In college, a professor said that archeology has not found any trace at all of groups of people in Judea and Jerusalem during the 10th century BC, when King David and King Solomon are supposed to be there. My professor asked, “How can any Christian take the OT as serious history?” How can I as an Apostolic answer this?
Many, such as Professor Thomas Thompson, who is considered an authority on biblical archaeology by most people today, make such claims even today. They claim with a high degree of certainty based on the facts, we cannot trust the history found in the Bible. Critics like Thompson specifically say things like “… the first ten books of the Bible are fiction.” In fact, he claims these books were written about 500–1,500 years later than the events they falsely claim to describe. Articles written reporting on these claims have statements of seeming authority like, “Abraham, Jacob, Moses, King David and King Solomon, in all his splendour, never existed, a 15-year study of archaeological evidence has concluded.” How do we test these claims?
Is there any archaeological evidence for the biblical kings David and Solomon? Absolutely. Things like the Tel Dan Stele, which celebrates the military victory of an Aramean king over two kings south of him, mentions both the “King of Israel” and the “King of the house of David.” This is clear evidence that corroborates the biblical account of Hazael of Damascus defeating both Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah. This is powerful because it’s an outside hostile source, and as such it cannot be Israelite invention or propaganda. Further, as many note, it says “the house of David,” showing a lineage. This statement is an adversaries’ admission, which shows conclusively that contrary to claims against the Bible, these two lines (Israel and Judah) coming from David existed, and they were major players. Wow, just like that, you can believe the Bible again.
There are multiple other proofs today, including the Mesha Stele, which gives external proof of the biblical account of Shishak attacking Rehoboam, who is the son of King Solomon and the grandson of King David. Also, Ziklag has been found, which is biblically tied to David. More could be listed for the developing line of kings in Israel and Judah, but the idea that David was a “local tribal chieftain” and not a king has to be discarded, if one is honest with archeology today.
So, the idea that a Hellenistic “writer” or “late editor” from 300 BC could have accurate resources to invent a history with that precise historical accuracy is unbelievable. The truth is, experts in archeology have caught up with the Bible’s accuracy again. It sounds like your liberal professor hasn’t caught up with his own camp’s admissions yet. Start with naming those first, then go on to ask how this should change what one can claim as a historian. Be kind and pointed.