Exploring the City of David

The City of David – Israel

Today, our journey in Israel leads us to the City of David, named after the Jewish King and once shepherd boy named King David.  

Is Jerusalem Called The City Of David?

The City of David or עיר דוד‎ in Hebrew is another name for Jerusalem in the Bible. The location is near the Kidron Valley to the east where the Gihon Spring is located. In the 10th Century BC a large structure was built on top of earlier construction for King David which was the fortress of Zion.

The City Of David During King Hezekia’s Reign

During the Israeli King Hezekia’s reign in 8 BC, the walls to the city were expanded to protect the city from its enemies.  He had the spring hidden within the walls of the city so if they would fall under attack that the people would still have access to freshwater from the Gihon Spring.  This was the city’s main weakness because before this the people had to leave the city to get water. 

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The City Of David | Photo of a sculpture of David's harp in the City of David Jerusalem

Was The Temple Located In The City Of David?

Yes, God’s temple was located in Jerusalem in the City of David

Where Is The City Of David Now?

It is located in the southeast of the old city near the western wall of the temple.

The City Of David Archaeology

Many people from all over the world come to the City of David to participate in archaeological digs in this ancient city uncovering amazing bits of history.  In 2008 clay impressions were found that had the names of two men listed in the Bible record in Jeremiah 38:1.  These two men served in the court of King Zedekiah who was the last king before Israel was conquered and the first temple (the one built by King David’s son Solomon) was destroyed.  The first seal that was found was found in an area with massive foundations that is believed to be the palace of King David himself. The other was found outside this foundation but both proving the veracity of the bible.

 

The City Of David Beneath The Surface

A trip deep under the earth unveils the ancient streets of Jerusalem that will boggle your mind.  

 

Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Psalms 85:11 KJV

How many critics have there been of the Bible?  How many scholars claim the Bible is fiction and not the inspired word of God?  There are 66 books in the Bible, written by 40 authors over 1500 years. Each time a new discovery is made it proves the Bible is correct and the critic is wrong.  Time after time.

This entire trip to Israel is a testament that “truth does indeed spring from the earth”.

 
 

Prior to the last 150 years, archeologists thought that the digs in Jerusalem should be confined within the old city walls of Jerusalem as that is where they believed “history” would be revealed. In 1867 Queen Victoria of England wanted to find the treasures of the bible, The ark of the covenant and so she sent Captain Charles Warren to Israel. He came to Jerusalem in the Temple Mount to dig. The Turks refused to allow him to dig there and a dig has not been done since then. He went to another area and found water tunnels under the earth that was from over two thousand seven hundred years old during the reign of King Hezekiah. This was all outside the walls of the old city. This area is the most studied site in all of Israel.

 

 
Arched wall to the City of David Israel
Arched wall into the City of David

Today

 
 

We left slightly later than normal since our destinations were very close to the hotel.

Our first stop was the City of David.  

Golden lettering of The City of David Israel

Debbie at the City of David in Israel
Me at the entrance to the City of David.
 
We exited the bus and after walking a short distance entered the gates (visitors center gates).  
 
 
 There was a courtyard and then we climbed quite a few steps leading to a building rooftop.  All 150 of us were able to fit on the roof and huddled together in order to listen to our guide Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel brief us.
 

— RosevineCottageGirls (@RoseCottageGirl) May 29, 2017

 

Model of the City of David
Model of the Ancient City one of these buildings we are standing on.
He told us that the place where we were currently standing was on top of the palace of King David.  This discovery was made starting in the 1990s and besides this structure itself, they have found clay seals used to secure letters or a package that I was describing above. They also found a gigantic retaining wall to King David’s palace! So the building our feet stood on was one of the buildings shown in the model of the old city of Jerusalem above.

 The roof of King David’s palace is on a hill facing south.  To the left is the Mount of Olives and the Kidron Valley (more about this on another day).

Mount of Olives

The Hills and Valleys of the City of David

To our right is another valley and a hill formerly called the Western Hill.

 

 

In front of us and a little to the left was another hill called the Hill of Scandal.  This is the place where King David’s son, King Solomon built the homes for his pagan wives. In fact, they discovered the tomb of his first wife, the Queen of Egypt in that very area. Click 1 Kings 3:1-2 and 2 Chronicles 8:11 to learn more about this and why it was done.
Mount of Scandal

Straight ahead of us still another called the “Hill of Evil Council”. This is where the high priest Caiaphas lived and where the apostle Judas went to arrange the betrayal of Jesus. The hill currently is the place of the United Nations.


Behind us is Mount Moriah where the Temple was located and now where the Dome of the Rock and Old Walled City of Jerusalem lie and somewhere to the North that we could not see is Mt Scopus where the Roman General Titus commanded the siege 2000 years ago that destroyed Israel.

Below the Mountains obviously were valleys.

Mount Moriah
 
One was the Hinnom Valley or Ghenna that is a deep, narrow ravine that separates Mount Zion to the North from the ‘hill of evil counsel’. The Valley of Hinnom was the place where some of the kings of Israel who were influenced by the Canaanites and began idol worship carrying their children into the valley to be sacrificed to the idols Baal and Moloch. (We have an amazing book series that we just love on this time period that you should not miss. Click here for more information.
 

The City of David – Interesting facts:

King David took over the city by force during a war with the Jebusites.  However, he PURCHASED the top of Mount Moriah from the King of the Jebusites so that he would have a place to put the Mercy Seat and the Ark of the Covenant.  Later, that is where Solomon would build the temple of the Lord. This is supposed to be the most contested piece of real estate in the world.  However, since it was purchased, it should be the least contested place.  This is why and how when Jesus returns, he will sit on the throne of David in the temple!
 


At the top of the Western Hill to the right, you can see another Catholic Church the Church of the Dormition.  It is built on the site where Mary the mother of Jesus is supposed to have “fallen asleep”.
Also on this hill (not seen in the photo) is the “Upper Room” where Jesus and His disciples had the “Last Supper”.

 

 

Sadly, the Hill of the Evil Council is where the Pharisees and religious leaders plotted Jesus’ death.  Today when you look to the top of this very hill, you can see flags and a building.  I don’t believe this is a coincidence that this is now the headquarters of the United Nations.

 

 

Mount Moriah toward the Temple

 

The City Of David – King David’s Roof

Behind us, Mount Moriah where the Old City is now, the former Temple, etc. This is not the original Old City.  The original Old City they believe is the valley in front of us and continuing to the right towards the base of the Western Hill.  The right side doesn’t really look like a valley anymore because it was outside the “Dung Gate” of the walled-in part of the city.  Needless to say, like all landfills, what once was a valley leveled out over thousands of years.
There were lots of oohs and ahs when we were told that we were actually standing on the rooftop of King David’s palace!  As Amir said, “You all know what happened on that rooftop!”

It’s easy to see from the vantage point of that roof how King David could look down and see the rooftops of the house below.

View from King David's palace roof to the rooves below. City of David Israel
Looking from King David’s palace roof to the rooves below.
 
 


Back then there were no sophisticated bathrooms with running water.  People would catch the rainwater on the roof and actually bathe on the roof.  It was easy to imagine King David standing on his roof and being able to see the beautiful Bathsheba bathing.

City of David 2 samuel 11:1
It was a time when Kings should have been at war the bible says. He should have been out with his men, not up on that roof. That was a bad decision. It led to another bad decision and worse sin.
God loved David and said

“He is a man after my heart, …

 ” David loved God and was an honorable king. Many of the Psalms were written by David praising God…. And yet like all of us, he sinned.

 

City of David - David sins with Bathsheba

 

 

 

David’s Cover Up

If this wasn’t bad enough, it got worse when he tried to cover up the sin.


Bathsheba was a married woman and her husband was fighting with David’s men and that’s where David should have been too.  He sent for Uriah, her husband so that he would spend time with the family and sleep with his wife to cover the sin.  Uriah may have visited with the family, but he refused to sleep at home.  Instead, he slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of the Lord.  He was honorable and wouldn’t sleep at home when his fellow soldiers were sleeping in the field.

Now David continued down the slippery slope of sin, getting deeper and deeper.   He sent Uriah back to the battle, but instructed Joab, the leader of the forces to step back when Uriah was at the front and allow him to be killed.

 The bible says:

City of David Set ye Uriah in the forefront scripture

 

 

The Wages Of Sin

After Bathsheba mourned the death of her husband, David took her as his wife and thought the sin was covered up and all was settled.  No one knew the better.  Don’t we all think that sometimes?  But God always knows when we sin and in our soul, we do too. That is the conscience that God has given us, our moral compass.
Then the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David. And he came to him and said “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.  The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little wee lamb which he bought and nourished, and it grew up together with him and his children….a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refused to prepare a meal from his own flock, but instead took the only little lamb of the poor man.” 2 Samuel 12 with some paraphrasing.  David was furious and said the rich man would surely die because he had no pity.  2 Sam 12 7:  Then Nathan said to David “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel”.
The thing that makes David different from King Saul (who came before him) and so many of the rulers who committed sins in the Bible is that David was genuinely remorseful and repented to God.

Psalm 51 shows David’s heart as he cried out to the Lord for forgiveness.  

City of David - Have mercy on me o God
 

There were and are consequences to his and our sin… David and Bathsheba’s baby died and I think his commander probably lost respect for him.

Hope Found In David’s Story And Ours

Thank the Lord that God is not looking for perfect people!
Before Jesus died for our sins, the Holy Spirit would come upon some people and leave, come upon and leave.  The Holy Spirit had been on David since he had become king and he didn’t want to lose that close relationship he had with the Lord.
David truly was sorry.  He truly in his heart wanted forgiveness and God gave him forgiveness.

We are all sinners,

City of David For all have sinned


Romans 3:23”

But, God is loving and gracious.  Slow to anger and quick to forgive if we are sincere!  

Ask Jesus into your heart and ask for His forgiveness, He will give you a clean heart and the Holy Spirit will come upon and into your heart!  What a priceless gift! I know!
Many things happened on that rooftop and many lessons learned- for King David and all of us.
Praise God!

 

Before You Go, Check Out My Other Articles:

Visiting The Holy Land – To see the rest of this journey here

 

 

Debbie lives in Southern California with her husband Doug and her children and grandchildren.

Author photograph

 


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