Aren Meier reports that a new article seeks to identify King Toi (or Tou), a contemporary of King David, with Tatais, King of the Neo-Hittite state of Palas(a)tin or Walas(a)tin, of which Hamath was a part. King Toi is mentioned in 2 Samuel 8:9-10 and 1 Chronicles 18:9-10. The article is by C. Steitler, “The Biblical King Toi of Hamath and the Late Hittite State of ‘P/Walas(a)tin,'” Biblische Notizen 146 : 81-99.
Not having read the article, I’ll withhold judgment other than commending Aren’s succinct commentary:
Needless to say, if this is so, this is quite a sensational discovery, since this would provide the first extra-biblical textual evidence, seemingly contemporary with the reign of David, of a historical figure mentioned in the biblical narrative regarding David. If this withstands the scrutiny of the scholarly world, this may be of outstanding significance for giving historical basis for at least some of the biblical narratives relating to the early monarchy in Israel. Thus, if the Tel Dan stele demonstrated that the kingdom of Judah and its founder, David, were known in the mid-9th century, this evidence may provide evidence of the existence of a king mentioned in the Davidic cycle, who was previously unknown from any other extra-biblical sources.
Very interesting and of potential immense importance for the understanding of the early monarchy in Israel. Can’t wait to follow the opinions about this – I’m willing to bet that this won’t be accepted by all (but on the other hand, there were those who refused to accept the Dan Stele for many years…).