This month’s issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review has an important article on Khirbet Qeifaya. The archaeologist overseeing the dig has concluded that the city is from the time of David, and this conclusion is supported by carbon dating and the pottery found at the site. About 40 archaeologists have confirmed the pottery’s dating.
Now, the reason this matters is the city has a wall — built of over 200,000 tons of stone — the sort of wall only a strong, centralized government could build. And this contradicts the conventional dating that Israel didn’t have a stong, centralized government until generations later. Of course, the conventional theory contradicts the scriptures, but to this date, it had the weight of the archaeological evidence behind it.
The New York Times explains,
But the archaeological record of that kingdom is exceedingly sparse — in fact almost nonexistent — and a number of scholars today argue that the kingdom was largely a myth created some centuries later. A great power, they note, would have left traces of cities and activity, and been mentioned by those around it. Yet in this area nothing like that has turned up — at least until now. …
Not only are there walls, but there are elaborate gates. The archaeologist concludes,
“Khirbet Qeifaya is clearly a well-planned fortified city, and not a rural settlement.”
Moreover, inscriptions found at the site showing that the Israelites were writing in Hebrew at the time of David, which, again, contradicts claims made by many archaeologists. As the New York Times says,
A specialist in ancient Semitic languages at Hebrew University, Haggai Misgav, says the writing, on pottery using charcoal and animal fat for ink, is in so-called proto-Canaanite script and appears to be a letter or document in Hebrew, suggesting that literacy may have been more widespread than is generally assumed. That could play a role in the larger dispute over the Bible, since if more writing turns up it suggests a means by which events could have been recorded and passed down several centuries before the Bible was likely to have been written.
Ultimately, this find eliminates one of the ways in which archaeological allegedly contradicts the Bible, removing a major source of doubt. BAR reports,
Put this together with the extraordinary 1993 find at Tel Dan of an inscription by an enemy of Israel that refers to the “dynasty [literally, ‘house’] of David,” it begins to look as if King David lived and that he ruled a unified nation-state.