The great Bible scholar provides a wealth of insights into the Hebrew Scriptures and the ancient world.

The articles below were hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library.



Don’t Rush to Judgment
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2004 By David Noel Freedman

BAR’s reports on the so-called Jehoash inscription—which describes repairs to the Solomonic Temple by King Jehoash in the ninth century B.C.E.—are unhesitatingly condemnatory: It is a fake. A piece by the BAR editor on the 15-line inscription is headed “Demonstrably a Forgery.”a My long-time friend Frank Cross (we wrote two joint doctoral dissertations […]

Caution: Bible Critic at Work
Bible Review, February 1999 By David Noel Freedman

The task of the biblical text critic is to try to make sense of biblical verses. The text critic faces many kinds of problems. I would like to offer as illustrations two cases where I would recommend emending the text—actually changing the biblical text as it has come down to us to a version […]

“House of David” Is There!
Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1995 By David Noel Freedman , Jeffrey C. Geoghegan

BAR recently published an article by Philip R. Davies in which he claims that the now famous six letters of the Tel Dan inscription, bytdwd, do not mean “the House of David” after all.a The tone and content of the article are an impassioned bashing of those “Biblical Maximizers” who read into archaeological finds […]

Did God Play a Dirty Trick on Jonah at the End?
Bible Review, August 1990 By David Noel Freedman

To the modern critical scholar, the Book of Jonah may be a romance, a short fictional delight with a moral. But that’s not what the author—whoever he or she was—intended. According to the author, our hero was an actual historical person, Jonah ben Amittai. Jonah not only has a named father but, as […]

The Nine Commandments
Bible Review, December 1989 By David Noel Freedman

Embedded in the sequence of books from Genesis through Kings is a hitherto unnoticed sequence of violations of the Ten Commandments, one by one, book by book, by the community of Israel, leading, in the end, to her Exile. I would like to suggest that this sequence of violations may reveal the hand of […]

Is It Possible to Understand the Book of Job?
Bible Review, April 1988 By David Noel Freedman

The book of Job, one of the world’s greatest literary works, is better known for the problems it poses and the issues it spawns than for its answers and resolutions. While to the untutored eye, Job (at least in translation) reads smoothly from the beginning to end and exhibits cohesion amid diversities, more […]

Who Asks (or Tells) God to Repent?
Bible Review, Winter 1985 By David Noel Freedman

For several years now, I have been working jointly with Frank Andersen of the University of Queensland in Australia on a translation and commentary of Amos, the great eighth-century B.C. prophet. In the course of our detailed work, we have come to know the prophet quite well and indeed have become very attached to […]

But Did King David Invent Musical Instruments?
Bible Review, Summer 1985 By David Noel Freedman

While the dividing line between poetry and prose in the Hebrew Bible is imprecise, and the two types tend to blend into each other, especially in the prophetic writings, certain features that occur in both are more frequent and prominent in poetry than in prose. One of these is ellipsis, or the use of […]

What the Ass and the Ox Know—But the Scholars Don’t
Bible Review, Spring 1985 By David Noel Freedman

The first chapter of Isaiah contains one of the most powerful prophetic passages in the entire Bible. The Lord, through the prophet, castigates his people Israel for rebelling. As a result, the country lies desolate, devoured by Israel’s enemies. The Lord rejects the sacrifice of his people. What is the sacrifice the Lord desires? […]