Christian Leadership Center



Biblical Archaeology Index


Class Twelve

THE IRON AGE IIA  (1050-930 B.C.) 


"The United Monarchy"


The Theological Background of the Monarchy



Iron Age IIA (1050 or sometimes 1020-930 B.C.) is the United Monarchy; and Iron Age IIB (930-587 B.C.) is the divided monarchy.

The material for the United Monarchy is the books of 1 Samuel through 1 Kings 12.  In 1 Samuel the story of Samuel forms the first seven chapters; then chapters 8-31 are about Saul and the transition to David; and 2 Samuel is about David; and then Solomon is treated in the beginning of Kings.

The constant threat of the Philistines was the immediate cause of the desire and need for a king.  These migratory Sea Peoples were confronting the Israelites, and both peoples were trying to take the land.  The Philistines grew stronger and stronger, and Israel, without unity and regular leadership, would not have survived.  Basically, freedom was abused in the time of the judges because the tribes were not responsibly coming together to help--in fact, some like Judah were betraying people like Samson of Dan into the hands of the Philistines.

God had from the beginning determined that someday there would be a king in Jerusalem over all the people of Israel (mankind was created to rule and have dominion, kings were going to come from Sarah’s womb [Gen. 17], and the scepter would be from Judah [Gen. 49]; and God had chosen Jerusalem and guided Abram to that spot [Gen. 12, 22]).  But there were three requirements for monarchs: (1) they had to be the elect of God, chosen by God and anointed by the prophet (note Hosea 8:4a and the rebuke on northern Israel: “you have set up kings, but not by me”);  (2) they had to have charisma, a divine gift of ability; and (3) they had to be servants of the LORD.

The first two are dependent on God for their reality.  The third, however, was dependent on the human.  There were three characteristics of a “servant of the LORD.”

They had to be rightly motivated to serve the interests of God, the true Sovereign.  The ruler was to see it as a service to God's kingdom, God's flock, God's land.  It was a stewardship--theocratically motivated.  Saul did not fit with the program. (The Lord's prayer, by the way, fits the quintessence of the ideal king--which is why it is in Matthew in the charter of the kingdom).

For example, before the time of David the neglect of the ark is very telling.  It was at Kiriath Jearim; but at Beth Shemesh (priests who knew the Law) they looked in and were struck with plague.  It sat for 20 years at Aminadab--neglected, because there was a lack of concern for the ark.  It should have been the center of the nation.  David recognized this; it had to be moved (see Psalm 132).

Also the attitude towards the LORD's anointed is reflective of this motivation to service.  When two men were anointed, Saul sought to rub out David, but David would not harm the king.  The two have a different orientation to the theocracy.

The monarch had to be in obedience to the Word of the LORD.  The king received the Word through the Priest (Torah) and the Prophet (dabar, oracle, word, fresh revelation).  There are therefore three theocratic administrators, and the king is third.

However, Saul overthrew and disregarded Samuel as a priest (1 Sam. 13) by offering sacrifices, and so was denied dynastic succession.  He then later killed the priests at Nob.  In 1 Samuel 15 he then disregarded Samuel as a prophet.  Saul was deposed.  In 1 Samuel 16 David was anointed.

The monarch had to be dependent on the Master.  He was to own nothing, but depend on Yahweh for his needs and know His will for directions.  In Deuteronomy 17 the three prohibitions which made up the royal warning were money, horses, and wives.  Money was necessary for the king, horses necessary for war, wives for political alliances--in worldly empires.  But the ideal king was to depend on the LORD.


Saul and Gibeah


In this course we are interested in the archaeological evidence of the monarchy.  The study will focus on the royal cities: Saul and Gibeah, David and Jerusalem, and Solomon and the royal cities of Jerusalem, Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer.  We begin with Saul.


His Home: Gibeah (1 Sam. 10:26)


1. Identification.  Tell el Ful is 3 miles north of Jerusalem on a high ridge connecting Jerusalem with Shechem.  The oldest datable Israelite fortification found there, dated by the pottery found in it, is to the age of Saul (ca. 1029-1000).  It most probably served as the headquarters of the king when he was engaged in conflict with the Philistines (see figure).

2. Casemate Walls.  The distinctive feature is the casemate walls (see figure) which are actually double walls with rooms in between the two sides, rooms that could be filled with rock and rubble in a serious battle so that they became massively thick walls.  This reflects Hittite design from the Late Bronze Age.  They serve as an example of the type of fortification which enjoyed great vogue in the land in the 11th  and 10th centuries, and sporadically later.

“The fortress wall of Saul consisted of two shells, each solidly constructed of hammer-dressed masonry, 4.5 feet thick; the inner one about 3.5 feet wide.  Between the two shells was a narrow space divided by transverse partitions into a series of long, narrow chambers.  Some of these chambers were filled with stone and earth; others were left empty for use as store-rooms and were connected by doors with the inner fortress.  The total width of the wall could thus be as much as about 14.75 feet, or as little as 4.5 feet.  The casemate device was a clever way in which to provide great (and greater apparent) strength with the least possible expenditure of effort.  It was even cleverer in the way it utilized all possible storage space inside the wall.  Other walls of the same character and nearly the same measurements are the casemate walls of Shechem, which may go back to the middle of the eleventh century (the time of Abimelech, Judg. 9) and the casemate walls of Tell Beit Mirsim and Beth Shemesh, which belong to the beginning of the tenth century, that is, to the early part of David's reign when he was fortifying Judah against Philistine aggression” (W. F. Albright, AP, pp. 121ff.).

3. An iron plowpoint.  This item in the tell was hailed as the earliest datable iron implement found to date in the uplands of Palestine. It also points to the continuous agricultural activity in the area.

4. Conclusion.  “. . . Saul was only a rustic chieftain as far as architecture and the amenities of life were concerned” (Albright, FSAC, p. 224).


His Military Campaigns

Aharoni says, “Saul's first military action was not against the Philistines, but rather deliverance of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites.  Some residents from Jabesh-gilead already had affinities with the tribe of Benjamin (Ju. 21:8ff)” (Land of the Bible, p. 254).

Thereafter Saul was engaged in conflicts with the Philistines, the most famous being the battle with Goliath.  But Saul died in war with them (by his own hand); the Philistines took his body and hung it up on the walls at Beth Shean (across from Gilboa).  People from Jabesh-gilead came and took it down (the account is the last chapter of 1 Samuel, and David’s response the first chapter of 2 Samuel).


David and the City of Jerusalem


David was a warrior, and not a builder.  After his anointing, he spent the early years running from Saul whom he served.  David ruled for the first seven years in Hebron (1010-1003 B.C.), and then with Joab's able assistance took the city of Jerusalem. [In 1997 A.D. the State of Israel celebrated the 3000th year anniversary of the City of David].

His Wilderness Stronghold

During the days of his flight from Saul's madness, David hid in the desert of Judea with his mercenary army.  The text says “and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold (mesudah).”  This very well may be identified with Masadah  (see Y. Yadin, Masadah), the natural fortress on the high plateau next to the Dead Sea, which later was built into a full residence by Herod the Great (see the later discussion of Masadah under “Herod”).


His Capital: Jerusalem

Now we must focus our attention on the details of David's taking of Jerusalem and establishing it as the capital city.

1. Geography.  As can be seen from the diagrams, the city of Jerusalem sits on several hills divided by valleys.  The Hinnom Valley runs on the western side of the cluster of hills; it lent its name to the “Valley of Hinnom” or Gehennah, because of the burning of rubbish there.  The smaller valley coming up into the heart of the hills is the Tyropoeon Valley.  The largest valley is the Kidron Valley that divides the site of Jerusalem from the mountains on the east, Mount Scopus in the north, the Mount of Olives hills directly east, and what was become known as the Mount of Offence in the south down where the valleys meet (see figure).

Between the Hinnom valley and the Kidron Valley is the old city of Jerusalem.  Its size and shape changed over the centuries, as we shall see.  What is called the upper city is the western part, namely on and around Mount Zion.    The lower part is actually the city of David, the sloping hill between the Tyropoeon Valley and Kidron Valley.  At the top of this hill, known as Ophel, was the ancient religious site, probably Mount Moriah, and most likely the place that Melchizedek made his sacrifices.  Here David would buy the threshing floor and here Solomon would build the temple.

The summit is about five acres, and then the hill has a terracing effect down to where the valleys meet (see diagrams and drawings of the city of David) .

2. The Identification of the Watershaft.   According to 2 Samuel 5:8 Joab took the city by coming up the water system and into the city.  This was the best way to take the place, because from the 18th to the 8th centuries the Jebusite wall was in place--and coming up the valleys would have been difficult.

The Hebrew word is sinnor (tsinnor), originally translated “gutter.”  It indicates that Joab went up the watershaft.  Albright translated it as “grappling hook.”  The diagram of the waterways under the city show how this would have been done, although the archaeologists disagree on which shaft may have been used (see diagram).

3. The Identification of the “Millo.”   According to 2 Samuel 5:9 there was a “millo” with the building of the city.  This has been explained as a “tower.”  But the word means “filling” (male’, pronounced mah-lay) and so some have suggested that it was a tower built over the depression or ditch or breach in the wall that was filled to provide the defense of the city.  But it more likely is a “terrace fill” (see figure).  Kenyon says,

“The Middle Bronze Age town had been built on rock following its steep slope up to the west.  In about the 13th century B.C. a great town planning operation was carried out, in which a series of terraces were constructed as a basis for a much more grandiose town.  These terraces were taken over and enlarged, and may in fact be the ‘Millo’ (or filling) which David and his successors are said to have built or repaired” (Archaeology in the Holy Land, p. 243).

4. The Identification of the Wall.  The same text tells of the wall that David had built or rebuilt.  Kenyon started by Gihon and found 45 feet of the wall plus artifacts--the rest is a careful guess from the contour of the hill.  Kenyon writes, “It was in fact that the defenses on the crest were late, Post-Exilic and Maccabean, and that the original town wall was 160 feet further east and 83 feet lower on the slope.  This wall proved to date from c. 1800 B.C. and to have continued in use to the 8th century B.C.  It was thus the wall of the Jebusite town and the wall of the City of David” (ibid.).

5.  The Identification of the Threshing Floor.  At the center of the Muslim Sacred enclosure called the Haram-es-Sherif, “the noble sanctuary” (where the golden dome is today) below the dome of the rock, erected by Abd al-Malik in 691 A.D., is a large boulder, a huge flat rock, venerated since ancient times as the place where David built an altar and Solomon erected the Holy of Holies.  Kenyon argued that “the axis of the Temple ran east and west, and that the Temple lay to the west of the sacred rock now covered by Abd al Melek's great Dome” (p. 245).  But more recent studies have argued that the temple was over the rock; and a rectangular depression cut into the rock may have been the place the ark of the covenant was placed.

6.  The Identification of the Tomb of David.  A traditional tomb of David (see 1 Kings 2:10) is shown on the southwest hill of Jerusalem, but claims cannot be taken seriously.  That tomb itself cannot be earlier than Roman times (tombs have been excavated on the southeast hill).


Solomon and the Royal Cities



David's city was small, only Mount Ophel (the then Mount Zion).  Solomon's city was extended to include Ophel and Moriah.  Hezekiah later expanded it greatly to the west.  But at the return from exile Nehemiah once again had only the small part, the top of Ophel.  The Herodians in Gospel times encompassed it all.  So the walls of the city have changed over the centuries.

Josephus called the hill to the west of the valley Mount Zion, and it was thought that Old Jerusalem was there for two reasons: (1) Josephus, and (2) Zion is 240 feet higher than Ophel.  But today all agree that biblical Mount Zion is Ophel:  (1) there is no water on the other Zion, (2) no artifactual remains are on modern Zion, but from 1800 B.C. on down there are artifactual remains on Ophel.  So in the Bible Zion refers to Ophel, or Ophel and Moriah, and not to what is today called Mount Zion.

Solomon's building program is recorded in 1 Kings 9:15: he built the temple, his palace, the Millo, the wall, and then Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.  So first we are looking at Jerusalem.

1. The Temple

We assume that the Jebusite wall of the city remained.  Solomon built the House of Yahweh on Mount Moriah.  There had been a threshing floor there (always on a hill outside the city [Araunah's], and usually reverenced as a shrine).

The evidence for this being the spot of the temple is clear: the current dome, the Roman Capital, Herod's temple, Zerubbabel's--all the way back to Solomon there is solid tradition.

The temple would have been on a raised platform, just as the Dome is today.

The locus of the court is less clear.  Today the wall built by Herod around the Sanctuary, the courtyard, is clear.  But the question is where Solomon's courtyard was.  Josephus tells us that Herod's was larger than Solomon's. 

The eastern wall and the golden gate is probably the same today as it was for Solomon, because it follows the contour of the hill. 

The southern wall is easily located due to the straight joint found on the eastern wall.  The 32 meters added are Herodian masonry.  The stones of the earlier section are Persian; Zerubbabel would have stayed on Solomon's line. 

The western wall is decided upon due to the salient south of it--in other words, the present salient wall jutting out was built by the Romans, and Herod quarried outside of it, rejecting it.  Herod's line goes back to the ancient one.  Besides, the contour of Mount Moriah demands this to be the line since it is equidistant from the top--it is geographically right.  So the Herodian wall is still 50 feet from the old western wall of Solomon.  If this is so, the western wall comes very close to the actual temple, and so the northern wall would have come close as well in all probability. 

But the northern wall is impossible to determine.  We simply draw it in line with the rock.             

The Temple building itself was an elaborate improvement on the biblical tabernacle.  The Bible does not fault Solomon for this, or for using contemporary religious forms and architecture, or for the excessive use of gold and silver.  He apparently took the lead from the tabernacle in the wilderness, and wished to make this temple even more glorious to Yahweh (see diagrams and drawings).

There is evidence of Phoenician influence for the character of the temple.  A similar plan for the complex has been found in various locations.  Identical motifs have been found at Arslan Tash.  And the building method of “three corners of hewn stone and a corner of cedar beams” was found at Ras Shamra. 

2. The Palace

Two sites are proposed for the palace: (1) next to the Temple, or (2) between the south wall of the temple and the north wall of Ophel.  The question is how we know the area between the city and the temple was walled.  There is a casemate wall there, but the archaeologists messed it up since they were not looking for it.  The phrase in 1 Kings 11:27 says “he repaired the breach between them,” possibly referring to the ravine or the area between the temple and the city.

He also repaired the “millo.”  These are the terraces on the east of Ophel, which were always subject to earthquakes.

3. The Royal Cities

The best source for the study of the Solomonic cities is Kenyon's, Royal Cities of the Old Testament. Kenyon says that the cities Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were built up by Solomon as private property of the king.  Her evidence:


(a)        they are linked in a common levy,

(b)        Gezer was a dowry gift from the Pharaoh so it was personal propertyfor sure (this also shows Pharaoh still has some control in the land), and

(c)        Megiddo and Hazor were at crucial passes on the trade routes and were unoccupied before Iron IIA.  Solomon expanded to take three royal cities which were strategically located.  Prior to this Egypt had control of them. 


Because Solomon has “empire,” he had to have these crucial cities.

The map of the settlement of the tribes (see drawing) will be useful in locating some of these cities, as well as recalling where the tribes had settled.

Hazor.  The walls of Hazor run north and south directly through the center of the lower city.  The western ten acres constituted the royal city.  It was entered from the North-East.   The walls were casemate, five meters thick, filled in during the time of war, but used for living quarters or stables in time of peace.  The gate was a typical Solomonic gate.  The wide passage  was 4.5 meters wide with two towers at the entrance, and sleeper walls where soldiers were (see figures and drawings).

Megiddo.  The walls of Stratum IV were not casemate, but inset/outset walls.  Yadin thought that something was wrong with the wall, and so he went to Megiddo himself and dug up 50 meters and found the casemate walls of Solomon.  So Stratum IV is Iron, and not that of Solomon.  The stables at Megiddo then are not Solomon's either, but probably from the time of Ahab.  Stratum V is Solomonic--like Hazor.

The gates have the same system of four gates, but something at Megiddo is different.  There is a double access with a provisionary guardroom and entrance (at Gezer too), and then a left turn of the entrance road into the city.  The masonry is very fine; this is Phoenician masonry, belonging to Solomon as well--an attestation to his employment of Phoenician masons.

In Megiddo the royal palace (building #1723) was across from the entrance of the city.  1 Kings 4 refers to this as an administrative center (see “Solomon's Palace at Megiddo” in IEJ, 16, p. 183).  The article compares this palace with others, such as Zinjirli.  It enables us to reconstruct (possibly) 1 Kings 7:6-12 of Solomon's palace--it fits perfectly only on a larger scale.

In the diagram (see drawing), H is the portico, the entrance into the palace on the NW side of the throne room (where the throne inlaid with ivory was).  G is a stairwell, so we know there were two stories of living quarters (pharaoh's daughter--private).  K is the throne room, and A is the court.  The court is 59 meters (north and south) and 57 meters (east and west)--or about 206 feet by 199 feet. 

Gezer.  This was the city in the south, the dowry given to Solomon by his father-in-law, Pharaoh.  It has the same basic patterns of walls and gates as seen in the other Solomonic cities (see the diagrams).

4.         Arad

In conjunction with the Solomonic royal cities we need to study Arad, the ancient Canaanite city on the border of the Negev, on the road from Edom to Hebron and Jerusalem.  Our interest is not the old Canaanite city on the lower parts of the slope,19 however, but the fortress on the top of the hill.  The construction is about 50 meters square, and so not a typical city--it is a fortress built by Solomon (See diagram). 

This fortress has three parts to it: living quarters in the southern part, storage in the northeast part, and a temple in the northwest part (see figures).  The evidence suggests that there was worship here (becoming apostate) from the days of Solomon (ca. 970=930) to Josiah (ca. 625).



a.         The first settlement is the old Canaanite city (EB II) covering 20 acres to the south of the Iron Age fortress and on the lower slopes of the hill.

b.         The Iron Age Citadel remained for centuries, as the different levels of occupation show:


Stratum XII (11th century) is a small, open village (Kenite)

Stratum XI (10th century) is the strong fortress of Solomon

Stratum X (9th century)

Stratum IX-VII (8th-7th centuries)

Stratum VI (6th century) was terminated by Nebuchadnezzar

Stratum V is the Persian period

Stratum IV is the Hellenistic period

Stratum III is Roman

Stratum II is Moslem

Stratum I is Medieval tombs



a.         Stratum XI (Solomonic)

The fortress of the Iron Age is 164 feet square.  In this period the walls are casemate: the outer wall is 63" wide, the inner is 55", and the space between is 80".

There are projecting towers at the ends of the walls, and two in between on each of four sides. 

The main gate is on the east side; it is a three pier gate, but with the casemate wall room may equal Solomon's normal four pier gate.  The gate was violently destroyed (was this by Shishak?).

b.         Stratum X (9th century)

Now there is a solid wall; it is about 13 feet with a zig-zag construction, probably demanded by raids by Shishak or Ben Hadad I.  There is a second, outer wall on the slope of the hill.  The gate is on the eastern side in the center.

There is a water tunnel, a six foot trench, beneath the two walls.  It leads to the cistern cut into the rock beneath the buildings of the citadel.

c.  Strata IX--VII (8th--7th centuries)

The solid wall is retained in this period, with an additional parallel wall giving the appearance of a casemate wall.  The purpose of the additional wall may have been for warriors and equipment.

d.         Stratum VI (6th century)

After the complete destruction of the solid wall, a new casemate wall was constructed with projecting towers.


The Sanctuary

a.         Stratum XII (11th century)

The sanctuary is an open place on the summit of the hill.  The paved area is about 100 feet long and is enclosed by a wall three feet thick.  It contained cult objects: a bamah or high place, a massebah or standing stone, a stone-built altar with pits for bones (in the exact dimensions and style of Exodus).

b.         Stratum XI (10th century)

The sanctuary is located on the NW corner of the citadel's pavement; it is 65 feet long (east-west axis) and 49 feet broad (out of a citadel 164 feet square). 

The plan includes a hekal (the BH word for "temple"--the main room) which is 9 feet by 30 feet.  There is a debir (BH word for "sacred room" in the back, the "most holy place") that projected out of the center of the hekal on the west preceded by 3 steps.  There were two well finished stone incense altars on the steps.  The courtyard is divided by a step (inner part = Ulam or the holy place?).  There are side rooms (see figures).


The accoutrements we have include:

With the hekal there are plastered benches around the wall.  There are two stone slabs flanking the entrance, perhaps recalling Jachin and Boaz (the two pillars at the entrance to Solomon's temple in Jerusalem.

With the debir, there is a small, square paved bamah, and a massebah (standing stone) that had fallen over.  This stela was one meter high with smooth sides and painted red.  Two other standing stones were found built into the walls of the holy of holies, apparently no longer used in the last stages of the sanctuary.

So in the earlier stages of this temple there were two standing stones (cult stones) in the Holy of Holies (compare Tell Dan); the archaeologists have restored these in place.  One suggestion given for them is that the original standing stones and altar were defiled by Shishak and so a second of each had to be placed there.  Another suggestion is that the larger stone was a representation of Yahweh, and the other a representation of a consort for Yahweh.  This would mean that some pagan corruption had crept into this country sanctuary--prompting its destruction by the reformers Hezekiah or Josiah.

With the courtyard, there is an altar for burnt offerings.  This altar is built of un-hewn stones--as Exodus required), stones gathered from the field, with earth (see Exod. 20:25, 27:1).  It is also the exact size of the altar prescribed in Exodus--5 cubits by 5 cubits by 3 cubits high.  The altar was covered by a large flint slab with a channel to drain the blood, and surrounded by two plastered tunnels for collecting sacrificial blood.

Was this shrine, then, an early religious sanctuary before worship was centralized by Solomon in Jerusalem?  Or did this shrine represent a movement alongside the central shrine in the holy city, a border parish as it were?  Was it a movement towards the primitive desert worship, a back to basics movement, that became paganized?  Whatever it was, it remained in use until stratum VII.  Under Hezekiah the altar went out of use, but the hall and the holy of holies remained.  The sanctuary was clearly an Israelite Yahwistic temple established in the tenth century and finally destroyed by Josiah (about the 620s--he utterly destroyed all the high places where priests had been making sacrifices (2 Kings 23:8).20

From later periods we have other objects here:  there was an incense burner from stratum X (9th century); a small bronze figurine of a crouching lion (stratum IX), some pottery bowls (stratum X), two inscribed with the letters qoph  and kaph(?).  There were also two stone blocks (offering tables?).  Then, near the entrance to the temple there were two pottery kilns (strata VIII and VI).  There were also ostraca slips (writing on broken potterty) (see below).


Comparison with Solomon's Temple


*East-west axis is the same as Solomon's temple

*Adjacent rooms to the courtyard the same

*Courtyard with an altar of burnt offering

*debir, hekal, ulam, and courtyard

*width is 20 cubits

*Location of Jochin and Boaz are different: perhaps we should  rethink the location of these pillars in Solomon's temple.  Perhaps they are not in the courtyard before the ulam, but in the ulam before the hekal (cf. 2 Chron. 3:17)--”he set up pillars in front of the holy place” [hekal]).

*length of Solomon's is 40 cubits (+debir is 60 cubits)

*should rethink the covering of the ulam

*the altar is 5 cubits by 3 cubits (see Exod. 27:1 and 2  Chron. 6:13).


c.         Stratum X (9th century)

The hekal is enlarged by about 5 feet on the north.  The wall of the courtyard was moved north, eliminating many rooms.  Rooms were added on the north side up against the altar.  The debir is the same.

N.B. In the first temple (Solomon's) the measurement of 20 cubits uses the common cubit, about 18 inches.  20 cubits in the second temple at Arad are according to the royal cubit, about 21 inches.  All the enlargements were proportionate to this difference.  Note 2 Chronicles 3:3, which says, “These are Solomon's measurements for building the house of God: the length, in cubits of the old standard, was  . . . .”  The standard changed at the end of the 10th century or the beginning of the 9th century.

d.         Stratum VIII: last phase of the altar

e.         Stratum VII: No altar was there.  Was this due to Hezekiah's reform?  See 2 Kings 18:22 and Isaiah 36:7--“and altars Hezekiah suppressed.”

f.          Stratum VI: The temple was not rebuilt.  Casemate walls were cut deliberately through it.  Was this due to Josiah?  “Further, Josiah suppressed all the hill shrines in the cities of Samaria.”



There were about 100 ostraca found here from the Iron Age; these were all in Hebrew.  Not included in this discussion are the 100 or so ostraca in Aramaic from the Persian period.

a.         These are found in every strata from XI--VI giving a paleographic sequence.  If this is an accurate scale, we must update the Samaria Ostraca to the early 8th century.

b.         There were no names with the theophoric element ba‘al.  The later ones replace the element ’el with Yahwistic element.

c.         The use of the -yahu element instead of -yau as in Samaria ostraca.  This confirms the work of Cross and Freedman that there was a dialectical difference between the north and the south.

d.         There were Egyptian and Greek names found here--mercenaries?

e.         Two names were found on slips in the temple area that were priestly--Meremoth and Pashur (see Jer. 20).  The names may have been on the slips to designate priestly service.

f.          The name bne-krh (“sons of Koreh”) was found on a large bowl fragment.

g.         The Kittim are mentioned.  In the OT these are the Greeks from Cyprus, so-named because of an island named Kiti, Kition.

h.         The biblical name nhm (Nahum) is found here.

i.          Egyptian hieratic script was used for date numerals.  This is new evidence concerning the thesis of influence of Egyptian prot-types in Israelite administration.

j.          “To my lord Eliashib, May Yahweh ask for your peace.  And now, give Shemaryahu . . . and to the Kerosite give . . . and regarding the matter which you commanded me--all is well.  He dwells in the house of Yahweh.”

Here we find Keros, a reference to one of the families of temple servants (Nethinim) mentioned in Ezra 2:44 and Neh. 7:47.  We also have here the first extra-biblical reference to the temple in Jerusalem (the ostraca comes from Stratum VI, which ended with the destruction of Nebuchadnezzar in 587/6). 

5.         Empire

Domestic Trade.  The study of the Solomonic Empire is more than can be included here in this brief survey of archaeology.  The domestic trade policies of Solomon brought a good deal of wealth into the kingdom.  He apparently monopolized the trade routes for the caravans from the east, especially with camel being domesticated and becoming popular.  Since all the traffic came through his territory, he was able to control it and tax it (1 Kgs. 10:15).

Horse Trade.  He built up the horse and chariot market, apparently becoming the commercial middle man between Asia Minor and Egypt in the horse trade (see 1 Kings 10:28,29).  He brought the horses from Kue21 in the Taurus mountains.  In 1 Kings 10:29 it tells how he brought the horses from Cilicia and the chariots from Egypt.22  2 Chronicles 9:28 indicates he bought the horses and chariots for himself--but since he controlled trade he could bargain with them as well.

This was why Solomon needed to build the royal chariot cities mentioned above.  At Megiddo they found stables that could handle 450 horses and 150 chariots.

Voyages to Ophir.  Solomon had a navy mostly for maritime trading for gold (see 1 Kings 9:26-28).  Once every three years they even went to Tarshish (1 Kings 10:22), possibly indicating they left in one year, were gone the second, returned in the third with favorable weather.  Ophir apparently covered parts of S. Arabia as well as the African coast.

The products included gold, silver, ivory, and “apes and baboons” (rather than apes and peacocks). The Mediterranean fleet brought metals back from Spain or Sardinia for smelting.  Evidence shows that by the time of King Hiram I of Phoenicia (969-939) trade had spread through the whole Mediterranean; their skill at sea would have been made available to the king's good friend, Solomon.

Copper Mining and Refining.  Phoenician technicians helped Solomon built the seaport of Ezion-geber on the Red Sea.  Glueck discovered the copper smeltery there in 1940.  It was similar to the Phoenician plants who were expert in the art.  The site is Tell el-Kheleifah.  See 1 Kings 7:46; Solomon was the first to place mining industry in the Arabah on a national scale.  So his fleet would leave with smelted ore, and return with all kinds of goods.

Solomon's Matrimonial Alliances.  Solomon yielded to the customs of his day and entered into many alliances through marriage.  The Amarna letters refer to this practice among kings in the east.   But for Solomon instead of securing the kingdom this practice brought its downfall--because he honored their false religious practices.  Of all the wives and the deities the one who is the best known is Ashtoreth, “the abomination of the Sidonians” (see 1 Kings 11:5,33).   She was the old fertility goddess Astarte, the goddess of sex and war.  Degrading practices were associated with her cult.

So Solomon's connections with the Phoenicians brought trouble in the long run.  He gained much from them in trade and technology.  His construction of the temple, which went far beyond the divinely ordered simplicity of the tabernacle, was heavily indebted to the Phoenician influence.  This practice presented the peril of religious syncretism.  So when a marriage for alliance was embraced, the deity was also accepted.  The downfall of the empire began with Solomon.        

6.         The Wisdom of Solomon

This subject is far too large a topic for inclusion in the survey of archaeology, although it is germane.  Archaeology has turned up scores of tablets and texts from ancient collections of wisdom literature; these cannot be ignored in studying Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Job.  For the bibliography and the comparisons, see my Introduction to Proverbs in the Expositor's Bible Commentary.






     19But a review is helpful in passing.  A Canaanite village existed here 3200-2900, and then a larger Canaanite city from 2900-2700.  It covered 22 acres on the sloping hill.  Its stone wall was 1200 meters long with towers at 25 meter distances.  Canaanite houses and temples can be studied among the ruins.  It was destroyed or abandoned and remained (apparently) unoccupied until the 11th century.

The Israelites tried to take the land presumptuously and were soundly defeated at a place called Arad (see Num. 21:1-4 and 33:40).  This could have been a rebuilt city in the vicinity of Arad (Tell Malhalta, 8 miles to the southwest); but archaeologists suggest that the name Arad referred to the region.  Later, Joshua conquered the city and put the king to death (Josh. 12:14).  In the settlement the land was given to the Kenites, people related to the family of Moses (Ju. 1:6).  The city has a long history of destruction and rebuilding, which should come as no surprise due to its strategic location overlooking the highways through the valleys.  It was built up by Solomon (970-930), but destroyed by Shishak (920).  Shishak claims to have conquered two Arads, Arad the Great and Arad of the house of Yeroham--the former is Tell Arad and the latter the Canaanite Arad.  Jehoshaphat (873-850) rebuilt it; Joash (835-796) added the water tunnel; Uzziah (790-750) fortified it, as did Jotham (750-715).  It was destroyed by the Edomites in the reign of Ahaz (735-716).  Hezekiah rebuilt it (716-697).  Josiah (641-609) re-fortified it before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it. 

     20This brings up the whole issue of the date of Deuteronomy, which is another subject entirely.  The critical assumption is that Deuteronomy was not written until the time of Josiah, because one of its main points is the exclusive central sanctuary in Jerusalem.  The assumption is that if they had had Deuteronomy they would not have had these border shrines--but since when did Israel obey the Law they had?  It makes just as much sense to argue that the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah were intended to bring the nation into line with a law already in existence--and not to say that Josiah's men "found" (meaning wrote) the Law to prompt their reforms.  Some critics say the concept was taught for a couple of centuries, hut only written down in 621.

     21In most bibles this is not recognized as a place name, but translated "in droves."  Archaeology has seen Qwh as a place.

     22Some have tried to make the word "Egypt" in this verse be Musri in Cappadocia.