Tel Dan Stele

Holy Land Revealed

So the Tel Dan Stele is a fragmentary stele containing a Canaanite inscription, discovered in 1993 in Tel Dan by Gila Cook; a member of an archaeological team lead by Avraham Biran; the pieces having been used to construct an ancient stone wall that survived into modern times.

In fact, the Tel Dan Stele is in several pieces and contains several lines of Aramaic; closely related to Hebrew and historically a common language among Jews. The surviving inscription, which dates to the 9th century BCE; details that an individual killed Jehoram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel, and the king of the house of David. It is considered the earliest widely accepted reference to the name David as the founder of a Judahite polity outside of the Hebrew Bible, though the earlier Mesha Stele contains several possible references with varying acceptance.

Furthermore, these writings corroborate passages from the Bible; as the Second Book of Kings mentions that Jehoram, also Joram; is the son of an Israelite king, Ahab, by his Phoenician wife, Jezebel. Applying a Biblical viewpoint to the inscription; the likely candidate for having erected the stele is Hazael; an Aramean king, whose language would have been Aramaic, who is mentioned in the Second Book of Kings as having conquered the Land of Israel, though he was unable to take Jerusalem. The Tel Dan stele is currently on display at the Israel Museum.

Tel Dan Stele And The Debate About King David

In the historical debate over the very existence of a King of Israel known as David that ruled over the United Kingdom of Israel. Moreover, the debate whether we can rely on the biblical text as a historical document; the Tel Dan Stele serves as an important argument in favor of these arguments. Most experts agree that David’s name is indeed mentioned, and apparently, a ruler by that name existed. But the debate remains about the scope and power of David’s kingdom.


Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history.

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