David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him. And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David a house.
2 Samuel 5:9-11
Skeptics ridicule and historians mock, but the historical accuracy of the Bible continues to be confirmed by archaeological finds. An Israeli archaeologist named Eilat Mazar has uncovered, in East Jerusalem, what may be the palace of King David.
While excavating in the ancient City of David, Mazar uncovered various Byzantine-era artifacts, including a well-preserved room with mosaic floors. They were found about two meters below ground level and date back between the 4th and 6th century a.d. Beneath this room, water cisterns, pools and a purification bath from the Second Temple period were then uncovered. However, the archaeological find that has sparked debate is the discovery of an ancient building, which Mazar believes could be the palace of King David as described in 2 Samuel. According to the Biblical account, the structure was built by Hiram king of Tyre, after David conquered Jerusalem.
Below the pools, Mazar discovered the ruins of an immense 3,000- year-old stone structure. Inside the building archaeologists found pieces of pottery dating back to the 10th century b.c., the days of David and Solomon. Mazar has also uncovered a bulla, or ancient government seal, belonging to Jehucal son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi. This government official is mentioned in Jeremiah 37: "And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the LORD our God for us." Jehucal is mentioned a second time at the beginning of the subsequent chapter.
It has yet to be proven that this discovery is indeed the ancient palace of King David or some other ancient structure. Numerous skeptics have already voiced their doubts. However, most agree that it is an important archaeological discovery.
The Pool of Siloam
Last month the Biblical Archeology Review reported the discovery of another ancient site of Biblical importance. Workers repairing a sewage pipe in the old city of Jerusalem stumbled upon the Biblical Pool of Siloam.
In the 8th century b.c. King Hezekiah built a 1,750-foot-long tunnel under the ridge where the City of David was located. The tunnel connected Gihon Spring in the adjacent Kidron Valley to the side of Jerusalem that was less vulnerable to an attack. Hezekiah's tunnel was built in order to protect the water supply should the Assyrians lay siege to Jerusalem. The first Pool of Siloam was the reservoir that held the water brought into the city by the tunnel. It presumably was destroyed in 586 b.c. when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar razed the city.
The pool the workers uncovered is believed to be the pool of Jesus' time. It was built early in the first century b.c. and was destroyed by Roman emperor Titus in about 70 a.d. The Gospel of John describes an incident in which Jesus cures a blind man at the Pool of Siloam.
The Battle for Jerusalem
Such archaeological discoveries underscore Israel's long and rich history in the Promised Land. It is a legacy that Israel's enemies would like to erase from the annals of time. Many Arabs deny the Jew's roots in Israel. They claim that the idea of a historical Jewish homeland is a hoax, invented to justify Israel's occupation of Palestine. Any archaeological discoveries that appear to substantiate the Biblical account of history undermine the Palestinian cause. This explains why Wakf (Islamic Trust) officials are bulldozing sensitive archaeological sites on the Temple Mount with blatant disregard for the treasures buried there.
Our faith in Jesus Christ and in the accuracy of the Scriptures is not based on archaeological finds. However, it is exciting to watch as these ancient discoveries are revealed. It also makes us wonder: what other treasures from the past are waiting to be uncovered?