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Rare Biblical Discovery Traces Jewish Presence in Israel back to King David


A rare archaeological find offers fresh insight into the biblical era of King David, as recorded in Scripture, and ancient Jewish history in the Land of Israel.

A unique inscription from the time of King David was discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Valley of Elah, Israel’s Antiquity Authority (IAA) announced Tuesday.

The Valley of Elah, located near the modern city of Beit Shemesh, is famous as the spot where the Israelites were encamped when David slew the giant Philistine warrior Goliath.

A roughly 3,000-year-old ceramic jar broken into numerous shards was discovered in 2012 in excavations carried out by Professor Yosef Garfinkel of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and lecturer Saar Ganor, directors of the IAA’s Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project. Letters written in ancient Canaanite script could be discerned on several shards, sparking the curiosity of researchers.

Intensive restoration work conducted in the laboratories of the IAA’s Artifacts Treatment Department, during which hundreds of pottery shards were glued together to form a whole jar, solved the riddle – the jar was inscribed with the name: Eshba’al Ben Bada.

“This is the first time that the name Eshba’al has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country,” Garfinkel and Ganor stated. “Eshba’al Ben Shaul, who ruled over Israel at the same time as David [when the Kingdom was divided], is known from the Bible. Eshba’al was murdered by assassins and decapitated and his head was brought to David in Hebron as described in the Book of Samuel II, chapters 3-4.”


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