Khirbet Qeiyafa (Elah Fortress) is where there was a discovery of an early city looking out over the Elah Valley. The remains of the fortifications had been found in 2007 by the Israeli city in Beit Shemesh (20 miles out of Jerusalem). The fortress spreads out over almost 6 acres and is bordered by a 2300 ft wall. The wall was made from stones that weighed around 8 tons each. Many archeologists have claimed that it might be the biblical city of Sha’arayim or Neta’im and possibly have the remains of King David’s palace. There are those who are doubtful and advocate the possibility it could have been a Judahite or Canaanite castle.
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Has Been Found
- The Elah Valley in the Judean Hills is located from the Bible as the place where David and Goliath fought their historic standoff.
- This city is identified as the city Sha’arayim from the Bible where David had his palace.
- It has been dated back to around his time in the 10th century BC.
- Nadav Na’aman has said that King David’s Palace was at the height of the city’s northeastern hill, barely over the Stepped Stone Structure that gave a way up to the peak in the East. The place, time and vastness of Khirbet Oeiyafa, he has said matched the Biblical Palace of King David.
- Following David’s victory over the Jebusites (‘stronghold of Zion,’) he is read to have given it the new name of the City of David. Then strengthened it ‘from Millo inward’ (2 Samuel 5:7-9). The Hebrew word “millo” could be taken from the verb ml (fill up). Nadav believes the ‘Stepped Stone Structure’ that follows the incline from the ‘Large Stone Structure’ which is built from filling it with stones and dirt could be the ‘millo’ spoken of from Samuel in the Bible.
- 2 ‘bullae’ or ‘seal impressions’ of Judahite executives were discovered in the ruins by the Large Stone Structure. One has Gedaliah son of Pashhur engraved on it, the other Jehucal son of Shelemiah, son of Shobai. The men were spoken of as officials for King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 37:3, 38:1). This is interpreted to mean that this is where the 2 men managed and that the area was still populated during the 6th Century BC.
Has Not Been Found
- Yossi Garfinkel claims it was a Judahite City because of its proximity to Jerusalem and that it is located in an area that was part of Judah.
- Finkelstein strongly proclaims that it has the same characteristics and pottery types that are found in close by Canaanite finds in Bet Shemesh.
- The basis of this claim as King David’s Castle come from the Bible; Finkelstein doubts that the writer Joshua 15 a figure who resided in the 7th Century BC had enough knowledge of the ancient city which had existed 3 centuries before his birth.
- Many argue that proclaimed discoveries of King David’s castle or any artifact concerning him are solely due to the desire for popularity and fame.
- Yehuda Dagan of the Israel Antiquities Authority advocates it as the early Philistine withdraw course following their loss at the Valley of Elah (1 Samuel 17:52). Thus, it is more likely to be what is left of Khirbet esh-Shari’a and that it should be labeled as Adithaim from the Bible.
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