The Western Walls (at night)
After walking on the walls, we ended up in the Old City at the Western Wall – or Wailing Wall. Here is a brief (and hopefully factual) history of Jerusalem and the significance of the Western Wall.
Basically, King David conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites 700 years after Abraham prepared to sacrifice his only son (Isaac) there and made it the capital of his kingdom. David’s son Solomon built the 1st Temple on the legendary site of the sacrificial altar.David chose Jerusalem to build his city because it was the only neutral spot not belonging to any of the 12 tribes in Israel, the land was unoccupied and David wanted to unite the country spiritually and also defensively. The city was strategically placed to advert war and stay a float during times of war. David purchased property behind his palace on top of Mt. Moriah. He placed the Arc of the Covenant here and it is where the Temples were built.The city was attacked and destroyed numerous times by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Greeks. In 586 BC the Babylonians destroyed the temple and it was rebuilt by the Jews (Nehemiah). This is where the OT ends in regards to the building of the temple.Next, is the Greek empire with Alexander the Great. During this time the Greeks brought ‘gods’ into the temple and tried to make the Jews worship their way.In the 2nd century BCE the Hasmoneans retook Israel and the temple was rebuilt by King Herod. Herod, who was not Jewish, rebuilt the temple out of pride and his desire to try andplease the Jews. He built it trying to find favor with the Jews, out of his own pride and for economic purposes. Herod was well known for the buildings he built. The temple was the largest in all of Europe. The temple generated large amounts of revenue from the temple tax.The Jews come to the temple three times a year for the feasts. (Feast of Tabernacles, Passover, and Pentecost) Each time they enter the temple they are required to pay a temple tax. With people so often coming to the temple the tax generated large amounts of revenue for the collectors (Herod/Romans) of it.In front of the temple, the people bathed for purification in the bathhouses. Side entrances existed for the priests who would come from near Herod’s palace and the wealthier area of Jerusalem. They did not enter with the commoners. Only Jews were allowed in the inner courts of the temple. Inside the temple, the veil was two stories high. Therefore, upon Jesus’ death when the veil tore, everyone in the city heard the veil fall. Jesus prophesied the all the stones in the temple would be turned over after his death. Around 70 ad, when the Romans destroyed the temple this occurred. Because of the incense and oil stored in large quantities in the temple, when it caught on fire, an explosion occurred. Due to the large quantities of gold, the gold melted over the stones. To recover the gold, it was necessary to turn over all the stones to recover the gold that had melted on the stones. When it was destroyed by the Romans, all that was left of the temple was the Western Wall a.k.a the Wailing Wall. It is not the wall itself that is holy, but it is the only and closest representative of the temple that the Jews still have. Since then it (Jerusalem) has been captured and rebuilt by the Byzantines, Persians, Muslims, Crusaders, Turks, and British, until 1948 when it became the capital of the new State of Israel.
Notice the top of the Dome of the Rock on the top left corner. The top of the wall is the platform that Temple Mount is on…a few months ago when there was a riot and Palestinians were throwing rocks, this is where it was from atop the Western Wall aiming down at the Jewish people praying below.
Us in front of the Western Wall
Israeli Flag and Western Wall
A Bar Mitzvah celebration at the Western Wall
People write their prayers to God and stick them in the wall…you’ll never know what mine said!!
Ladies praying on their side of the wall.