I think more confusion reigns in the minds of most people concerning
"David's" Tower, than any other land mark in Israel! The entire area - the north
west corner of the Old City, was completely unknown to King David; it didn't
even "exist" in his day, nor for long after. When the old City of David began,
under his son Solomon and the later kings, to expand, first northwards over
today's Temple Mount - Har'm es-Sharif to Islam - and then spreading westwards
over the Tyropean Valley and up the Western Hill to where is today's Jaffa Gate,
that area became indeed vulnerable: the Old City in David's day - and before -
was beautifully protected on three sides by the Valley of Hinnom west and south,
and the Kidron Valley together with Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives to the
east, while the north was protected by various royal establishments and probably
a garrison of some sort (perhaps to be deduced from the reference at the end of
this verse in Nehemiah): After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the
ruler of the half part of Beth Zur, unto the place over against the sepulchres
of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty.
The northern wall of Jerusalem, until probably Hasmonean
times or a bit later +/-165-60 BCE, ran (approximately), from today's Jaffa
Gate, eastwards down the hill, (along the line of today's Chain Street), to
fetch up against the Temple Mount about thirty yards or so north of the edge of
the exposed Western (Wailing) Wall. The entire "shoulder" of the north western
corner of the city was now co-joined with the rest of the high ground and
constituted a definite strategic threat to the safety of the city. Excavations
in today's Citadel have uncovered foundations suggesting fortifications in the
area as far back as the eigth century BCE., and it is certain that by the time
the Hasmoneans established themselves, the area was well fortified, although
they, too, added to the defences there.
It is, however, to Herod the Great
(ca 40BCE - ca 4 CE.), that we owe - to a large extent, the building and the
remains that we see today, although the Crusaders and Ottomans went on to make
their own additions.
David Roberts' view is taken from about half way down
the road leading to the crossover to the other side of the Valley of Hinnom.
Behind our right shoulder is Mount Zion and to our left, the Sultan's Pools; the
roadway in view is today's real road.
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