Israel’s Hidden Ancient Facts
For 300 years the armies of Joshua, Judah and finally King David were repeatedly motivated to conquer the impenetrable walled city on Mount Moriah. During those times the walls did not surround the summit of the mountain (north of the city) that is most precious to Jews today. It was only after King David that the summit was used as the platform for Solomon’s temple, the temple mount of the second temple and pen-ultimately the grandiose Herodian temple, the ruins of which remain today. Back then the summit was not the important section of the mountain! So, what made the lower section so important and attractive for such an extended period of time?
You don’t have to venture far in the annals of Jewish history to discover the deep affinity the Israelite tribes had for this location. It was the mountain where Noah’s son Shem practiced his righteousness as the High Priest of Shalem, for which he became known as Melchizedek – Righteous King. Somewhere on this mountain was Shalem, it was later connected with Abraham who named it ‘heavenly awe’ – ‘Yira’, which was joined as Yira-Shalem, eventually Jerusalem. It’s the place Isaac was offered by Abraham as a sacrifice and Jacob dreamed of a stairway to heaven before he re-named the place once known as Luz – to Beit El. So where was Shalem and Luz on this mountain well before anything had been built?
The artist impression places the walled city around the ridge of the lower section of the Mount Moriah sandstone monolith ~3700 years back. Around this time the protruding structure from the city wall to the valley floor is thought by archaeologists to have been built. At that stage, as shown there was no temple, no temple mount and the summit of the mountain north of the city, was not included in its walls.
The archaeology shows the city wall and spring house were significant scale constructions.
The spring house at the valley floor contained the Gihon Spring, the city’s water source, yet according to the archaeology, before any construction its’ water flowed freely into the Kidron valley. The artist’s impression is not accurate, particularly the area marked by the black rectangle. The archaeology there reveals that structures (south) adjacent to the protruding wall and spring house had previously been constructed in the bedrock, but they are not represented.
Today the City of David organization has physically and virtually reconstructed the spring house and as can be seen in the next image the remaining walls are significant. Some of the one tonne boulders that are stacked from the valley floor up the mountain follow a line of at least 70 meters. It would have required a large workforce of skilled artisans and laborers to develop this structure over a period of several decades.
The missing elements from the artists image are better represented below, on the south side of the thin red line. They include an early Bronze Age cave dwelling ~4500 years old, a series of four rooms on the High ridge and a deep cut (in the bedrock) upper Gihon pool to which water from the spring was once channeled.
This area marked in the boundary of the black rectangle is the oldest on the mountain. The features were well used by a relatively small number of people. It contains several flour presses that remain carved in the bedrock around the pool. Steps from the pool to the high ridge, which contains significant artifacts once used for holy worship were destroyed. This was probably done to stop the growing numbers of people going up to the high ridge to offer sacrifice. One of the most unique artifacts is a stone monument known as a matzevah used to record a covenant. I hold a view that it is the one erected by Jacob and that established the overwhelming motivation for Israel’s 300 year pursuit of this area.
The holy use of the high ridge is just coming to light through archaeology and a review of ancient texts. King David may have been disappointed to discover that the sacred areas on the eastern slope of Mount Moriah were closed by the massive construction that fenced them in. Shalem, Luz and Beit El had been closed down by the occupiers of the city. Before Israel had been exiled to Egypt, this was the place his ancestors had come, but it was no longer serviceable, so during the King’s reign he preserved the area for later generations. That time is now!
Over the past 12 years I have repeatedly visited Jerusalem’s City of David, often as frequently as 5 or 6 times each year. I have extensively studied the mountain on which it is located and continue to do so. I am fascinated by the evolving nature of discovery as excavations, especially at my favorite site, the oldest on the mountain continue to reveal amazing secrets of its past.
I have come to experience, through a review of Jewish history as influenced by archaeology that my imaginative realization is increasingly complete. Notwithstanding departures from varying opinions, I find myself defending the past from distortion. Perhaps my ambition deters me, but I am compelled by a certain responsibility to push forward regardless.
Israel’s historical record is replete with fiendish enemies who sought the nation’s destruction. Laban, the father in law of Israel’s progenitor Jacob was intent on usurping his future national heritage. On Israel’s exile in Egypt, Pharaoh and his occultist advisors were alarmed at their record population growth and the ethnic cleansing that followed is made abundantly clear. After leaving Egypt following some impressive early war victories Israel amassed on the east bank of the Jordan. The opposing sentiment of the seven Canaanite clans who had occupied Israel’s land was well established. Israel had risen and was coming back to reclaim its land, eternal cities and Jerusalem!
By the time Moses sent his select men to explore the land Israel was expecting to enter, the fortified walls surrounding ancient Jerusalem and at the Gihon Spring, its water source had already been constructed. Some of Moses men complained of massive towers, walls and giants that saw them as mere insects. Indeed having spent a few years wandering the desert, the imposing construction would have been daunting. On the scale of pyramids, the stacked one tonne boulders rose 50 meters from the valley floor, up the steep incline to meet the reinforced stone walls that surrounded the city on the summit of the ridge.
Although the seemingly impenetrable fortress at the Gihon Spring had deflated the report of the explorers, the archaeology reveals it did not protect the water, which flowed freely into the valley floor. Perhaps the fortress protected city folks while they accessed water, but it’s grand scale, specific location, offset to the south of the spring and relativity to other important artifacts on the High Ridge establish a serious intellectual and academic challenge. Why was it built?
To understand this we must briefly consider occultist opposition to Israel through the competitive progeny of Abraham’s father Terah, descendant of Noah’s son Shem. The principal occultists included Og, Laban and Balaam who through Egypt’s Pharaoh (descendant of Noah’s son Ham) and the Moabite king – Balak, cast their influence far and wide. Their astrological skills were extraordinary, Balaam was considered a prophet of the highest order, even beyond Moses.
Abraham and Sarah were fathered by Terah to different wives; Pharaoh fathered Hagar who became Abraham’s second wife; Laban Abraham’s great nephew; Og became Abraham’s right hand man, but later he or his reincarnate rebelled. Balaam, Laban’s reincarnate; and Balak descended from Moses father-in-law, but rebelled to unite Midian and Moab against Israel. Ham’s son Canaan was cursed by Noah and the seven sons of Canaan had occupied most of the land to which Israel was returning. However, if Israel had only one nemesis it was Amalek the nation God commanded them to destroy including women, children and cattle. The Zohar, Israel’s seminal mystical work attributes Balaam and Balak as the principal proponents for motivating the nation – Amalek.
Hatred of Israel was palpable among the member nations of occultist rhetoric. Inevitably Israel’s rising through their holy disposition, miraculous events and motivation to reoccupy their inherited land caused these opponents to strengthen their resolve. Israel’s most holy site, the place Shem-Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob connected to their future progeny was considered to be their source of power and the permanent location of Israel’s future temple in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder Israel’s nemesis co-conspirators wanted to stop them and they acted by encasing the eastern slope of Mount Moriah in a mausoleum of massive boulders.
The archaeology at the Gihon spans Chalcolithic through Iron age and is highly concentrated. I adapted Parker’s map below to highlight each of the layers ascending from the valley floor up the eastern face of Mount Moriah to the structures on the High Ridge.
The grey ‘Line of the Citadel Twin Wall’ (Area 2) on the map can be seen from the point of view photo (below) where Eli Shukron is standing at around 20 meters above the valley floor. Behind him (right of image) is the Gihon Spring House. The distant light in the far background emanates a further 30 meters from the top of the High Ridge. On the left and right (north) remnants of the wall scattered over the bedrock, up to the High Ridge and down to the valley floor, where its foundations remain intact.
Dating significant constructions, the map distinguishes between 1 and 2 that roughly divide the area in half. Area 1 is one of the oldest locations on the mountain, the rudimentary Cave Room marked ‘K’ dates to the Early Bronze Age perhaps as old as 5000 years. The deep cut tunnel marked ‘E’ descends into the bedrock below ground ‘Levels’ as marked on the map, it can be attributed to a similar time and may have originated as part of the artesian water system on mountain. The area, rooms and artefacts on the High Ridge marked ‘G’ are dated to the middle or late bronze age around 4000-3800 years. Large cut boulders in Area 1 marked “Broken Steps” that once connected the High Ridge (‘G’) to the Upper Gihon Pool below ‘P’ were purposefully destroyed as indicated by the order of their fall. Area 2 is later, more sophisticated dated to around 3700 years including construction of the Citadel Twin Wall.
Notwithstanding the theory of purposeful destruction, surprisingly some of the most sensitive artifacts on the High Ridge were well preserved. The preservation seems to have been facilitated by rock/wall fill discovered between and separating the rooms of area ‘G’ from the point the Citadel Twin Wall meets the High Ridge. This fits with the theory of division of areas 1 from 2. Further passage between the Twin Walls from the High Ridge was discovered to its north, just before the steep tunnel descent at the second ‘E’ (from top) on the map.
Given the Broken Steps and preservation of artifacts on the High Ridge, it appears there was a concerted effort to disconnect the lower levels of area 2 from the High Ridge. We cannot be certain of the time of this separation, but we can be more certain that the Twin Walls were constructed in part to conceal or divert traffic away from the previously constructed High Ridge and its artifacts.
The High Ridge may have once been used extensively for worship, but by the time the Twin Wall abutting the surrounding city wall was constructed, city folks in the area no longer used it or its use was forbidden. If this theory is correct then no artifacts from periods later than ~3700 are unlikely to be discovered around ‘G’ on the bedrock of the High Ridge. If use and access to the High Ridge were not permitted, it would add further support the theory and evidence that the influence of Israel and its monotheistic practices were being locked out, buried and its holiest site permanently altered. Lead Archaeologist, Eli
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