Fact or fiction? The chart below contains archaeological evidence—in the form of texts—for the existence of Israelite kings mentioned in the Bible. It is not a complete list: There are additional references to Omri and Hezekiah, for example. Moreover, we have included only references from non-Israelite sources, who have less reason to exaggerate Israel’s importance.
Author Baruch Halpern writes: “What is striking about this list is that the kings of the early period are mentioned because of their strength, their ability to project power abroad. For the later kings, after Jehoram, the waning of power and the fact of invasion lead to their being mentioned; one possible exception is Uzziah, though Uzziah’s attestation by Tiglath-Pileser III is subject to question. Thus biblical traditions about strong kings in the eighth-seventh centuries B.C.E. are essentially correct.
“The picture of the ninth century B.C.E. in biblical records is also largely substantiated, right down to the revolt of the petty kingdom of Moab under Mesha and the campaign of Shishak [see victory stela] against Judah.
“Of course, there are errors in the Bible: Pekah cannot have reigned 20 years; Ben-Hadad of Damascus in 1 Kings 20 and 2 Kings 6 is likely displaced from the end of the ninth century B.C.E. to the middle, and he is probably confused, in 2 Kings 8, with Hadadezer. But in comparison with the overall picture, the errors are relatively few.”