by Timothy P. Harrison
Most scholars accept David as a historical figure who was an active military ruler in the period portrayed in the Hebrew Bible (the early tenth century B.C.E.). However, there is considerably less agreement on how to interpret the archaeological evidence for this period. That's where Megiddo Stratum VI figures in. The dispute is over which archaeological material relates to the time of David's reign, or, more specifically, over establishing the chronological connections that permit us to link the archaeological record to the events described in the Bible...
Until recently, most scholars dated Stratum VI to the period just before the
time of David, making him a candidate for its destruction; a later stratum would
then represent the town of David and Solomon.
However, in a series of articles, 1 as well as in a recent interview in this magazine,* the head of Tel Aviv University's Institute of Archaeology, Israel Finkelstein, has argued forcefully that Megiddo Stratum VI should be dated to the period of David and Solomon (otherwise known as the United Monarchy).
Stratum VI was destroyed, he contends, by the Egyptian Pharaoh Sheshonq I, the Shishak of the Bible (1 Kings 14:25-26; 2 Chronicles 12:2-9). All scholars agree that Sheshonq/Shishak cut a devastating swath through Israel in about 925 B.C.E. A list of towns he conquered and destroyed is inscribed in a poorly preserved hieroglyphic inscription in the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak. More than 50 towns are named, including Megiddo...
Following Tiglath-pileser III's conquest of Megiddo in 732 B.C.E., the town became the capital of the Assyrian province Magiddu. By the fourth century B.C.E. Megiddo's importance waned, and it ceased to be an important site.
Armageddon Fortress May Hold Keys to History
The word "Armageddon" comes from the Hebrew Har Megiddo, which means mountain of Megiddo, where Revelation says the final battle will take place. To the untrained observer, the modern-day site of Megiddo looks like one more hill in the Carmel mountain range near Haifa.
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