Other than Jesus Himself, perhaps no other Biblical character has been attacked as often in regards to his existence as King David. Critics for many years stated he did not exist and the Bible could not be trusted in regards to its historical references to Israel’s greatest king. This all changed in 1993 when a stela (fragment of stone) was found in Tel Dan, in northern Israel, written in Aramaic and dated to the mid-ninth century (800s) B.C. and is stored today in the Israel Museum.
This basalt stela became known as the “House of David” stone, because lines 7-8 record a message from an Aramean King who claims he defeated the “king of Israel” from the Northern Kingdom and the “king of the House of David” from the Southern Kingdom, and captured Dan, a town in the far north of Israel. It’s important to remember that the Kingdom split in two after the death of King Solomon about 931 BC (1 Kings 11:40), which is why two different kings are noted on this black stone.
This was an extremely important find, though doubted by some. Most scholars hold that this stone refers to the probable campaign of Hazael of Damascus, who defeated Jehoram in Israel and Ahaziah in Judah. References for these kings are found in 2 Kings 8-9 and 2 Chronicles 22:5. Historically, there were many conflicts between Damascus and Israel at this time, as recorded in 1 Kings 15, which is why this discovery is of such significance.
David was Israel’s greatest king. His life is recorded in 1 Samuel 16 to 1 Kings 2, and 1 Chronicles 10:14-29:30. He was a shepherd boy, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, of the tribe of Judah, anointed king by the prophet Samuel. After many years of being pursued by King Saul, David eventually became king and united the 12 tribes of Israel in the Promised Land. In 2 Samuel 7, God gave David an unconditional promise, or covenant, that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne, ruling Israel. Though David sinned greatly at times, and repented accordingly, God called him a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). David was and is the premiere king for the nation of Israel and beloved, then and today.
David ruled for four decades: “And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem” (1 Kings 2:11).
When studying the kings of Israel and Judah, we find references that David’s descendants were compared to him. King Asa is compared to David in 1 Kings 15:11: “And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.” Likewise, in 2 Chronicles 29:2, King Hezekiah, “…did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.” David was the pattern for all of the kings descended from him, fulfilled in his greater Son, King Jesus.
Truly the rocks cry out proclaiming the reliability of the Bible. This is not only a testimony to Israel’s greatest earthly king, but also to Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings who came and will come again to unite His people Israel under His Kingdom, fulfilling all of His promises to them. He is a descendent of the tribe of Judah, the Son of David, the fulfillment of the covenant promise God gave to King David.
We read in Luke 1:26-33: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.’”
Written by Michael Weis, a Bible Teacher, Missionary, and Manager of Social Media at Zion’s Hope.