Today I came across a YouTube video
) in which some guy goes on
about the real tomb of David (as opposed to the fake one on Mt Zion).
The only trouble was that I didn't recognise it!
His video showed a sort of tunnel, at the end of which was a substantial
"step", which he had to climb with the aid of a makeshift ladder. On top
of the step was a shallow rectangular pit which he claimed was the
actual burial place of King David.
Now I have explored the area of the City of David and am aware of what
is claimed to be the real tomb of David - but I do not recall any
"step", nor a ruined archway leading into the tomb. I studied the aerial
shots in his video, enlarging them as much as possible, and it looked
like what I knew, but where did this step come from?
Eventually I hunted out my slides of this tomb and it was definitely
what he was talking about - I even had a slide of the pit at the end of
the tunnel - but no step! I can only conclude that the area has been
further excavated since I was last there, the floor of the tunnel has
been dug out (thus causing the "step") and the area in front cleared to
reveal the ruined arch.
I can't wait to go back and see for myself!
Kendall K. Down
Note 1: On our first Friday night in Jerusalem I offer my tour groups a
night-time walking tour in the old city. It is interesting to see the
Jews at the Wailing Wall performing their Sabbath prayers and equally
interesting to wander through the Jewish Quarter and hear the singing to
welcome the Sabbath.
Depending on the mobility of those who come with me - and also depending
on whether there is a bright moon - I might take the group down into the
Kidron Valley and point out various things free from the obnoxious
presence of the children from Silwan.
Once we come to the Jebusite Tower discovered by Kathleen Kenyon, I lead
the group straight up the side of the ridge to the real tomb of David. I
do not, however, take them into the tomb. The locals use it as a toilet
and you have to pick your way between little piles of you-know-what,
impossible by moonlight!
So the last time I did this I was puzzled to find that the slope had
become much steeper and much more crumbly, but I persevered, calling
cheery encouragement to those who were following me. Eventually I came
to the top of the slope - and discovered myself looking up the barrel of
an Uzi submachine gun!
It appeared that in the year since my previous visit the Israelis had
established a guard post and lookout overlooking Silwan (always a hot
spot for trouble) and only the fact that I had been so noisy about
climbing up had kept that Uzi from being fired! My shirt and tie seemed
to confuse the guard. Someone who spoke a bit of English was summoned
and I explained that I had a group I was taking to the tomb of David.
The man looked pityingly at me and said, "But David Tomb there!" and
pointed to the fake tomb on Mt Zion.
Subsequently I take the group right down to the end of the Ophel Ridge,
up the road and enter the guard post via a gateway. Saves embarrassment.
Kendall K. Down