top of page
  • Writer's pictureAnnemeet Hasidi-van Der Leij

Uncovering the Secrets of King David's Palace in "the City of David"

Updated: Jun 30

When David began his reign in Hebron around 1007 BCE he ruled only over the tribe of Judah, which is the southern part of Israel. After several years of civil war against the tribes supporting Saul's son, Ish-boshet, he became King over all the tribes. His first act as King of all of the Israelite tribes was to conquer Jerusalem, which was called Jebush at the time. It was a Jebusite city. After David conquered the city he renamed it; 'the City of David.' When King David transported the Ark of the Covenant from Kiryat- Yearim to Jerusalem, it was at the threshing floor of Nacon, that Uzzah was struck dead for taking hold of the Ark: 2 Sam. 6: 6-7; “ When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the Ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of this irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.” King David was afraid to continue with the transportation of the Holy Ark, so he took it to the house of Obed- Edom, a Gittite. The Ark remained there for three months. After those three months King David brought the Holy Ark to the City of David with much celebration. He placed it in the tent he built on the threshing floor of Aruna, which is Mount Moriah. Jebus was very small when King David conquered it, about 60 dunams (=60.000 square meters).

It appears that King David did not change much the basic plan of the Jebus. He moved his residence to the Jebusite fortress and than renamed it ‘the City of David.’ He built a royal palace around a site called the ‘milo’ (2 Samuel 5:9):

“And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Milo inward.”

The word ‘milo’ is in Hebrew: המלוא which comes from the root of the Hebrew word ‘to fill.’ Archaeologists assume that it refers to a landfill where he built his palace. The exact location of the "milo" is not certain. An artificial tel formed by a system of terraces covering an area of 12 x 40 meters was uncovered on the northeastern side of the city, which is part of the park “the City of David.”. This is thought to be the site of David's palace, over the Jebusite fortress. Among the finds there was a proto-Ionic capital. The royal palace itself was constructed by Phoenician builders who imported their materials, including cedars, from Lebanon:

“Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built David a palace.” 2 Samuel 5: 11.


bottom of page