If you are wondering what all the discussion is regarding the existence of David and Solomon and what the Monarchical period might have looked like, this is a good place to start.
Eric Cline has the featured article on Bible and Interpretation, entitled Did David and Solomon Exist? He takes the reader through the current evidence and discussion behind the question. Here's a sample:
So, did David and Solomon exist? It is fair to say that they most likely did, at least if the Tel Dan Stele with its mention of a Davidic dynasty (Beit David) is any indication. However, the jury is still out as to how important they actually were, how large their empires were, and whether the biblical traditions and stories concerning the two men are essentially correct or were concocted later, either in the time of Josiah in the seventh century BCE or even after. Although David and Solomon have successfully overcome the sabotaging nihilism of the 1990s and the early part of the new millennium, the debates about them are still ongoing, with new discoveries impacting the debate as well as benefiting biblical archaeology as a whole.
The article offers a great deal of insight into the discussion and debate in scholarly circles. It is well worth your time, so read up...
[HT: Jim Davila]