How can you know where the Temple was once located?
You listen to, and weigh, the known facts. Not just the facts people
talk about that are selling a book or have an agenda of any sort, but
all the facts. You start at the beginning with King David and the
topography of the eastern ridge. What you don't want to do is
look at the huge flat Temple Mount of today and try to fit it into this
spot or that.
So go back to what David saw. A long slowly
rising mountain. At the top was the peak of the mountain. According to
Josephus it was 50 cubits high at the peak. War of the Jews Book 5, 5
Part way down was the Ophel which had a huge outcrop of stone.
This is evident by the huge 200 foot wide, 22 feet high, steps that
were cut into that protruding bedrock. Further south was the City
of David where King David built his palace at the north end of the
city. From the City of David he looked northward to where the
threshing floor was located, where he saw an angel. A threshing floor
was never in a city, but outside a city. It was never on the peak
of a mount because of the higher winds.
what would be needed to build the Temple, but his son, Solomon, was
chosen by God to build it on the threshing floor where David had built
an altar to God.
On either side of the eastern ridge
were deep valleys. The Kidron on the east and the Tyropoen on the west.
The Tyropoen valley was completely filled in to be level with the lower
part of the western hill. So using your imagination cut off the west
side and the east side of the Temple Mount, around 150 feet from west
side and 300 feet from the east side (in other words all of what is
called "Solomon's Stables" from the east side). What you have
left is the strip of land south to north
where the Temple would have been located. The filling in of the
Tyropoen valley began in the time of the Hasmoneans (Maccabees) 167-37
BCE. The Grecians held Jerusalem, under Antiochus IV. A
huge fort called the Akra/tower had been built by the Grecians, cutting
off the Temple from the City of David. The Grecian soldiers could see
into the Temple compound from the top of the tower. Not Herod's Temple,
but the Temple that was still within the walls of the1st and 2nd
Temple. When the Jews defeated Antiochus they then partially cut down
the Akra and filled up that section of the Tyropoen valley near
the City of David with the debris. The Herodians filled in
the rest of the valley northward when they built the western wall of
the Temple Mount. What can the location of the Akra tell us?
It was once located south of the south wall of the Solomon Temple
compound. It was built in between the City of David and the Temple
cutting the city off from the Temple. The ruins of the fort/tower has
been uncovered in the Givati parking lot built on a shelf of the
Tyropoen valley just north of the old City of David. The Temple,
pre Herod, had to be close enough to look into it from the top of the
Tower. That is not possible if the Temple was on the peak of the
mount on the Dome of the Rock platform. The Temple had to be lower down
from the peak of the Mount, down on the hill Ophel.
facts so far are; the eastern ridge had three levels, the City of
David, the Ophel hill and the peak of the Mount, which is now covered
by the Dome of the Rock. The eastern ridge, pre-Herod, was at
least 450 feet thinner, west to east, than the Temple Mount is today,
cutting off 150 feet from the west side and 300 from the east side. The excavation of the Akra
demands a lower location for the Temple. Solomon built the Temple north of his father's palace. The question is how far to the north?
Far enough so that he could build his own palace and royal area south
of the Temple. In fact his palace butted up against the south
wall of the Temple compound. Between David's palace, discovered
by Eilat Mazar above the Gihon spring, and the south wall of the Temple
Mount is around 600 or so feet. Plenty of room for Solomon to
build his own palace and royal area. He then walled this area in,
increasing the size of the city to also include the Temple. The
Solomon wall was also revealed to us by Eilat Mazar on the east side of
the Ophel. She has written a book as to her reasoning that this was
Solomon's Royal area, according to the ruins, artifacts found there,
and scripture. This becomes very interesting because
Solomon's palace butted up against his Temple compound, not Herod's.
The south wall of the Temple Mount is believed to be built as
Herod's extended southern court. So who is wrong, Eilat Mazar or
those that claim the Temple of Solomon was on the Dome of the Rock
platform? She has ruins and artifacts. The others have supposition and
guesses, because no archaeologists are allowed to dig on the Temple
Scripture tells us that when the Temple was complete Solomon gathered
the elders and they carried the ark of the Covenant "up out" of the
City of David and placed it in the Temple.
that Fort Antonia was on the highest hill and overlooked the Temple and
the Temple overlooked the City. This tells us that there were
three levels to the eastern ridge. The peak, the Ophel hill, and
the City of David. He also wrote that Herod's Temple
was a furlong by a furlong, approximately 600 x 600 feet foursquare,
not a rectangle. Not 1,500 x 900 or so feet, which is the size of
the Temple Mount today. He also wrote, speaking of the flagstone
flooring Herod had covered the open spaces with, that "the Temple
was 6 furlong around, including Fort Antonia" War of the Jews, Book 5, 5.
Josephus called the entire complex of both Fort Antonia and the Temple
as "The Temple" He later clarifies this when speaking of a
prophecy which said; When the Temple became foursquare once again then
its destruction would take place. He believed it became
foursquare when the bridges that connected the Temple to the fort were
burnt down separating them once again. War of the Jews Book 6, 2, 9
That is just a few simple points, out of a very long list, showing that
the Temple was not on the Dome of the Rock platform nor in the City of
David, but was located beneath the Al Aqsa Mosque at the south end of
the Temple Mount.
The picture below was taken in the 3D
program where I have built Herod's Temple and Fort Antonia. It is built
to specs with 1 meter size blocks. Measurements for the Temple and the
Fort that I used are according to Warren's map using the legend at the
bottom, which is in meters. 1 meter = 1 block. (
the picture Fort Antonia is on the Dome of the Rock platform according
to my theory. So you will have to imagine the Temple on the
platform as is proposed by Leen Ritmeyer.)
The picture below is looking west from
the Mount of Olives. With the Dome of the Rock theory the Temple
and upper court are on the Dome of the Rock platform. Fifteen steps
down from that level is the level of the women's court, for both
Solomon's Temple and Herod's Temple. But there is a big problem that
Leen Ritmeyer doesn't mention. It has to do with the three
buildings that are just below the ground level of the Temple
Mount today, identified and measured by Charles Warren in the
1800's. The southern most building actually has it roof just
above the ground level. This building is 44 feet deep. Making
ground level in Solomon's time around 40 feet lower, on the eastern
side of the platform, than the surface of the Temple Mount of today.
Ritmeyer also identified the lower portion of the east wall, of today,
as being built by Hezekiah, along with the original gate, which is
located under the Muslim built east gate that we see today. In
Nehemiah we are told that this original gate was at the north end of
the Hezekiah city wall, which Nehemiah rebuilt and the gate was called
the Miphkad gate.
Ritmeyer claims that Solomon's women's court was built at ground level
of the Temple Mount as it is today. This is not possible because Solomon's Temple was
(950 BC) before Hezikiah
(700 BC) built the east city wall, gate, and the 3
buildings seen on Warren's map. How could these 3 buildings be built under the women's
court after the women's court had already been built 250 years earlier?!
This, once again, proves that the Dome of the Rock theory was not the location of Solomon's Temple.
Looks good on paper but not in 3D
Below is the map of Ritmeyer's Temple over Warren's topographical
map. Notice the 3 buildings are directly below where he claims
the women's court once was.
Three buildings in blue green and pink.
I drew this imaginary diagram. The Women's court would have had to be built on a steep slant of the mountain! I don't think this is very practical. :)