In previous posts, we have mentioned how we can step out of our door and into 3000 year old history here in Jerusalem. One of my favorite retreats is the Tombs of the Kings here in the City of David. In a short walk, we are away from the popular tourist sites and enter a little known spot on the side of the hill where one finds the remains of a number of rock hewn tombs.
1 Kings 2:10 “Then David joined his ancestors. He was buried in the City of David.”
There are other, more popular “Christianized” sites that claim to be David’s tomb here in Jerusalem, but this is the only obvious spot here in the little City of David that would seem likely to fit with scripture. Below are more tombs, from the nearby bottom of the Mount of Olives. Rock cut tombs such as the ones at the bottom of the photo were for the rich only. Jesus was buried in such a tomb; not because he was rich, but because a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus in his own family’s tomb.
There are often Palestinian boys playing in and around the area of the tombs; this one stopped to pose with Julee for a photo.
Pigeons and doves frequent this area as well.
Across the valley from the City of David, the Mount of Olives is in full bloom after a wet spring. It is easy to imagine Jesus escaping the noise of the city to bring his disciples here to hang out with them and to teach them.
Luke 13:1 “And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die.”. The pool of Siloam that Jesus is referring to is a stones throw from the tombs of the Kings. And just inbetween are these remains of an ancient tower…
The Jewish historian Josephus, writing some 2000 years ago, describes King Herod breaking into David’s tomb to rob it of some of the riches said to be buried in it along with King David’s remains. Herod’s guards get into the entrance and manage to get a little silver out when, according to Josephus, they are suddenly struck dead. In the fear of God, Herod orders the tomb to be sealed up and left alone. And that is the last time we know of for sure that the exact location of David’s tomb is known. The Romans conquer Jerusalem, the Jews are scattered throughout the known world, and the City of David falls into ruin. For hundreds of years it is just a hillside of rock and scrub and ruins where Bedouin graze their goats and sheep. So I will continue to poke around, and maybe I’ll let you know when I find something. Or maybe not.