Exodus 27 continues on from earlier chapters to discuss matters related to the construction of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle would expand beyond its central shrine with a large courtyard. “Make a courtyard for the tabernacle. The south side shall be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains of finely twisted linen, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. The north side shall also be a hundred cubits long and is to have curtains, with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. The west end of the courtyard shall be fifty cubits wide and have curtains, with ten posts and ten bases. On the east end, toward the sunrise, the courtyard shall also be fifty cubits wide.”
In 1 Kings 6 and 1 Kings 7, King Solomon built his temple and palace. His temple was “sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple.” His palace was “a hundred cubits long, fifty wide and thirty high.”
To accommodate these structures, King Solomon would have had to expand the area of Jerusalem. The original town of Jerusalem began in the area known today as the City of David, the hill below the southern wall of the Old City. To grow, the city pushed north beyond the boundaries of today’s Old City, moving further up the hill.
In 2 Chronicles 27, the later King of Judah, Jotham, “rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord and did extensive work on the wall at the hill of Ophel.”
The Ophel is the hill between the City of David and the southern wall of Herod’s Temple Mount. The image above is of the City of David and the southern Temple Mount, facing west. The City of David and the Temple Mount in the photo are separated by the road Derech Ha’ophel /Al Akma. The hill above the City of David, to the right of this road in the photo, and just below the Temple Mount is the area identified as the Ophel.