Legends, Historical Stories, and Notes from Various Sources
Collected by Lambert Dolphin and Norma Robertson
The Foundation Stone
The earliest legend concerning the Foundation Stone states that the Creator stood on the original foundation stone located at what is now the city of Jerusalem. The Lord created a garden to the east, in the land of Eden. Eden must therefore have been East of Jerusalem. God created Adam and Eve in Jerusalem. (Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginsberg) (LD)
The 'Holy Land' is a plot of land consecrated to Yahweh the one true God and the permanent residents must also be holy. (From the Old Testament)
Eretz Yisrael prospers in abundance when the Jewish people occupy the land, and the land languishes when the land is occupied by foreigners. The Messiah of Israel will one day rule Israel and all the nations from Jerusalem. (From the Old Testament)
The foundation stone in mythology is the Axis Mundus, the World Navel. (See Wikipedia)
Jerusalem is mentioned 643 times in the Bible. (NASB
The Temple Mount is specific plot of land in Jerusalem. Mount Moriah. Genesis 22, (the Akedah). Jesus suffered 'outside the camp,' thought to be the summit of Mt. Moriah. (Hebrews 13:12)
The Temple Foundation
The foundation underneath the First Temple (built by Solomon) was 60 cubits by 20 cubits. (2 Chronicles 3:3). The cubit at the time was likely 1.5 feet.
The Threshing Floor of Araunah, (Ornan)
'At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he offered sacrifice there.' (1 Chronicles 21)
'Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.' (2 Chronicles 3)
'NOW this temple, as I have already said, was built upon a strong hill. At first the plain at the top was hardly sufficient for the holy house and the altar, for the ground about it was very uneven, and like a precipice...' (War of the Jews 5,1)
To get to the Men's Court on the Threshing floor from the Women's Court were 14 steps with a rise of 10 feet according to the Mishnah. To reach the Threshing floor from the south court (lower court), according to Josephus, required climbing 14 steps with a 22 foot rise to reach the inner wall and upper gate, and then another set of steps inside the gate with a rise of another 10 feet to reach the Men's court. The threshing floor and Temple sat upon a higher part of the hill. Josephus also wrote that Fort Antonia was situated on the highest part of the eastern ridge. The Dome of the Rock is the highest point on the eastern ridge and it large platform is flat. (NR)
"...for the temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple and in that tower were the guards of those three.' (The Wars of the Jews, Book 5 chapters 5,8
'..that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three.'
The ancient steps outside the south wall of the Temple Mount have a 22 foot rise, having 14 large steps with small steps in between. The massive stairs lead up to the platform. ["The large monumental stairway just to the south of the Double Gate was excavated.] This stairway of 30 steps is 215 feet wide, paved with smoothly trimmed stones, and its FOUNDATION STEPS ARE CUT INTO THE BEDROCK. From a wide plaza below on the south, the STAIRWAY ROSE 22 FEET [sic 22-1/2 feet] to the UPPER STREET [the rampart/platform] in front of the Double Gate" [W. Harold Mare, The Archeology of the Jerusalem Area, p. 154; see also Benjamin Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord].
The topographical map elevations of this area from the Warren Survey of 1867-1870, (http://www.templemount.org/glewis/xsections.html) do not reflect the bedrock cut steps of the Ophel as being the highest elevation of Ophel hill. (NR)
The Psalms of Ascent, 120-134, were recited on the 14 steps going up to the Men's court (Israeli Court) to offer a sacrifice. Pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem often recite these Psalms. Jerusalem is only 2500 feet above sea level, but all roads go 'up' to Jerusalem, The Hallel Psalms are 113-118, 136, 146-150 in the English Bible. (LD)
Jesus turned the tables of the money changers on the steps. Once at the begging of his ministry (John 2:12-25) —and once during his last week (Matthew 21:12,13, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45). (Commentary by Ray Stedman, https://www.raystedman.org/new-testament/john/the-temple-cleanser)
So Herod took away the old foundations, and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits, and in height twenty additional cubits...
Herod had the (Second) Temple additions built 20 cubits more toward the north and 20 cubits more towards the west to accommodate a wider porch of the Temple. (NR)
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With the Dome of the Rock Hypothesis
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Last update June 3, 2018