10-14-18 – Davidson Ctr, City of David, Israeli Museum

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10/14/18 – We enter the old city of Jerusalem through the Dung gate in the south wall past an Israeli Army guard post. The actual walls date back to Suleyman the Magnificent and his 15th century construction.

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10/14/18 – After gathering everyone inside the gate, we go to the old old city of Jerusalem, which is to say the part of the city that would have been Old Jerusalem back in the first century when modern Old Jerusalem was just Jerusalem. It’s the part of the city that was the original city captured from the Jebusutes by King David, and is outside the Turkish walls that were constructed in the wrong place – but that’s another story altogether.
10/14/18 – In spite of the crowds evident in the most famous parts of the country, these stairs are almost unvisited by most tourists. But we can say with near 100% certainty that Jesus walked up and down these stairs and may have even taught on them. The archways to the southern end of what had been the temple mount have been bricked up by the Muslims when they built the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but we can still see their outlines in the walls to the left where another wall juts out.

10/14/18 – Looking to the south we can see the spur of land running down from Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) wherein the old city of David rested across from the modern Palestinian’s houses on the southern end of the Mount of Olives. Excavations of the old city run up to the aforementioned stairs on the south end of the present Temple Mount.

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10/14/18 – Looking to the south we can see the spur of land running down from Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) wherein the old city of David rested across from the modern Palestinian’s houses on the southern end of the Mount of Olives. Excavations of the old city run up to the aforementioned stairs on the south end of the present Temple Mount.

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10/14/18 – We go around the corner of the newer construction and can see the massive stones from the Herodian period. This is the southwest corner where the trumpet was sounded during the days of the Herodian Temple to announce the sabbath.

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10/14/18 – Going down underneath the buildings of modern Jerusalem, we look at what are likely the ruins of the Royal palace of David and Solomon from the 10th century BC. The carved stone capital are typical of the stonework from that time period.

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10/14/18 – These stones would have lead up to the royal palace above and seemed to have been part of the residence of one of David’s high officials. His status is indicated by the indoor bathroom that was excavated in the house. A model hows how the house would have looked during its glory days.

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10/14/18 – Across the Kidron Valley on the southern part of the Mount of Olives, we can see modern Palestinian houses built almost on top of each other and on top of caves used as ancient Israelite burial crypts.

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10/1418 – Finally we come to one of the funnest parts of the tour – a meandering walk through of the tunnel system built by Hezikiah to direct water from the Gihon Spring into the Pool of Siloam.

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10/14/18 – WE come through Hezekiah’s tunnel and arrive back inside the city walls near the pool of Siloam.

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10/14/18 – At the Israel Museum we get a walk around of the 1:50 scale model of the city of Jerusalem as it would have appeared shortly after Jesus time, just before its destruction in 70 AD.
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10/14/18 – Inside the museum we have (inter alia) a nice collection of sarcophagus and ossuaries (bone boxes) including those from Caiaphus, the high priest during Jesus’s day.
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This is the original stone bearing Pontius Pilate’s name recovered from Caeserea Maritima.

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This is the outside of the Shrine of the Book which contains numerous scrolls and fragments from the caves at Qumran discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin shepherd boy. The scrolls contained excerpts from every book of the Old Testament except Esther and an intact compete scroll of Isaiah from the first or second century BC. The scrolls and fragments are conclusive proof that, contrary to skeptics opinions, the Bible has been faithfully transmitted across more than 10 centuries from the time of the scrolls to the Aleppo and Westminster/Leningrad codices from the 10th century AD. Doron says that Israel considers these writings to be the greatest archeological discovery of the last millennium and more valuable than all the rocks and holy places in Israel. I tend to agree.

When the Shepherd boy found the scrolls he delivered them to someone in Bethlehem who tried to sell them on the black market. In 1948 Israeli agents of the new country told the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, about the scrolls and inquired whether they should buy them, because for the money they could buy three tanks. David Ben Gurion without hesitation said to buy them because they are more valuable than 1000 tanks.

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10/14/18 – Heading back to the hotel at Kibbutz Ramah Rahel (where we had stayed earlier), we stopped at the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. The site is something of an attraction to the American tourists who s\use it for photo ops, but actually a matter of indifference to the locals (despite what you may have heard on CNN). By the way, the Israelis we met said we should tell Americans to ignore CNN because it’s fake news and come to Israel.

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10/14/18 – One final note on the day. After dinner we saw some of the capitals from columns that have been recovered from the grounds of the kibbutz. You may notice how closely they resemble the ones found in the old City of David. In Israel, 3,000 year old carved stones are laying all over the place and as likely to find their way into the hotel lobby as the Israel museum.
Categories: Israel 2018

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