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David’s Sojourn in Keilah in Light of the Amarna Letters

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The article examines the story of David’s sojourn in Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1-13) in light of the episode of the sojourn of a band of ‘Apiru in the same city in the Amarna period. The biblical story is analyzed in the first part of the article, and is followed by a reconstruction of the 14th century BCE historical episode on the basis of some Amarna letters. The remarkable accord between the biblical and extra-biblical descriptions with regard to location and social conditions opens the way to a better understanding of both. The pro-Davidic character of the biblical story is evident from what the narrator includes in his story, as much as by what he left out. The extra-biblical source is the key to filling in the missing details that the narrator deliberately left out of his story.

Affiliations: 1: Tel Aviv University Israel


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