Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
“House of David“ inscribed on a victory stele
Dan

Basalt
H: 34; W: 32 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1996-125, 1993-3162
 
 
This unique Aramaic inscription, part of a monumental stone slab commemorating the military victories of Hazael, king of Aram, contains the earliest reference to the Davidic dynasty outside the Bible.

In the inscription, the king boasts of killing Joram of Israel and Ahaziah of “the House of David” (Judah). The text contradicts the account in the Book of Kings, according to which Joram and Ahaziah were killed by Jehu, who subsequently seized the throne of Israel.
Inscription: […] and cut […] my father went up [against him when] he fought at […] And my father lay down, he went to his [ancestors]. And the king of I[s]rael entered previously in my father’s land. [And] Hadad made me king. And Hadad went in front of me, [and] I departed from [the] seven […]s of my kingdom, and I slew [seve]nty kings, who harnessed thou[sands of cha]riots and thousands of horsemen (or: horses). [I killed Jeho]ram son of [Ahab] king of Israel, and [I] killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin]g of the House of David. And I set [their towns into ruins and turned] their land into [desolation …] other [… and Jehu ru]led over Is[rael … and I laid] siege upon […]

Publications:
The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir