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David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  128 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The exciting field of biblical archaeology has revolutionized our understanding of the Bible -- and no one has done more to popularise this vast store of knowledge than Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, who revealed what we now know about when and why the Bible was first written in The Bible Unearthed. Now, with David and Solomon, they do nothing less than help us to ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Free Press (first published 2006)
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Finkelstein and Silberman - the Dynamic Duo of ancient Israel - take a realistic and refreshing look at what might have been the 'United Monarchy' of the early Iron Age II in the Land of Israel. While it is true that there is absolutely no archaeological evidence of a massive Davidic empire or gold, spices and peacocks from Sheba (or even the Queen), the reality is perhaps even more fascinating. A pair of tiny hill-country chiefdoms (Were Judah and Israel united? At this point, we just don't kno ...more
Lee Harmon
Jan 20, 2011 Lee Harmon rated it really liked it
A Finkelstein book will be controversial; let’s establish that up front. And because there exists very literal archaeological evidence outside the Bible story of Judah’s first kings, speculation will be a natural result of any such study. We know absolutely nothing from history about Saul and precious little about David and Solomon; in fact, the evidence is so sparse that a few scholars still doubt the existence of all three.

Finkelstein and Silberman don’t doubt, but neither are they able to pro
Alecia Hansen
Oct 24, 2013 Alecia Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superbly written. Controversial to say the least. If, however, the reader can break away from Hebrew tradition enough to examine the text with an open mind they will be in for an examination of how the Davidic times can be placed within a historicity view. I truly enjoyed the read. Warning though if you examine ancient Israel with a largely biblically based structure this book may be controversial.
Jul 17, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
The authors (both archaeologists, Bible scholars and, incidentally, religious Jews) explain the context in which the Old Testament's Deuteronomistic History came to be compiled.

The Deuteronomistic History is understood as comprising the Old Testament 'historical' books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. It started off as 10th century BCE collections of already-ancient myths, folklore and ballads; these oral legends were probably first compiled around the late 8th century BCE by
Bob Breckwoldt
Oct 21, 2012 Bob Breckwoldt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written, easy to follow account of David and Solomon and what according to Finkelstein we know of them. By which he means little, but not nothing (he is no minimalist). What we know is very different from the account in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. All being of a later date and including much that archaeologically relates to over a 100 years later (advocated by the dating that comes from the argument for low chronology) and therefore reflects life not when David and Solomon were around b ...more
Andrew Lucas
Jan 06, 2017 Andrew Lucas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a valuable exploration of the history of the two ancient entities, Israel and Judah, through the prism of archeology. It traces the development of traditions related to kings David and Solomon in the Hebrew Bible, posing viable paradigms for that development in the light of archaeological discoveries. It is written in a highly accessible manner for the lay reader. A valuable companion to their earlier work, 'The Bible Unearthed'.
Dariusz Płochocki
Czasem mam wrażenie, że autor nie do końca stosuje się do zasad przytaczanych w początkach dzieła, że brak dowodów jednak nie do końca jest najlepszym dowodem. Dobre szczególnie ostatnie rozdziały. Mimo wszystko książka Liveraniego jest bardziej pogłębiona. (No i autor wierzy w rzeczywistość Dawida)
Dec 07, 2010 Sharkcrow marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-reading
Have read bits and pieces, will go back and read the whole thing when I have time - fascinating reading.
a more focused version of modern biblical archaeology findings concerning David and Solomon. thought-provoking and well argued.
Justin Tapp
The maps in this book (Kindle edition) are inadequate. I recommend investing in a better map to keep handy on your table or better yet on your wall.

If you want a brief summary of this book's contents, read Israel Finkelstein's "A Low Chronology Update: Archaeology, History and Bible", in T. E. Levy – T. Higham (eds.), The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating: Archaeology, Text and Science (London: Equinox, 2005) 31-42, available for free download at I recommend that with a word of caution
Steven Williams
Feb 26, 2017 Steven Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book weaves a story from biblical text, historical information, and archaeological exploration. The story they tell begins in David’s time and continues into Solomon’s. Then, after this supposed united monarchy, the authors cover Israel’s and Judah’s dealings with the Assyrians. Afterwords comes Babylonia’s dealings with Judah and the exilic period. Finally, comes the return to Judea of some of the exiles. Also covered is how the stories continued to be developed and be interpreted from Hel ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Ilya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Books of Samuel and Kings in the Bible give a list of kings (and one queen) of the Davidic dynasty, and the length of reign of each; the penultimate Judean king Jeconiah's release from the Babylonian captivity is also mentioned in Babylonian archives, which we can date, which makes it possible to date all the reigns, if we take the Biblical regnal lengths at face value. If we do this, then David and Solomon reigned in the 10th century BCE. It is entirely possible that a chieftain named David ...more
Nov 30, 2013 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The authors have put together research from a variety of disciplines to explore the Biblical stories of David and Solomon. They clearly present their findings.

While I was aware that the stories were spread over a number of books, I was not aware that the presentation changed. I presume that the story I learned in Sunday School was the one in Chronicles.

Like the Biblical record of Jesus, the records of David and Solomon were written at minimum 100 years after the events. I had never thought to qu
Avraham Anouchi
Mar 26, 2011 Avraham Anouchi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finkelstein and Silberrman undertook a controversial task in writing this book. Fact and fiction have plagued biblical scholars for decades if not centuries. The battle between Biblical maximalists and minimalists continues. If judged but its written style, the book deserves a 5-star rating, but considering its rejection of Biblical descriptions of the titled kings, I elected to go with 4-stars.

A case in point is the famous Sheshonuq-I relief from the temple of Amun at Karnak in upper Egypt. Ev
Nov 12, 2011 Timothy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, the duo of Israel Finklestein and Neil Asher Silverman upset the applecart of Biblical assumptions, this time looking at who King David really was. What is great about this team is that they stick to facts and make it clear when they are speculating. They also are not afraid to contradict the Bible or to expose its contents as pure mythology when they can prove it. But they also point out where the Bible is accurate as well, so the reader gain confidence in their impartial judgement. ...more
I enjoyed this book when I read it. It offers a very good analysis of David, his early life which the author speculates looked more like a warlord or brigand than a devoted servant of Saul. I also liked the general thesis that much of the court life drama of Davids life was drawn from the court legends of the northern Kingdom rather than the early days of Judah and Jerusalem. The second half of the book on Solomon is more scattered and less well documented or written, though I think that was als ...more
Greg Tymn
Jun 22, 2013 Greg Tymn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book contemporaneous with my studies of Samuel and Kings. I found it eye opening. While scholars may disagree with some of Finkestein's and Silberman's conclusions, I believe the overall setting and flavor of the times within the aforementioned biblical books is better understood after reading David & Solomon. God's role in the wars and development of Judaism during this time has always carried (for me) a thread of disingenuity. Adding a modern archaeological perspective to the B ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A detailed consideration of what archeology, biblical texts and scholarship, and historical records tell us about these two figures, why they were represented in the bible as they are, whether they are historical figures (the authors say yes, but not as seen in the bible), and why they have been so influential in Western and Abrahamic history. For me, the authors' "The Bible Unearthed" is the more fascinating read, as it covers the whole Hebrew Bible; the stories of David and Solomon have never ...more
Dec 07, 2010 MsCrowshaw marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-reading
Have read bits and pieces, will go back and read the whole thing when I have time - fascinating reading.
Mar 12, 2008 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Eh. I've read better. And the Bible -- which is nothing like literature -- is a better read.
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Israel Finkelstein is a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University. He is a leading figure in the archaeology of the Levant and the laureate of the 2005 Dan David Prize in the Past Dimension -- Archaeology. Finkelstein served for many years as the Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and is the co-Director of the Megiddo Expedition. He is the co-author, with Neil Si ...more
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