Lecture 5 – (3.2) Davidic Jerusalem

Now, having a background in who David was thought to be, some evidence of his possible historical existence (Tel Dan Inscription), an idea of where the City of David is located in our topographic analysis of Jerusalem, as well as some archaeological findings (Millo, House of Aheil,  House of Bullae, etc.), we can move on with some other aspects of Jerusalem and its culture as that have been revealed as being present in the time of David. Our discussion centered around an introduction to the waterworks of Jerusalem (including Warren’s Shaft, Gihon Spring, Siloam Channel and Pool, Hezekiah’s Tunnel), which the architecture of will be explained further during our discussion of Hezekiah’s Jerusalem, as he was the ruler who was said to have expanded the waterworks. However, the reason this is still important to the time of David (or any time period, for that matter) is because knowledge of the waterworks plays a vital role in the interpretation of a few key passages in the Bible in relation to Jerusalem. A few key examples (which will be elucidated further below), are (1) the mention of Warren’s Shaft as a means of entry to Jerusalem when Joab and David invaded the city, (2) the importance of understanding the location of Gihon in interpretation of various passages involving the “Annointing of kings”, and (3) the mythical healing powers of the waters of Siloam’s pool. We ended with a discussion of the Ark of the Covenant, a golden structure with two cherubs guarding it and through to be one physical “house” of God (interpretted by many to be a “false idol”, which is clearly not allowed by Hebrew Tradition) on Earth. The Ark was carried around as a “portable” axis mundi of sorts, housed in tabernacles as th Israeli people moved about and fought battles, etc. As we shall see in the next lecture, it was David’s want for a permanent place to house the Ark that supposedly lead to his son Solomon constructing such a temple later on.

(1) Warren’s Shaft is part of the architecture allowing passage of water from the spring to the city, and was originally thought to have been man-made, although new evidence suggests there was at least some sort of naturally occurring cave before it was expanded. Another significance of the shaft is that it is thought by some to be the shaft used by David and his “taking of the stronghold of Zion”. Examination of 2 Samuel 5:6-9 and 2 Chronicles 11:4-8 shows that Joab, son of Zeruiah, went up the shaft first to fight the Jebusites, an act that gave him the role of David’s commander.

(2) Understanding the Gihon Spring’s location is vital to seeing its relevance in certain biblical passages outlining an ancient Jerusalem methodology for “annointing kings.”  In 1 Kings 1:32-40, this “Ancient Israelite coronation ceremony” of sorts is presented in which Solomon rides on a mule down to the Gihon Spring, where he is anointed by the prophet Nathan to be king. This image of a king riding to “Zion” (Jerusalem) on a donkey is brought up again in other passages, such as Zechariah 9:9-10 and most importantly in Matthew 21:1-9, where Jesus enters the City. Dr. Cargill explained how many believe this passage to be Jesus just making a humble ride into the city, when this is in fact his claim to the throne of Israel. This is not just his “Triumphal Entry”, this is Jesus becoming the King. From our knowledge of the Mt. of Olives being off to the East of Jerusalem, we know he must pass through the area of the Gihon to enter the city from this direction. Basically, this passage depicting Jesus riding into Zion on a donkey is not meant to display his humbleness, but rather his explicit claim to the royalty, his rise to king of Israel.

This idea adds further sacredness atop the image of a spring that has already been characterized as present in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2/3) and various other biblical stories. In addition, all of these sacred visions are atop an already clear image of this “erupting spring” (Giha = erupting) as one of the main reasons Jerusalem was ever even able to flourish in the first place.

(3) The pool of Siloam is also shown in one passage as part of the cure to a man’s blindness. This passage involves Jesus initially making the mud and conveying this healing message as one to prove an idea that we are often born with problems in order that “God’s works might be revealed to [us].” Mentions of this pool, other water structures, as well as other structural entities such as the Millo, also add an element of “reality” to thee biblical passages.

Lastly, I found the concept of the Ark very interesting. It’s interesting to consider whether the Ark should truly be thought of as a false idol or as a simple way of manifesting faith in something physical (without truly tarnishing God’s Image). There still is question as to whether it ever truly existed. However, Dr. Cargill made a good point, in that by all other rules of the Hebrew Bible, this Ark would not be allowed, so its mention in itself grants it some credibility. The Ark was important in many conquests, yet it seemed to dissapear once temple built, and then appears again after…which restores the mythical nature of it…It was literally conceived to be a “house” of God, where God came down to rest, protected by Cherubims (not babies with wings!). I also found the one story of a man trying to save the Ark from toppling somewhat disturbing. I didn’t really get the message behind it. He tried to save the Ark from falling, and was instantly slain for it? Was it because he doubted God’s ability to survive such a fall? In short, I found the Ark interesting as a concept of a “portable axis mundi”, kind of like the ancient tribes described in the Eliade who carried around a “pole” with a similar function. This all relates back to the concept of sacred space and not wanting to live outside the reality that comes with this holy piece of profane reality. “Keeping God with you” in a way was the goal with the portable Ark.

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~ by Andru on January 22, 2011.

One Response to “Lecture 5 – (3.2) Davidic Jerusalem”

  1. […] 3 Lecture 5: David and Solomon’s Jerusalem and Rise of Jerusalem Mythology: Hezekiah&#821Lecture 5 – (3.2) Davidic Jerusalem « livequality […]

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