Tel Dan Excavations, HUC. Jerusalem/Photo by Zev Radovan

The house that David built. The words “house of David” and “king of Israel” appear on this ninth-century B.C.E. basalt fragment discovered in 1993 at Tel Dan, in northern Galilee. A year later, two additional pieces, shown at upper left, of the same stela were found; these pieces fit together almost seamlessly, though there is missing text between them and the large part of the fragment. André Lemaire of the College de France also recovered the phrase “house of David” from a different ninth-century B.C.E. stela erected by King Mesha of Moab. These are the oldest-known references to Israel in Semitic script. The fact that these stones, laid a century or so after David’s death, refer to a “house,” or dynasty, of the Israelite king corroborates the Bible’s description of David’s founding of a durable monarchy.