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Biblical Archeology
 1. Introduction

 2. Patriarchal Period I
 3. Patriarchal Period Part II
 4. Life in Egypt

5. The Exodus

6. The Conquest of Canaan

7. The period of the Judges

8. The Unified Kingdom, Saul, David and Solomon

9. The Unified Kingdom of Israel, Part II

10. The Divided kingdom of Israel

11. Israel's restoration, following the Babylonian Exile



The Unified Kingdom Part II in Biblical Archeology



Even though Saul was dead, David would still not rule all of Israel. He was accepted as king by the tribe of Judah, but not by the northern tribes. The northern tribes crowned Ishbosheth as king, a son of Saul. David ruled over Judah for seven years and would later rule over all of Israel for another 33 (fig. 1), making a total reign of 40 years (1010 BC - 970 BC), (2 Sam. 5:5).




At the time of Saul’s death David was better known by the people of Judah than by those of the other tribes.

-          David’s hometown was Bethlehem of Judah, and most of his activity had been south of Gibeah.

-          David returned to Hebron in Judah where the people proclaimed him king (2 Samuel 2:1-4).


The other tribes did not know David as well. When they heard of Saul’s death they immediately thought of Ishbosheth, Saul’s surviving son, as the next king.

-          Abner, who survived the conflict on Mount Gilboa, was instrumental in establishing Ishbosheth as king, choosing Mahanaim across the Jordan as the new capital (2 Samuel 2:8-10).


Conflict between Judah and Israel was inevitable. It broke out first in a skirmish at Gibeon, six miles northeast of Jerusalem (2 Sam. 2:12-32).

-          Abner met David’s chief, Joab, by the pool of Gibeon.

-          At first only 12 men of each side fought, but the conflict wid­ened and a small war followed. David’s forces were victorious.


A pit identified with the pool of Gibeon has been excavated (fig. 2).

-          The shaft is dated to about the 11th or 12th century BC.

-          Measuring 37 feet in diameter, by 82 feet deep, it is carved into solid rock and is accessed by a circular staircase of 79 stone steps.

-          At the bottom is a 167-foot tunnel leading to the cistern that was fed by a spring outside of the city’s walls, in the eastern slope of the hill.




David continually grew stronger, while Ishbosheth became weaker. Abner decided to switch sides and offer his services to David (2 Sam. 3:7-16).

-          Sending a message to David, he agreed to deliver all of Israel into David’s hands in return for his own safety.

-          David made him agree to return Michal his former wife. Abner gave assent and returned Michal.

-          Abner also communicated with elders from the other tribes, urging that they now turn their allegiance to David, apparently with some success.

-          Before Abner could come across he was killed by Joab as revenge for killing his brother (Asahel) in a previous battle (2 Sam. 3:17-27).




With Ab­ner gone, two lesser officers of Ishbosheth assassinated their king and carried his head to David, thinking they would be rewarded (2 Sam. 4:1-12).

-          As with the messenger of Saul’s death, David had both immediately killed.


David was now made king over all of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5; 1 Chronicles 12:23-40).

-          Leaders from all of the tribes came to Hebron to make the formal request and reach an agreement.

-          Since the biblical record specifically states that a “covenant” was made at the time, it is likely that some negotiation occurred. The people wanted David as king, but he would have wanted some commitments in return, guarantees that would insure a true central government.

-          David had seen enough laxity during Saul’s rule to realize that regulation, organization, and taxation were necessary if unity was to be achieved.

-          Agreement was reached and David was anointed King.





David’s initial problem as king over Israel was the Philistines. Before he could fully rule, their dominance would have to be removed.

-          With Israel now united the Philistines made an attack in the Valley of Rephaim, south of Jerusalem.

-          David established his headquarters northeast of Hebron at the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-14).

-          David’s army still consisted mainly of the group gathered during his fugitive days, willing to risk their lives if their leader wished for as much as a drink from a spring behind enemy lines (2 Sam. 23:15-17).

-          God assured David of victory, and David attacked at Baal-perazim (location unknown), de­feating the Philistines.


A new capital (2 Samuel 5:6-12; 6:1-7:29; 1 Chronicles 13, 15-17)


David needed an appropriate capital.

-          Hebron was cen­tral for Judah, but too far south to serve the whole country.

-          Shechem was central for Israel, but too far north for Judah.

-          Gibeah, Saul’s former capi­tal, had been destroyed by the Philistines.

-          David selected Jerusalem (fig. 3), a city still held by the Jebusites.

o       Jerusalem was on the border between Judah and the northern tribes.

o       Its position was defen­sible, and it had no existing tribal affiliations.

o       To occupy it would also eliminate a Canaanite stronghold within the country, so David captured it, fortified it, and made it the new capital of Israel.


David wanted to make Jerusalem the religious capital as well.

-          He brought the ark, which had been at Kirjath-jearim for 70 years, to the city (2 Sam. 6:1-11).

-          He placed the ark in a tent amidst great rejoicing and offering of sacrifices.

-          David desired to build a temple for the ark, but God did not allow it (2 Sam. 7:1-17).

o       The prohibition came through the prophet Nathan, who is first mentioned here and was active throughout David’s reign.

o       Nathan said that God would greatly bless David and that his line would never be replaced on the throne, but since he was a man of war, he would not be the one to build a temple.

o       David’s son would be the one to build the temple. David spoke a prayer of submission and thanks­giving before God (2 Sam. 7:18-29). He then proceeded to gather material toward the day when his son would build it (1 Chron. 22:1-5, 14-16).


David’s conquests (2 Samuel 8; 10; 12:26-31; 1 Chronicles 18-20)


Israel’s unity would have involved the acquisition of land originally allotted but never occupied.

-          Until now Israelites had been confined mostly to the hills, with the Philistines and Canaanites holding the better low­lands.

-          Canaanite holdings along the Mediterranean to the north, across the Esdraelon Valley, and through the Jor­dan Valley were now brought under Israelite control.

-          The Philistines were not driven from the plain of Philistine in Israel’s southwest, but they were confined to a restricted territory.

-          David ruled from north of the Sea of Galilee, to Beersheba in the south, and on both sides of the Jordan River.

-          The tribes had become united.


To accomplish all of this David needed a strong army. The army consisted of three sections:

  1. The original faithful 600 from David’s fugitive days.

2.      Troops levied from the people, con­stituting a sort of revolving standing army.

  1. Foreign mercenaries.


-          The core was the 600, the group re­ferred to as gibborim, “mighty men.”

o       This term appears to be used for them, for instance, when a group is mentioned as being with David in his flight from Absalom (2 Sam. 16:6); also when his support­ers are listed at the revolt of Sheba (2 Sam. 20:7); later when supporters of Solomon are named at the attempted rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:8, 10); and later when attendants are listed on the occasion of David’s clos­ing admonitions (1 Chron. 28:1).

o       The high caliber of these troops is indicated both by the exploits described (2 Sam. 23:8-39) and by the exemplary con­duct of one of them, Uriah the Hittite, who when called back from battle by David would not even go to his own home, since this comfort would be out of keeping with his duty as a soldier (2 Sam. 11:11; 23:39).


-          David also kept 24,000 in service as a regular standing army, changing the personnel once every month (1 Chron. 27:1-15). This means that he had 288,000 trained men, prepared at all times for immediate call to service as needed.

-          Then David kept foreign mercenar­ies, who appear to have served as his private bodyguard, made up of Cher­ethites and Pelethites (2 Sam. 8:18; 15:18; 20:7; 1 Kings 1:38, 44).

o       Believed to be Cretans and Philistines on the basis of name comparisons. They were present, and last heard from, at Solomon’s anointing to kingship (1 Kings 1:38, 44).


David’s foreign victories resulted in expanding Israel’s borders.

-          The first war listed in the Bible was with Moab, east of the Dead Sea (2 Sam. 8:2; 1 Chron. 18:2).

o       The cause of the war is not indicated, but David’s harsh measures point to provocation.

o       Moab became a vassal state, apparently keeping her own king but having to pay tribute.


-          David also fought and defeated Edom, located south of the Dead Sea (2 Sam. 8:13-14).

o       The battle occurred in the “Val­ley of Salt.”

o       Edom also was made a vassal state.

o       This victory gave David access to the Gulf of Aqaba (fig. 5), important for trade.


-          David also achieved victory over Zobah in the north (2 Sam. 8:3-12; 1 Chron. 18:3-11).

o       When Arameans of Damascus came to assist Zobah, apparently arriving after the main battle, David defeated them as well, demanded tribute, and received it.

o       Voluntary tribute was also extended by Hamath, located further north on the Orontes River.

o       All of these regions became vassal states.


-          As for the coastal region along the Mediterranean, David made a treaty with Hiram, king of Tyre, who provided material and labor for building David’s palace (2 Sam. 5:11).


-          David achieved victory against Ammon to the east (2 Sam. 10; 1 Chron. 19).

o       David’s kindness toward Hanun, king of Ammon, was misunderstood; and messen­gers sent by David were insulted. Ammon, fearing reprisal from David, immediately prepared for war.

o       David sent Joab with Isra­el’s army, who won a decisive victory.

o       Joab returned to Jerusalem, but Hadadezer, defeated king of Zobah, came again with fresh troops for a return battle. David’s army moved across the Jordan to meet him at Helam and once more won a complete victory.

§         Helam is best identified with modern Alma, 30 miles east of the Sea of Galilee.


-          Joab laid siege to Rabbah capital of Ammon, in a con­tinuation of the struggle begun earlier (2 Sam. 12:26-31; 1 Chron. 20:1- 3).

o       Rabbah is identified with modern Amman, present capital of Jordan, 22 miles east of the River Jordan.

o       It was during this siege that David sinned with Bathsheba and killed her husband, Uriah, by placing him at the point of heaviest fighting (2 Sam. 11:1-27).

o       Rabbah was taken and David assumed the crown of Ammon, annexing this country to Israel.


David’s authority extended from the Gulf of Aqaba and the River of Egypt in the south, all the way to the Euphrates in the north (fig. 6).

-          The River of Egypt is best taken to mean Wadi el-Arish, reaching the Mediterranean 45 miles southwest of Gaza, and 80 miles east of the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile.

-          Israel’s land now included:

o       All land originally allotted to the twelve tribes, minus Philistia.

o       The kingdom of Ammon.

o       Vassal states included Moab and Edom (east and south of the Dead Sea), the area around Damascus (northeast), which included Zobah.

o       Territory that acknowledged Israelite sovereignty through the payment of tribute included the northern region of which Hamath was capital.


LAST YEARS OF DAVID (2 Samuel 13-20; 1 Kings 1:1-2:11; 1 Chronicles 22; 28-29)


David’s final years were marked by continual problems within his family. These came as punish­ments for his sin and resulted in repeated struggle for succes­sion to Israel’s throne.

-          As David’s reign drew to a close, the problem of who should succeed him became an issue. Be­cause David was an excellent king, and God had promised to establish his house on the throne of Israel, it was to be expected that one of his sons would be the successor. But which son and how he should be identified was not clear.

-          With David so strong most expected him to make the selection, but no announcement was made.

o       David did actually make his choice, designating Solomon at his birth, but for some reason he did not make this known at the time.


-          With no announcement made people were left to wonder who the selection might be. If David’s other sons knew about Solomon they sought to circumvent it.

o       A struggle for the throne followed, involving David’s sons, Absalom and later Adonijah.


Absalom’s revolt (2 Samuel 12-19)


Absalom was David’s third son, born of an Aramean princess of Geshur named Maacah (2 Sam. 3:3).

-          Amnon, the eldest, had been killed at Absalom’s own hand to avenge the humiliation of Absalom’s sister, Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1-29).

-          The second son, Chileab, son of Abigail (former wife of Nabal the Carmelite) is not mentioned again after his birth, which suggests that he died while still young.

-          This left Absalom as the logical heir to the throne.

-          Absalom managed to gain favor with the northern tribes (2 Sam. 15:1-6). He assembled what was intended to be a personal army like his father’s. He went to Hebron, assembled his followers, and had himself anointed king (2 Sam. 15:7-12).

-          With a con­siderable force of men he then marched north against his father in Jerusalem, and David, taken by surprise, found his only choice was to flee (2 Sam. 15:13-17).


Those who left Jerusa­lem in flight with David were his personal bodyguard, the Cherethites and Pelethites; his faithful 600; and numerous servants. Also Zadok and Abiathar, the two high priests, desired to follow and bring the ark, but David sent them back, instructing them to inform him through their two respective sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan, the plans of Absalom (2 Sam. 15:24-29).

-          The king was able to regroup his forces at Mahanaim, former capital of Ishbosheth, and make preparation for the attack of his son (2 Sam. 17:24-29).

-          The battle occurred near Mahanaim, in an area called the “forest of Ephraim” (2 Sam. 18:1-18).

-          With the blessing of God, David’s men won a decisive victory.

-          Contrary to David’s explicit order, Joab killed Absalom (fig. 7).

-          The death of Absalom broke the revolt, and what remained was for David to return to Jerusalem.


Sheba’s revolt (2 Sam. 19:9­20:22).


Another revolt initiated by Sheba, a Benjamite, called for secession on the part of the northern tribes at the time of David’s return across the Jordan.

-          Sheba induced the northern tribes to secede from David’s kingdom and follow him.

-          Upon arrival back in Jerusalem David immediately dispatched Amasa, his new general, to gather an army from Judah to put down the outbreak (2 Sam. 20:3-22). When Amasa took longer than the three days allotted him, David commis­sioned Abishai, Joab’s brother, to defeat the rebels.

-          Though Joab was not in charge, he accompanied the force. When Ama­sa was encountered along the way Joab proceeded treacherously to kill him (much as he had done to Abner years before).

-          They pressed on in pursuit of Sheba and finally caught up with him far north at Abel of Bethmaacah (Probably modern Tell Abil near Lake Huleh).

-          A serious battle did not develop. The townspeople, led by a “wise woman,” delivered Sheba’s severed head to David’s army in ex­change for their own safety.


Solomon’s accession (1 Kings 1:1-2:9; 1 Chronicles 22:6-23:1; 28-29)


Solomon was crowned king while David still lived, resulting in a brief coregency.

-          Adonijah, fourth son of David, had made an abortive at­tempt to seize the throne after Absalom had failed, and Solomon was hastily made king in his place.


David spent the remaining span of his reign in preparing both the new king, and the people, for the period of rule before them.

-          He had Solomon’s new position publicly announced and charged Solo­mon with the building of God’s temple.

-          He also spoke encouragement and instruction to the people (1 Chron. 29:1-22).

-          David died “at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor,” and was buried in Jerusa­lem (1 Kings 2:10-11; 1 Chron. 29:26-28).





Throughout the kingdom period, the kings of Judah were buried within the City of David.

-          At the southern end of the City of David, south of the Old City of Jerusalem, there are two monumental tunnel tombs, which many scholars believe are the tombs of David and Solomon (fig. 8).

-          Unfortunately they were damaged by later quarrying, so no identifying inscriptions survived.


One exception to this normal custom was the burial of Uzziah. Uzziah was a leper so he was not buried with the other kings, but “near them in a field for burial that belonged to the kings, for people said, ‘he had leprosy’” (2 Chr 26:23).

-          An inscription was found on the Mount of Olives in 1931 dating to the first century AD which reads, “Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah – do not open.”

-          Evidently, because of his leprosy, Uzziah’s bones were removed from the field belonging to the kings and transferred to yet a more remote location.





In 1868, a stone was uncovered in the Biblical city of Dibon, on which were recorded victories over the Israelites by Mesha, king of Moab.

-          The Bible records in 2 Kings 3, battles between Israel and Mesha.

-          It is uncertain whether the victories on the stone were recorded before, or after, the kings of Israel and Judah fought against king Mesha, around 850 BC, as recorded in 2 Kings 3:1-26, in which Israel, with God’s help, was victorious.


The following is a translation of the text taken from the Mesha stone (fig. 9):

  1. I Mesha, son of Chemosh, Mesha’s king, the
  2. Dibonite. My father governed Moab for 30 years, then I reigned
  3. after my father. I made a high place for Chemosh in Qarhoh,
  4. for he protected me from all the kings and caused me to triumph over all my enemies.
  5. As for Omri king of Israel,  he oppressed Moab for many years, for Chemosh was furious with his
  6. country. And his son followed in his footsteps, and he also said: “I will cast down Moab.” In my days, he spoke,
  7. but I triumphed over his house. And Israel has passed away forever. Omri occupied Medeba’s land.
  8. And he lived in it during his time and in the days of his sons; 40 years; yet Chemosh
  9. reinstalled it in my days. And I built Baal-meon, and I made a water supply in it; and I built
  10. Qaryaten. And the men of Gad dwelt in the land of Atarot from of old, and Israel’s king built
  11. Atarot for them; but I fought against that city and I slew all the people of
  12. the city as revenge for Chemosh and Moab. And I brought the altar-hearth of his beloved, and I carted
  13. it before Chemosh in Kerioth. And I established the men of Sharon and the men of Maharith in it.
  14. And Chemosh said to me: “Go! Bring Nebo against Israel.”
  15. So I went by night and fought from sunrise until noon.
  16. taking it and slaying all 7,000 men, boys, women, girls,
  17. and maidservants, because I dedicated them to Ashtar-Chemosh. And I took from there the altar-
  18. hearths of YHWH, dragging them before Chemosh. And Israel’s king built
  19. Jahaz, and settled there while he did battle with me; but Chemosh drove him out before my eyes.
  20. I took with me two hundred men from Moab, all chief warriors, and sent them to Jahaz; and I
  21. added it to Dibon. I constructed Qarhoh with the wall of the forest and the wall
  22. of the acropolis; along with its gates and towers.
  23. I built the house of the king; and its water reservoirs for inside
  24. the city; for there was no water inside the town of Qarhoh, so I said to the residents: “Make for yourself
  25. a cistern in every house”; I cut trees for use in Qarhoh with the prisoners
  26. of Israel. I built Aroer and a roadway through the Arnon.
  27. I built Beth-bamoth, for it was in ruins; and I built Bezer, for it was desolate.
  28. And the men of Dibon were loyal to my rule. And I reigned
  29. over hundreds of  villages which I added to my country.  I built
  30. the temple of Medeba and the temple of Diblaten and the temple of Baal-meon; and I introduced there
  31. [.....] sheep of the land. While the house of David inhabited Horonaim.
  32. [.....] and Chemosh said to me: “Go down! Attack Horonaim.” So I advanced against it, and
  33. Chemosh reestablished it in my days.


Lines 1-3 mentions King Mesha, a Dibonite who ruled over Moab. He worshiped a Moabite god called Chemosh, whom he attributes his victories to.

-          The Bible in 2 Kings 3:4 verifies Mesha was the king of Moab during their revolt against Israel.

2KI 3:4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and used to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.

2 Kings 3:4 (NASB)


-          The bible also states in Numbers 21:29-30, that Dibon was a city in the land of Moab and mentions their god, Chemosh.

NU 21:29 “ Woe to you, O Moab! You are ruined, O people of Chemosh! He has given his sons as fugitives, And his daughters into captivity, To an Amorite king, Sihon.

NU 21:30 “But we have cast them down, Heshbon is ruined as far as Dibon, Then we have laid waste even to Nophah, Which reaches to Medeba.”

Numbers 21:29-30 (NASB)


Line 10 mentions one of the twelve tribes of Israel, Gad, and says that they dwelt in the land of Atarot (Atarot). The Bible says:

NU 32:33 So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad…the cities of the surrounding land.

NU 32:34 The sons of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer,

Numbers 32:33-34 (NASB)


Line 13 refers to the men of Sharon. This land is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:16:

1CH 5:16 They lived in Gilead, in Bashan and in its towns, and in all the pasture lands of Sharon, as far as their borders.

1 Chronicles 5:16 (NASB)


Line 14 mentions the city of Nebo.

-          The Bible mentions Nebo in Numbers 32:38 as territory Moses gave to the tribe of Reuben & Gad.

-          Jeremiah the prophet also mentions Nebo as a town of Moab in Jeremiah 48:20-22.


Line 17 speaks of another Moabite god, Ashtar-Chemosh. The Bible says:

JDG 10:6 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.

Judges 10:6 (NASB)


Line 18 makes a reference to the altar hearths of YHWH.

-          “YHWH” is the Hebrew word for God (Yahweh), spelled just as it is used in the Bible.


Line 19 mentions the city of Jahaz.

-          The Bible mentions this Moabite city in Isaiah 15:4:

Isa 15:4 And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.

Isaiah 15:4 (KJV)


Line 27 mentions the town of Bezer.

-          Originally this town was controlled by the tribe of Reuben according to The Bible, which says:

JOS 21:36 From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:36 (NASB)


Line 30 speaks of the temples of Medeba, Diblaten, and Baal-meon, which this Moabite king built.

-          Isaiah forecast the destruction of these pagan temples:

ISA 15:2 They have gone up to the temple and to Dibon, even to the high places to weep. Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba; Everyone’s head is bald and every beard is cut off.

Isaiah 15:2 (NASB)


Line 30 & 31 says that Mesha introduced there ... the sheep of the land.

-          The Bible confirms that Mesha raised sheep:

2KI 3:4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and used to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.

2 Kings 3:4 (NASB)


Line 31 says, “And the House of David inhabited Horonaim.”

-          Here is found one of the first references outside of the bible to King David and his descendants, who were from the tribe of Judah.

-          Mesha also makes a distinction between the men of Israel and the House of David. This is exactly how the Bible states Israel was divided as a kingdom during this time.

-          Jehoshaphat was king of Judah from the House of David, while Joram was the king of Israel (853 - 841), according to 2 Kings 3.

-          The town of Horonaim is also mentioned in Jeremiah 48:3-7:

JER 48:3 “The sound of an outcry from Horonaim, ‘Devastation and great destruction!’

JER 48:4 “Moab is broken, Her little ones have sounded out a cry of distress.

JER 48:5 “For by the ascent of Luhith. They will ascend with continual weeping; For at the descent of Horonaim. They have heard the anguished cry of destruction.

JER 48:6 “ Flee, save your lives, That you may be like a juniper in the wilderness.

JER 48:7 “For because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures, Even you yourself will be captured; And Chemosh will go off into exile. Together with his priests and his princes.

Jeremiah 48:3-7 (NASB)





During the coregency of Solomon and David matters went smoothly between Solomon and those who opposed him, but things changed when David died.

-          Adonijah, David’s fourth son, whose claim to the throne was strong enough to win the support of Abiathar and Joab, would have remained a threat to Solomon as long as he was alive.

o       He pro­vided Solomon with a reason to have him eliminated when he asked Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, if he could marry Abishag, a beautiful Shunammite girl who had ministered to David in his old age (1 Kings 1:1-4).

o       Solomon refused and had his older brother killed for what was probably a threat to his rule.

§         It should be noted that the custom of the day required that a man’s concubines would become a part of the inheritance of his heir. So Abishag would now have belonged to Solomon.


-          With Adonijah removed, Solomon turned to Adonijah’s main supporters, Abiathar and Joab.

o       Solomon deposed Abiathar from his office as high priest, banishing him to his land in Anathoth (1 Kings 2:26-27). This left Zadok as sole high priest.

o       Solomon following his father’s instruction (1 Kings 2:5-6) directed Benaiah, former chief of the guard under David, to kill Joab.


Promise from God (1 Kings 3:4-28; 2 Chronicles 1:1-17)


Solomon sacrificed “a thousand burnt offerings” to God at Gibeon where the taber­nacle stood.

-          God showed His pleasure by appearing to Solomon in a dream and inviting him to make a request.

-          Solomon humbly requested wisdom in his rule.

-          In further approval, God indicated that not only would this re­quest be granted, but also promised Solomon “riches and honor” to the extent that no other person of his day would be like him.




A prominent feature of Solomon’s rule was the development of extensive defenses.

-          His major defense measure was the fortification of key cities that surrounded Israel (1 Kings 9:15-19)…Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Beth-ho­ron, and Baalath.

-          Troops stationed in these de­fense cities would have provided a wall of protection from foreign attack and could move quickly to put down revolution attempts from within.

-          In Jerusalem itself, Solomon built both a “wall” and the “Millo” to give added strength.

-          Another significant defense feature was Solomon’s employment of the chariot, assem­bling as many as 1,400 chariots, 12,000 horse­men, and 4,000 stalls for the horses (1 Kings 10:26; 2 Chron. 9:25).

o       From archaeological excavations, strong defenses and chariot stables have been found at Hazor, Gezer, Megiddo, Ta­naach, and Eglon.

o       Although 1 Kings 9:15 does not specifically say that Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were Solomon’s chariot cities they would have been logical choices. All are located in terrain over which chariot maneuverability could be exploited. Megiddo controlled the strategic Aruna Pass that linked northern and central Israel.

o       Solomon’s Stables (fig. 10): When the site of Megiddo was excavated in the 1930’s archaeologists found structures they identified as stables built to house some of Solomon’s chariot force. The buildings were divided by pillars into three aisles. The excavators assumed that horses had been quartered in the outer two rows. Mangers found in the buildings strengthened this theory. Subsequent excavation at Megiddo has led some archaeologists to redate the structures to the time of Ahab (874-853) (fig. 11).


Solomon developed distant trade relationships.

-          One avenue of trade was through the Red Sea. David’s southern conquest had reached to the Gulf of Aqaba, making this sea route accessible. Solomon built a fleet of ships leaving Ezion­geber at the tip of the Gulf (1 Kings 9:26-28). The ships went as far as Ophir, stopping at many ports en route, for the trip took three years (1 Kings 10:22).

-          It is recorded that on their return voyage they carried gold, silver, hardwood, precious stones, ivory, and animals (1 Kings 10:11, 12, 22).

-          The location of Ophir is unknown. Four sites are suggested: southwest Arabia, southeast Arabia, Somaliland, and Supara in India.

-          Excavations in the area have uncovered harbor installations and walls of a type identified with Solomon in the region of Solomon’s harbor.




Solomon’s involvement in foreign affairs was extensive. An indication of this was his multiple marriages to foreign women. Marriages were com­mon seals of foreign alliances. Among Solomon’s wives were Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites (1 Kings 11:1).


It is directly stated that Solomon made an alliance with Egypt, sealing it with his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 3:1).

-          Pharoah Siamun (978-959) captured Gezer and gave his daughter to Solomon as a wife.

-          Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter must have signified that he held high stand­ing in the world of his day.

-          In keeping with the importance of the alliance, Solomon built a special house for his Egyptian bride (1 Kings 7:8).

-          Solomon also gained the city Gezer through this marriage. The Pharaoh had previously seized Gezer and now gave it to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, as a present (1 Kings 9:16). Solomon for­tified it as a defense city.


Archaeological excavations in 1990, by University of Arizona and Andrews University, at Gezer discovered the following:

-          The four-entryway gate is described as Solomonic (fig 12). It, along with the casemate wall, were constructed on built-up foundations.

o       The fills for these foundations consisted of destruction debris.

o       This material is dated to the latter part of the 10th century BC. The destruction debris, therefore, is probably from the Egyptian destruction of Gezer mentioned in 1 Kings 9:15-17, possibly by Pharaoh Siamun.

o       After the destruction, the four-entryway gate was constructed, probably by King Solomon when he fortified the city.


Solomon made another important alliance with the Phoenician king, Hiram I (c. 978-944).

-          Tyre, rebuilt by the Phoenicians in the twelfth century, was now its capital and controlled about 150 miles of the Mediterranean coastline, north of the Bay of Acre.

-          Phoenicia held colonies at points around the Mediterranean, and her trade with them and other countries was widely known.

-          Solomon was particularly interested in Phoenicia’s cedar, which he was willing to trade wheat and oil (1 Kings 5:2-11).


Visit of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12)


Among Solomon’s foreign visitors was a Sabean queen from the southern tip of Arabia, the Land of Sheba. This country is identified with the modern country of Yemen. Solomon’s ships were likely stopping at ports in this land.

-          The Queen’s journey, around 1,200 miles, may have been motivated in part by mercantile advantages that she saw in personal confrontation with the one who had sent the ships.

-          She also came to see Solomon himself, having heard about his great wealth and wisdom.

-          She brought a large gift to Solomon of 120 talents of gold (a talent weighs between 75 to 80 pounds).

-          A clay stamp that was found at Bethel shows evidence of trade between Israel and South Arabia. The stamp dates to about the time of Solomon. The stamp was used to seal bags of cargo.


Building the temple (1 Kings 5-6; 7:15-51; 2 Chronicles 2-4)


David had wanted to build the temple, but he was forbidden by God. He passed on to Solomon written plans (fig. 13) that had been revealed to him by the Spirit of God (1 Chron. 28:11, 12, 19).


Solomon contracted with King Hiram of Tyre for cedar wood and supplied 10,000 workers per month to assist in cutting and transporting the material. Hiram also supplied stonecutters to help prepare the stone needed (1 Kings 5:18).


Actual building began in Solomon’s fourth year, 966 BC (1 Kings 6:1), and was completed seven years later (1 Kings 6:38).

-          The building was located on Mount Moriah (2 Chron. 3:1), the site of Araunah’s threshing floor, where the plague had stopped in David’s day (2 Sam. 24:16-25).

-          It was also the place where Abraham had been commanded to sacrifice Isaac (Gen. 22:2).


The plans for the temple called for a building similar to the tabernacle but twice the size.

-          It was 90 feet long and 30 feet wide.

-          Similar to the tabernacle it con­tained two divisions: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

-          Built of stone, it was paneled with cedar and overlaid with gold.

-          The Holy of Holies housed the Ark of the Covenant.





Other buildings (1 Kings 7:1-12)


Solomon erected several other build­ings as well, probably locating them near the temple.

-          One of them was his personal resi­dence, the palace. It must have been an elegant structure, for it took 13 years to build, six years longer than the temple.

-          Another was the “Palace of the Forest of Lebanon,” perhaps named because it was sup­ported by rows of cedar pillars. It was used in part to store arms (1 Kings 10:16-17; Isa. 22:8).

-          A third building was the “Hall of the Pillars,” perhaps a sort of splendid passage building lined with pillars, between the “Palace of the Forest of Lebanon” and a fourth building, the “Hall of Justice.” In this last structure, which was used for judgment, Solomon sat on a six-step throne of ivory over­laid with gold (1 Kings 10:18-20).





The first pharaoh to be identified by name in the Bible is Shishak (Sheshonq I, 943-924), who ruled during the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam.

-          Because of Solomon’s idolatry God decreed through the prophet Ahijah that He was going to take ten tribes from Solomon, after his death, and give them to Jeroboam, an official in Solomon’s court (1 Kings 11:26-39). As a result, Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam fled to Egypt where Shishak gave him refuge (1 Kings 11:40).

-          After Solomon’s death, Jeroboam returned and became leader of the Northern Kingdom, while Rehoboam ruled over the Southern kingdom of Judah (1 Kings 12:1-17).

-          Afterwards, Shishak invaded Judah and Israel, recorded in 1 Kings:

1KI 14:25 Now it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.

1KI 14:26 He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house, and he took everything, even taking all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

1 Kings 14:25-26 (NASB)


-          2 Chronicles 12:2-4 also records Shishak’s invasion of Israel and Judah.

2CH 12:2 And it came about in King Rehoboam’s fifth year, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem

2CH 12:3 with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people who came with him from Egypt were without number: the Lubim, the Sukkiim and the Ethiopians.

2CH 12:4 He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 12:3-4 (NASB)


There is significant evidence of Shishak’s dealings:

-          There are massive relief’s on the temple of Amun at Karnak with Shishak killing individuals, most likely Israelites, because the context includes a list of Israelite cites that were invaded (fig. 14). The figure of Shishak is all but destroyed. On the left side is the chief Egyptian god Amun leading captive cities by ropes. Each city is represented by an oval cartouche containing the name of the city, with a bound prisoner on top (fig. 15).

o       On one of the walls of the court, Shishak commissioned a commemorative relief of his Palestinian campaign. Unfortunately, it is badly damaged. Enough remains, however, to show that he not only attacked Judah, as the Bible records, but also the northern kingdom of Israel. The scene depicts Shishak, place names in Israel. The section about Judah is almost totally destroyed. Jerusalem does not appear in the list. One of the Israelite towns is Megiddo.

-          At the site of Megiddo a portion of a commemorative stela of Shishak was found by the Oriental Institute excavations in 1926. His name can be clearly read and the stela is without a doubt from his 925 BC campaign.




-          Shishak’s mummy case has also been found and resides in the Cairo museum.


-          A gold bracelet was found in the tomb of Shishak’s grandson (Sheshonq II) and is inscribed with Shishak’s name.





1.       Archaeology & The Old Testament by Alfred J. Hoerth, 1998

2.       A Survey of Israel’s History by Leon J. Wood, 1986

3.       All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer, 1958

4.       Bible Believer’s Archaeology, Historical Evidence that Proves the Bible by John Argubright, 2003

5.       Archaeology of the Old Testament by Dr. James Borland, 1976 (Liberty Bible Institute cassette tapes)

6.       WebBible Encyclopedia online at