Fit for a King: Find Testifies to David's Royalty

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- When Eilat Mazar realized she'd discover an ancient structure near Jerusalem, she turned to the Bible to help explain what she'd found. She learned that this new discovery supports the biblical accounts of King David and his son Solomon.

Second Samuel 5:11 says the Phoenician king Kiram "sent messengers to David and cedar trees, and carpenters and masons, and they built David a house."

"So it's a palace/fortress well built for good reasons, which is probably the palace that Hiram built for king David," Mazar speculated.

"We know its date, which is around 1000. That is around the time of King David. The Phoenician style of construction is quite emphasized. The Phoenicians are great builders as we learn from our excavations in Phoenician sites," she said.

Inside, the team found more evidence of royalty, from ancient seals used by court officials, to a variety of carved ivory utensils -- too expensive for a regular home, but perfect for a palace.

Mazar explained the "major part of the structure is still hidden and needs to be excavated." She believes "what we have in hand is less than a quarter."

A New Discovery

Across the street from the City of David, Mazar is directing another dig. She told CBN News just outside the Temple Mount she found more royal ruins. This time from David's son Solomon.

In 2010, excavations revealed a giant wall more than 220 feet long and almost 20 feet high. Mazar said this is the city wall described in 1 Kings 3, which says that Solomon built "the wall all around Jerusalem." It connected David's old city with Solomon's new temple.

"And we can really say that the biblical description of King Solomon building the wall of Jerusalem around suits so well what we see (in the ruins).This is the only place that a fortification line is needed. It's surrounding that area; it connects to the Temple Mount. It's everything that fits the biblical story," Mazar argued.

Critics were quick to dispute Mazar's conclusion, but she had carbon dating on her side. Pottery shards found at the ground floor dated to the 10th century B.C. when Solomon was king.

"Sometime in the late 10th century, early 9th century, the king of Jerusalem built a most highly skilled fortification that indicated it's a strong regime, centralized, with great abilities. But then, we have this biblical story that tells about King Solomon doing the same thing. So, he did, and then like, 50 years later, some other king did the same thing?"

She suggests this is enough evidence for crtics to stop "fighting against the Bible." Mazar claims, "The reality is that a sophisticated fortification was built by King Solomon." And what has been discovered is "only part of it," a very big part.

Inside the wall were more clues pointing to King Solomon. 1 Kings 4:7 says that he had "12 governors who provided food for the king and his household." And inside the gate Mazar's team found evidence of their work: jar handles with seals inscribed "to the king" and large clay jars for storing grain.

Mazar believes they came from the royal bakery.

"On one of the vessels, there is an inscription, an incision in ancient Hebrew saying "lazar ha'o" to the minister that was in charge of the "o." That's probably the ophim, in Hebrew, which is bakery," she said.

But Mazar's hunt for the house or David isn't over yet. Next on her agenda is another royal palace. This time she'll be looking for the house of King Solomon."

"Whatever I'll be able to add and contribute to the excavation of Jerusalem, this is my huge privilege. There is only one Jerusalem in the world. But it's not like I'll start or end anything. We are only at the beginning of it and it's going to be generations to come," Mazar predicted.

 

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Erin Zimmerman

Erin Zimmerman

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