Zwinglius Redivivus

אתם עם קשׁה ערף רגע אחד אעלה בקרבך וכליתיך

I Confess- That’s A Really Interesting Question

Seldom are the times, you’ll know, that I make reference to an essay in BAR- but this one asks a question that I confess has always been of interest to me: Where were the Old Testament Kings buried?

Doesn’t it strike anyone else as odd that we don’t have any ‘king’s tombs’? Why is that?

Archaeologist Jeff Zorn believes these two quarried-out tunnels in the City of David may have once held the remains of the earliest Old Testament kings of ancient Jerusalem.

Nearly a century ago, French archaeologist Raymond Weill excavated what he identified to be tombs in Jerusalem’s City of David—perhaps the royal necropolis of the earliest Old Testament kings. Some scholars have since disputed this claim, but a new examination of the evidence by archaeologist Jeff Zorn suggests that Weill might well have been right.

Although King David’s tomb has been erroneously identified with a location on Jerusalem’s Mt. Zion since the days of the Jewish historian Josephus (first century C.E.), earlier Biblical references make it clear that David and many other Old Testament kings were buried near the southern end of the City of David in ancient Jerusalem. But where exactly? Jeff Zorn believes we may already know.

He may be right.  Who knows.  I’d sure like to.  Especially since we know where lots of Egypt’s monarchs were buried.  Why – then – no Judean or Israelite ones?  It’s a strange mystery to me.  Seriously strange.

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Written by Jim

November 26, 2012 at 12:01

7 Responses

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  1. Except for Persian Cyrus’ tomb, do we know of any tombs of Neo-Babylon and/or Assyrian rulers?


    November 26, 2012 at 19:11

  2. Do we know of the Egyptian king’s burial sites because of mummification? and if so did the ancient Israelites practice something similar?

    Dan Ortiz

    November 26, 2012 at 19:37

    • well joseph was mummified but of course he was no king.


      November 26, 2012 at 19:39

  3. Obvious answer: most of those kings never existed.

    However, there should be some fairly impressive tombs for the Omrides and late Iron Age Judahite kings.

    Paul D.

    November 26, 2012 at 20:40

  4. Well, the Pharaohs left impresive tombs (besides the mummies thing), unlike the Judean and Israelite kings. Most probably such tombs, if ever existed, are more modest than the Egyptian ones. Norma Franklin believes she has identified a couple from the Omrides (paper in


    November 27, 2012 at 10:25

  5. Closer to Judah than Egypt, both spatially and culturally, are the Sidonian royal tombs. I wonder whether the Judaean royal tombs may have looked like the ones at Sidon, which are also from the first half of the first millennium.

    Another question: is it possible that the Jerusalem high priests and Samarian leaders in the Persian period were buried like Sidonian kings of that age? Finding similar sarcophagi would certainly be quite spectacular!

    Jona L

    December 4, 2012 at 18:45

  6. Reply to CS: the Assyrian royal tombs are more or less known. One of them is now in the Berlin Pergamon Museum. Another parallel is the set of Urartaean royal tombs in Van.

    Jona L

    December 4, 2012 at 18:48

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