Off the Beaten Track: The royal tombs of Jerusalem

02.09.2011                      03.Elul, 5771

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Off the Beaten Track: The royal tombs of Jerusalem

I once overheard a rabbi explain that because Jews prayed on Mt. Zion for centuries, the bones of King David crawled on their own to rest there.

There is no other place in the world like Jerusalem. A tourist I was guiding once told me that while he was touring Israel, his brother was touring Italy. When they got together after their respective trips his brother was astounded by the two thousand years of history. “Two thousand years is that all?” questioned my tourist, “In Jerusalem that’s not even the halfway point!” I couldn’t have said it better myself. On this walk we are going to check out a few ancient royal tombs.
One of the most famous tombs is that of King David on Mt. Zion. Start just outside of Zion Gate of the Old City and make your way passed the lot to your left down the alley, keep left at the fork, and into the signed structure to your right. The Bible clearly states, “And David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David” (I Kings 2:10) which is not here. The oldest ruins found here beneath the current floor only go back to the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd Century CE. The building is quite interesting as it has over the last 2,000 years gone through various periods of building and destruction.  It was at one time or another, a church, a mosque and a synagogue. I once overheard a Hassidic rabbi here,  after being told that the City of David was to the south, explain that because the Jewish people have been praying here for hundreds of years, the bones of King David crawled through the earth on their own to rest here….