ISRAEL - What Did King David's Israel Look Like?

Arno Froese

“The biblical story is about nomads,” Tel Aviv University Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef said. “Almost everybody agrees that ancient Israel emerged from a nomadic society, and the same is true for the neighboring kingdoms—the Moabites, the Edomites, the Ammonites—which were established by coalitions of nomadic tribes.”

As Ben-Yosef noted in a paper recently published in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, up until now, the consensus among scholars has been that before a society became sedentary, it could not be considered complex or evolved. For this reason, many have dismissed the notion that ancient Israel could be as powerful as described in the Bible.

“The problem is that when we think about nomads we immediately think about modern Bedouin and we find ourselves stuck in a certain mental box,” Ben-Yosef noted. “It is time to leave this box.”

“At the same time, archaeologists have wanted to be important players in the discussion about the historicity of the Bible and have claimed that they could see more than they could,” Ben-Yosef argued. “However, now we have very strong evidence that this approach was wrong and that what we thought about nomads in the ancient Land of Israel was wrong.”

So what did the contemporary kingdoms of David and Solomon look like?

“As it was common at the time, it was a mixed society with some people living in tents and others in buildings,” Ben-Yosef said. “As the biblical author tells us, with time, more people settled but many continued to live in tents all the way to the destruction of the First Temple.”

“The biblical text is complex and it does contain some biases and exaggerations, but I believe it contains much more truth than many assume,” Ben-Yosef said.

“We cannot use archaeology in the way it has been used until today to study the historicity of the Bible, we need to acknowledge the reality,” he concluded. “We cannot just continue to look for walls, our rules need to change.”, 3 November 2021

Arno's Commentary

These respectable archaeologists are attempting to uncover something that is already documented. The Bible confirms archaeology, not vice versa.

Speaking of the Biblical text, Ben-Yosef states, “I believe it contains much more truth than many assume.” Rightly spoken and rightly written.

There is one important item that makes Israel unique: the prophetic Word. Repeatedly, the prophets proclaimed that everything would be destroyed in Israel. Even Jesus prophesied: “There shall not be one left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2b). 

When we examine Israel’s archaeological treasures, we only find walls, stones, and other less significant discoveries documenting the existence of Jews in Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

When we look at other empires, there is plenty of evidence to be found. Let’s list some: Anu Ziggurat of Uruk in Iraq, 4000-3800 BC; the Tarxien Temples in Malta, 3150 BC; the Pyramid of Djoser in Egypt, 2667-2648 BC; the Ziggurat of Ur in Iraq, 2100 BC; and innumerable more, all testifying to the glory of a long since ended empire.

Yes, broken down walls of formerly glorious buildings are constantly discovered in Israel. But nothing of significance when compared to the Roman Colosseum, for example, which still stands today. Israel is different, unique, and incomparable to any other land or people.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety