This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham…
–The opening line of the Christian New Testament (Matthew 1:1)
The archaeological evidence is overwhelming: There is no evidence of the biblical King David, his united Israelite kingdom, nor of his occupation of the city of Jerusalem. There is one inscription of a “king David” on a stele in northern Israel dated several hundred years after the alleged time of the biblical David, but “king of what”? This is hardly good evidence for the existence of the biblical King David.
And there is more. There is zero archaeological evidence of the great King Solomon, his temple, or of his massive empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Nile. None. Zip. Nada.
Christian apologists will be quick to chime in: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. And this is true. But the absence of evidence regarding the biblical King David and the biblical King Solomon is odd. Very, very odd.
If such great kings existed, why is there not only no archaeological record in Palestine of their existence, but there is no mention of them in the stelae or other writings of the surrounding peoples, such as the Egyptians, the Hittites, and the Assyrians? Nothing. These surrounding nations did leave records about many other, less important, kings of Israel and Judah, but absolutely nothing about the two greatest Israelite kings! Nothing.
Most modern archaeologists, including most Israeli archaeologists, believe that the biblical kings David and Solomon never existed. They are myths.
So what does that say about Jesus of Nazareth??
Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, a descendent of King David. If King David did not exist that makes Jesus a fool or a liar. Either way, modern archaeology proves that Jesus was not an all-knowing god but a fallible man. He certainly was not the omniscient creator of the universe, as Christianity claims.
End of post.
10 thoughts on “If the Biblical King David Was a Myth, What Does that Say About Jesus?”
I don’t know how the writer of Matthew thinks he can claim a virgin birth and then turn around and claim a male line lineage back to David from Mary’s husband Joseph. It’s nonsensical.
None of these people ever existed.
Actually, I don’t think any of the gospels have Jesus making a direct claim about his genealogy. And, if they are correct on him calling himself a “son of man,” that’s not him calling himself the Messiah. Tis true that the Synoptics have the “messianic secret” after the Transfiguration, but that’s a Markan invention.
None of this is to say that there’s not zero possibility Jesus never existed, but it is to say these aren’t good arguments. At least you didn’t cite Richard Carrier.
Jesus may have never said, “I am the Messiah, the son of David” but he used enough buzz words to make his followers believe that he was claiming to be the Messiah. First century Jews believed that the Messiah had to be a descendant of King David. So if Jesus was inferring that he was the Messiah, he was by extension inferring that he was a descendant of David.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
This passage clearly indicates what Jesus’ followers and the Jewish people in general believed Jesus was claiming or inferring about himself. More importantly, Jesus adds that Peter’s belief that Jesus is the Messiah comes from none other than God himself, a statement which clearly infers that Jesus believed that he was the Messiah.
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I’m curious. If one is to escape Christian fundamentalism, what are they escaping to? It appears your intent is to tear down the whole house!
I am part of one of the greatest movements in the history of humankind: the debunking of religious superstitions.
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Wow. There is evidence that David existed found in a non-Israelite source.
This doesn’t address all the difficulties but either you’re ignorant or lying. Neither make you someone to listen to on such matters.
I agree with you, Liam, that there is evidence that someone named “David” existed in the Middle East but there is zero evidence that the biblical David (you know, the guy who killed a giant with a sling shot, killed lions with his bare hands, and ruled over a united Israelite kingdom) existed. Here is a quote from your article which supports my claim:
“The archaeological evidence for King David’s existence is limited, and much of it is controversial. Perhaps the most important piece of evidence linked to King David is known as the Tel Dan stele, which is an ancient and broken inscribed stone discovered in 1993 and 1994. The inscription tells how the ruler of a kingdom named Aram Damascus defeated a king of Israel named Joram and a king of Judah named Ahaziyahu, who were both members of the house of David.
The reference to “house of David” indicates that King David likely existed, wrote Eric Cline, a professor of classics, anthropology and history at George Washington University, in his book “Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction” (Oxford University Press, 2009).
“At a single blow, the finding of this inscription brought an end to the debate and settled the question of whether David was an actual historical person,” Cline wrote.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any other evidence of either David or his son Solomon.
Another 2,800-year-old inscription called the Mesha stele (named after King Mesha of Moab, the person who erected it) has writing on it that some scholars believe refers to King David, but that’s also heavily debated.”
Gary: This is why neither “King David of Israel” nor “King Solomon of Israel” are found in public university history textbooks as real historical figures. There just isn’t any solid evidence for their existence.
Just because one guy claims that the King David controversy has been settled, doesn’t make it true.
“It is agreed by most scholars, however, that even assuming “of the house of David” is the correct reading [of the Tel Dan stele], this does not prove the existence of an literal Davidic dynasty, only that the kings of Judah were known as belonging to such a “house.” “