Tel Dan Stele—Providential Ironies in Favor of King David (And You)

How a stone inscription offers encouragement to your spiritual life.

Sometimes archaeology gives us a gift. The ancient site of Tel Dan in Israel has a large, rock wall—a city gate from the time of Solomon’s temple. There archaeologists unearthed the Tel Dan Stele —a marvelous vindication to biblical history.

Tel Dan Iron Age gate near where the stele was discovered

(Photo: Tel Dan Iron Age gate near where the stele was discovered. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the courtyard of Tel Dan’s gate complex, a large engraved stone—an ancient basalt stele— gave hard evidence that King David was no King Arthur legend of Hebrew history.

It also offers encouragement to your spiritual life. Here’s how.

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We visited Tel Dan today, a place that always reminds me that the quick-and-easy path isn’t always the best. And when it urges us to compromise God’s will, it never is the best path.

Watch this short video for an encouraging reminder.

Tell me what you think: What shortcuts to faithfulness do you see most often in our lives? To leave a comment, just click here.

Tel Dan—Worshipping at the Altar of Convenience

In the end, we'll find God far more satisfying.

Shady walkways. Cool breezes. Abundant streams. Luxuriant foliage. The Tel Dan Nature Preserve draws the locals as well as the travelers. It always has.

Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan

(Photo: Headwaters of Jordan River at Tel Dan. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In natural beauty, Tel Dan has few rivals in Israel. For the ancients, it had everything necessary for abundant living.

While the Hebrews in the south worshipped in Jerusalem, the natural beauty of Tel Dan in northern Israel offered an irresistible alternative. It was picturesque. It was convenient. It was invigorating.

And it was a complete compromise of God’s will.

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Great 360-Degree Images of 11 Israel Sites

On my recent trip to Israel, I used an app called 360 Panorama to take 360-degree images of biblical sites. I took more than 50 images, and generally, I think the app did well.

Great 360-Degree Images of 11 Israel Sites

(Photo: The Middle Bronze Gate at Tel Dan)

The app allows geotagging of images, and it notes both the location and direction of the image you take. But it isn’t perfect. Some of the geotagging is quirky, for example, it located Qumran in Jordan. Also getting a good “stitch” takes some practice.

In this post you can look around 11 key sites all over Israel. Next week, I’ll share some 360-degree images from Jerusalem.

Just click on the images and drag right or left to look around!

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