says the Temple Mount was "six furlongs around, including Fort Antonia"
A furlong was approximately 600 feet long. According to Josephus the
Temple compound by itself was a square 4 furlong around, 600 X 600. and
when combined the Temple and Fort Antonia compounds were a complex
forming a rectangle of approximately 600 X 1200 feet. Josephus quoted
book 6; 5.4 an old Jewish prophecy that said, "When the Temple becomes
four-square once again then will the Temple and city be destroyed." By
the destruction of Fort Antonia the Temple had once again become
four-square and he begged them to make peace with the Roman's before it
was too late. Of course they refused.
the Moat Josephus spoke of?
to Josephus there was a man cut moat between Fort Antonia and Bezetha
hill (new city) separating the two hills. The moat was excavated by
Charles Warren in the late 1800's and can be seen on his map of the
the water to cleanse the Temple Court come from?
It came from the Lower Aqueduct fed
by the Ein Etam (the spring of Etam) Tosefta Psachim, Ch. 3, Par. 12,
"How is the Azara cleaned? Seal the
area and let the water from the aqueduct enter till it becomes clean
(Wars Of The Jews 5. 5. 2. ) Talmud
(Zebhachim 54b), and in the Jer. Talmud (Yoma' 3 fol 41)
Which Theories Fit These Descriptions?
main concern for people trying to decide where the Jewish Temple was
once located should begin with the eastern ridge itself. What did it
look like in the time of King David and Solomon? We now look at it and
see a huge fat surface but that wasn't always the case. The place of
the Dome of the Rock was the peak of a very high mountain, the highest
point of the eastern ridge. From there it slopped down towards the
south reaching a lower level called the Ophel, and then down to the
level of the old City of David. Josephus claimed that one could not see
the Temple from New City (Bezetha hill) because Fort Antonia blocked
the view of it. This would only be the case if the Temple were on a
lower point on the eastern ridge. Josephus places Fort Antonia on the
highest peak of the Mountain, saying the fort overlooked the Temple,
and the Temple overlooked the city. This tells us that the eastern
ridge had three distinct levels, the rocky peak, the middle level, with
a very large flat rock, which was used as a threshing floor, and the
lower level where the City of David was located. Also a threshing floor
was never located on the rocky peak of the mountain.
Two theories place
the temple at the peak of the Mountain, the Dome of the Spirit, (#1) the other at the Dome of
the Rock (#2).
Two theories show the Temple located
on the middle level of the eastern ridge, Tuvia Sagiv's (#3) and Norma Robertson's (#4).
Martin's theory (#5), with
the Temple located at the lower level of the
eastern ridge in the City of David, and centers around the Gihon spring.
Dome of the Spirits Temple theory of Dr. Kaufman and Widener, and others.
by Norma Robertson
When we are looking into the locations for the original threshing floor
of King David then we must begin with Solomon's Temple and the
typography on the eastern ridge. People like to just use the inner
courts of Herod's Temple and place it where they believe the Temple
The Golden Gate, which was built by the Byzantine empire hundreds of
years after the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, is straight across from
the little Dome of the Spirits. There is
bedrock under the Dome so that must be the threshing floor, right? No,
not right. King David saw the threshing floor from the City of David. He
would not, under any circumstances, be able to see over the peak of the
Mountain to the other side of it where the Dome of the Spirits is
located. But people look at the flat Temple Mount today and assume that
is what it was like in the time of Solomon. No, it was a 75-foot-high mountain, according to Josephus.
The second problem is the so called Golden gate. There are the ruins of
the original gate, built by Hezikiah under the Golden gate. It is the
gate Nehemiah spoke of. Problem is, if you look at the map below,
older gate is about 50' below the level of the Dome of the Spirits.
So, it is an east gate, but not an east gate of the Temple. Also,
Nehemiah didn't rebuild any gates or walls of the Temple. He just
rebuilt the city wall and it's gates.
The third problem with this location is fresh running water. There was
no aqueduct in this area, so no fresh water for cleaning the Priest
court of the Blood. No fresh running water for the High Priest to
cleanse himself twice daily. No way to fill the laver by lowering it down
into the pool below the Priest court. Cisterns have no fresh running water.
All will agree that Herod rebuilt the Temple on the same threshing
floor where Solomon's Temple stood. In Herod's Temple the courts were
cleansed by water from the aqueduct. Just as it was since the time of Solomon. Neither the upper or lower
aqueducts go anywhere near the Dome of the Spirit. The cleansing water
came from Etam Spring near Jerusalem via an aqueduct, as we learn from these sources.
Abaye, a Jewish sage of the
4th century was quoted
as saying; "If
these orifices be now opened, the water rushes in from all sides, and
the marble floor of the sanctuary is washed clean of the blood of the
sacrifices, if it be ever so much, and thus cleansed of itself, and in
the easiest manner. There can be, moreover, never a want of water in
these artificially constructed tubes, as it is conducted hither FROM A
LARGE NATURAL SPRING (ETAM), which to a certainty can never dry...
Tosefta Pesachim, Ch. 3, Par. 12,"How
is the Azara cleaned? Seal the area and let the water from the aqueduct
enter till it becomes clean like milk."
(Quotes, "The Hidden Secrets of the Temple Mount"
by Tuvia Sagiv)
You can see the lower aqueduct entering over Wilson's arch is built at
a southeast angle, away from the Dome of the Rock platform. That is
because the Temple was at the south end of the Temple Mount.
Below is DR. Kaufmen's diagram with the Holy of Holies located on the
Dome of the Spirits bedrock straight across from the Golden gate. Of
course Josephus tells us that the Temple of Herod was one furlong by
one furlong SQUARE. Not whatever shape this is in Kaufman's
diagram. His Northwest corner of the Temple platform is actually
falling into the 200 foot long 50 foot deep moat on Warren's map.
The first two theories, Kaufman's and
Ritmeyer's, incorporates the whole Temple Mount as the size of the
Herodian extended walls to the West, North and South, making it double
the size of Josephus' description. In these theories the actual ruins
of the moat on Warren's map is also not acknowledged at all. Fort
Antonia is also not a furlong by a furlong in this theory, but claims
it to have been where the Muslim School is located on Bezetha hill.
Dome of the Rock theory shows
Solomon's Temple compound, in blue on the map, as being 500 x 500
cubits (according to the Mishna Middot 2.1 which says "The Temple on
the Mount was 500 x 500 ama,").
However, I find it quite a coincidence
that if this were referring to a Babylonian cubit of 14.4 (used for
buildings) then 500 ama equals 600 feet, or one furlong, which fits the
size of the Herodian Temple given by Josephus. The Mishna is of course
speaking of Herod's Temple, not Solomon's. But somehow Ritmeyer claims
that Solomon's Temple was an ama x ama and shows the remainder of the
mount as Herod's extended courts.. Ritmeyer claims the whole east wall
of the mount today, which is 1470 feet long, as the east wall of the
Herodian Temple compound, over double the size claimed by Josephus. All
a bit confusing, since there is not a furlong to be found amongst his
numbers. In simple terms, Ritmeyer is claiming the Mishna is speaking
of "Solomon's Temple" compound and then applying a Royal Cubit of 20.67
inches to it so that it comes out to be 500 royal ama. The Dome of the
Rock area did not have a fresh water source, only cisterns.
Muslim Fountain theory the moat is in the proper place. A 600 x
foot Fort Antonia would fit well, leaving the moat as separating Fort
Antonia from Bezetha hill, but I don't know what Mr. Sagiv shows as
Fort Antonia in his theory.
In his theory the walls of the Temple Mount
today were built by Hadrian for the Temple of Jupiter, and none of them,
on the west at least, are Herodian walls. He states that the Wailing
wall was not a wall of the Temple.
I am in agreement with much of what
Tuvia Sagiv gives for a more southern location for the Temple on the Mount,
such as the view into the place of the sacrifices from both the high
tower of Fort Antonia and also the balcony of Agrippa II located on the western hill, also the water
levels of the mount. His Temple location allows for the aqueduct as the
source for water.
One of the main problems with this theory is that the
Place of the Trumpeting stone was found below the Southwest corner
of the Temple Mount. It fell during the destruction of the Temple and
cracked the paving stones on the first century street below, so there
is no question that the SW corner was part of Herod's Temple compound,
not Hadrian, which puts a large hole in Tuvia's theory.
With this theory one has to ask, Where was the north court of the
temple? Where was the south, lower, court and where was the western
wall of Herod's Temple? I see no evidence for any of these courts.
Plus, Josephus gives the measurements of Herod's Temple compound as
600' x 600' including Herod's new western court. I think that Tuvia
has the Temple court and woman's court together in his diagram as being
close to 600 feet in size. Way too big once the western court is added to the 600.
Martin and all others that claim the location of the Temple was in the
City of David.) In Martin's theory, it is apparent that Fort Antonia
would have been the entire size of the Temple Mount.
This theory does
not comply to the Temple and Fort Antonia together being "six furlongs
around, including fort Antonia" (600 x 1200 ft). Instead he claims the
area between the Fort and the Temple was 600 x 600 feet, which distorts
the text of Josephus.
This also ignores the moat on Warren's map and
extends the fort right up to Bezetha hill. I will spend the most time
on this theory because Christians seems to be drawn to this theory
since many believe it would not cause problems with the Muslims to
rebuild a Temple here.
You will recognize this drawing as Dr. Martin's theory, and is also
what Bob Cornuke claims to be correct.
I rotated in it's
proper proportions so the image will fit correctly over Charles
Wilson's survey map.
excavations in the City of David.........Wilson map w/ overlay
of excavation map, and ..
Eilat Mazar excavated a 1000 to 900 BC royal building, according to
the artifacts found at that layer. She believes this to be David's
ruins do not resemble any part of the Temple or Temple platform.
This huge building and the Temple can not occupy the same
place, which puts an end to Dr. Martin and Robert Cornuke's
read where Dr Martin said that the southeast corner was 300 cubits
according to Josephus and was built into the bedrock of the Kidron
valley. The text does not say that at all. Josephus tells us. “The
lowest part of this (lower court of the temple) was erected to the
height of 300 cubits, and in some places more; yet did not the entire
depth of the foundations appear, for they as being desirous to make
them on a level with the narrow streets of the city; wherein they made
use of stones of forty cubits in magnitude;”
of course was speaking of the southwest corner where there were narrow
streets of the city to bring the level up to. Not the Southeast comer
where there were no streets. There was no way to bury the foundation
stones of the southeast corner if they had been built clear to the
bottom of the Kidron Valley. The first century Herodian street
uncovered along the western wall lays far above the foundation stones
that were laid on the bedrock of the Tyropoean valley and that is the
valley Josephus was speaking of. There was no aqueduct to cleanse the
Temple court in the City of David location. These are just a few of the
reasons that this City of David theory does not work.
arose when recently a “place for sacrificing” was found underground in
the City of David. It is believed that the place of sacrifice found in
the City of David was in use pre-David, perhaps dating back to the time
of Melchizedek (2000 BC). This means it was already there during the
time of David....If so then it can not be “the threshing floor” that
In the Robertson theory
In this theory the
moat is located between Fort Antonia and the Bezetha hill. Fort Antonia
was on the highest of the hills as recorded by Josephus. The aqueduct
and existing underground water system brings the living water to the
This theory relies on the water source of the lower
aqueduct. Solomon, bringing fresh water to the Temple Mount, originally
built the lower aqueduct. It enters the Temple Mount at Wilson's Arch
and angles southward, down hill, to the place of the Muslim Fountain.
It then continues southward, through water Channels, ending at the
location for this theory. The ruins on the top of what is referred to
as Ophel Hill fit into the layout and so do the underground structures
below the surface of the Mount. This level is defined by a large
outcropping of bedrock protruding out of the hill which is called Ophel
hill. This can be seen by the huge steps, which were cut into that
bedrock at the southern wall of the Temple Mount. At the top of the
steps the rock levels out where the threshing floor would have been
located deep below the surface of the Mount we see today. It is a real
plus that it also agrees with the measurements given by Josephus for
the temple. In this theory the Wailing Wall was part of the Herodian
extended courts of the Temple to the West.