Tel Dan Stele
The Tel Dan Stele is a broken stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993–94 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel/Palestine region.
Highlighted in white - the sequence BYTDWD. Hazael (or more accurately, the unnamed king) boasts of his victories over the king of Israel and his ally the king of the "House of David" (bytdwd). It is considered the earliest widely accepted reference to the name David as the founder of a Judahite polity outside of the Hebrew Bible. Archeologists and epigraphers put the earliest possible date at about 870 BCE, whilst the latest possible date is "less clear", although according to Lawrence J. Mykytiuk it could "hardly have been much later than 750".
The author of the inscription mentions conflict with the kings of Israel and the 'House of David'. The names of the two enemy kings are only partially legible. Biran and Naveh reconstructed them as Joram, son of Ahab, King of Israel, and Ahaziah, son of Joram of the House of David. In the reconstructed text, the author tells how Israel had invaded his country in his father's day, and how the god Hadad then made him king and marched with him against Israel. The author then reports that he defeated seventy kings with thousands of chariots and horses. In the very last line there is a suggestion of a siege, possibly of Samaria, the capital of the kings of Israel. This reading is, however, disputed.
- "Stone Tablet Offers 1st Physical Evidence of Biblical King David: Archeology: Researchers say 13 lines of Aramaic script confirm the battle for Tel Dan recounted in the Bible, marking a victory by Asa of the House of David". Los Angeles Times. 14 August 1993. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
- Hovee, Eric (14 January 2009). "Tel Dan Stele". Center for Online Judaic Studies. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
- "Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing". The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- Athas, George (2006). The Tel Dan Inscription: A Reappraisal and a New Introduction. A&C Black. p. 217. ISBN 9780567040435. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
- Finkelstein, Mazar & Schmidt 2007, p. 14.
- Aaron Demsky (2007), Reading Northwest Semitic Inscriptions, Near Eastern Archaeology 70/2. Quote: "The first thing to consider when examining an ancient inscription is whether it was discovered in context or not. It is obvious that a document purchased on the antiquities market is suspect. If it was found in an archeological site, one should note whether it was found in its primary context, as with the inscription of King Achish from Ekron, or in secondary use, as with the Tel Dan inscription. Of course texts that were found in an archaeological site, but not in a secure archaeological context present certain problems of exact dating, as with the Gezer Calendar."
- Lemche, Niels Peter (1998). The Israelites in History and Tradition. Westminster John Knox Press, pp. 46, 62: “ No other inscription from Palestine, or from Transjordan in the Iron Age, has so far provided any specific reference to Israel... The name of Israel was found in only a very limited number of inscriptions, one from Egypt, another separated by at least 250 years from the first, in Transjordan. A third reference is found in the stele from Tel Dan - if it is genuine, a question not yet settled. The Assyrian and Mesopotamian sources only once mentioned a king of Israel, Ahab, in a spurious rendering of the name.”
- Maeir, Aren M. (2013). "Israel and Judah". The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. New York: Blackwell. pp. 3523–27. The earliest certain mention of the ethnonym Israel occurs in a victory inscription of the Egyptian king MERENPTAH, his well-known "Israel Stela" (ca. 1210 BCE); recently, a possible earlier reference has been identified in a text from the reign of Rameses II (see RAMESES I–XI). Thereafter, no reference to either Judah or Israel appears until the ninth century. The pharaoh Sheshonq I (biblical Shishak; see SHESHONQ I–VI) mentions neither entity by name in the inscription recording his campaign in the southern Levant during the late tenth century. In the ninth century, Israelite kings, and possibly a Judaean king, are mentioned in several sources: the Aramaean stele from Tel Dan, inscriptions of Shalmaneser III of Assyria, and the stela of Mesha of Moab. From the early eighth century onward, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah are both mentioned somewhat regularly in Assyrian and subsequently Babylonian sources, and from this point on there is relatively good agreement between the biblical accounts on the one hand and the archaeological evidence and extra-biblical texts on the other.
- Athas, George, “Setting the Record Straight: What Are We Making of the Tel Dan Inscription?” Journal of Semitic Studies 51 (2006): 241-256.