Environmental Destruction in Ancient Israel, and a note on King David

In March 2021 I wrote about A Copper Mine in Ancient Israel, which seems to data from the time of David or Solomon. It now seems that Wood cut to fuel King Solomon’s ancient mines caused environmental collapse – study.

Copper smelting requires fire. In those days fire meant charcoal, and to make charcoal you need wood. It seems like making the charcoal for the Timna smelting used all the good wood in the area. From Did our biblical ancestor have the same bad habits as humans today?

… the charcoal fuels that were used changed over time. The earlier samples contained mostly local white broom and acacia thorn trees, but the quality of the firewood had deteriorated over time, with later samples consisting of low-quality wood fuel and timber imported from afar.

Eventually the cost of importing the fuel made the mines uneconomical to operate.

“Three thousand years later, the local environment still hasn’t recovered from the crisis. Some species, like the white broom, once prevalent in the Timna Valley, are now very rare, and others have disappeared forever.”

I wrote in A Copper Mine in Ancient Israel and The Archaeology of Armageddonthat there is no written evidence outside the Bible for the existence of David and Solomon. Actually, according to Did King David Actually Exist?

…. there is at least *one* piece of external evidence that David was a king and that he established a royal dynasty in Israel. …. In 1993 [an] archaeologist in the northern part of Israel discovered fragments of an ancient stele – a stone slab on which an inscription was written – at a site called Tel Dan. The inscription on the slab was made by a king of the 9th century BCE mentioned in the Bible (1 Kings 19:15) Hazael, who had a major kingdom in what was later called Syria. On the inscription Hazael boasts of having defeated in battle two kings, Omri, the ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel, and an unnamed king of Judea “of the house of David.”

What this means is that there was a king named David who started a monarchic dynasty in Judea sometime before the 9th century. That, of course, is exactly what the Bible says.

1 Kings 19:15, NRSV, reads:

Then the Lord said to him[Elijah], “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram.

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