I feel compelled to post this one now that David’s tower is the strong leader of our new poll.
One of the things I found quite humorous during my sojourns in Israel are the ever-so-convenient holy places that dot the landscape. Even more humorous are the lines of uni-color hat wearing bands of tourists that meander from “holy” spot to “holy” spot taking pictures like their camera batteries are going to die at any moment.
I’ll let all of you savvy readers in on a little J-town secret. If it has someone’s name attached to it odds are it really has nothing to do with the Biblical personality, and everything to do with baksheesh.
Here’s a short list of things, off the top of my head
1.) David’s tomb
2.) David’s tower
3.) Stephen’s Gate & Herod’s Gate
4.) Solomon’s Stables
5.) Absalom’s Pillar
And I’m not even going to get into the dozens of places that bear Mary (the mother of Jesus) or Mary’s (Magdalene) name. These poor women must have lived until they were well into their hundreds to do all of the things and go all of the places that are commemorating their lives.
So for fun here’s a freebee:
David’s tomb – is actually originally a Byzantine period structure built at least 1300 years after the death of David (who was almost certainly buried on a completely different hill.) This structure was originally built as a church to early Christians who wanted to remember/revere David and James (the brother of Jesus) who were the two characters of the Biblical story that initiated theological historical movements in Jerusalem. As time went on the crusaders rebuilt most of the church. Muslims came to believe that “David’s tomb” held vast treasures. Why not it’s a king’s tomb right? So when Jerusalem fell to the Muslims at the end of the crusader period they were sorely disappointed. Then the tomb/church was converted into a mosque complete with added prayer niche pointing to Mecca. In 1948 Israel took control of the area that the tomb is located in and it became government owned – sort of like a national park so now you can come and go at any time of day.
Thus, you can see sometimes the truth is fascinating enough without the tour-guides’ spin on a convenient location.
So if David’s tower ends up the winner I will give you the real low down on it. 🙂