King David in Hebron

Hebron served as David's capital and was the site of dramatic events in the days of the Jewish kings.

5.1.17, 11:27
Before Jerusalem, King David ruled in Hebron. The city was a major population center in the days of the kings of Israel and Judea. 
The Bible states, "And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of God, saying: 'Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?' And God said unto him: 'Go up.' And David said: 'Whither shall I go up?' And He said: 'Unto Hebron.'"- II Samuel 2:1.
The text later states, "And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months." II Samuel 2:11.
The historian Josephus discusses David's reign in Hebron in Antiquities of the Jews — Book VII. To read it in full click here.
Many dramatic events in Jewish history took place in the city such as the incident of Abner Ben Ner, the general of King Saul's army. For the full article on Abner and his tomb in Hebron click here.
Old photographs and footage of Hebron refer to a pool located near the Tomb of Machpela called King David's Pool, or the King's Pool. Captions identify it as the pool described in II Samuel 4:12 in which King David had Rechab and Baanah hung for the crime of killing Ish-Bosheth, son of King Saul. 
Hebron spokesperson and historian Noam Arnon stated that geographically, it is the point to where water streams down and collects. The pool was built later for efficiency. He remembers when it was active and a popular place for Arab children to swim. It was drained by the Hebron Municipality around the 1980s after an incident in which an Arab boy drown, Arnon stated. 
Writings from visitors throughout the ages have described it as the pool of King David. A 1868 book by D. A. Randall states,  "among the curiosities of the place are two large pools, or reservoirs of water, evidently of great antiquity. The lower one is called the Pool of David. It is a square, each side one hundred and thirty feet, the depth fifty feet. It is very firmly built, with large hewn stones. It affords an abundant supply of water, a large stream constantly flowing through it. This is supposed to be the pool over which David hung the murderers of Ishbosheth, as recorded in the 4th chapter of 2nd Samuel."
J. D. Paxon's 1839 book states "At the south end of the town is a fine pool. This is the pool, as is supposed, over which David hung the hands and feet of Rechab and Bannah, the murderers of Ishbosheth. It appears to have been formerly fed by a stream through a small aqueduct, that comes into it; but the stream is now dry, and the aqueduct out of order."
Others writers who have associated the pool with King David are L. M. Cubley in 1860 and John Lawson Stoddard whose 1897 book includes a photo of the pool. 
Arabs call the site the Sultan's Pool and some historians have identified the structure that exists today as having been refurbished by Sultan Al-Mansur Qalawun (also referred to as Saif al-Din Qalawun), a 13th century Mamluke leader who built several impressive structures in Egypt and Jerusalem. Born a Kipchak from the Burj Oghlu tribe, he was a slave soldier who barely spoke Arabic, but rose to become a sultan and waged war against the Crusaders.\
Today this pool is empty with grass growing on the bottom. 

(PHOTO: This photo was captioned "The King’s Pool. Hebron - where David hanged the Murderers of Saul’s Sons." Credit: California Museum of Photography archive.)

(Photo: This photograph from 1937 is captioned "The Upper Pool of David.")
(PHOTO: The pool as it looks today.)
The book of II Samuel also mentions that several of King David's sons were born in Hebron (II Samuel 3:2).
The Tomb of Jesse and Ruth is a frequently visited site in Hebron, especially in Shavuot, the anniversary of Ruth's passing. The old stone structure has been venerated as the burial site of Jesse, King David's father, and Ruth, King David's grandmother for generations. Some researchers have theorized that because of the strategic location on a hilltop, the site could have been the location of King David's palace. For full article click here.
(PHOTO: The Tomb of Jesse & Ruth on the left-hand side has a strategic view of the city. Credit: David Wilder.)
After the liberation of Hebron from Jordanian occupation in 1967, the main road leading from what once was the Jewish ghetto to the Tomb of Machpela was named King David Street. 

(PHOTO: A street sign on a wall in Hebron reading "David HaMelech Street - David founded his kingdom in Hebron and ruled there for seven years." The PA residents call it Shuhada Street, from the word shahid, meaning "martyr." Before 1967, this street was muddy and poorly maintained.)

* I Samuel 30:31 And to them that were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.
* II Samuel 2:1 And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying: 'Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?' And the L-RD said unto him: 'Go up.' And David said: 'Whither shall I go up?' And He said: 'Unto Hebron.'
* II Samuel 2:3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household; and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.
* II Samuel 2:11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
* II Samuel 2:32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulchre of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and the day broke upon them at Hebron.
* II Samuel 3:2 And unto David were sons born in Hebron; and his first-born was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;
* II Samuel 3:5 And the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.
* II Samuel 3:19 And Abner also spoke in the ears of Benjamin; and Abner went also to speak in the ears of David in Hebron all that seemed good to Israel, and to the whole house of Benjamin.
* II Samuel 3:20 So Abner came to David to Hebron, and twenty men with him. And David made Abner and the men that were with him a feast.
* II Samuel 3:22 And, behold, the servants of David and Joab came from a foray, and brought in a great spoil with them;
but Abner was not with David in Hebron; for he had sent him away, and he was gone in peace.
* II Samuel 3:27 And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there in the groin, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
* II Samuel 3:32 And they buried Abner in Hebron; and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept.
* II Samuel 4:1 And when Saul's son heard that Abner was dead in Hebron, his hands became feeble, and all the Israelites were affrighted.
* II Samuel 4:8 And they brought the head of Ish-bosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king: 'Behold the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, who sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.'
* II Samuel 4:12 And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth, and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.
* II Samuel 5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spoke, saying: 'Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.
* II Samuel 5:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel.
* II Samuel 5:5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.
* II Samuel 5:13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron; and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
* II Samuel 15:7 And it came to pass at the end of forty years, that Absalom said unto the king: 'I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the LORD, in Hebron.
* II Samuel 15:9 And the king said unto him: 'Go in peace.' So he arose, and went to Hebron.
* II Samuel 15:10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying: 'As soon as ye hear the sound of the horn, then ye shall say: Absalom is king in Hebron.'
* I Kings 2:11 And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

To visit Hebron:
United States contact info:

1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial
Tomb of Ruth and Jesse - Great-Grandmother and Father of King David
Tomb of Abner Ben Ner
Hebron in the Bible - All 78 references