is not located on top of the Gihon Spring
"The reason the temple was not built on top of the Gihon
Spring is the same reason
people do not put a toilet in the middle of the kitchen table where food is
Furthermore, anyone who has personally visited the Gihon Spring knows there
simply is not enough room in the "City of David" for the temple
(Steve Rudd, 2005 AD)
- See also: Solomon's
pools and the Jerusalem aqueduct.
- The fanciful idea that the temple was built over the Gihon
spring is a view popularized by fringe Christian groups that have a
history of teaching rather bizarre doctrine. (Herbert W. Armstrong
splinter group) which although is interesting and graphic, is simply a
mythical view of the city of David that never existed.
- This view has the temple built over top of the city of
David, hundreds of meters outside the southern wall of the temple mount we
see today. They forgot their tape measure because it won't fit! Recent
excavations at the "Parking Lot" prove the temple was not there.
- The temple mount is viewed by them as the fortress of
fortress of Antonia was built at the dome of the rock, but it did not
occupy the entire temple platform we see today.
- Solomon built the temple on the threshing floor David
bought. The reason the temple was not built on top of the Gihon Spring is
the same reason people do not put a toilet in the middle of the kitchen
table where food is eaten. The temple was built on a threshing floor.
Threshing floors are dirty were never built near springs. The particles would
contaminate the water as the chaff from the wheat was blown away from the
- The Gihon is the only spring in Jerusalem until Solomon
built an aqueduct to feed the Temple mount with water.
- Even if the Temple was built over the Gihon spring in the "City
of David", it is still 50 feet lower than where the temple platform
would be. In other words, it is impossible to have flowing water from the
Gihon spring to wash the sacrifices even if the temple was built over the
B. Solomon's Aquaduct is what Aristeas was referring to not the
- When Solomon built the temple, he also built
an aqueduct to feed fresh water to the temple floor.
- Solomon built a complex water aqueduct system from Hebron,
through Bethlehem to Jerusalem in about 950 BC. Evidently this water
system was incorporated as a major design of the Temple itself. Solomon
knew that the Gihon spring in the city of David did not have enough
"head" (water pressure or lift) to supply the Temple above.
Water would be a major need to wash the blood away and keep the area from
putrefying. A large water supply would be needed.
- This was the "spring under the temple" that
Aristeas was referring to:
C. Misinterpreted evidence of a spring under the temple?
of Aristeas, 150 BC and Roman historian Tacitus:
- 150 BC: The Letter Of Aristeas,
"83 I have given you this description of the presents because I
thought it was necessary. The next point in the narrative is an account
of our journey to Eleazar, but I will first of all give you a description
of the whole country. When we arrived in the land of the Jews we saw the
city situated 84 in the middle of the whole of Judea on the top of a
mountain of considerable altitude. On the summit
the temple had been built in all its splendour. It was surrounded by
three walls more than seventy cubits high and in length and breadth
corresponding to the structure of the edifice. All the buildings
85 were characterized by a magnificence and costliness quite
unprecedented. It was obvious that no expense had been spared on the door
and the fastenings, which connected it with the door-posts, and 86 the
stability of the lintel. The style of the curtain too was thoroughly in
proportion to that of the entrance. Its fabric owing to the draught of
wind was in perpetual motion, and as this motion was communicated from
the bottom and the curtain bulged out to its highest extent, it afforded
a pleasant 87 spectacle from which a man could scarcely tear himself
away. The construction of the altar was in keeping with the place itself
and with the burnt offerings which were consumed by fire upon it, and the
approach to it was on a similar scale. There was a gradual slope up to
it, conveniently arranged for the purpose of decency, and the ministering
priests were robed in linen garments, down to their 88 ankles. The Temple faces the east and its back is toward the
west. The whole of the floor is paved with stones and slopes down to the
appointed places, that water may be conveyed to wash away the 89 blood
from the sacrifices, for many thousand beasts are sacrificed there on the
feast days. And there is an inexhaustible supply of water, because an
abundant natural spring gushes up from within the temple area. There are
moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, as they
pointed out to me, at a distance of five furlongs all round the site of
the temple, and each of them has countless pipes 90 so that the different
streams converge together. And all these were fastened with lead
at the bottom and at the sidewalls, and over them a great quantity of
plaster had been spread, and every part of the work had been most
carefully carried out. There are many openings
for water at the base of the altar which are invisible to all except to
those who are engaged in the ministration, so that all the blood of the
sacrifices which is collected in great quantities is washed away in the
twinkling of an 91 eye. Such is my opinion with regard to the character
of the reservoirs and I will now show you how it was confirmed. They led
me more than four furlongs outside the city and bade me peer down towards
a certain spot and listen to the noise that was made by the meeting of
the waters, so that the great size of the reservoirs became manifest to
me, as has already been pointed out." (R.H. Charles-Editor,
Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1913) (Letter
of Aristeas 83-91, Pseudepigrapha of Greek Court-official 278-270 BC.
Actual: Written by Jew in 150 BC)
- The Gihon Spring is the only spring within the city
limits of Jerusalem. We have the eyewitness account of a person from
Egypt named Aristeas who viewed the Temple in about 150 BC. He stated
quite categorically that the Temple was located over an inexhaustible
spring that welled up within the interior part of the Temple. But this
cannot be the Gihon Spring because it is too far below the temple
platform level for natural flow.
- This leads some to wrongly assume that Aristeas was referring
to the Gihon Spring rather than what he was referring to: Solomon's pools
and Aqueduct . (Letter
of Aristeas, translation by Eusebius, chapter 38.)
- About 400 years later the Roman historian Tacitus gave
another reference that the Temple at Jerusalem had within its precincts a
natural spring of water that issued from its interior. (Tacitus, History,
- These two references (Aristeas and Tacitus) are NOT describing
the Gihon Spring (the sole spring of water in Jerusalem).
- It was because of the strategic location of this single
spring that the original Canaanite cities of "Migdol Edar" and
"Jebus" were built over and around that water source before the
time of King David. That sole water source was the only reason for the
existence of a city being built at that spot.
- The Gihon Spring is located even today at the base of
what was called the "Ophel" (a swelling of the earth in the
form of a small mountain dome) once situated just to the north and
abutting to "Mount Zion" (the City of David). The Ophel Mound
was close to the City of David. David soon began to fill in the area
between the two summits with dirt and stones (calling it the Millo or
"fill in") to make a single high level area on which to build
his city and after his death the Temple. II Samuel 5:9.
- David's son Solomon completed the "fill in"
between the two summits and called that earthen and rock bridge the Millo.
I Kings 11:27.
- Solomon then built the Temple on the Ophel Mound directly
above the Gihon Spring. This Ophel region became known as a northern
extension of "Zion." This made the Temple so close to the City
of David (where the citadel or akra was located) that Aristeas said
a person could look northward from the top of the City of David and could
easily witness all priestly activities within the Temple precincts.
(Aristeas lines 100 to 104 as translated by Eusebius, Proof of the Gospel,
chapter 38 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982).
- The Letter of Aristeas: In the time of Antiochus IV a
Greek translation of the Pentateuch was being prepared in Alexandria,
where a large Jewish population had been transferred by Ptolemy
Philadelphus in the previous century. The Jews of Alexandria had gradually
lost their knowledge of the ancient Hebrew language, and many had adopted
the Hellenistic culture to some extent. In the document known as the
Letter of Aristeas, which scholars believe was written by a Hellenistic
Jew in the mid second century BC, an elaborate story is related about how
the translation of the Pentateuch was done, and the reasons for it, and
the circumstances. The Aristeas document pretends to date from more than a
century earlier, and the setting of the story is the court of Ptolemy
Philadelpus in Alexandria. Scholars generally view the work as fiction,
but nevertheless, it is the basis for the name by which the Greek Bible
has become known, the "Septuagint" or "LXX". It is
also regarded as an important source document for the history of the
- The theory that the temple is built over the Gihon spring
is impossible because:
- Even if the Temple was built over the Gihon spring in the
"City of David", it is still 50 feet lower than where the
temple platform would be. In other words, it is impossible to have
flowing water from the Gihon spring to wash the sacrifices even if the
temple was built over the spring.
- The Temple was built on a threshing floor. Solomon built
the temple on the threshing floor David bought. Threshing floors are never
put anywhere near springs for the same reason toilets are not built in
kitchens. The spring was all important and the threshing floor would be
located far from the spring so chaff from threshing would not contaminate
it. Also the temple was very dirty and unsanitary because of all the
blood that had to be washed away from the animal sacrifices. The reason
the temple was not built on top of the Gihon Spring is the same reason
people do not put a toilet in the middle of the kitchen table where food
is eaten. Threshing floors are dirty and dusty and never near a major
- Anyone who has personally visited the Gihon Spring knows
there simply is not enough room in the "City of David" for the
temple platform. The archeology at the temple mount and recent
excavations in the city of David simply will not allow for the temple to
be built over the Gihon spring because there is not enough room.
- Recent excavations at the "Parking Lot" prove
the temple was not there.
- Evidence used to support the idea that the temple of
Solomon was built over the Gihon spring, is actually speaking of the Aqueduct
Solomon built to supply water to the temple.
- See also: Solomon's
pools and the Jerusalem aqueduct.
Steve Rudd: Contact the author for
comments, input or corrections.
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