These are a few parting shots from the buildings that look out on the Western Wall plaza. We are now on our way to the City of David. If you watched 60 Minutes on June 5 you saw a segment (a very biased segment) on the archaeological dig taking place at the City of David.
And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 2 Samuel 5:9
The modern-day location of the City of David is outside the city walls, south of the Dung Gate and the Temple Mount. Originally, Jerusalem was built around the Gihon Spring which supplied Jerusalem with its water. It was expanded during the reign of Solomon. The City of David is surrounded on the east by the Kidron Valley and on the west by the Tyroppean/Central Valley.
The establishment of Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel was a great geo-political move. By making the Jebusite stronghold his capital David, showed no favoritism to any one tribe.
This is a model of what the ancient City of David might have looked like. It was created by NOVA filmmakers.
Much of where we walked was covered with iron grill because we were walking on top of excavations.
This photo was taken looking down on “Area G,” what archaeologists have identified as the Royal Quarter.
The City of David is adjacent to Silwan, a mostly Arab neighborhood located across the Kidron Valley. In the last few years more Jews have moved into the area, making it one of the most contended and controversial areas in Jerusalem.
Since this is an ongoing project, archaeologists continue to dig tunnels and excavate underneath the neighborhood and a small number of families are going to have to be relocated. The city fathers feel like the historical significance of the site warrants having to relocate some families in the area.
This structure is one of the largest Iron Age structures in Israel. It has been revealed to a height of 60 feet, and it is dated to the end of the Jebusite city (12th century B.C.). Archaeologists believe that this structure supported David’s palace. You can see that David would have had quite a view looking down onto the rooftops and homes of the city. It certainly would have been easy for him to spy Bathsheba.
More pictures of Silwan…
In this picture you can see the sloped retaining wall, or millo, in which homes were built. The structure in the corner with the wooden supports is Ahiel’s house. The square stone with the hole in the center that you see to the right of the center of the picture is the ancient toilet. In the area next to Ahiel’s house Bullae (wax seals) dating back to the times of Jeremiah (as determined by names on the bullae) were found.
In the wall above Ahiel’s house there are remnants of the wall of Nehemiah built when the Jews returned from Babylon.
Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.”I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the King’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, “Let us arise and build.” So they put their hands to the good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, “What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” So I answered them and said to the, “The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2: 17-20
Some members of our group chose to come back to the City of David during their free time to go through Hezekiah’s tunnel.
When the city was defending itself from the approaching Assyrian army in the 8th Century B.C., King Hezekiah decided to protect the water by diverting its flow deep into the city with an impressive tunnel system. It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did. 2 Chronicles 32:30
This model shows the water system of the day. Residents of the area would walk down through the tunnel, identified in gold, to Warren’s Shaft (named for the archaeologist who discovered it) where they would lower containers into the Gihon Spring.
This engineering feat was accomplished by digging a 1,750-foot (533 meter) tunnel into the mountain. An ancient stone carving found near the entrance describes this incredible operation.
This is a picture of Warren’s Shaft.
This is a picture copied from the City of David site, since we didn’t go down into the tunnel. We’ll just have to do this the next time we are there!