David’s Last Sin and Punishment – 1017 B.C & City of Ebla.

I guess You expect us to mess up and sin since the devil is here to help us out in doing so, but if our sin was not for the purpose of defying you and we ask for forgiveness then You forgive us, as long as we are sincere in our heart.

And of course, You know if we are sincere or not – I mean, You’re God and You know everything. 

After David’s acts of adultery and murder, did he fly right?

A clay tablet found in Ebla, Syria
The Ebla tablets are a collection of as many as 1800 complete clay tablets, 4700 fragments and many thousand minor chips found in the palace archives of the ancient city of Ebla, Syria.

The tablets were discovered by Italian archaeologist Paolo Matthiae and his team in 1974–75 during their excavations at the ancient city of Tell Mardikh.

The tablets, which were found in situ on collapsed shelves, retained many of their contemporary clay tags to help reference them.

They all date to the period between ca. 2500 B.C. and the destruction of the city ca. 2250 BC.

Today, the tablets are being held in the Syrian museums of Aleppo, Damascus, and Idlib.

“And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.

And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?” (2 Sam 24:1-3).

So Joab went out to number the people, passing over Jordan and pitching in Aroer.  They went to Gilead and to the land of Tahtim-hodhi, and then to Dan-jaan, and Zidon. 

Then they arrived to the strong hold Tyre, and all the cities of Hivites, and the Canaanites, to the south of Judah, and even to Beer-sheba. 

Nine months and twenty days later they returned to Jerusalem with the results of their count, which was 1,300,000 fighting men, they didn’t count women and children.

“And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,

Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.

So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me (2 Sam 24:10-13).

David told Gad to have God choose which punishment so the Lord sent a pestilence that killed 70,000 men.  When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem God stopped Him and said that was enough.

David then asked God to only punish him and Gad said to, Go up, rear an altar unto the LORD in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam 24:18).

Lugal is the Sumerian term for “king, ruler”. Literally, the term means “big man.” In Sumerian, lu is “man” and gal is “great,” or “big.”

It was one of several Sumerian titles that a ruler of a city-state could bear (alongside en and ensi, the exact difference being a subject of debate). The sign eventually became the predominant logograph for “King” in general. In the Sumerian language, lugal is used to mean an owner (e.g. of a boat or a field) or a head (of a unit such as a family).

And David went up to do as the Lord had commanded.  Araunah saw the king and his servants coming toward him  and David said he wanted to purchase the threshing floor to build an altar unto the Lord so that the plague be stayed.

The Ebla Tablets Mystery January 15, 2016 ~ admin Tablets Ancient Explorers – Ancient Ebla was located in Northern Syria, approximately halfway between the modern cities of Hamath and Aleppo. Excavations at that site began in the 1960s, and in the 1970s a series of extraordinary tablets was discovered among the ruins of an ancient palace. These tablets became known as “The Ebla Tablets”, and they were originally discovered under the direction of two professors from the University of Rome – Dr. Paolo Matthiae and Dr. Giovanni Petinato. At this point, about 17,000 tablets from the ancient Eblaite Kingdom have been recovered. These tablets appear to have been written during the two last generations of ancient Ebla. This means that they probably come from some time around 2300 to 2250 B.C. But what is remarkable about the Ebla tablets is not how old they are, but rather the amazing parallels to the Bible that they contain.

 Araunah offered to give David oxen, threshing instruments, wood, and other instruments for free.

“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver…

And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel” (2 Sam 24:24-25).

The census David takes to count his fighting men is not in itself a sin (although I Chr 21:1 tells us that Satan was the instigator). It seems that David’s motive in counting the men is the problem, although we’re not told what that is, since David did not answer Joab’s question in verse 3.

Perhaps he did the count as a way to gloat about in his military might. Whatever the reason, David realizes the census was a faithless, sinful act (v. 10) and indeed God is very displeased with David because of it.

1 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no differences:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God (Rom 3:21-25).

City of Ebla

Ruins of the outer wall and the “Damascus Gate”
Ebla was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria, located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh.

It was an important center throughout the Third millennium B.C. to the end of the first half of the Second millennium B.C.

Started as a small settlement in the early Bronze Age, it developed into a trading empire and later turned into an expansionist power that imposed its hegemony over much of northern and eastern Syria.

Its language, the Eblaite language is now considered the earliest attested Semitic language, after Akkadian.

The site is most famous for the Ebla tablets, an archive of about 20,000 cuneiform tablets found there, dated from around 2350 B.C., written in both Sumerian and Eblaite languages and using the Sumerian Cuneiform which allowed a better understanding of Sumerian.

Excavating the city of Ebla (modern Tell Mardikh) in northwestern Syria, archaeologists have discovered the single largest collection of third-millennium B.C. cuneiform tablets unearthed to date.

Im­mensely important in the study of the ancient Near East, this site has yielded tens of thousands of complete texts and fragments.

Ebla was destroyed during the 23rd century B.C., it was then rebuilt and was attested in the records of the Third Dynasty of Ur.

The second Ebla was a continuation to the first Ebla, it was destroyed at the end of the second millennia B.C. which paved the way for the Amorite tribes to settle in the city and form the third Ebla.

The third kingdom flourished again as a trade center, it became a subject and an ally to Yamhad (modern Aleppo) until its final destruction by the Hittite king Mursili I in c. 1600 B.C.

Ebla maintained its prosperity through a vast trading network, artifacts from Sumer, Cyprus, Egypt and as far as Afghanistan were recovered from the palaces of the city.

The political organization of Ebla had unique features different from the Sumerian model.

Women enjoyed a special status, the queen had major influence in the state and religious affairs, the pantheon was mainly north Semitic and included deities exclusive to Ebla.

These texts, which include administrative, lexical, literary and diplomatic tablets, were discovered in the palace, which had been destroyed by fire.

Ironically, the conflagration may have helped to preserve the tablets by baking them, although some more important tablets would have been purposely hard-baked when created in order to preserve their information for generations.

The Eblaites utilized the Sumerian cuneiform writing system, adapting it to their Semitic language. This has made deci­pherment and translation of the texts both difficult and tedious.

In fact, early transla­tions often vary drastically from more recent ones as more is learned about the Eblaite language.

As a result, earlier scholars be­lieved they had found a text parallel to the familiar Biblical proverbs, while today this so-called proverbial text is considered to tie merely a list of Sumerian terms for cuts of meat.

Some scholars had thought they saw references to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel) in the Ebla tablets, but this also has turned out to be a false lead.

At one point, ancient historians be­lieved that information in the Ebla texts indicated that the city, during its zenith, controlled a vast empire from Egypt to the Persian Gulf.

Many of these early readings have now come under renewed scrutiny as well, with the result that the extent of Ebla’s former power remains in question.

The importance of the Ebla documents for Biblical studies probably lies in what they can tell us in general about life in 3rd mil­lennium B.C.  

Syria-Palestine, as opposed to their providing any specific parallels to the Bible, as had been hoped.

The Last Words of David & King David’s Kingdom Found?

If Moses’ song didn’t explain You, the other one and this one certainly does.

Judean city of Shaarayim
Archaeologists have unearthed a palace in what they believe is the fortified Judean city of Shaarayim, where the Bible states King David battled the giant Goliath.

The discovery of what is thought to be King David’s palace, measuring 1,000 square meters, was made by Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Over the past seven years the teams have also uncovered a huge storehouse containing pots and artifacts that they believe proves the existence of a ruler in Judah in the tenth century B.C.

“The ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David,” professors Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor of Hebrew University said.

“This is indisputable proof of the existence of a central authority in Judah during the time of King David.”

“Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,

The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.

These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.

And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:

He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the Lord wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.

But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought a great victory.

And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.

Shaaravim
The biblical city of Shaarayim is thought to have become the modern city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, which is approximately 30 kilometres south west of Jerusalem.

The professors said that the ruins are the two largest known buildings to have existed at the time of King David in Jerusalem.

They added: “The southern part of a large palace that extended across an area of about 1,000 square meters was revealed at the top of the city.

The wall enclosing the palace is about 30 meters long and an impressive entrance is fixed through which one descended to the southern gate of the city, opposite the Valley of Elah.

Around the palace’s perimeter were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt.”

The archaeologists collected hundreds of artifacts at the site, including religious objects, seals, pottery and tools typical of the time.

The palace is at the center of the site and is higher than the houses lower in the city.

The royal occupants would have had an excellent view of the land, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Hebron Mountains and Jerusalem in the east.

And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.

The remains of what is thought to be a royal storeroom.
It was in this building the kingdom stored taxes it received in the form of agricultural produce collected from the residents of the different villages in the Judean Shephelah

“This is unequivocal evidence of a kingdom’s existence, which knew to establish administrative centers at strategic points,'”said Professors Garfinkel and Ganor.

“To date no palaces have been found that can clearly be ascribed to the early tenth century B.C. as we can do now.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority said it hoped that the new discoveries will lead to the site becoming a national park.

And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!

And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the Lord.

And he said, Be it far from me, O Lord, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.

And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.

Was he not most honorable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:

And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.

These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.

He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.

Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,

Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,

Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,

Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,

Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,

Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,

Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,

Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,

Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,

Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,

Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,

Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,

Zelek the Ammonite, Nahari the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,

Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,

Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in al”l  (2 Sam 23:1-39).

Israeli Archaeologist Believes
He’s Found a Biblical Site
Linked to King David

In the 2nd Book of Samuel, it is written that King David captured Jerusalem, then under Jebusite control, using a water shaft to penetrate the city’s defenses.

Now, an Israeli archaeologist believes he has uncovered the water tunnel as well as King David’s legendary citadel.

Eli Shukron, an archeologist formerly with Israel’s Antiquities Authority, walks in the City of David archaeological site near Jerusalem’s Old City on May 1, 2014.

Shukron says that his dig uncovered a narrow shaft where water flowed and where those living in Jerusalem came to draw water.

The path of the tunnel led to the wall surrounding the city, the point where he believes David’s forces gained access to Jerusalem.

In his estimation no other structure in the area matches the citadel that David captured in his conquest.

Shukron’s dig, which began in 1995, uncovered a massive fortification of five-ton stones stacked 21 feet (6 meters) wide.

Pottery shards helped date the fortification walls to be 3,800 years old.

They are the largest walls found in the region from before the time of King Herod, the ambitious builder who expanded the Second Jewish Temple complex in Jerusalem almost 2,100 years ago.

The fortification – built 800 years before King David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites – was believed to have protected the city’s access to water.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron walks in the City of David archaeological site

Shukron said that his findings match clues in the biblical narrative about David’s conquest of the city from that particular location.  Shukron said,

“This is the citadel of King David, this is the Citadel of Zion, and this is what King David took from the Jebusites. The whole site we can compare to the Bible perfectly.”

But another archaeologist who used to work with Shukron said that more pottery shards from the era of King David’s reign during the 10th century B.C. should have been found at the site in order to place the find more definitively during that era.

“The connection between archaeology and the Bible has become very, very problematic in recent years,” archaeologist Ronny Reich said.

Shukron said he found two pottery pieces dating close to that time which he believes is due to the continuous use of the area and that old pottery pieces would have been cleared out in the interim years.

“I know every little thing in the City of David. I didn’t see in any other place such a huge fortification as this,” said Shukron.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron believes this chisel was used during construction of the Second Temple.

Doron Spielman, vice president of the nonprofit Elad Foundation which oversees the archaeological park in the City of David said,“We open the Bible and we see how the archaeology and the Bible actually come together in this place.”

Shukron has been excavating in the City of David – which is located in east Jerusalem – for two decades.

While Israel views Jerusalem as a united city that is its capital, Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their future capital.

Virtually all of the holy sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall and Temple Mount, are located in the Old City which is in the eastern part of the city.

David’s Song of Deliverance & Songs of Warriors

So it’s true, we’re not allowed to kill anyone just because we think it’s right, because we don’t know if it’s right or not, only You know. 

I remember reading that we aren’t supposed to live by our own understanding of things.

“And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul, and he said:

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress,
and my deliverer;

The God of my rock; in him will I trust:
he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation,

my high tower, and my refuge, my savior;
thou savest me from violence.

I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised:
so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

When the waves of death compassed me,
the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;

The sorrows of hell compassed me about;
the snares of death prevented me;

In my distress I called upon the LORD,
and cried to my God:

and he did hear my voice out of his temple,
and my cry did enter into his ears.

Then the earth shook and trembled;
the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.

There went up a smoke out of his nostrils,
and fire out of his mouth devoured:
coals were kindled by it.

He bowed the heavens also, and came down;
and darkness was under his feet.

And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly:
and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.

And he made darkness pavilions round about him,
dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.

Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.

The LORD thundered from heaven,
and the most High uttered his voice.

And he sent out arrows, and scattered them;
lightning, and discomfited them.

And the channels of the sea appeared,
the foundations of the world were discovered,

at the rebuking of the LORD,
at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

He sent from above, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters;

He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from them that hated me:
for they were too strong for me.

They prevented me in the day of my calamity:
but the LORD was my stay.

He brought me forth also into a large place:
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness:
according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.

For all his Judgments were before me:
and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.

I was also upright before him,
and have kept myself from mine iniquity.

Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness;
according to my cleanness in his eye sight.

With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful,
and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.

With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure;
and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavory.

And the afflicted people thou wilt save:
but thine eyes are upon the haughty,
that thou mayest bring them down.

For thou art my lamp, O LORD:
and the LORD will lighten my darkness.

For by thee I have run through a troop:
by my God have I leaped over a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

For who is God, save the LORD?
And who is a rock, save our God?

God is my strength and power:
and he maketh my way perfect.

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet:
and setteth me upon my high places.

He teacheth my hands to war;
so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation:
and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me;
so that my feet did not slip.

I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them;
and turned not again until I had consumed them.

And I have consumed them, and wounded them,
that they could not arise:
yea, they are fallen under my feet.

For thou hast girded me with strength to battle:
them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.

Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies,
that I might destroy them that hate me.

They looked, but there was none to save;
even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.

Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth,

I did stamp them as the mire of the street,
and did spread them abroad.

Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people,

thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen:
a people which I knew not shall serve me.

Strangers shall submit themselves unto me:
as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.

Strangers shall fade away,
and they shall be afraid out of their close places.

The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock;
and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.

It is God that avengeth me,
and that bringeth down the people under me,

And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies:
thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me:
thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee,
O LORD, among the heathen,
and I will sing praises unto thy name.

He is the tower of salvation for his king:

And sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David,
and to his seed for evermore” (2 Sam 22:1-51).

What David had done with Bathsheba and Uriah would appear to be unforgivable because not only were his actions not holy, but violated the 10 commandments. 

With Bathsheba he committed adultery (Ex 20:14) and Uriah he had murdered (Ex 20:13).  But God forgives all sins, other than blasphemy of the Holy Ghost (Mk 3:29)He does as long as your heart is right (1 Sam 16:7; Is 55:7-9).

Paul explains this in Rom 7:15-25 & 8:1.

1 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 

In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Pro 3:5-7).

“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving-kindness, Judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jer 9:23-24).

Songs of Warriors

The Victory Odes of Pindar
The victory odes are divided into Olympians, Pythians, Nemeans, and Isthmians after the four great ‘panhellenic’ games that were open to all Greeks.

All athletics games in ancient Greece were part of a religious festival in honour of gods or heroes. The Olympic games were the oldest and most prestigious, held in Elis in the western Peloponnese in honor of Zeus.

There had been a sanctuary to Zeus there even before the traditional date for the founding of the games (776 BC). Athletics competitions provided an additional way of honoring the god, the winner owing his victory to the help of the god and in consequence thanking the god. The festival lasted five days and took place, as nowadays, every four years.

On the first day Zeus apomuios or ‘averter of flies’ was invoked to keep the sacrificial meat fly-free, and on the third day a hundred oxen were sacrificed to Zeus. The program of events developed and changed during time.

Ashurnasirpal II succeeded his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II, in 883 BC. During his reign he embarked on a vast program of expansion, first conquering the peoples to the north in Asia Minor as far as Nairi and exacting tribute from Phrygia, then invading Aram (modern Syria) conquering the Aramaeans and Neo-Hittites between the Khabur and the Euphrates Rivers. His harshness prompted a revolt that he crushed decisively in a pitched, two-day battle. According to his monument inscription, while recalling this massacre he says:

Their men young and old I took prisoners. Of some I cut off their feet and hands; of others I cut off the ears noses and lips; of the young men’s ears I made a heap; of the old men’s heads I made a minaret. I exposed their heads as a trophy in front of their city. The male children and the female children I burned in flames; the city I destroyed, and consumed with fire.

Following this victory, he advanced without opposition as far as the Mediterranean and exacted tribute from Phoenicia. On his return home, he moved his capital to the city of Kalhu (Nimrud).

The Bible attests to the fact that ancient warriors often celebrated their achievements in song.

Indeed, the first song recorded in the Bible is that of Lamech (Gen 4:23-24), a fighter who boasted of kill­ing a man who had wounded him.

Songs by or about warriors have surfaced in several varieties:

In what may be called the “victory song,” a warrior sang of his triumphs in battle. Such a song could be blatantly boastful, like Lamech’s, or could give thanks to God, as did David’s in 2 Sam 22.

This song praises God but is clearly military in orientation: “He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (v. 35).

There are pagan analogies for such songs; an Akkadian hymn celebrating the military campaigns of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (r. 883-859 B.C.) begins with the king claiming that he would sing in praise of his god, Enlil, but quickly moves on to a boastful account of Ashurnasirpal’s triumphs.

The Greeks some­what transformed this genre and composed songs in honor of athletes, as in the odes of Pindar (5th century B.C.), who celebrated the victors in the Olympic and other games.

A second type of military song was the lament over fallen heroes. A magnificent example is that of David over Jonathan and Saul (1:17-27).

The Greek poet Simonides (5th century B.C.) composed verses for the Greeks who died at the battle of Thermopy­lae, also commemorating the Greek victory over the Persians at Plataea.

Epic poetry, which memorializes at length the deeds of great heroes, can be considered a third genre.

Examples include the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh 1, the Ugaritic epic of Kirta and the well-known Greek Iliad and Odyssey by Homer.

The Bible, because it focuses on God and his covenant rather than on the exploits of heroic human beings, includes no epic poetry.

 

Compensation for Errors & Phoenicia

I have to agree with Joab, David was unfair, especially since Absalom was trying to kill him too.  But then again, David’s a man after 1 Your heart and if he has a heart like Yours then he couldn’t help himself but feel that way.

A woodcarving of Belial and some of his followers from Jacobus de Teramo’s book Buche Belial (1473).
Belial is a term occurring in the Hebrew Bible which later became personified as a demon in Jewish and Christian texts.

“And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.

So every man of Israel went up from after David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri: but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from Jordan even to Jerusalem.

And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and put them in ward, and fed them, but went not in unto them. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood.

Then said the king to Amasa, Assemble me the men of Judah within three days, and be thou here present.

So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah: but he tarried longer than the set time which he had appointed him.

And David said to Abishai, Now shall Sheba the son of Bichri do us more harm than did Absalom: take thou thy lord’s servants, and pursue after him, lest he get him fenced cities, and escape us”  (2 Sam 20:1-6).

“But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri” (2 Sam 20:9-10).

The Hill-Country of Ephraim
Mount Ephraim, or alternately Mount of Ephraim, was the historical name for the central mountainous district of Israel once occupied by the tribe of Ephraim, extending from Bethel to the plain of Jezreel.

In Joshua’s time, approximately sometime between the 18th century B.C. and the 13th century B.C., these hills were densely wooded.

They were intersected by well-watered, fertile valleys, referred to in Jer. 50:19.

Joshua was buried at Timnath-heres among the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash (Judg. 2:9).

This region is also called the “mountains of Israel” (Josh. 11:21) and the “mountains of Samaria” (Jer. 31:5, 6: Amos 3:9).

Israel’s fourth judge and prophetess Deborah lived in this region.

Her home was called “the palm tree of Deborah”, and was between Bethel and Ramah in Benjamin.

One of Joab’s men yelled for everyone that was in favor of Joab and David to follow Joab, but most of the men stood still staring at Amasa wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway, so he was moved into the field and covered up.  Then all the men followed.

“And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear” (2 Sam 20:17).

“I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?

And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.

The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to thee over the wall.

Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king” (2 Sam 20:19-22).

“Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.

Gibeon was a Canaanite city north of Jerusalem that was conquered by Joshua.

Josh 10:12 and 2 Sam 21:2 describes the Gibeonites as not being Israelites, but as Amorites.

The remains of Gibeon are located on the south edge of the Palestinian village of Jib.

Archaeology

The earliest known mention of Gibeon in an extra-Biblical source is in a list of cities on the wall of the Amum temple at Karnak, celebrating the invasion of Israel by Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I (945-924 B.C.).

The remains of Gibeon were excavated in six expeditions from 1956 to 1962, led by the University of Pennsylvania archaeologist James B. Pritchard.

Gibeon was founded in the Early Bronze Age, for the excavators discovered 14 EB storage jars beneath the foundations of the Iron Age wall.

Other EB remains were discovered at the top of the tel but the stratigraphy had been destroyed by British gunfire during the First World War.

It is probable that there was a defensive wall, but this has not yet been found.

Tombs cut into the rock on the east site of the hill contained EB jars and bowls, formed first by hand and then finished on a slow wheel.

The Early Bronze city was destroyed by fire, but no date has been determined for this destruction.

And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.)

Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord?

And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you.

And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel,

Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lorddid choose. And the king said, I will give them.

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord‘s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.

But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:

And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.

Gath from East
The Philistine city of Gath was located near Israelite territory at the end of the Elah Valley, and frequently Gath figured in the biblical record.

The most famous inhabitant of Gath was Goliath, the giant who battled David in the Elah Valley, in an attempt to take territory away from the Israelites.

And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.

And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:

And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.

And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land”  (2 Sam 21:1-14).

The Philistines again attacked Israel, and David helped fight against them but got faint.

“And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David” (2 Sam 21:16). 

But Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, killed the Philistine, and the men wouldn’t let David go and fight anymore.

Excavations
The site was identified as Gath in 1887 and excavated by Bliss and Macalister in 1899.

At the time the site was occupied by an Arab village, which was later abandoned in 1948.

Bar Ilan University is now excavating the site under the supervision of Aren Maeir.

“And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant.

And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.

And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.

And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimeah the brother of David slew him.

City Moat
Recent excavations uncovered a 1.5 mile long moat that surrounded the city on three sides.

This moat dates to the 9th century B.C., and was apparently built by Hazael and his Aramean army when they were besieging the city in 811 B.C.

A brief notice of this battle is given in 2 Kgs 12:17.

These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants” (2 Sam 21:18-22).

“1Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ez 33:11).

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9). 

Phoenicia

Phoenicia was an ancient Semitic civilization situated on the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent and centered on the coastline of modern Lebanon and Tartus Governorate in Syria.

All major Phoenician cities were on the coastline of the Mediterranean, some colonies reaching the Western Mediterranean.

It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550 B.C. to 300 B.C.

The Phoenicians used the galley, a man-powered sailing vessel, and are credited with the invention of the bireme.

They were famed in Classical Greece and Rome as “traders in purple”, referring to their monopoly on the precious purple dye of the Murex snail, used, among other things, for royal clothing, and for their spread of the alphabet (or abjad), from which almost all modern phonetic alphabets are derived.

Phoenicians are widely thought to have originated from the earlier Canaanite inhabitants of the region.

Although Egyptian seafaring expeditions had already been made to Byblos to bring back “cedars of Lebanon” as early as the 3rd millennium B.C., continuous contact only occurred in the Egyptian New Empire period.

In the Amarna tablets of the 14th century BC, people from the region called themselves Kenaani or Kinaani (either the same as the Canaanites, or the Kenanites/Cainanites), although these letters predate the invasion of the Sea Peoples by over a century.

The Phoenicians were de­scendants of the people of Canaan. Phoenicia was never organized as a nation-state but consisted of a group of inde­pendent port cities along the northern sea-coast of Israel.

Phoenicia’s main centers included Arwad, Byblos, Sidon and Tyre. Relatively few Iron Age remains have been located at these sites.

Phoenician Sarcophagus at the burial grounds of Antarados, northern Lebanon, 480-450 B.C.

Origins: 2300–1200 B.C.
Phoenician sarkophagus at the burial grounds of Antarados, northern Lebanon, 480-450 B.C.

Herodotus’ account (written c. 440 BC) refers to the myths of Io and Europa.

According to the Persians best informed in history, the Phoenicians began the quarrel.

These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria.

The Greek historian Strabo believed that the Phoenicians originated from Bahrain.

Following the socioeconomic collapse of the Late Bronze Age, the Phoenicians established themselves as the preeminent sea traders in the Mediterranean.

Their crafts­men’s need for metals and other goods led merchants to establish colonies throughout the Mediterranean, as far away as Spain and the Atlantic coast of northern Africa.

Phoeni­cian fame also spread from its lumber trade and its thriving purple dye industry. A noted legacy is the Phoenician alphabet, which the Greeks borrowed, probably during the 8th century B.C.

Solomon solicited Phoenician expertise for the construction of the temple and for the maritime gold trade.

The king of Tyre provided cedar and pine in exchange for wheat and olive oil and sent experienced sailors to assist Solomon’s fleet.

But the Phoenicians also exported their reli­gion to Israel. The Sidonian princess Jezebel, who was given in marriage to Omri’s son Ahab, used her position to promote Baal wor­ship in Israel.

Phoenician influence also penetrated the kingdom of Judah, including, among other things, the practice of child sacrifice in the Hinnom Val­ley of Jerusalem.

Excavations at Carthage in northern Africa, the most famous of the Phoenician/Punic colonies, provide grim evidence of the long­standing practice of child sacrifice (8th-2nd centuries B.C.).

Thousands of urns con­taining the charred bones of infants and chil­dren have been excavated from the ritual burial precinct of Tannit, a Phoencian goddess.

These Phoenician religious practices became a stumbling block to both Israel and Judah and a recurring theme of Israelite prophetic rebuke.

Joab Reproaches David & Egyptian And Israelite Administration

Is David going to find out that Joab killed Absalom, and if so, what is he going to do? 

Is the Biblical Account of the Israelite Conquest of Canaan Historically Reliable? By Yigael Yadin There are essentially two views of the Israelite occupation of Canaan. The first conforms in its main outlines to the Biblical view; that is, the Israelite occupation was initiated by several lightning military attacks on major Canaanite cities and was followed after some time by Israelite occupation of adjacent areas thus subdued. (The Bible also recognizes that certain Canaanite enclaves like Jerusalem held out much longer, even to David’s time.) The other view is that the occupation was initiated by peaceful Israelite infiltration of largely unoccupied hill country. Then increasing Israelite pressure led to the collapse of the main Canaanite cities. Is the Biblical Account of the Israelite Conquest of Canaan Historically Reliable?

There are essentially two views of the Israelite occupation of Canaan. The first conforms in its main outlines to the Biblical view; that is, the Israelite occupation was initiated by several lightning military attacks on major Canaanite cities and was followed after some time by Israelite occupation of adjacent areas thus subdued. (The Bible also recognizes that certain Canaanite enclaves like Jerusalem held out much longer, even to David’s time.)

The other view is that the occupation was initiated by peaceful Israelite infiltration of largely unoccupied hill country. Then increasing Israelite pressure led to the collapse of the main Canaanite cities.

The first view is associated especially with the great American archaeologist, William Foxwell Albright, who pioneered in the use of archaeological materials to elucidate the Bible. The second view is associated with scholars of the so-called German school: Albrecht Alt and his follower Martin Noth, who based their views principally on a study of the literary traditions contained in the Bible, and, more recently, Manfred Weippert who attempts to conform archaeological evidence to this interpretation of the literary traditions.

“And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people: for the people heard say that day how the king was grieved for his son.

And the people gat them by stealth that day into the city, as people being ashamed steal away when they flee in battle.

But the king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!

And Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Thou hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which this day have saved thy life, and the lives of thy sons and of thy daughters, and the lives of thy wives, and the lives of thy concubines;

The Merneptah stele. While alternative translations exist, the majority of biblical archaeologists translate a set of hieroglyphs as “Israel”, representing the first instance of the name Israel in the historical record.

Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.).
The name Israel first appears in the stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 B.C., “Israel is laid waste and his seed is no more.”

This “Israel” was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state; Archaeologist Paula McNutt says: “It is probably … during Iron Age I [that] a population began to identify itself as ‘Israelite’,” differentiating itself from its neighbors via prohibitions on intermarriage, an emphasis on family history and genealogy, and religion.

In the Late Bronze Age there were no more than about 25 villages in the highlands, but this increased to over 300 by the end of Iron I, while the settled population doubled from 20,000 to 40,000.

The villages were more numerous and larger in the north, and probably shared the highlands with pastoral nomads who left no remains.

Archaeologists and historians attempting to trace the origins of these villagers have found it impossible to identify any distinctive features that could define them as specifically Israelite – collared-rim jars and four-room houses have been identified outside the highlands and thus cannot be used to distinguish Israelite sites, and while the pottery of the highland villages is far more limited than that of lowland Canaanite sites, it develops typologically out of Canaanite pottery that came before.

Israel Finkelstein proposed that the oval or circular layout that distinguishes some of the earliest highland sites, and the notable absence of pig bones from hill sites, could be taken as a marker of ethnicity, but others have cautioned that these can be a “common-sense” adaptation to highland life and not necessarily revelatory of origins.

Other Aramaean sites also demonstrate a contemporary absence of pig remains at that time, unlike earlier Canaanite and later Philistine excavations.

In that thou lovest thine enemies, and hatest thy friends. For thou hast declared this day, that thou regardest neither princes nor servants: for this day I perceive, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had died this day, then it had pleased thee well.

Now therefore arise, go forth, and speak comfortably unto thy servants: for I swear by the Lord, if thou go not forth, there will not tarry one with thee this night: and that will be worse unto thee than all the evil that befell thee from thy youth until now.

Then the king arose, and sat in the gate. And they told unto all the people, saying, Behold, the king doth sit in the gate. And all the people came before the king: for Israel had fled every man to his tent” (2 Sam 19:2-8).

The Israelites that were not distressed and they wanted David to come back so he returned.

“For thy servant doth know that I have sinned: therefore, behold, I am come the first this day of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.

But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord‘s anointed?

And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?

Therefore the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him.

And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came again in peace.

And it came to pass, when he was come to Jerusalem to meet the king, that the king said unto him, Wherefore wentest not thou with me, Mephibosheth?

And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for thy servant said, I will saddle me an ass, that I may ride thereon, and go to the king; because thy servant is lame.

And he hath slandered thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God: do therefore what is good in thine eyes.

For all of my father’s house were but dead men before my lord the king: yet didst thou set thy servant among them that did eat at thine own table. What right therefore have I yet to cry any more unto the king?

And the king said unto him, Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land.

And Mephibosheth said unto the king, Yea, let him take all, forasmuch as my lord the king is come again in peace unto his own house” (2 Sam 19:20-30).

Barzillai the Gileadite was 80 years old when he came over the Jordan to see David.  He had taken care of David many years ago at Mahanaim so David invited him to come and live with him. 

Mystery of Alexandria’s largest coffin: Archaeologists unearth 8.6-foot-long sarcophagus buried in Egypt 2,000 years ago beside a massive stone head.

Experts say black granite sarcophagus found in Alexandria measures 8.6 ft long. It was buried 5m deep during Ptolemaic period, which lasted from 332-30 BCE. Archaeologists also found alabaster head, likely representing the tomb’s owner.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered what’s thought to be the largest granite sarcophagus ever found in Alexandria, measuring nearly nine feet long. The massive stone casket was buried more than 16 feet beneath the surface alongside a huge alabaster head – likely belonging to the man who owned the tomb.

Experts say the ancient coffin has remained untouched since its burial thousands of years ago during the Ptolemaic period. According to the archaeologists who led the dig, the black granite sarcophagus stands at 185 centimeters tall (6 feet), 265cm long (8.6 ft), and 165 cm wide (5.4 ft). It’s said to be the largest ever found in Alexandria. According to the archaeologists who led the dig, the black granite sarcophagus stands at 185 centimeters tall (6 feet), 265cm long (8.6 ft), and 165 cm wide (5.4 ft). It’s said to be the largest ever found in Alexandria.

Researchers working under the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered the ancient tomb during an excavation in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria.

The team was inspecting a resident’s land ahead of digs planned for the foundation of his building at Al-Karmili Street when they stumbled upon the remarkable Ptolemaic burial 5 meters deep.

The Ptolemaic period lasted roughly 300 years, from 332-30 BCE, making this particular site more than 2,000 years old.

Barzillai declined theinvitation because he knew he was soon to die of old age and he preferred to die in his home town.  But he wanted David to let Chimham go to his kingdom. So Barzillai went home and David, with Chimham, and all his men went to Gilgal.

“And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said unto the king, Why have our brethren the men of Judah stolen thee away, and have brought the king, and his household, and all David’s men with him, over Jordan?

And all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us: wherefore then be ye angry for this matter? have we eaten at all of the king’s cost? or hath he given us any gift?

And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel” (2 Sam 19:41-43).

Egyptian and Israelite
Administration

Archaeological investigations of ancient Israelite sites have shown that the Israelites had adopted an Egyptian script, hieratic, for recording numbers and measures.

For example, several ostraca found at Arad in the Judean Negev employed hier­atic symbols for numerals in listing commodi­ties.

This demonstrates that at least in some respects Egyptian administrative models influ­enced Israel; scholars continue to look for other parallels.

One of the more widely discussed corre­spondences involves Solomon’s division of Israel into 12 administrative districts.

The governors of these districts

“supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year”.

According to a recently discovered stele, Solomon’s contemporary, Sheshonk I of Egypt’s Twenty-first Dynasty, instituted a similar policy for provisioning the temple of Arsaphes in Herakleopolis.

He divided the nome (administrative district) of Herak­ leopolis into 12 sections, with each one responsible for supporting the temple for one month per year.

As with 1 Kgs 4, the Egyp­tian stele defines each of the 12 districts, as well as designating their respective adminis­trators.

It is an open question whether the Egyptian model influenced the Israelite ver­sion or the other way areupd, or whether the parallel is coincidental.

One thing is clear, however: The Israelites did not live in isolation; they both knew and were influenced by Egyptian (and other) models.