Temple is not located on top of the Gihon Spring:
Click here for a presentation of this false view by those who advocate it
This view is popularized by fringe Christian groups that have a history of teaching rather bizarre doctrine. (Herbert W. Armstrong splinter group) click here for their presentation 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.
The temple mount is viewed by them as the fortress of Antonia. The 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 husk.
The Gihon is the only spring in Jerusalem until Solomon built an aqueduct to feed the Temple mount with water.
B. Solomon's Aquaduct is what Aristeas was referring to not the Gihon
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?
The Letter Of Aristeas, 83-91 "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)
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 285 B.C.E. He stated quite categorically that the Temple was located over an inexhaustible spring that welled up within the interior part of the Temple. (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, Bk.5, para.12.)
These two references are 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 period.
- The archeology at the temple mount and recent excavations in the city of David simply will not allow for the temple to be build over the Gihon spring.
- 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.
- 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.
By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.
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