Has Yigal Levin Identified the Site of David and Goliath’s Confrontation?

Deane writes

According to an article by Yigal Levin in the August 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the archaeological site of Khirbet Qeiyafa is none other than the Israelite camp mentioned in the story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

Deane continues a bit later

Levin cautions that this “does not, of course ‘prove’ that David really killed Goliath” (p. 83). He acknowledges that the story in 1 Samuel 17 might “not represent any particular historical event at all” and that the ’round camp’ at Khirbet Qeiyafa may have been built decades later than the setting of the story. Yet, Levin notes, the round structure of Khirbet Qeiyafa “would still have been visible and known to the author of 1 Samuel 17, who “guessed its function, and worked it into his story” (p. 84).

See for yourself if Levin is convincing.

Personally the fact that a real place with real details are used in a novel doesn’t persuade me that the facts of the story are established.  Just think of all the novels you’ve read set in Boston or New York or Washington, DC which meticulously describe the location but which still have zombies and vampires running around.  Would the details in the story convince you that Vampire Bill did what the story suggests?   Or even non-Vampire Susan?

6 thoughts on “Has Yigal Levin Identified the Site of David and Goliath’s Confrontation?

  1. Jordan Wilson

    Jim, just curious. At what point do you believe the writers of the bible stopped writing about fictional characters and started writing about real people that actually existed?


    1. Jim Post author

      i think that all the characters of the bible are real. all of them. i just don’t think their existence can be proven by means of historical reconstruction.


  2. Deane

    That’s right, Jim – the real details do not in themselves provide a reason to accept the story of David and Goliath as something that happened in reality.

    Yigal Levin seems to go further at the end of his article, suggesting that the use of a ’round camp’ (ma’gal) in 1 Sam 17.20 may have simply been based on the geographical feature of Qeiyafa which only came into existence – probably – after the ‘life of David’. That is, the ma’gal is purely a literary flourish.

    It is perhaps similar to another circular geographical feature, Gilgal Refaim in the Golan Heights – if Karge was right in his speculation that it inspired the biblical association of Og with gigantic Rephaim.


  3. Yigal Levin

    Diane, as far as I know “Gilgal Rephaim” is a purely modern name, given by the Israel Names Commitee to the site called Rujum Hiri in Arabic.


  4. Deane

    That was my understanding, too, Yigal. It is the gigantic size and ancient appearance (even 2300 years ago) of Gilgal Refaim which may have led to such associations with the Og.


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