Godssecret's Weblog

March 15, 2009, 10:59 am
Filed under: gallery | Tags:


Jews have been praying at this site King David’s tomb on Mount Zion since the Middle Ages (12th century).



Ancient well cover on Mount Zion 2100 + years old










Mount Zion is a hill just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The term “Zion” became a synonym referring to the entire city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

There is reason to believe that in Biblical times the name Mount Zion referred to the area of what today is called the Temple Mount. However, as early as the first century the hill today called Mount Zion had acquired the name for unknown reasons.

On Mount Zion is King David’s Tomb and that of the other kings of Isreal. An unexpected opportunity to investigate this building occured in 1948, during Israel’s War of Independence. A mortar shell hit the site, and Israeli archaeologist Jacob Pinkerfeld was sent to repair the damage. In the course of repairs, he removed the marble floor slabs and dug two pits revealing three earlier floors, shown in the lower left drawing. Five inches below the present floor was a 12th-century Crusader floor; 1.5 feet below that, Pinkerfeld discovered a mosaic floor with geometric designs dating to the Byzantine period (fifth century); 4 inches below the mosaic, he uncovered the remains of a Roman floor (end of the first century), consisting of plaster fragments and stones from a possible pavement. A foundation ledge projecting into the hall at this final level indicated that this earlier Roman floor was the original building’s floor. Pinkerfeld observed that the niche in the northern wall, behind the cenotaph, was Part of the original construction Standing 6 feet above the earliest floor Level, the niche resembles other niches in ancient synagogues. He noted that the niche was oriented towards the Temple Mount and concluded that the building was originally a synagogue and the niche was the aron (ark for Torah scrolls).Pinkerfeld concluded that the original building was a Roman-period synagogue or early Byzantine.

. The thousand-year-old building that houses the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion in Jerusalem is almost always thronging; some have come to pray and pay homage to Israel’s famous king and ancestor of the Messiah, while others pour over sacred texts all day long in the anteroom next to the tomb. Jewish tradition has identified the tomb of King David on “Mount Zion”, a few hundred meters from the Zion Gate for more than one thousand years. The earliest mention of the Tomb of David as identified today appears in the writings of the Moslem geographer al-Makadasi, in the 10th century. However, al-Makadasi based this identification on the tradition of “the People of the Book”, that is, Jews and Christians. The first Jewish source to commit this tradition to writing is the travel diary of the “Jewish Marco Polo”, Binyamin of Tudela [1160 – 1173]. He writes Two Jewish workers employed to reconstruct a damaged monument on Mount Zion accidentally happened upon a secret passage andfound themselves in a palace made of marble columns.Within the palace was a table upon which rested a golden scepter and golden crown, with riches all around. The workers decided this was King David’s Tomb. Suddenly, they were struck down by a fierce wind and heard voices that told them to leave immediately. Three days later, the two workmen were sick in bed and could not be persuaded to return to the site.

The tomb itself is a burial cave, which is not accessible. What is accessible is a cenotaph (stone marker) over the entrance to the cave. The cenotaph is located within a complex of buildings which date to the Crusader Period [12th century], though some of the buildings were added during the Ottoman Period [16th century and later], and may have served as a caravanserai (inn for traders on the caravan routes). The building housing David’s tomb incorporates much more ancient elements. The southern wall includes stones which are quite large and obviously older than the rest of the building. Josephus reports that Herod the Great (37-4 B.C.) secretly tried to rob the treasure hidden in David’s tomb. When two of Herod’s clandestine diggers met a mysterious death, fear overcame Herod and he ordered a tomb-memorial erected at the site.

Jews have streamed here for centuries to recite the Psalms written by David, whose life teaches many lessons about human nature.
The tomb is covered with a velvet cloth embroidered with the words David Melech Israel Hai Vekayam, the first song many Jewish children learn, which evokes the sense that David’s spirit is still with us.
Prayers at King David’s tomb also turn to Jerusalem, which David made the united capital of the tribes of Israel. The anniversary of David’s death coincides with the eve of Shavuot, when it is customary to pray and study all night at the tomb.

Behind the marker of King David’s tomb, the cenotaph there used to be stairs going down to the actual burial cave. Workers were sent down to look by Rabbi Goldstein, they came up terrified saying they saw down there amazing ancient things. This area was sealed with cement by Rabbi Goldstein.