The duel between David and Goliath. David’s Israelite kingdom. Solomon’s Temple and palace.
These Biblical subjects are some of the most famous in the Hebrew Bible, and now, thanks to recent excavations at the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa, we can understand them a little better. Archaeologist Yosef Garfinkel thinks that Qeiyafa in the Elah Valley is the Biblical site Sha’arayim, which is mentioned in the narrative of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:52). Incredible artifacts from this site are on display—many for the first time—in the exhibit In the Valley of David and Goliath at the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.
As a fortified site from the late 11th century through the early 10th century B.C.E., Qeiyafa stood on the Israelite side of the border between the Philistines and the Israelites. If it is indeed Sha’arayim, then it became part of the Kingdom of Israel under David’s rule (according to 1 Chronicles 4:31) and went out of use shortly thereafter. An absence of Philistine pottery and pig bones supports the idea that this was an Israelite site.
Although it appears that the site was no longer occupied by the time of King Solomon, it still sheds light on aspects of his reign. For instance, one of the most intriguing discoveries from the site is a model of a shrine. The triple-recessed doorframe of this model gives us an idea of what the doorways in King Solomon’s Temple and palace in Jerusalem may have looked like.a