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375 Ancient Descriptions Defy



Temple Mount


Marilyn Sams

This book is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office

November 12, 2014

TXu 1-929-090

All rights reserved

Dedicated to Ernest L. Martin and all those who

concur with his phenomenal, original findings regarding the temple mount

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Map of the Haram esh Sharif and the Southeastern Hill 14

Chapter 1: Spiritual and Symbolic Aspects of the City of David

The Tower of Babel and the City of David 15

Melchizedek, Salem, and the Temple 16

Fig. 1. Artist’s Conception of the Spring Tower, Pool Tower, and Fortified

Passage 17

Jacob’s Pillar at the Site of the Temple 18

Fig. 2. Mid-Slope Rock Scarp Excavation in the City of David 19

The Site of the Future Temple After the Israelite Conquest of Canaan 20

The Spiritual Significance of the “Right Place” 22

“Zion” and “Mount Zion” Were on the Southeastern Hill 23

“Daughter of Zion” as a Name for the Temple 26

Descriptions of the “Place of the Name” 27

Location of the Ark and Tabernacle 28

End Notes 30

Chapter 2: The City of David/Jerusalem in the Israelite Period

The Boundaries of the City of David/Jerusalem 35

Fig. 1. City of David Boundary and Traditionalists’ Temple Mount Acropolis 35

Fig. 2. Solomon’s Temple, the Royal Palace, Citadel (Millo), Pool of Siloam,

Middle Bronze Age II Wall, East Gate (Mazar’s), Solomonic Wall,

Area H 38-39

Definition of Millo 40

Where Was King David’s Palace? 42

Fig. 3. The Water/Prison Gates 44

Fig. 4. Conduit of Upper Pool and Shiloh’s Israelite Wall 45

Ornan’s Threshing Floor/Mount Moriah 46

Definition of Ophel 48

Fig. 5. Comparison of Ophels 51

Additional Biblical and Historical Descriptions of the City of David 52

End Notes 56

Chapter 3: The City of David/Jerusalem in the Persian, Greek, and Hasmonean Eras

Descriptions of the City of David/Jerusalem in the Persian Period 60

Fig. 1. The Sepulchre of David 62

Fig. 2. Nehemiah’s Jerusalem 63

Fig. 3. Steep Slope at the City of David/Jerusalem’s Northeastern Corner 66 Descriptions of the City of David/Jerusalem in the Greek Period 67

The Letter of Aristeas 68

Fig. 4. Map of the Upper City, the Lower City, and the Citadel (Acra) 71

Descriptions of the City of David/Jerusalem in the Hasmonean Period 74

The Hasmonean Baris 77

Fig. 5. Map of the Baris and Hasmonean Extension of the Temple 78-79

Simon’s Expansions to Jerusalem 80

End Notes 82

Chapter 4: The City of David/Jerusalem in the Roman Period 83

The Red Heifer Exit and the Miphkad Gate 85

The Sheep Pool/Pool of Bethesda 86

Fig. 1. The Birket Israel 87

Fig. 2. The Israel Museum Model of the Pool of Bethesda 88

Fig. 3. The Lower Siloam Pool Uncovered by Reich and Shukron 90-91

Fig. 4. The Upper Pool of Siloam 91

Fig. 5. Acra, Ophlas, Sheep Pool, Xystus, and Struthion Pool 92

The Xystus 93

Fig. 6 The Temple Lay Near to the City in the Manner of a Theater 94

The Acra/Akra 95

The Hippodrome Near the Temple 97

Chapter 5: The City of David/Jerusalem from 70 A.D. to 333 A.D.

Descriptions of Total Destruction 99

Aelia Capitolina and the Temples of Bar Kokhba and Hadrian 104

End Notes 106

Chapter 6: The City of David/Jerusalem in the Byzantine Period 107

The Praetorium v. the Temple Ruins 110

The Madaba Mosaic Map 115

Fig. 1 The Madaba Mosaic Map 116

Chapter 7: The City of David/Jerusalem after the Muslim Conquests 117

The Western Wall, the Priest’s Gate, and the Cave Synagogue 117

The Prayer Niche of David 122

Chapter 8: Descriptions of the Temples

Fig. 1. Martin’s Version of the Temple and Antonia in the Roman Period 124

Descriptions of Solomon’s Temple Foundations 124

Descriptions of the Temple Mount in the Persian, Greek, and Hasmonean Periods 129

The Persian Period 129

Greek/Hasmonean Periods 129

Simon’s Temple 130

The Temple in Pompey’s Siege 131

Descriptions of Herod’s Temple 133

Walls and Gates of the Outer Courts 136

Western Wall 137

East Wall 137

South Wall 139

North Wall 140

End Notes 140

Chapter 9: Additional Descriptions of Herod’s and Subsequent Temples

King Agrippa’s Viewpoint 142

King Agrippa and the Sunken Foundations 143

Caves and Hollow Spaces Under the Temple Mount 143

The Temple as a Shortcut 145

The Water System of the Temple 145

Fig. 1. Wilson’s Map of the Alleged Temple Mount 147-148

The Temple in the Qumran Copper Scroll 154

The Temple and the Garden of Eden 156

Chapter 10: Literary Descriptions of the Temple

Descriptions Associated with Height 157

Descriptions Associated with Water 159

Descriptions of Temple in the Middle of the City 161

Literary Descriptions of Destruction 162

Chapter 11: Descriptions of the Tower of Antonia Part I

Fig. 1. Martin’s Version of Antonia 164

Fig. 2. Alterations to Martin’s Model 164-165

Fig. 3. The Traditionalists Model of the Alleged Temple Mount with Antonia 165

Fig. 4. Close-up of Temple/Antonia 165

Josephus’s Descriptions of the Tower of Antonia 166

Fig. 5. The Bezetha Valley at the Northeast Corner of the “Temple Mount” 170-171

Fig. 6. The Walls of the Traditionalists’ Antonia Are Not “Particularly

Conspicuous” 172

The Tower of Antonia in the Siege of Titus 172

Fig. 7. The Traditionalists’ Struthion Pool 174

Fig. 8. Banks Set Up by Titus at Temple’s North Wall 176

The Two 600-Foot Aerial Bridges 176

Fig. 9. Lewin’s Inclusion of the Aerial Passages 178

Fig. 10. Sanday and Waterhouse Model of the Aerial Passages 179

The “Rock” of Antonia 184

Fig. 11. The Sakrah 185

The Struthion Pool 185

The Tower of Antonia Occupied by the Tenth Legion 187

The Tower of Antonia as a Typical Roman Camp 189

Fig. 12. Roman Military Site in Gwynedd 189-190

Fig. 13. Roman Fort at Masada 190

End Notes 191

Chapter 12: Descriptions of the Tower of Antonia Part II

The Tower of Antonia Becomes the Praetorium 192

The Tower of Antonia Becomes the Haram esh Sharif 192

The Omar Tradition 193

The Haram Esh Sharif Becomes the Alleged Temple Mount 196

The Alleged Temple Mount vs. the Haram esh Sharif 198

End Notes 203

Chapter 13: The Archaeology of the Tower of Antonia, the Alleged Temple Mount

The Alleged Mount Moriah as an Ancient Cemetery 205

Fig. 1. The Cave Under the Sakrah 206

Under the “Temple Mount” 207

Fig. 2. The Trench Which Exposed a Thick Wall 208

Fig. 3. Wilson’s Map of the Alleged Temple Mount 210

The Byzantine Mosaic Under Al-Aqsa Mosque 210

Ritmeyer Square 211

The Archaeology of the Walls and Gates 212

The East Wall 213

Fig. 4. The Southeastern Corner and the East Wall 213-214

Fig. 5. The East Wall and the Golden Gate 214

Fig. 6. The Southeastern Corner and Gate into Solomon’s Stables 215

Fig. 7. The Golden Gate 216

Solomon’s Stables 217

Fig. 8. Solomon’s Stables before the El-Marwani Mosque 217

The North Wall 218

Fig. 9. North Wall of the Alleged Temple Mount and the Birket Israel 219

The SouthWall 220

Fig. 10. The South Wall and B. Mazar’s Excavations 221

Fig. 11. The Edge of the Double Gates 223

Fig. 12. The Triple Gates 222-224

Fig. 13. Reconstruction of the Huldah Gates 224

The Western Wall 226

Fig. 14. The Wailing Wall and Mughrabi Bridge 227

Robinson’s Arch 227

Fig. 15. Springer Ruins from Robinson’s Arch 228

Fig. 16. Reconstruction of Robinson’s Arch and Gate 228-229

Barclay’s Gate 229

Fig. 17. Barclay’s Gate 229

Wilson’s Arch and the Gate of the Chain 230

Fig. 18. Catherwood’s Drawing of Wilson’s Arch 231

Fig. 19. The Original Gate of the Chain 232

Warren’s Gate 232

Fig. 20. Warren’s Gate and the Rav Getz Synagogue 233

Mazar’s Final Judgment 235

End Notes 235

Chapter 14: Archaeology of the City of David/Jerusalem

Considerations 237

Fig. 1. Map of Herod’s Temple in the City of David/Jerusalem 238

Archaeological Discoveries in the City of David/Jerusalem 240

The First Wall 240

Fig. 2. Map of First Wall and Ophlas in the Roman Period 242

Fig. 3. The First Wall from the Hippicus Tower to the Xystus 243-244

The Walls on the Eastern Slope 244

Fig. 4. Map of Warren’s Byzantine Wall and Large Tower 244

Fig. 5. Map of Middle Bronze Age II Wall and Israelite Wall 245-246

Other Walls 246

Fig. 6. Reconstruction of Wall at Mouth of Lower Tyropoeon Valley 247

B. Mazar’s Excavations on the “Ophel” 247

Fig. 7. B. Mazar’s Excavations on the “Ophel” 248

Area G and the Stepped Stone Structure 248

Fig. 8. The Stepped Stone Structure 249

The Large Stone Structure 249

E. Mazar’s Gate Complex 251

The Gihon Spring Excavations 254

Fig. 9. Interior of Rock-cut Pool and Fortified Passage Wall 256

Fig. 10. Artist’s Conception of Gihon Spring Excavations 258

Fig. 11. A Side Channel in the Stepped Street Drainage Tunnel, Leading

in the Temple’s Direction 259-260

New Excavations of Parker’s Areas G and H 260

The Givati Parking Lot 260

Fig. 12. The Givati Parking Lot 261

Solomon’s Pool 262

The Tenth Legion 262

Fig. 13. Denarius Celebrating the Tenth Legion 263

Aelia Capitolina 265

Summary of Archaeological Conclusions Affecting the City of David Theory 265


Conclusion 267

References 270

Figure Credits 281

Index 283

List of Ancient Descriptions 291

The Location of the Temple in the City of David 292

Salem--Forerunner of the City of David 292

Jacob’s Pillar the the Site of the Temple 292

The Future Temple Site After the Israelite Conquest of Canaan 293

Jebus Becomes the City of David 294

The City of David During the Israelite Period 294

The Ark of the Covenant 241

The Threshingfloor of Ornan 295

Mount Zion--the Southeastern Hill 295

“Daughter of Zion” as a Name for the Temple 292

“Place of the Name” 297

Millo 297

Other Features of the City of David 298

The City of David/Jerusalem in the Persian Period 299

The City of David/Jerusalem in the the Greek Period 300

The City of David/ Jerusalem in the Hasmonean Period 301

The Hasmonean Baris 302

The City of David/Jerusalem in the Roman Period 304

The Red Heifer Exit and the Miphkad Gate 305

The Sheep Pool/Pool of Bethesda 305

The Xystus 306

The Siege of Titus 306

The City of David after the Destruction of 70 A. D. 307

The City of David in the Byzantine Period 309

The City of David in the Muslim Period 314

The Omar Tradition 314

The Western Wall, the Priest’s Gate, and the Cave Syuagogue 315

The Prayer Niche of David 316

The Haramesh-Sharif Shares Its Identity with the Jewish Temples 317

Descriptions of the Temple 321

Solomon’s Temple 321

The Temple in the Middle of the City 324

The Height of the Temple as a Tower and Mountain…………………. 325

Herod’s Temple 326

Descriptions of the Temple’s Water Systems 329

The Tower of Antonia 332

The Two 600-foot Aerial Bridges 334

The Jerusalem Temple Mount Myth


In 1997, I ventured on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, seeking a spiritual experience like many others who journey there. My seat in the tourist bus did not afford a view of the temple mount as we entered Jerusalem from the east, but on the ground, I felt the thrill of being dwarfed by the city and temple walls towering above me. I remember my excited anticipation as I climbed the Mughrabi Bridge, augmented by the intimidating security forces stationed everywhere. The Dome of the Rock evoked my admiration with its shimmering golden roof and ornamental tiles, but the rock inside seemed an ordinary, inert entity, summoning no tremors of worshipful awe from me.

I had prepared a report on the temple mount to be given there to my fellow tourists, but our Palestinian and U.S. tour guides exhibited so much agitation about it, in the end I sacrificed my “great moment” for all our sakes. The tension in the place where Jesus had supposedly walked effectively stamped out any peaceful feelings I associate with the divine presence.

Several years later, I came across a book by Ernest L. Martin entitled The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, which made personal sense of my negative personal experience on the “temple mount.” I learned the edifice millions venerate was merely one more fraudulent tradition, along with innumerable others in Jerusalem, shrouded in veils of willful ignorance.

Martin (2000) started his research with a question--Where was Solomon’s temple built? All other researchers, writers, scholars, and archaeologists have started their works with an assumption, i.e. Solomon built his temple on the Dome of the Rock site or somewhere else on the “temple mount.” Some have even nonchalantly admitted this assumption is based on a long-standing tradition only, while failing to recognize the serious logical error of basing conclusions on such shaky ground. One exception, however, is F. E. Peters (1985), who actually perceived that in trying to locate the elusive tower of Antonia, he and others were “envisioning backward;” that is, they were starting with the assumption that the alleged “temple mount” was the point of departure for locating the tower of Antonia. He said: “We are merely guessing, however, and perhaps somewhat more dangerously, envisioning backward from the platform that sits atop that hill today, the Muslims’ Haram al-Sharif” (p. 14). This statement is a singularly rare insight into the weakness of establishing Jerusalem topography based on a long-standing tradition only. But a specific case will illustrate how successful the tenaciously embedded tradition has been in crushing all evidence opposing it. Captain Charles W. Wilson, an officer of the British Army of Royal Engineers, had been invited in 1865 to help survey the water system in Jerusalem. He came there with the firm conviction that the Haram esh Sharif was the temple mount. Having read the statement of the historian Tacitus regarding an “inexhaustible spring” under the temple mount and then looking for and finding none there, he made the following conclusion:

…while there is no actual spring within the walls, the whole mount is so honey-

combed with cisterns as to give ample materials for the conjecture of Tacitus, and for the imagery of Scripture, while at the same time, it takes away from them the foundation of exact and literal truth.

While the “exact and literal truth” was the absence of a spring under the supposed temple mount, Wilson, when faced with historical descriptions incompatible with the facts on the ground, opted to style Tacitus’s statement a “conjecture” and the accounts of scripture mere “imagery,” relegating them to the shadowy realm of half-truths, while the possibility of an inaccurate tradition was unthinkable, unquestionable. It didn’t occur to him. In fact, after all his and Charles Warren’s enormous efforts mining under and around the alleged temple mount, particularly analyzing the water sources, Warren attributed the many canals and aqueducts, with four major ones flowing south of the Haram, as primarily associated with carrying away the blood and refuse of the sacrifices from the temple (whose location he thought was southwest). But this defies the statement of Aristeas regarding the “wonderful and indescribable cisterns” with their “countless pipes…at a “distance of five furlongs all round the site of the temple” and the other sources which note the water associated with the temple itself originated on the east and then flowed south, and the blood from the altar flowed east, into the Kidron Valley. Wilson and Warren showed irrefutably that this was not the case under the Haram.

But so it goes up to this very hour--the habit of accepting the temple mount tradition as fact has fatally perpetuated a blindness regarding all the descriptions of the temple which testify against such an assumption. It means that for the past 170 years and beyond, everyone but Martin and a contemporary, George Wesley Buchanan, have never seriously doubted the tradition, even though Jerusalem seethes with similar fictitious inventions. In order to avoid this egregious error, in this book I haved called the 36-acre walled edifice the “alleged temple mount,” demoting it to its accurate status as a myth. Martin proved it is actually the Roman tower of Antonia, which Herod and his successors expanded from the Baris, a Hasmonean fortress.

To illustrate the damaging extent to which starting with a false assumption has affected our knowledge of Jerusalem topography, Martin reveals that in a key place, William Whiston, the eminent translator of Josephus, changed the actual meaning of the Greek text, in order to make it consistent with the temple mount tradition. The offending omission occurs in The Jewish War VI, 2, 144, where the Greek says “stadiaian” (approximately 600 feet) and Whiston translated it as “no long space of ground.” The Greek “stade” is critical to understanding that the tower of Antonia was separated from the temple on the south by two aerial bridges of that length. Had Whiston rendered the text as it is written, it might have helped prevent all the strained, vain attempts of historians and archaeologists to justify only imagining the tower of Antonia north of the alleged temple mount, flush against its northern wall, where the Omariya boys school now stands. In assuming that Josephus must be wrong, based on the assumption of the alleged temple mount’s legitimate identity, Whiston deliberately falsified the translation. Thackeray and Cornfeld, to their credit, at least appended a note or parenthetical clarification, which the scholars have utterly failed to acknowledge. Despite some early Greek scholars and even Charles Warren having noted the 600-foot passages, their existence has sunk into oblivion, even though the configuration of Roman Jerusalem’s east side in the Herodian era cannot be understood without them. When Martin resurrected their reality, a wall of total scholarly resistance refused to even acknowledge a dissenting voice, thus protecting the status quo and rendering unnecessary any revisiting of the temple mount myth.

Myriad distortions of historical realities have occurred in the process of retrofitting temple mount descriptions to apply to the 36-acre walled edifice. For example, the hall adjacent to Barclay’s Gate becomes the cave near the Holy of Holies, which the post-destruction Jews used as a synagogue. The five gates on the south wall become, the two southern gates of the temple described by the Mishnah. A square is drawn atop the temple mount with either the dimensions of Josephus or the Mishnah, in order to reconcile the actual descriptions of the temple’s proportions to those of the much larger alleged temple mount. The gate entering into Solomon’s Stables becomes invisible so the Golden Gate can be called the East Gate, as only one is described for the east wall. Almost 200 feet are chopped off the southeastern corner’s height, as described by Josephus. The east wall migrates from the Kidron Valley to a promontory, upslope. The northwest corner loses its finished condition, but acquires a tower. The southern wall crosses over the Tyropoeon to reach the western hill, instead of reaching just to the valley. A large pool installs itself at the temple’s northern wall. Two 600-foot connecting bridges between the temple mount and Antonia entirely disappear. And the list goes on.

Another consideration, significantly material to the Christian mind, is the relationship

of Christ’s prophecy of destruction to the massive remains of the alleged temple mount (Mark

13: 2). The prevailing reconciliation reasons that when He said “buildings,” He meant the “hieron” (the whole temple complex), but the latter did not include the foundations of the temple mount. However, for Christ’s prophecy to convey a sense of totality, “hieron” must include the temple foundations, thereby rendering the prophecy as entirely literal--that not one stone of the entire temple complex, including the foundations, would be left standing upon another. When Christ uttered his prophecy, he was no doubt directing the gaze of his disciples to the eastern wall of the temple, from a position on the road to or on the Mount of Olives. According to Josephus, they would have seen a wall 450 feet high, with walls 50 feet high on top of that, and the top of the temple showing about 130 feet above that. Visually speaking, the foundation walls were three times the height of the combination of buildings on the platform. In short, if the prophecy were meant to provoke a stunning wonderment at the mere idea, such an emotion would have been substantially muted were the foundations not meant to be included in the prophecy.

It is difficult to attribute to Christ a prophecy foreshadowing the end of Jewish temple worship, essentially a sign of God’s severing his covenant with them, accompanied by a colossal, enduring monument to that covenant, which, in addition, would serve to highlight the numerical error of his prophecy to the count of more than 10,000 stones--the ones which still stand one upon another in the alleged temple mount (see Martin, 2000). The location of the temple in the City of David, from where it has utterly vanished, honors Christ’s words in their most exacting interpretation and showcases the majestic finality of their witness--there was not a single stone standing upon another of the whole temple complex, including its enormous foundations.

At the same time, neither the Jews nor the Romans demolished their own camp, the tower of Antonia to the north of the temple, and it remained as the only building occupying Jerusalem after the destruction, housing the Roman Legion X Fretensis for over 200 years. Among archaeologists and writers, only Martin did not overlook the statement of Eleazar in Josephus.

As the leader of the Jews trapped at Masada, he passionately encouraged them to commit suicide,exactly describing what remained in Jerusalem after its destruction by the Romans:

Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein?

It is now demolished to the very foundations, and has nothing but that

monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that has destroyed it,

which still dwells upon its [Jerusalem’s] ruins…And I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our holy temple dug up after so profane a manner. (War VII, 8, 376, 379; italics and information in brackets mine)

The city was demolished to the ground and the temple’s foundations had been dug up below the ground, but the massive Roman camp remained above ground as the symbol of Roman victory.

How could the whole of the scholarly and archaeological community (except Martin) have missed these crucial descriptions which are still with us today? I suppose the answer lies in comparing how an entire mountain--Mount Zion--underwent transference from its original location on the southeastern hill of Jerusalem to the southwestern hill of Jerusalem. The damning reality of Jerusalem’s false topography stems from a lack of close, continuous, unbiased examination of the written accounts over its history. Through a long process of constantly changing regimes with religious aspirations, each formulating its own self-serving identity for the tower of Antonia, what was originally a Jewish fortress was expanded into a gentile establishment, then metamorphozed into the site of the sacred Jewish temple. Meanwhile, the first claim to sacred legitimacy is the Muslims’, verified by its two mosques, still standing after 14 centuries.

Today, the view upheld by those writing almost 2,000 years distant from the events is the illogical conclusion that the Romans preserved the temple mount, the religious symbol of their hated enemy, while destroying their own camp--the tower of Antonia. While archaeologists have searched in vain for the tiniest vestige of its existence north of the alleged temple mount, the enclosure itself, with the shape and dimensions of a typical Roman camp, looms as the proverbial elephant (better--mammoth) in the room of Jerusalem topographical scholarship. Deterrents to the truth reside in reputations needing protection and in the coffers which supply archaeological expeditions and reports, which in turn protect bitterly contested ground. As Nadia Abu El Haj (2001) has claimed, the temple mount myth is used by archaeologists as part of their nation-making narrative, crucial to the Jewish identity, a memorial to their long, enormously influential past.

In this book, the City of David theory which exposes the reality of the temples’ actual location, is based primarily on Martin’s research. However, it largely consists of the actual word-for-word translations of the ancient sources, so readers may judge their meaning on their own, alongside my interpretations and commentary. There is a list of these descriptions at the end of the book. I have used Whiston’s translation of Josephus, unless otherwise noted, and the King James version of the Bible, unless otherwise noted.

As an armchair archaeologist, I have a distinct disadvantage in correctly interpreting the findings and descriptions of the real archaeologists. This area of expertise, however, can help or hinder any kind of conclusions, being fraught with weaknesses, the greatest of which is dating.

Almost every excavator in the City of David has had their dates challenged, rejected, or revised, because archaeology is not an exact science, but a discipline involving interpretation of data. Starting with the false premise of the Jerusalem temple mount myth also hinders, since some traditionalist archaeologists have identified their excavation remains according to the alleged temple mount’s identity and location.

The purpose of this book is to help dispel at least some contention between two religious peoples, over the “temple mount.” Elaborate preparations for a third temple have already been completed, and Jews are increasingly supporting the idea, but it has to be where the former temples originally stood. This location is described in Ezekiel 47: 1:

Afterward he brought me [Ezekiel] again unto the door of the house; and behold,

waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront

of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down under the right side

of the house, at the south of the altar.

These prophesied waters are to come out in the same way and in the same direction as they did in the time of Solomon, from the Gihon Spring (Jerusalem’s only spring) under the temple. Today, there is a visitor’s center at the same site, unknowingly perched on the once sacred hillside, and works continues to progress in creating an archaeological park of the entire southeastern hill. Meanwhile, blood has been shed resulting from incidents threatening the Muslims’ Dome of the Rock, which is almost universally, but falsely thought to be the temples’ former location. It seems the time is ripe for the information in this book to reach those most affected, in order to prevent further, needless deaths, and not unimaginably, a future war, which could be provoked if the Dome of the Rock were harmed.

Map of the Haram Esh Sharif and the Southeastern Hill

The map shows the 36-acre Haram esh Sharif claimed by the traditionalists to be the temple mount. The southeastern hill, south of it, is Mount Zion, the actual location of the temple, in the City of David, over the Gihon Spring. There is no description in the sources of any structure being built to the north of the southeastern hill until John Hyrcanus (134 B.C.) built the Baris there. The Septuagint version of 3 Kings 2: 35 says Solomon built the temple before he breached the wall of the City of David to bring Pharoah’s daughter out of the city and into her own palace.

Chapter 1: The Spiritual and Symbolic Aspects of the City of David

Today’s temple mount in Jerusalem has been permeated with holy attributes based on a tradition that the 36-acre entity had its beginning with either David or Solomon expanding the boundaries of the City of David to include the whole southeastern hill and “Mount Moriah,” even further north, where the temple is alleged to have been built. However, the only historical documentation for an expansion of the City of David to the north comes after Solomon’s completion of the temple (3 Kings 2: 35, Septuagint version). After its expansion, later descriptions show the city was confined to the theater-like curvature of the southeastern hill, with no large, northerly extension mentioned. In this book, the City of David and its expansion to create a crescent-shaped city, will be called the City of David/Jerusalem. Hence, all the spiritual and symbolic associations attributed to the early city are confined to the southeastern hill. This chapter will demonstrate why the City of David/Jerusalem alone qualifies as the Zion and the Mount Zion of the scriptures, without any northerly extension on “Mount Moriah” involved.

The Tower of Babel and the City of David

The recorded history of the temple in the City of David/Jerusalem begins with the first mention of a counterfeit temple known as the tower of Babel, because the Bible’s description includes three important keys for identifying the later, legitimate temple of Solomon, built in the City of David. Genesis 11: 4 contains the keys: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” A monument built by men to give themselves a “name,” defying God rather than reaching for him, the tower of Babel only mimicked a temple, but the story contains the concepts of a high tower, a name, and a city, all of which God ordained for the establishment of his temple. The tower and its height signal the future form of the temple, and as the Tower of Babel reached unto heaven, so the temple of Solomon rose to great heights. Josephus records an elevation of 450 feet--almost equal to the 456-foot Great Pyramid at Giza, erected 1600 years earlier in 2560 B.C. The height of the alleged temple mount (158 feet at its highest corner) doesn’t match this description in Josephus.

In Genesis 14: 18, the Bible names the city associated with the temple--Salem--four chapters following the tower of Babel story. For symbolic purposes, the temple had to be erected in a holy city, not just in any location. This city had to be chosen by God and headed by a chosen servant. For this reason, temple mount traditionalists must insist the northerly extension where the 36-acre walled edifice now stands be considered part of the City of David/Jerusalem, starting from the time of David. However, this simply wasn’t the case.

Lastly, God imbued the chosen city with holiness by virtue of its housing the temple, “the place of his name,” that is, his presence and his priesthood. Salem had already fulfilled this role in the time of Melchizedek and would do so again, when David conquered it eight hundred years after its first chosen priest/king resided there.

Melchizedek, Salem, and the Temple

Josephus writes of a righteous king and priest named Melchizedek, who established a city called Salem, ostensibly because it was a holy city of peace (Antiquities I, 10, 179). Josephus said the city “was called Solyma, but afterwards they named it Hiersolyma, calling the temple (hieron) Solyma, which, in the Hebrew tongue means “security” (Antiquities VII, 3, 67, Loeb translation). This passage indicates an amalgamation of the city’s former name and the word for temple to create the new name “Hierosolyma” or “Jerusalem,” which no doubt had its earliest roots in about 1800 B.C., when Melchizedek built a temple there:

But he who first built it was a potent man among the Canaanites, and is in our own tongue called [Melchizedek], the Righteous King, for such he really was; on which account he was [there] the first priest of God, and first built a temple [there], and called the city Jerusalem, which was formerly called Salem. (War VI, 10, 438; information in brackets is from Whiston’s version of Josephus).

In Eusebius, Salem has another name:

“He [Abraham] was also admitted as a guest into the temple of the city called

Argarizin, which being interpreted is “Mount of the Most High,” and received

gifts from Melchizedek, who was the king and priest of God.” (Preparation

for the Gospel 9.17)

A 9th-10th century version of Josephus by Josippon ben Gorion adds a salient detail to the Melchizedek temple history:

Alas! Alas! Jerusalem the City of the Great King! How shall I call thee in

this day?...Sometimes thou wast called Jebus…After this, thy name was

Zedeck…Moreover in his time wast thou called Schalem, as the scripture

witnesseth, and Melchizedek king of Schalem…For at that time Abraham

our father…fell to worship God in thee, and take his inheritance, to plant

in thee all wrought of good works. Whereupon the Tabernacle of God

remaineth in thee to this day as twas revealed unto the same our Father

Abraham in thee (I say) was the Sanctuary of the Lord.

Hence, the author believes the sanctuary of Melchizedek continued to reside in Salem even unto Josephus’s day. Recent archaeology in the City of David tends to confirm the same location for Melchizedek’s and all subsequent temples. Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron have uncovered mammoth remains dated to the Middle Bronze Age II in the area of the Gihon Spring, in the center of the southeastern hill. These include the Spring Tower surrounding the Gihon Spring, a wall guarding the Rock-cut Pool adjacent to it, and the Fortified Passage, which consists of two massive walls forming a path from the Spring and Rock-cut Pool and heading toward the high ridge at the middle of the slope. These fortifications protected citizens while accessing their major water supply, the Gihon Spring. Ronny Reich guessed there was an important fortress further up, at the top of the ridge. Since this was where Solomon’s temple stood, it also qualifies as the likeliest place for Melchizedek’s temple.i

Fig. 1. Artist’s Conception of the Spring Tower, Pool Tower, and Fortified Passage

Fig. 1. The figure shows an artist’s conception of the Spring Tower, Pool Tower, Fortified Passage, and Middle Bronze Age II wall, dated to the time of Melchizedek. The city wall was higher than illustrated and stood atop the midslope rock scarp where the Fortified Passage ends.

The Book of Jasher 16: 11-12 identifies Melchizedek, under the name of Adonizedek, as Shem, the son of Noah: “And Adonizedek king of Jerusalem, the same was Shem, went out with his men to meet Abram and his people, with bread and wine, and they remained together in the valley of Melech. And Adonizedek blessed Abram, and Abram gave him a tenth from all that he had brought from the spoil of his enemies, for Adonizedek was a priest before God.”

This identity is also hinted at in the Book of Jubilees (c. 16-150 B.C.): “And Noah rejoiced that this portion came forth for Shem and for his sons, and he remembered all that he had spoken with his mouth in prophecy; for he had said: 'Blessed be the Lord God of Shem And may the Lord dwell in the dwelling of Shem'”(8: 18). The land portion of Shem in this book included Jerusalem. If Melchizedek were Shem, his dwelling place of Salem was also the dwelling place of the Lord, or the temple.

The Egyptian Christian Yahya ibn Jarir al Takriti (d. 1089) also ties the Israelite temple to that of Melchizedek’s. He said the plan of the Christian churches was “that of the ancient Temple, which Melchizedek had built [in Jerusalem] before the Kings [of Israel] came to alter it… [Melchizedek] did not perform the rites of divine worship according to the law of Moses, but exercised his priestly office with other and more excellent [proto-Christian] symbols” (as cited in Bradshaw, Vol. 2, p. 266). Therefore, Takriti believed the Israelite temples were an alteration of Melchizedek’s architecture (in the same place), and the rites of Christian churches harked back to Melchizedek’s temple worship, rather than to Mosaic temple worship.

Jacob’s Pillar at the Site of the Temple

It appears Melchizedek and his people had departed from Salem and his temple had been destroyed by the time Jacob began his journey to Haran. Genesis 28: 11-19 chronicles his stopover at the former Salem:

And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba…and he lighted upon a certain place,

and tarried there all night…and he took of the stones of that place and put

them for his pillows…and he dreamed and behold a ladder set up on the earth,

and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending

and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said …the land

whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it…And Jacob awaked out of his sleep…

and said…this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

And Jacob…took the stone…and set it up for a pillar….

In the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan for Genesis 28: 11, 17 (c. 7th to 14th centuries), the author replaces “house of God” with “sanctuary,” which is affirmed as the scripture goes on to explain Jacob set up the pillar at Beth-El, the former Luz (Ulam-Luz in the Septuagint version). A Jewish Haggada gives a few more details about Jacob’s experience:

[During] Jacob's journey to Haran…He was following the spring that appeared

wherever the Patriarchs went or settled. It accompanied Jacob from Beer-sheba

to Mount Moriah…When he arrived at the holy hill, the Lord said to him: "Jacob,

thou hast bread…and the spring of waters is near by to quench thy thirst…then

Jacob perceived that the sun was about to sink, and he prepared to make ready

his bed. It was the Divine purpose not to let Jacob pass the site of the future

Temple without stopping…Jacob took twelve stones from the altar on which

his father Isaac had lain bound as a sacrifice, and… the twelve stones joined

themselves together and made one, which he put under his head…He dreamed

a dream in which the course of the world's history was unfolded to him…

From this wondrous dream Jacob awoke with a start of fright, on account of the

vision he had had of the destruction of the Temple. He cried out, "How dreadful

is this place! this is none other but the house of God, wherein is the gate of

heaven through which prayer ascends to Him." He took the stone made out of

the twelve, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it…and God

sank this anointed stone unto the abyss, to serve as the centre of the earth, the

same stone, the Eben Shetiyah, that forms the centre of the sanctuary, whereon

the Ineffable Name is graven...Jacob cast himself down before the Eben Shetiyah,

and entreated God to fulfil the promise He had given him…Then he vowed to give

the tenth of all he owned unto God, if He would but grant his petition. (Ginzberg,

1909, The Legends of the Jews, Vol. 1, Chap. 6)

Whoever authored this expanded version of the Bible’s had an understanding that Mount Moriah contained a spring near where Jacob had his vision and that his symbolic pillar was the Eben Shetiyah, or foundation stone. Remarkably, recent excavations above the Gihon Spring, first carried out by Parker and Vincent, then Reich and Shukron (2011), have uncovered a well-preserved matzevah still standing within a cave on the mid-slope rock scarp. It is an oval stone measuring 3 cm wide, 50 cm long, and 30 cm high, standing amidst twelve stones fused together at its base, a startling representation of the description in the legend (Bermeister, n.d.). Though Eli Shukron believes the four uncovered chambers constitute a sacrifical area of Melchizedek’s temple, because this area precisely fits where Jacob experienced his night vision, the matzevah presents a possibility of being the actual pillar or “foundation stone” of Jacob revered by the Jews.

Fig. 2. Mid-slope Rock Scarp Excavation in the City of David

Fig. 2. The figure represents four chambers carved in the mid-slope rock scarp in the City of David. Eli Shukron believes animal sacrifices took place in this location, dated to the Middle Bronze Age II. The matzevah is featured in the second chamber from the left. Stairs leading from the east of the chambers head toward the Rock-cut Pool fed by the Gihon Spring. (Courtesy of Kevin Bermeister)

The Rabbis’ explanation of the Even Shetiyah is somewhat confusedly set forth in the

following quotation from Tosefta Sukkah 49a:

Rabbah b. Bar Hana citing R. Jonanan stated “The Pits have existed

since the Six days of creation…The cavity of the Pits descended to the abyss…

My well-beloved had a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. And he digged it,

and cleared it of stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a

tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out a vat therein. ‘And planted it

with the choicest vine refers to the Temple; and built a tower in the midst

of it refers to the altar; and also hewed out a vat therein refers to the Pits.

This understanding is supplemented by Yoma 54b:

We were taught in accord with the view that the world was started [created]

from Zion…for it was taught: R. Eliezer says: The world was created from its center…the sages said the world was created from Zion. And it was called

Shethiyah: A tanna taught: [It was so called because from it the world was


The center of the world in Zion concept is also mentioned in the Book of Jubilees 8.19: “And he [Noah] knew that the Garden of Eden is the holy of holies, and the dwelling of the Lord, and Mount Sinai the centre of the desert, and Mount Zion--the centre of the navel of the earth: these three were created as holy places facing each other.”

When Jacob returned from Haran with his wives and children, he again stopped by Shalem (Salem in the Septuagint version), purchased a parcel of a field, and erected an altar, apparently in the same place as he had previously set up the pillar (Genesis 33: 18). This event is also set forth in Jubilees 32: 16: “…Jacob planned to build up that place [where he had set up the pillar] and to build a wall around the court and to sanctify it and make it eternally holy for himself and his children after him.”

Though the Mishnah, the Haggadah, and the scriptures are not always clear, the elements of the temple’s future location emerge as Zion/Moriah in Salem, a tower, a middle area, near a spring, a buried pillar, and pits underneath, all of which can be applied to the southeastern hill with little imagination needed.

The Site of the Future Temple After the Israelite Conquest of Canaan

After the Israelites conquered Canaan, they divided the land among the tribes. Several scriptures and passages from the Talmud help to locate the site of the temple at the border between Benjamin and Judah. Joshua 18:16-17 states:

And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the

valley of the son of Hinnom…and descended to the valley of Hinnom to the

side of Jebusi on the south, and descended to En-rogel. And was drawn

from the north and went forth to En-Shemesh….

The known locations of the valley of Hinnom, Jebus, and En-rogel place the border at the southeastern hill. En-Shemesh or “Spring of the Sun” refers to the Gihon Spring, enclosed by the Middle Bronze Age II walls at Jebus. Reich (2011), in Excavating the City of David: Where Jerusalem’s History Began, includes a stunning picture of the sun shining on the stairs just above the emergence of the Gihon Spring, though it is enclosed in a cave beneath the earth.

The Gihon Spring is given yet another name in a passage from Zevachim 54b in the Talmud:

They [Samuel and David] sat at Ramah and were engaged with the glory

[beauty] of the world. Said they, It is written, Then shalt thou arise and

ascend unto the place [which the Lord thy God shall choose]: this teaches

that the Temple was higher than the whole of Eretz Israel…They did not

know where that place was. Thereupon they brought the Book of Joshua

12. In the case of all [tribal territories] it is written, ‘And the border went

down’ ‘and the border went up ‘and the border passed along,’ whereas in

reference to the tribe Benjamin ‘and it went up’ is written, but not ‘and it

went down.’ Said they: This proves that this is its site. They intended

building it at the well of Etam, which is raised, but [then] they said: Let

us build it slightly lower, as it is written, and He dwelleth between his

shoulders. Alternatively, there was a tradition that the Sanhedrin should

have its locale in Judah’s portion, while the Divine Presence was to be in

Benjamin’s portion.

The Rabbis believed the temple was built below the well of Etam at the border between Benjamin and Judah. This is affirmed by Josephus’s assurance that the east wall of the temple stood in the Kidron Valley, below the Gihon Spring. A central location on the southeastern spur would provide the “shoulders” between which the Lord would dwell. At that center would be the Gihon Spring, here called the “well of Etam,” because the Rabbis thought it was supplied by the wells of Etam to the south. Combined with the passage from Joshua 18:16-17, the temple can be placed on the ridge and sliced in its near middle by the border between Benjamin and Judah, with the sanctuary and altar in Benjamin, and the Chamber of Hewn Stone in Judah.

The border is also referred to in Avoth 6, which states: “The sanctuary is one possession. Whence [Do we infer this?] Since it is said: ‘the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established’ and it is said [also]: ‘and he brought them to his holy border, to the mountain, which his right hand possessed.’” The mountain of the border would be Mount Zion, the southeastern hill.

An additional concept including the Shekinah’s residence in Benjamin’s portion is mentioned in Zevachim 118b:

When R. Dimi came [from Palestine] he said: The Shechinah rested on Israel

in three places; in Shiloh, in Nob and Gibeon, and in the Eternal House; and

in all of these it rested [on Israel] only in the portion of Benjamin…we find

in the Eternal House that the Shechinah was in Benjamin’s portion whereas

the Sanhedrin was in Judah’s portion? How compare? replied he. There the

territories [of Judah and Benjamin] were contiguous….

Megilah 26a adds additional details to the border description:

What [part of Jerusalem] was in the portion of Judah? The Temple mountain,

the priestly chambers, and the courts. And what was in the portion of Benjamin?

The hall and the sanctuary and the holy of holies. A strip projected from the

portion of Judah into the portion of Benjamin, and in it the altar [of sacrifice]

was built, and every day the righteous Benjamin fretted over it, desiring to

swallow it up, as it says, Crouching over it all the day. Therefore Benjamin

was privileged to become the host of the Shechinah.’

A final Talmudic reference occurs in Sanhedrin 37a, which, while speaking of the Sanhedrin’s place on the temple mount, harks back to Jacob’s pillar and altar:

Mishnah: And three rows of scholars sat in front of them; each knowing

his own place, in case it was necessary to ordain [another judge]….

Gemara: Whence is this derived? — R. Aha Haninah said: Scripture states,

Thy navel is like a round goblet ['aggan ha-Sahar] wherein no mingled wine is

wanting. 'Thy navel' — that is the Sanhedrin. Why was it called 'navel'? —

Because it sat at the navel-point of the world….

While Jacob erected his pillar at the “center of the earth,” the nearby residence of the Sanhedrin in Herod’s time was established at the “navel-point of the world.” All of these descriptions point to a temple location in the middle of the former Salem.

The Book of Jubilees 8:19 affirms that Mount Zion was the center of the earth:

And he [Noah] knew that the Garden of Eden is the holy of holies, and the dwelling of the Lord, and Mount Sinai the centre of the desert, and Mount Zion--the centre of the navel of the earth: these three were created as holy places facing each other.

The Spiritual Significance of the “Right Place”

Solomon built the temple in the “right place,” in the City of David. Stager (2000) writes about the spiritual significance of Salem/the City of David/Jerusalem in that for ancient Israel, the temple, the temple mount, and Jerusalem together symbolized a “mythopoeic realization of heaven on earth, Paradise, the Garden of Eden” (p. 36). He says:

After King David’s conquest of Jerusalem, the site became the “City of David.”

But it was much more than the patrimony of the king and his household It was

also the sacred center where Yahweh…established his house and household.

Solomon built the deity’s house--the Temple--and the king’s house--the palace-- side by side on the acropolis, the sacred mountain known as Mt. Zion. This

cosmic mountain linked heaven and earth (as axis mundi); from here order was

established at creation and continually renewed and maintained through

rituals and ceremonies. It was here Adam and Eve were buried, according

to Jewish tradition. The whole drew on celestial archetypes that were common

to ancient Near Eastern cultures. Cosmic mountains, for example, were

traditionally situated above the primordial waters (the deep”), which, in an

orderly cosmos, became the source of the sacred rivers that watered the four

quarters of the earth. (p. 37

Stager notes that “deity’s house” is built upon the sacred mountain known as Mount Zion, above primordial waters. Stager expands on these life-giving waters:

In the Yahwist’s (J) account of creation (Genesis 2:4b-3:23), written during the

United Monarchy (tenth century B.C.E.) or shortly thereafter, the soil is watered

not by rainfall but by the flow of fresh water that rises from below: A flow would

well up from the ground and water the whole surface of the soil” (Genesis 2:6)…

A river rises in Eden to irrigate the garden and then divides into four streams that

water the quarters of the earth…It is not by chance that the Yahwist names one

of the rivers of Paradise the Gihon….These quiet, cosmic waters emanating from

the primordial deep signified the orderliness and tranquility of God’s creation,

on which humans could rely. (pp. 37-39)

When Stager brings up the name “Gihon” as one of the rivers of paradise, he establishes the site in the City of David where Mount Zion and the temple stood, in the center of the southeastern hill, because the Gihon Spring is located there. The spiritual associations to which Stager refers can only relate to a temple built there, as the alleged temple mount stands apart from the former city and the cistern water underneath it lacks the same symbolic and holy connections as spring water.

Zion” and “Mount Zion” Were on the Southeastern Hill

The traditionalists adopted the term “Mount Moriah” for the hill on which the alleged temple mount stands, while Josephus mentions no name for it in the Roman era. The label was constrained when history and archaeology affirmed the “Zion” and “Mount Zion” of the Old Testament referred to the southeastern hill only and not to any northerly extension. For a thousand years, the people of the world thought “Mount Zion” meant the the southern part of the western hill of Jerusalem, still called that today. Even so, because of the tyrannical temple mount myth, it appears no one had considered if Mount Zion were on the western hill, the temple should also be there, because of the virtual synonymity of the temple mount and Mount Zion.

Several archaeological discoveries on the southeastern hill finally forced the world to acknowledge it as the real location of Mount Zion. These started with the discovery of Hezekiah’s Tunnel by Edward Robinson in 1838 and in 1880 the discovery of the Siloam inscription inside it by a Jewish youth, Jacob Eliahu. A paleo-Hebraic engraving had been carved in the rock at the point where the two parties of rock cutters met in the new aqueduct running south from the Gihon Spring (which was enclosed by the temple). The inscription provided physical evidence of the Biblical passages in 2 Kings 20: 20 and 2 Chronicles 32: 3-4 regarding Hezekiah’s conduit bringing water into the city (that city being the City of David). Later in 1909-1910, Parker and Vincent discovered remains dated to 3000 B.C. in the Gihon Spring area, affirming the southeastern hill was the original site of the ancient habitations chronicled in the Bible and history (Reich, 2011). Thus, one of Jerusalem’s blatant myths, similar to the temple mount myth in magnitude, gave way and the southeastern hill became rightfully acknowledged as Mount Zion. With these ground-breaking discoveries, it seems reasonable religious scholars and historians would have revisited the Biblical and historical texts, making the obvious associations with the temple being on the southeastern hill. Again, it appears no one made these associations, comfortably assuming the “temple mount” site at the Dome of the Rock need not be revised. Strangely, however, today it is virtually unknown for scholars to equate Mount Zion with the “Mount Moriah” of the alleged temple mount and no one seems to notice how, in the scriptural sources, Mount Zion is ubiquitous with respect to both the city and the temple, while “Mount Moriah” has only one mention


Roberts (2003), in his article “Solomon’s Jerusalem and the Zion Tradition,” indicates

that “…the sources specifically link the choice of David and his line with the choice of Jerusalem (Pss 2: 6; 78: 68-70; 132: 11-17): “I have set my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”… (p. 167).

Roberts also says “The Davidic ruler was expected to trust in Yahweh’s promise, to rule with

Yahweh’s justice, and to build up and maintain Yahweh’s city (Ps 101:8)” (p. 167).” Yahweh’s

city was the early City of David/Jerusalem, without a northerly extension


Roberts (2003) also says: “The third major element in the Zion tradition was the claim

that Yahweh had chosen Zion for his own dwelling place” (p. 168). Further:

David’s movement of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem pre-supposes an

oracle announcing such a divine choice of Jerusalem, and Solomon’s construction

of the temple in Jerusalem would have required further oracles confirming

Yahweh’s approval of Solomon’s building project. Indeed, the theological

tradition can claim Solomon’s work as Yahweh’s own doing, “He [Yahweh]

chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved; built the sanctuary like the

heights, he founded it forever like the earth” (Ps 78: 68-69). This motif was dear

to Isaiah’s heart. For him, Yahweh had founded Zion (Isa 8: 18), and was laying

the foundation stone of his sanctuary there (Isa 28: 16). (p. 168)

If, as Roberts says, Yahweh laid the foundation stone for his sanctuary in Zion, then the sanctuary must have been on the southeastern hill and not on an imagined northerly extension.


The first use of the term “Zion” in the Bible describes the City of David before David conquered it (2 Samuel 5: 7): “Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.” The extant use of “Zion” and “Mount Zion” in David’s psalms and other scriptures raises the likelihood that David knew of the terms or originated them, endowing them with all their connotations of holiness, linked to the city that carried his name and the people of the Lord.

“Mount Zion” can apply to the whole southeastern hill, the mountain on which the temple was built, and the temple itself, depending on the context. An example of Mount Zion referring to the city occupying the whole southeastern hill is Psalm 48: 1-2: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” An example of Mount Zion as the mountain upon which the temple was built is Isaiah 31: 4: “…so shall the Lord of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.” An example of Zion being the temple itself is Psalm 99: 1-2: “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.” In this verse, the Lord’s sitting between the cherubims means he is sitting in the holy of holies, in the temple, in lofty Zion. That the Lord dwelt in Zion among his people is reiterated in Isaiah 8:19: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” See the End Notes for many similar descriptions.iii

Another Biblical verse indicating the temple stood on Mount Zion in the City of David is found in Isaiah 29: 1, 7-8:

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year: let them kill

sacrifices…And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel…shall be even

as when an hungry man dreameth…but he awaketh, and behold, he is faint…so shall

the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.

Isaiah refers particularly to the City of David, or Mount Zion, inferring this is where the people killed sacrifices, meaning the temple stood in the City of David.

In Lamentations 5: 18, we read that “Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.” In other verses, “Zion” as a location for Mount Zion, infers the temple is there. For example: Lamentations 2: 4:

He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an

adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of

the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire…he hath destroyed

the places of the assembly: the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and

sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion…The Lord hath cast off his altar…[the

enemy] have made a noise in the house of the Lord, as in the day of a

solemn feast.

The Book of Jubilees 1: 26-28 also explictly states the sanctuary was built on Mount Zion:

And He said to the angel of the presence: Write for Moses from the beginning

of creation till My sanctuary has been built among them for all eternity… And

the Lord will appear to the eyes of all, and all shall know that I am the God of

Israel and the Father of all the children of Jacob, and King on Mount Zion for all

eternity. And Zion and Jerusalem shall be holy’…And the angel of the presence…

took the tables… until the sanctuary of the Lord shall be made in Jerusalem on Mount Zion….(Book of Jubilees 1: 26-28)

In Chapter 4.26 of the Book of Jubilees, the sacred place is repeated:

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