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A tour guide helps visitors visualize the city in its heyday as they stand above ruins. Photo: Crowned Crane Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Research confirms Jerusalem was large, significant city in Old Testament times

When Anita and I organize group tours to Israel we always include the City of David. Visible to our guests are remains of his palace, the treasury and even bathrooms! It’s always a highlight because our guests are amazed that research continues to uncover evidence of that period in Jerusalem.

Dwight Widaman, Editor

Now, a major new scientific study has confirmed what the Bible has said all along, that Jerusalem was a large city during the time of kings David and Solomon

“For the first time, we are harnessing together hard sciences, archaeology and biblical historiography in order to reconstruct more accurately the history of the city in its most crucial times,” said Tel Aviv University professor Yuval Gadot.

More than 100 radiocarbon date samples were obtained from four different excavation areas on the slopes of the City of David “in order to link events mentioned in the Bible to archaeological findings unearthed in the city of David.”

Scientists used organic material that was discovered including date pits, grape seeds and even bat skeletons. In the lab, an advanced particle accelerator was used to separate the carbon-14 from the organic material.

“The new research sheds light on one of the longstanding and controversial research questions regarding the nature and scope of Jerusalem during the reigns of David and Solomon and thereafter,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said. “The findings from the new research indicate that there was a widespread settlement in Jerusalem during this period.”

The study was conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority, Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science with excavations lasting over a decade.

The wall of Jerusalem as uncovered in the excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority, with, from left, Ortal Chalaf, Dr. Filip Vukosavovich and Dr. Joe Uziel. Photo by Kobi Harati/City of David Foundation.

“Measuring the amount of carbon in the organic material and calculating it together with other variables allowed the researchers to accurately date many findings in the City of David,” researchers said. Specifically, researchers used ancient tree rings from Europe to create a precise timeline of single-year dates, from which it is possible to accurately learn about fluctuations in the percentage of carbon-14 in the atmosphere

“It helped to scientifically reconstruct for the first time the history of Jerusalem from 1200 BCE — before the days of David and Solomon according to the biblical description — to the Babylonian destruction in 586 BCE,” the organization said.

“During the 10th century BCE, the days of David and Solomon, this research has shown that the city is occupied in different areas and seems to have been larger than we thought previously,” said Joe Uziel of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

He explained the importance saying that “we can pinpoint specific buildings and relate them to specific kings mentioned in the biblical text such as Uzziah, Hezekiah, Menashe and others.”

Archaeologists Joe Uziel (left) and professor Yuval Gadot from the research team. Photo by Yaniv Berman/City of David Foundation.

Adding to that, professor Gadot, of Tel Aviv University explained: “The new findings strengthen the view that Jerusalem grew in size and spread towards Mount Zion already in the ninth century BCE, during the reign of King Jehoash, a hundred years before the Assyrian exile. In light of this, the new research teaches that the expansion of Jerusalem is a result of internal-Judean demographic growth and the establishment of political and economic systems.”

READ: This is a 2,000 year-old receipt from Jerusalem

The scientific study, according to the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz,” “brings tantalizing clues that the city was already an important urban center in David and Solomon’s time and not an insignificant village, as scholars more skeptical of biblical historicity have long maintained.”

If you would like information about a future Metro Voice News tour to Israel, contact us HERE.

If you just can’t wait, a new virtual tour allows you to visit ancient Jerusalem from the comfort of your home! This new immersive, virtual tour takes you back in time to where Jerusalem began 3,000 years ago at the City of David – with City of David Unearthed.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice


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