place throughout the kingdom and that is extremely important for the argument of literacy in two thousand and thirteen another inscription was found on a storage jar this one is incised And here you can see the upside down again over here and you can see it reads this direction this made headlines again in two thousand and fifteen when it was published officially in our professional journal in our field and it made the cover of that journal for that for that issue I remember riding in a taxi and the taxi driver saying oh man it's so exciting that they found you here he learned I was an archaeologist says gee here they found this amazing inscription you know mentioning a important name and I said yes I do will know little about that inscription Yes I do and he said so but it's a great way to talk about the Bible and talk about things like this with with complete strangers and and individuals this is scription mentions a very important name. And mention in the Bible as the son of Saul the prince of of Israel now this is not the same ish ball but it is the same name and it's the only occurrence of this name that we have and it dates to the right time period it's the son of bade us so we think maybe it's another issue. We're still working on some of this but at any rate it's very significant and it elicited a a press conference with the prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu here in two thousand and fifteen when this was published so there is evidence for literacy today today we have thanks to cure but three more inscriptions in Hebrew dating back to the earliest time eight hundred thousand years before the dead sea scrolls were written. We come to the last bit of evidence before we close and that is no evidence for extensive words you remember the Bible talks in this period about the extensive wars between Philistia and between Israel and. One of the things that we were told or asked at one of the professional meetings when we present. Of this data for the first time was well how do you know that this is a garrison fortress and how do you know that it served as a border fortress between Philistia and Israel maybe it was just a Canaanite site and we said because of the huge amounts of weapons that we have found at the site. And sure enough the three long blades that you see in the center were found by one of our students one of our Southern students in our area. Stephen A rouse the same season I think that Brianna was there and here we have a very very fascinating we didn't know what we had basically that summer but after we took it back to the lab we had pieces of three swords and swords are extremely difficult to find in the archaeological record because there are usually recycled by invading armies and they're usually reuse sometimes they're melted down sometimes they're lost you see other daggers here in this an X. head you see other weapons here as well why is this so significant Well two reasons we think about of course the sort of Goliath and I'm not saying that this is the sort of Goliath but we think about the sort of Goliath and we know where did it where did that sword go after David killed Goliath with Goliath sword. It went into the sanctuary right remember later David actually asked for that sword as he's fleeing from Saul and and he needs that sword again and he goes into the sanctuary and he asks the priest for it well we found these swords in a cultic context that is a small shrine within the side of chaos and that is significant because in the Bible when Saul and his sons are killed some years later in the battle between the Philistines up in the north of Israel it says that the Philistines took the armor of Saul and placed it in the temple of their god to rough so we have this this this this common cultural thing of placing weapons of a defeated king or a defeated enemy in a sacred context. And here we have this taking place eventually or Evidently as well now the big question is these are iron swords who had the iron technology according to the Bible was it the Israelites or the Philistines the Philistines you guys know your Bibles is great I get blank looks in my classes sometimes about this so so yes the Philistines the Philistines were the sophisticated people of that time the Israelites were the country bumpkins living up in the hills the Philistines were the sophisticated city folk that's why Samson went down to the Philistines you understand it was to be in the city you know and to a where there were other enticements there I'm sure as well but so what you have here is is is is all iron weaponry professor Larry stagger of Harvard University came to me after I presented this at a professional meeting and he said Michael you know it's very interesting we've been digging at Ashkelon that's the Harvard I worked there in one thousand nine hundred one he says We've been digging at Ashkelon for twenty five almost thirty years now he says and we have hardly any Ashkelon one of the five Philistine cities mention the Bible he says we have hardly any iron weapons coming out of that site now maybe we've missed them because we've excavated less than five percent aside but it's very interesting that you have all these weapons I said well we don't know where they have the Israel an Israelite weapons are the Judean weapons were they the Philistine weapons that were kept there and captured now the site was completely destroyed and this was found in the destruction we believe the Philistines destroyed the site but how they got there is another question now it's very interesting these are curved sword blades and two hundred years later or three hundred years later in the famous reliefs of Sinak or of the King of Assyria which are now in the British Museum and were uncovered in his palace at Nineveh we have the spoils of war being carried out by the Assyrians from the side of the city that we're currently excavating right now and we see one of the Assyrian soldiers one guy here is carrying a stack of spears another is pulling a chariot behind him this guy's got to have the shields that he's carrying. This guy here has a whole stack of swords in their sheets on his shoulder and notice they're all curved swords that's very interesting we look at the iconic graphic archeological evidence as well and here when you look at other Assyrian released we see that the Assyrians Actually here's a DNS defending themselves they have curved swords it appears at least it looks like this even though there's a torso dividing and this seems somewhat curved as well and yet the Assyrians themselves don't have curved swords they have straight stories so there's something interesting going on here and we we just wonder you know are these Judeans swords I it's an open question still I don't really know the answer what I do know is that cure but has revolutionized our understanding of the early history of Judah in that same conversation there is state or said to me a couple years ago why are you guys leaving to go to a new site you have found more to help us understand the early history of the Judean Kingdom than most of the rest of us have found in the last thirty years and the answer to that question is simply we excavated thirty percent of the site another thirty percent of the site is exposed bedrock it can't be excavated and you always want to leave something behind for future archaeologists to test your conclusions as they might excavate there in the future to daycare but has become such an important site in Israel that the parks authority has decided to make it a national park and we are very thrilled about that it also means that it will be protected from land developers who are already encroaching on it from that chamish which is a modern city today with a McDonalds and Ace Hardware and everything else and so we are very delighted though and we're moving forward what we also know is that almost every single one of the lack of evidence arguments that were made in two thousand and six were answered with the beginning of our excavations at here but in two thousand and seven and what this helps us understand is this that sometimes we may not have all. All the answers when we read the Word of God Sometimes we may have questions and sometimes we have made maybe we may have doubts because after all we're covering a huge expanse of history when we study the Word of God But this is the sure thing that the Word of God is the inspired word of God and even though we might not have all the answers the God of heaven does have the answers and sometimes it may just be a matter of time before some of those answers are found and sometimes some of those answers will never be found and we won't know those answers until we're sitting at the feet of Christ Himself and can go over some of those questions with him but this is what we can be sure of that history as it's recorded in the Bible is history and it's not only history it's his story of how he works and interacts in our lives and how he has done that through the centuries from the very beginning of creation when he said Let there be light to the present time when we still have the light of God's word illuminating our lives today. There is still a quest for King David and the rest of the story that's another lecture for us today I want to just come back to that conference that we had at the American Jewish university after it was over and after I was done with the presentation we had a question and answer period and after that question answer period with all the four presenters was done I was walked to the corner where I had been sitting over here and got my stuff together and crowds of people started coming around me and I remember one elderly Jewish gentleman with the Keepon his head he grasped my hand with both of his hands and he grasped it and shook it and shook it and shook it it was one of those handshakes you know that become a little awkward after a while and and just shook it and shook it and shook it and he said thank you thank you so much for what you presented here today he says because this is what I came here to hear. I ended my presentation with this and I'll end it with this today. Without David there is no defeat of Goliath in the Bible without David there is no writing of seventy three Psalms that are still spoken and sung at synagogues and churches around the world every Sabbath without David there is no defeat after he becomes king of the Philistines once and for all without David there is no capital that is a stablished in Jerusalem a capital that still serves the country of Israel to this day after three thousand years without David there is no. History of a king that follows him and builds a temple to the Lord in Jerusalem without David there is no throne that continues to be occupied until the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians and five eighty six B.C. but perhaps more importantly without David. There is no promise for a messiah that comes through the line of Jesse his father and through David and I want to turn in closing with you to the last chapter of the Bible because you see David is mentioned more frequently in the Bible than any other single person. In history in Biblical history he is mentioned more frequently than any other individual Abraham is not mentioned more often to David not even the revered Moses is mentioned more often than David David is mentioned almost one thousand times in the Bible all the way from it's from his first occurrence in the Book of Ruth of course of course was the grandmother to David all the way down through history but it is in chapter twenty two the last the very last chapter of the. Bible chapter twenty two where Jesus himself is speaking in verse sixteen and this is what Jesus says I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches I am the root and the offspring of David the Bright and Morning Star. We are looking forward to the coming of Jesus and if we understand who Jesus is we will understand who David is and so it's not a coincidence that this debate is going on in scholarship today because the devil would like nothing more than to undermine who Jesus is and undermined a little history but we have a word made more sure because Jesus Christ came into this world to seek and to save the last the root and the offspring of David let us by our heads for prayer Heavenly Father thank you for sending Jesus and thank you for inspiring a young boy named David who simply went down to the armies of Israel that day to take his brother's a lunch in a few words from his father Jesse. Thank you for his courage as he gazed out as that at the taunting words of Goliath as they echoed across that you love Valley today then. Today the you love Valley is a quiet place. It is peaceful. It is filled with flowers in the spring time as there are flowers in this valley here in San Bernardino during this time. But it is interesting that just there in that valley. The battle over the Bible still rages on. For in that valley there is a huge satellite complex where three A.B.N. is streaming live its messages from that valley to the entire Middle East and to all of Asia. And we thank you Lord. For your word that is still alive and well today we pray Lord that you would raise up not only one David but that you will raise up an army of youth today in this time in which we live an army of youth that will be faithful to your word faithful not only to its history but to its prophetic message that is rooted in history that prophetic message that that promised Jesus is the Messiah and it was fulfilled and that promise is that Jesus will come soon we hope in this generation Lord God please bless each person here today thank you for the Sabbath and thank you for Jesus Christ. Our Savior. This media was brought to you by. A website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio. You would like to listen to more. Visit. Or.


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