Devoted to the Truth

The renowned and respected Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar passed away this week at the age of 64. One of her highest achievements came in 2005 with her tenacious belief, based on a Bible passage in 2 Samuel, of the location of King David’s palace.

While some other colleagues disagreed and rejected her view, she held to it determinedly. Her determination, her perseverance, paid off as she located in the City of David confines the remains of a large 10th Century BCE structure, indeed, likely to be King David’s palace!

Here’s how the discovery unfolded:

During a 2004 presentation at the Shalem Center on her work at a weekly meeting, she mentioned in passing, but with conviction, of her view on the location of King David’s palace. She based her view on her interpretation of a passage in 2 Samuel. When asked later why she wasn’t excavating that area, she replied that a project like that would cost “a lot of money.” The funding search netted a potential donor, but after a financial challenge, he reduced his donation significantly. Then, another donor stepped forward, the Chairman of the Shalem board, Roger Hertog. “He asked why she thought the palace might be there and how much a dig like that might cost. He said, “I might step forward in place of the donor who backed out.” He did ‘step in’, in his words, “Because I want Eilat to have the chance to find King David’s palace.”

Beginning in early 2005, in the summer Eilat and her team uncovered the remains of a massive 10th century BCE structure, with evidence pointing either to David’s Palace or the Citadel of David. “The Mazar excavation provided compelling proof for a significant Israelite kingdom in the 10th Century BCE from precisely that part of Jerusalem the Bible describes as the seat of King David’s rule.”

Her character, however, exceeded her many achievements. One who interviewed her said she was tenacious about the truth. “May her memory be for a blessing and may her example light a path for all those seeking to be a part of the incredible story of the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.”

(Source: Dr. Daniel Polisar, The Times of Israel)