We have conclusively shown in previous pieces that it would have been impossible for the Temple of Solomon to have been built on the “Haram Al-Sharif”. However, that does not imply that our location above the Gihon Spring is problem free. To be intellectually honest therefore requires that we point out those problems. It is something that the proponents of the “Haram” theory should have done years ago.
Firstly a brief recap. of the main reasons the earlier Temples could NOT have been built upon the Haram Al-Sharif.
1) Leen Ritmeyer who is the world’s leading expert on the architecture of the Haram states that in many places there are 30 to 40 courses of the original Herodian Structure BELOW ground. This in addition to the massive remains still above the ground from that era. How then could Josephus (the ONLY contemporaneous account of the geography of Jerusalem at the time) and those he quotes, maintain that Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed down to bedrock with NOTHING remaining. The fact is that anyone viewing Jerusalem AFTER the destruction MUST have seen a massive structure still intact. If that structure was NOT Jerusalem and NOT the site of the Temple it MUST have been the Roman Fort Antonia.
2) Like many of the Christian sites in Jerusalem, the whereabouts of the original site of the Temple was lost for many generations. It has to be remembered that is was only 150 years ago that the City of David was thought to be on the Western Hill. The discovery of the inscription in Hezekiah’s tunnel was the proof that was needed. Before that it was taken for granted that Zion and the City of David were in what turned out to be completely the wrong location. Scholars were still arguing the facts less than 100 years ago.
3) From any tactical and geographical consideration the original Temple of Solomon would never have been built in an exposed northern “suburb”. It must rather have been built in the Center of the City of David which by coincidence is right beside the Gihon Spring.
4) For religious and practical reasons (due to the vast amount of animal sacrifices taking place) it was necessary to build the Temple near fresh running water. There is none on the Haram and only the Gihon Spring was such a source at the time of King David and King Solomon.
5) Josephus was quite precise in describing the southern Royal Court of the Temple enclosure. It stretched from valley to valley and was 606 ft. long. The minimum distance from valley to valley on the Temple Mount is 917 ft. We have published maps which show that this description exactly fits the location above the Gihon Spring.
6) Fort Antonia was described by Josephus as being like a city with large areas for troop parades etc. A legion of troops (5000 fighting and 5000 support) was housed there. Only the Haram fits the description and the small area now designated the site of the Fort would have been impossibly small.
7) King Solomon built the Temple on the site of the threshing floor of Araunah which was IN the City of David. The Haram never was.
8) Like all major fortresses Josephus describes Fort Antonia as being built over a “rock” the highest point of the area. No Biblical description of the Temples includes such a feature.
9) The “Wailing Wall” in the early literature including the Talmud refers to the western wall of the Temple itself. Nobody believes that the wall described today is anything other than the outer wall of a Herodian structure. Where is the original “Wailing Wall”?
10) In 2000 years of research, excavation and exploration including a protracted search by the Templars, not ONE single artifact from the Temples of Jerusalem has ever been found. This fact alone has given ammunition to the minimalists who claim that both King David and King Solomon were mythical characters and that Solomon’s Temple never even existed.
Now the problems.
1) If one goes to Jerusalem today and looks over the Haram from the Mount of Olives, one cannot help but be impressed by the sheer massive size of the structure, especially the walls surrounding the location of the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque.
Leen Ritmeyer, the foremost architectural expert on the Haram in the world today states that the number of levels of Herodian stones under the ground far exceeds those that are obvious above ground today. Thus at the end of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. this structure was massive and impressive. It almost dwarfs the City of David.
Now this of course is the reason why the Haram could NOT have been the location of the Temple. Contrary to the eyewitness reports it was not overturned in such a way that no stone rested upon another nor destroyed to the level of the foundations.
Here is the problem. It was so massive and so much remained, why did not eyewitness to the events of the destruction of even afterwards refer to this massive structure? You can’t miss it today with Jerusalem totally built up all around it, how much more obvious it must have been with total destruction everywhere. Yes, nobody refers to it as if it didn’t exist. Only Eleazar makes an oblique reference.
Speech by Eleazar:
War of the Jews:
7) …….. Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it, which still dwells upon its ruins;
Something, but not very convincing.
The Second problem involves the position of the Temple itself. It was supposed to have been built on the highest ground of the ridge on which it stood.
But he (Solomon) made that temple which was beyond this a wonderful one indeed, and such as exceeds all description in words; nay, if I may so say, is hardly believed upon sight; for when he had filled up great valleys with earth, which, on account of their immense depth, could not be looked on, when you bended down to see them, without pain, and had elevated the ground four hundred cubits, he made it to be on a level with the top of the mountain, on which the temple was built, and by this means the outmost temple, which was exposed to the air, was even with the temple itself. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews: Book 8 – Chapter 3 Verse 9
A brief look at the City of David’s contour maps shows that there is a gentle slope all the way down from North to South.
We do know there was a hill on top of the Eastern Ridge that Simon cut down to bedrock when he destroyed the Akra. That was at the South extremity of the City.
And when he (Simon) had done this, he thought it their best way, and most for their advantage, to level the very mountain itself upon which the citadel happened to stand, that so the temple might be higher than it. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews: Book 13 – Chapter 6 verse 7
The question is whether there is evidence that there was also another hill opposite the Gihon Spring on which Solomon built his Temple. The evidence is not clear.