Bible breakthrough: How 3,000-year-old inscription proves existence of House of David

For centuries, Jewish people have struggled to place their identity in the context of the day. Whether that is a result of persecution, war, or extradition, Jews have repeatedly attempted to draw attention to Israel and relics they claim prove it is their homeland.

Meanwhile, Palestinians claim the same thing – that the lands encompassing present-day Israel, Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza strip, are their own.

Both have certain platforms for their claims, as the lands have, over the centuries, been occupied by multiple ethnicities.

These go as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Assyrians, Ancient Greeks and the Crusaders.

The question has, therefore, waged an intense war of who can prove what.

During BBC Radio 4’s ‘Beyond Belief: Archaeology and Religion’ podcast in 2014, host Ernie Rea interviewed a person who claimed to know for sure how the House of David was once a tangible, material item, and not simply a story.

Jeffery Smith is a Christian Zionist – a movement started in 19th century that promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine in an effort to form a Jewish state.

Mr Rea asked him: “Let’s take one major example, let’s take the Kingdom of David story, absolutely central to the Jews’ understanding of themselves and their state.

“When you go to Israel do you find evidence that story is true?”

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Mr Smith replied: “Well, yes you do.

“One of the quite historic finds was in 1993 up in the north of Israel, the Tel Dan Stele of these stone slabs with an inscription probably by one of the Syrian kings.

“They’re from at least eight centuries before Christ.

“An inscription that he had defeated the King of Israel and the King of the House of David.


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“Now, it wasn’t sort of Jewish propaganda.

“It was a recognition by an enemy of Israel that the House of David existed and was significant.”

The Tel Dan Stele is in several pieces and contains several lines of Aramaic, a language closely related to Hebrew and most commonly used among Jews.

The surviving inscription recounts the details of the killing of Jehoram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel and the king of the House of David.

The writings corroborate passages from the Bible.

Religious scholars have suggested that the inscriptions were possibly carried out by Hazael.

Hazel was an Aramean king, whose language would have been Aramaic, and is mentioned in the Second Book of Kings as having conquered the Land of Israel.

Although, Hazel was unsuccessful in attempting to take Jerusalem.

The rendering of the inscription as having meant the House of David has been consistently disputed.

One point of argument comes when translating the inscription – when it is looked at, the place where “House of David” apparently appears is without a word divider between the two parts.

However, many, including Anson F. Rainey, distinguished professor of Eastern culture, have said such presence or absence of word-dividers is normally inconsequential for interpretation.

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