DID THE HEBREW UNITED KINGDOMS: ISRAEL AND JUDAH EXIST? DID SAUL EXIST? DID DAVID EXIST? DID SOLOMON EXIST? DID THE EXODUS TAKE PLACE? – A JEWISH ARCHAEOLOGIST RESPONDS!

In Archaeology: A Publication of the Archaeological Institute of America,September/October 2001, it was indicated:

“Biblical iconoclast: Israel Finkelstein tilts with colleagues over the history of early Iron Age Palestine, by Haim Watzman, who stated:

“No one in the field of Biblical Archaeology likes the smell of battle better than Israel Finkelstein.  When the director of Tel Aviv University’s Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, gets up to speak at the Institute’s annual seminar on Early Iron Age Palestine, a ripple runs through the audience–the listeners know that within a few minutes they’ll either be seething or cheering.  … His talk centers around the story of David and Goliath which Finkelstein declares “reflects the period in which it was written, not in which it supposedly took place.”  That makes Goliath yet another literary creation that Finkelstein attributes to the reign of King Josiah (r. 659-609 B.C.), the time that Finkelstein believes the biblical account of Israel’s origin and history was first drafted.

Jacob – Grandson of Abraham

According to that account, the Israelite nation is descended from Abraham, a tent-dwelling herdsman to whom God promised the land of Canaan.  In an attempt to escape famine, his grandson Jacob and his family traveled to Egypt, where their descendants were enslaved.  Moses led the Israelites back out of Egypt to Canaan, which they conquered under the leadership of Joshua.”Until relatively recently archaeologists and historians attempted to match this story with the evidence provided by excavations and documents discovered in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere in the Near East.  Most, though not all, now believe that this biblical account is primarily mythical.  There is little independent evidence to corroborate the stories of the patriarch, the enslavement, the exodus, and the conquest, and what exists is ambiguous at best.

After the Exodus Israelites under Saul and the tribes of Benjamin and under David and his Son Solomon under the tribe of Judah

“The archaeological record confirms that from 1200 B.C. to 1000 B.C.–corresponding to the period covered by the Bible’s Book of Judges–a collection of small settlements appeared in the eastern part of the highlands of Palestine, in the area now called the West Bank or by Israelis harking back to biblical history, Samaria and Judea.  The population of these settlements displayed cultural elements that lead most scholars to identify them with the Israelites of the Bible (for example, an absence of pig bones, an animal not eaten by the Israelites).  As the Israelite population grew in number and moved westward, according to the Bible, it developed into a loose confederation of 12 tribes that had neither the unity nor organization to ward off military threats, particularly from the Philistines, so they united first under Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, and then under David, and his son Solomon, from the tribe of Judah.”

1500 B.C. – 1400 B.C. – Thutmose III, Pharaoh of Egypt ( – Conquest of Cannan

1400 B.C. – 1300 B.C. when Canaan was an Egyptian province,closely controlled by the Egyptian administration (archaeological evidence: the Armana letters and Egyptian texts of the Late Bronze Age (1550-1250 B.C.) on affairs in Canaan, in the form of diplomatic letters, lists of conquered cities, scenes of sieges engraved on the walls of temples in Egypt, annals of Egyptian kings, literary works, and hymns

United Kingdom of Israel:  1000 NB.C. – 928 B.C. – Solomon’s Death in 928 B.C.

Northern Kingdom:  722 B.C. – Southern Kingdom:  586 B.C.

King Josiah:

=========

Israel Finkelstein, author and leading advocate of a new chronology for most of the major finds of Early Iron Age Palestine:

“Traditional chronology dates David and Solomon’s united kingdom from ca. 1000 B.C. to 928 B.C.  The Bible depicts it as a local empire that expanded beyond tribal borders, carried out extensive public works, and achieved great wealth.  But the kingdom split after Solomon;s death in 928 B.C. with his son and descendants of the Davidic line ruling Judah in the south with their capital in Jerusalem, and a series of usurpers ruling the northern tribes.  The northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., while the southern Kingdom of Judah survived until its conquest by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

“Archaeology and historians long accepted this story of a glorious united kingdom, followed by a north-south split.  Many still believe that it is fundamentally true, even if the Bible exaggerates the grandeur of David and Solomon’s realm.

But over the last three decades a growing number of scholars has begun to argue that archaeology finds previously taken as corroborations of the biblical story have in fact been misinterpreted.

Author and leading advocate of a new chronology for most of the major finds of Early Iron Age Palestine, Finkelstein maintains that major construction projects at northern sites such as Megiddo and Gezer, which other archaeologists and historians assign to the time of the united kingdom of David and Solomon, actually date to the period of King Ahab a century later.

According to Finkelstein, the united kingdom of David and Solomon–and much of the history of the people of Israel presented in the Bible–represents the political and theological interests of the court of King Josiah, which reinstituted the exclusive worship of the god of the Israelites, centered on the Temple in Jerusalem, and aspired to see their king reign over both Judah and the territory of the former northern kingdom.  The intellectual and spiritual atmosphere of this new religious movement led its leaders to create a coherent narrative of Israelite history as an instrument of God’s will. :

Finkelstein has now presented this theory in The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origins of its Sacred Texts, a book written with archaeological journalist Neil Asher Silberman.”

http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Unearthed-Archaeologys-Vision-Ancient/dp/0684869136/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367035941&sr=1-1&keywords=israel+finkelstein+archaeology

 

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About Harold L Carter

Bachelor of Science, Columbia University Masters degree, Ohio State University Undergraduate National Officer, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eastern Asst Vice President, when a student at Columbia University Profile Photograph: Mom & Me, when I was a graduate student
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