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Archeology Confirms Biblical Commandments in 10

th

Century at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Israel
by Rich Deem
INTRODUCTION

Biblical commandments

Skeptics have claimed that Old Testament writers exaggerated or made up the existence of
the Hebrew kingdoms described in the Old Testament, including kings David and Solomon.
However, recent archeological evidence has shown that the written Hebrew language was in
existence by the 10
th
century B.C. The archaeological site of Khirbet Qeiyafa is the location of
a massively fortified city of megalithic stones 6-9 feet tall.
1
In 2008, two city gates were
discovered, which was very unusual for cities of t hat time (which usually had only one gate).
This unusual characteristic clearly identified the city as being the biblical Shaarayim, which
has the meaning of "double gate."
2
The city is mentioned three times in the Old Testament
(Joshua 15:36, 1 Samuel 17:52 and 1 Chronicles 4:31).
3
The existence of written Hebrew
commandments at Khirbet Qeiyafa suggested that the peoples at the site were following the
commands found in the Old Testament scriptures. Professor Yosef Garfinkel has now
confirmed through archeological excavation that at least some of the Old Testament
commandments were being followed at Khirbet Qeiyafa by the 10
th
century B.C. The city was
violently destroyed in 980 B.C. (according to
14
C dating).
Biblical commands
Located 30 km. southwest of Jerusalem in the valley of Elah, Khirbet Qeiyafa was a heavily
fortified city at the time of King David. Numerous religious and other artifacts were recovered
from the site, including several shrines, tools and pottery. However, the shrines were quite
different from those of the surrounding Philistines and Canaanites, since no images of human
beings or animals were associated with the site. According to the biblical commands, the
Israelites were not to make or worship images of human beings or animals (Exodus 20:4,
Leviticus 26:1, Deuteronomy 5:8, 4:15-18, 27:15, Romans 1:22-25).
4
The religious objects
at Khirbet Qeiyafa included five standing stones (Massebot), two basalt altars, two pottery
libation vessels and two portable shrines.
5
The other commandment that seems to have been
followed at Khirbet Qeiyafa involved the eating of only "clean" animals (Leviticus 11:1-46).
Although hundreds of bones were found at the site, none of them were from pigs (in contrast
to surrounding sites), since those animals were not to be eaten according to the Old
Testament laws.
6
According to Garfinkel, "Over the years, thousands of animal bones were
found, including sheep, goats and cattle, but no pigs."
5

CONCLUSION
The archeological site at Khirbet Qeiyafa not only shows that the written Hebrew language
was in existence by the 10
th
century B.C., but that the Old Testament laws were being
practiced at that time. The finds blow apart the claims that Old Testament was not in
existence until hundreds of years after King David lived. According to Professor Garfinkel,
"Thus, various suggestions that completely deny the biblical tradition regarding King David
and argue that he was a mythological figure, or just a leader of a small tribe, are now shown
to be wrong."
5
Once again, archeological evidence has been found to support claims found in
the Old Testament books of the Bible.

REFERENCES
1. Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor. 2008. Khirbet Qeiyafa: Sha`arayim. Journal of
Hebrew Scriptures 8: Article 22.
2. Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions:
shaarayim (Strong's H8189)
Shaaraim = "double gate"
1. a town in Judah
2. a town in Simeon
Part of Speech: noun proper locative
A Related Word by BDB/Strong's Number: dual of H8179
3. In the lowland: Eshtaol and Zorah and Ashnah, and Zanoah and En-gannim, Tappuah
and Enam, Jarmuth and Adullam, Socoh and Azekah, and Shaaraim and Adithaim
and Gederah and Gederothaim; fourteen cities with their villages. (Joshua 15:33-36)
The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as
the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to
Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. (1 Samuel 17:52)
They lived at Beersheba, Moladah and Hazar-shual, at Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel,
Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri and Shaaraim. These were
their cities until the reign of David. (1 Chronicles 4:28-31)
4. The Israelites were commanded not to make and worship images of humans or
animals:
o "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above
or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth." (Exodus 20:4)
o 'You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an
image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow
down to it; for I am the LORD your God.' (Leviticus 26:1)
o 'You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above
or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.' (Deuteronomy 5:8)
o "So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD
spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly
and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of
male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any
winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground,
the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth." (Deuteronomy 4:15-
18)
o 'Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the
LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.' And all the
people shall answer and say, 'Amen.' (Deuteronomy 27:15)
o Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the
incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-
footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of
their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For
they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature
rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:22-25)
Cultic shrines from time of King David. May 8, 2012. Israel Ministry of Foreign
Affairs.
Pigs were not to be eaten:
o and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew
cud, it is unclean to you. 'You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses;
they are unclean to you. (Leviticus 11:7-8)
o "The pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, it is unclean for
you. You shall not eat any of their flesh nor touch their carcasses. (Deuteronomy
14:8)