Have archaeologists discovered the palace of King David? Not everyone agrees, but researchers Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor believe that they have excavated it at the modern city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, southwest of Jerusalem, traditionally considered the site of the battle between David and Goliath. “The palace that is now being revealed and the fortified city that was uncovered in recent years are another tier in understanding the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah,” they said.
The historical account of King David has been debated among scholars. Some say he was more of a tribal chieftain; others say he may not have existed at all, or if he did, he was more of a legend than an actual person. Archaeological support can be helpful and intriguing, but on the authority of Scripture both Jews and Christians regard David as Israel’s greatest king and warrior. Today’s reading lists his “mighty men” and retells highlights from their exploits (cf. 1 Chron. 11:10–47).
The elite warriors named and described here were the best of the best, like modern Green Berets or Navy Seals. Though many were from Judah, David’s tribe, others were foreign mercenaries, as explained yesterday about Uriah the Hittite. Many had been with him since his early days running from King Saul, so their relationships and trust were built on a solid foundation of sharing and enduring hardships together.
The episode in our reading today is an example of these men’s courage as well as the relationship they had with their king (vv. 13–17). By breaking through enemy lines, the “Three” showed their bravery and loyalty. By pouring out the water as a drink offering to the Lord, David in turn honored both his soldiers and God. Their achievements were evidence that God, who is also described as a mighty warrior, was with David (see Zeph. 3:17).