David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition

By Israel Finkelstein, Neil Asher Silberman

There was an explosion of contemporary discoveries in biblical archaeology. those reveals have shed strong mild on figures and tales from the Bible -- and fully replaced what we all know approximately a few of its most famed characters. The reputations of the 1st nice kings, David and Solomon, developed over enormous quantities of years. In David and Solomon, best archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman specialize in the 2 nice leaders as a window into the full biblical period. David and Solomon covers a thousand years of old civilization, setting apart truth from legend and proving that the roots of the western culture lie very deep.

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Born of the tribe of Benjamin, he seemed at the level of Israel’s background at a time of significant concern. on the conflict of Ebenezer, the strong Philistine armies routed the Israelite forces and captured the Israelites’ sacred relic, the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4). within the wake of this nationwide disaster, the elders of Israel traveled to Ramah, the house of Israel’s non secular chief, the elderly prophet Samuel, to call for that he rent for them a king, that “we additionally will be like any the countries, and that our king may perhaps govern us and exit sooner than us and struggle our battles” (1 Samuel 8:20). regardless of his misgivings, Samuel divine guide and, ceremoniously pouring a vial of oil over Saul’s head, introduced: “Has no longer the LORD anointed you to be prince over his humans Israel? and also you shall reign over the folks of the LORD and you'll retailer them from the hand in their enemies around approximately” (1 Samuel 10:1). He thereby declared Saul to be Israel’s first king and “messiah”—in the unique feel of the Hebrew notice mashiach, “anointed one. ” The chiefdom of Saul and Ish-bosheth What went improper during this unique choice? How and why did David, a humble shepherd from Bethlehem, come to inherit the function of king of Israel? these are the vital questions that the biblical narrative solutions, and as we'll see, they're deeply attached to a easy clash of later Israelite history—over the relative righteousness and gear of the south as opposed to the north. whereas David is the preeminent guy of Judah and the southern hill nation, Saul is the very personification of the righteous fury of the northern Israelite highlands. as soon as anointed, Saul grew to become the best of holy warriors, prime the Israelites to attractive victories over the Ammonites, Amelekites, and Philistines. but even if Saul and his son Jonathan as a consequence routed the Philistine invaders and persevered to struggle Israel’s enemies “on each side,” supplying Israel “out of the fingers of these who plundered them” (1 Samuel 14:47, 48), Saul’s cultic missteps and insanity grew, eventually disqualifying him from his function because the actual savior of Israel. As David profits popularity all through Israel for his heroic toppling of Goliath and the ladies of Israel sing his praises—“Saul has slain his hundreds of thousands, and David his ten hundreds of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7), Saul’s rage opposed to David grows murderous. David has no selection yet to escape for his existence. we've got already defined David’s bandit days within the wasteland, his starting to be status all through Israel, and his shut escapes from the revenge of the more and more risky Israelite king. but the unexpected finish of Saul’s tragic reign comes no longer in a violent disagreement with David, yet in a showdown with an impressive Philistine strength some distance to the north. along with his insanity gradually development and with the Philistines positive, he's taking his personal lifestyles in a sad act of desperation at the battlefield (1 Samuel 31:4). Saul’s tragic fall and David’s upward push are hence inseparable within the biblical narrative. yet is there any strategy to separate historical past from legend?

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