In recent decades, archaeologists and historians have fiercely debated the existence of the biblical kingdom of David. Recently, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, a renowned archaeologist and researcher, claimed to have discovered a network of ancient cities that he believes are part of King David’s empire. However, not all scholars support this theory.
In his paper, published in a peer-reviewed open-access journal, Prof. Garfinkel claims that the five cities were built in the early 10th century B.C., which is 200 years earlier than previously thought. If his theory is correct, this could confirm the existence of the Kingdom of Judah and the powerful reign of King David.
One of Garfinkel’s key arguments is the similar design of the cities and the parallel walls covering their interior. This indicates that these cities were part of a single network and were closely connected to each other. They were also connected by a series of roads, indicating that they belonged to the same kingdom.
However, the historical record of David is very limited, and scholars still argue about how real his reign was. According to the Bible, David was a simple shepherd who became king of Judah and then of all the tribes of Israel. However, Garfinkel’s new study indicates that David may have been not only a humble shepherd but also a powerful leader who controlled a bustling empire.
“Minimalists want to say that David ruled a small village and there was no kingdom, but I say there was a kingdom with fortified cities within a day’s walk of Jerusalem,” Garfinkel says. He notes that his theory is not maximalist and does not attempt to prove the historical accuracy of the Bible, but merely offers a new perspective on the biblical narrative.
However, there are scholars who do not support this theory. They believe that Garfinkel’s conclusions are too simplistic and reductive. They point out the many small details with which they disagree and the problematic generalizations over a wide period of time.
“It’s like when a fisherman tells you what fish he caught, and with each story his hands get wider and wider,” says Prof. Aren Mair. He acknowledges that it is possible that a small kingdom may have existed in Jerusalem, but notes that we don’t know what influence it had.
In the end, the debate over the existence of the biblical kingdom of David continues. Some scholars support Garfinkel’s theory, believing it to be realistic and consistent with the biblical text. Others, however, reject this theory, considering it too simplistic and an attempt to confirm the biblical narrative.