Did King David Go to the Mall?
1 Kings 20:34
"And Benhadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away."
Did King David go to the mall? Malls or shopping areas are hugely popular today. Archaeologists are now asking whether shopping malls originated in the 11th century BC.
Archaeologists have long speculated on the purpose of the buildings they call tripartite pillared buildings. These were long, rectangular buildings that were divided into thirds by two interior rows of pillars. Thirty five of these buildings have been found at 12 sites. Some thought they were storehouses. Others suggested they were stables.
Their size and the thickness of the walls made it clear to archaeologists that these were not private homes. Nor has a used household bowl ever been found in one. But many new, unused vessels – including lamps which have no soot – have been found in them. In addition, evidence of high windows has been found at one site. Based on this and other evidence, one archaeologist has suggested that these buildings were, in fact, marketplaces such as those described in 1 Kings 20:34. They originated in the land that Ben Hadad ruled.
David could have gone to the mall, for the Philistines had them. But King Ahab appears to have been active in getting malls built in Judah! Perhaps those people three thousand years ago were not so different from us today.
Notes: Moshe Kochavi, "Divided Structures Divide Scholars," Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1999, p. 44.
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