Spring Water to Go and Grow

Credit: BiblePlaces.com, Jerusalem, City of David

Water is a central theme in Numbers 19-20. In Numbers 19, God instructs Moses on the process on purifying someone who has come in contact with a dead body. This process includes purification in water mixed with the ashes of a red heifer. In Numbers 20, the Israelites complained to Moses about a lack of water. “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” Moses’ act of hitting the rock to produce water instead of talking to the rock led God to punish Moses by denying him entry into the land of Canaan.

Water too was a major consideration in the establishment of Jerusalem. The City of David is the likely site of the original city of Jerusalem. Typically, a city might be built on the highest point of a hill, to take advantage of the natural defenses that a higher elevation provides. However, in Jerusalem, the original city was founded on the slope below the area of the Temple Mount. The reason was water.

A karst aquifer is an aquifer created in the space of hollowed out limestone rock. These hollowed out spaces carry water from the groundwater or other forms of precipitation. The City of David sits on a hill made of hard limestone. Water is carried from areas that feed into the limestone, through fissures in the rock. At the City of David, the waters of the Gihon Spring emerged on the eastern slope of the City of David, above the Kidron Valley.

The waters of the Gihon Spring were not constant. The flow of water at the City of David depended on the accumulation of water in the groundwater that fed into the cracks in the rock and then flowed to the surface. This feature would lead to the residents eventually devising methods to collect the waters in wetter periods for use during dry periods.

But the presence of water, so crucial for sustaining life, allowed for Jerusalem to be settled at its earliest stages.

The image above is of a pool of water that earlier would have fed into the Gihon Spring, before tunnels were built to divert the water.

The Ancient Local Hub Jerusalem

Credit: BiblePlaces.com, Judah and the Dead Sea, Hebron

Numbers 18 highlights the centrality and importance of the Tabernacle shrine. It was a place where all the tribes would bring their offerings, yet was restricted to Aaron and his sons, assisted by members of the Levite tribe.

In the Bible, King David captured Jerusalem, and made it into his royal center. His son Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem as a national center of worship. While King David had earlier been based in Hebron and only transitioned to Jerusalem later, in the archaeological record Jerusalem appears to have been an earlier regional center.

The Middle Bronze Age II (MB II) period in the southern Levant falls into the 18th and 17th centuries BCE. This period is noted for an increase in the number of fortified cities and city-states. These city-states would typically have man made defenses around the city, but also be surrounded by smaller, unfortified villages. This layout is evident in Middle Bronze Age II cities such as Hazor in the Upper Galilee, Beth-She’an at the junction of the Jordan River and Jezreel Valleys, at Shechem in Samaria and at Hebron in the southern hill country. Jerusalem too appears to be at the center of this setup.

Jerusalem appears to have been a city by the MB II. The City of David, to the south of today’s Old City of Jerusalem, was the likely site of the ancient city. The city had the natural defenses of the Kidron Valley to the east and the Tyropoeon Valley along its western edge. Walls were an important part of cities’ defenses in this period, and the city also appears to have a fortified wall during the MB II period.

Excavations within the vicinity of modern day Jerusalem have revealed a number of smaller sites that date to the MB II period. One such site was found to the southwest of the City of David in Malha, the area today between the Malha mall and Teddy Stadium. Another MB II village was found at Pisgat Ze’ev, to the north of the City of David. South of Jerusalem, on a mound adjacent to the Palestinian village of Battir, archaeologists found a small site with Middle Bronze II fortifications. These details all point to Jerusalem having been a fortified city, with surrounding villages under its control, similar to other MB II cities.

The image above is of the Middle Bronze II wall at Hebron, part of that city’s fortification system.

A Bronze Age Stone Wall

Credit: BiblePlaces.com, Jerusalem, City of David

In Numbers 13 God tells Moses to send men to scout the land to which Israel was destined to enter. The selected men “went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.” Upon their return they reported that “the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

In 2 Samuel 5, King David captured a Jebusite city. “The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, which is the City of David.

Human history is divided into periods defined by the level of technology that humans had reached. The Stone Age is followed by the Copper Age, which is followed by the Bronze Age. The Middle Bronze Age in the southern Levant is roughly between the years of 2100-1600 BCE. Subdivided further, the Middle Bronze Age II period falls in the 18th century BCE.

The Middle Bronze II period coincided with the demise of centralized authority in Egypt. Egypt’s Middle Kingdom declined, initiating the more localized rule of the Second Intermediate Period. It also marks the early period of the establishment of the Hittites in Anatolia, before it later developed into the Hittite Empire. With the relative weakness of the kingdoms in Anatolia and Egypt, cities in the region of Canaan, were able to develop.

One city in Canaan that may have developed and become fortified at this time is Jerusalem. 

Today’s Old City of Jerusalem encompasses the Temple Mount on Mount Moriah, the Tyropoeon Valley, in the area of the Western Wall Plaza, and the Western Hill, in the area of Jaffa Gate. But this entire area may not have been part of the original city of Jerusalem. Instead, some believe that the original city is in the area of what is today called the City of David, the area beyond the Old City’s southern wall.

In the City of David, archaeologists unearthed an ancient wall on the eastern side of the hill. The dating of the wall is a matter of debate, but many place the date of the ancient fortification to the Middle Bronze II period. The wall bears a similarity to other Middle Bronze defensive walls in Hebron, Shechem and other sites, potentially anchoring it to this period. If correctly dated, it is early evidence for Jerusalem having been in existence during the Middle Bronze Age. 

In the image above, the stones in the foreground are of the wall some identify as the Middle Bronze Age wall.

If the wall in Jerusalem was about keeping people out, a Johnny Cash song about a wall to keep people in:

Israel’s Low, Low, Low Chronology

Numbers 8 and Numbers 11 are notable for their themes of division and strife. In Numbers 8, the Levites are designated for service due to the killing of the firstborn in Egypt. “Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself. And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel.”

In Numbers 11, people complained about their difficulties in the desert and God struck them with fire. When others complained that they desired meat, God flooded them with quail and many died of plague at Kibroth Hattaavah.

The stories in Numbers 11 place Israel’s contentiousness on display. In the field of archaeology, another Israel has been at the center of a contentious debate.

The traditional dating system amongst archaeologists was known as the High Chronology. In the High Chronology, the Late Bronze Age ended in roughly 1200 BCE, the Iron Age I lasted from 1200-1000 BCE, and the Iron Age IIA from 1000 BCE through Shoshenq I’s invasion of the southern Levant. These periods would correspond to Israel’s arrival in the central hill country of today’s Judea and Samaria, the period of Judges in the Bible, and in the Iron IIA, the establishment of the united monarchy of King David and King Solomon.

Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University made a number of observations about the archaeological evidence relating to the High Chronology. Egypt appeared to have controlled the land of Canaan into the mid-12th century, but Philistine pottery appears to have been absent at Egyptian sites. Based on this observation he argued that the Philistines only arrived after the Egyptians left. Israel Finkelstein also disputed archaeological features that had been assigned to the 10th century, claiming that they were in fact from the 9th century, notably at Megiddo. Additionally, he pointed out that Jerusalem did not appear to show evidence of being the center of a kingdom in the 10th century. Finkelstein instead countered with the Low Chronology, compressing the Iron IIA period by roughly 100 years.

In simpler terms, the High Chronology fit the basic biblical narrative. In contrast, Finkelstein’s Low Chronology removed the century that aligned with King David and King Solomon. In Finkelstein’s view, the southern Kingdom of Judah only emerged later, and the real significant kingdom in the 9th century BCE was the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th century BCE.

This debate about the High Chronology and the Low Chronology has been a key dividing line in the field, and related topics will be the focus here for some time going forward.

A song for the Low Chronology:

High Point in the High Chronology

In Numbers 4, God tells Moses to get an accounting of the various branches of the Levite family branches, the Kohathites, the Gershonites and the Merarites. This accounting makes for an opportune moment to review the accounting of the archaeological periods in the southern Levant.

One factor which separates humans from most other creatures in the animal kingdom is their ability to use tools. Historical human development is in part measured by the prevalent technologies humans used to make tools. The Stone Age was followed by the Copper Age. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, so advances in smelting led to the end of the Copper Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age.

The Bronze Age is divided into Early, Middle and Late stages. The Middle Bronze Age in the Levant lasted from roughly 2100 BCE to 1600 BCE, and the Late Bronze Age from 1600 BCE through 1200 BCE.

Destruction layers in the archaeological record can be an important method for marking breaks between periods. In archaeological tells, or mounds, a destruction layer might have been caused by war, earthquake or fire. The signs of a destruction layer can include collapsed walls, possibly with skeletons beneath them, burnt walls, or the presence of arrowheads, indicating violence. 

The Iron Age periods in the Levant are typically broken down into the Iron I period, and the Iron II period, which is subdivided into Iron IIA, IIB and IIC. The archaeological record in Israel contains upper and lower anchors for the 12th century BCE and the late 8th century BCE. These anchors firmly establish certain events and their timing in the Iron I and Iron IIB periods.

On the upper end, there are clear mid-12th century BCE correlations between the Egyptian 20th Dynasty and artifacts found at Beth She’an, Megiddo and Lachish. Destruction layers at Egyptian settlements during the reign of Rameses VI or Rameses VIII were followed a non-Egyptian settlement, marking a defined changed in the settlement pattern.  

On the lower end, in 732/721 BCE the Assyrians destroyed large swathes of the northern Kingdom of Israel, and in 701 BCE the Assyrian king Sennacherib ravaged much of the southern Kingdom of Judah.

What happened between these two anchors, between the years of the mid-12th century through the end of the 8th century BCE is a matter of debate. There are other destruction layers between these two anchoring destruction layers, and who caused these destruction layers is unclear. Possible explanations for the destruction layers sandwiched between the 12th and 8th century BCE anchors are the kingdom of Aram-Damascus, the Egyptian king Shoshenq I or possibly King David.

This periodization described above is referred to as the High Chronology.

The High Chronology represents what has been the traditional archaeological view of the period. In the High Chronology, the Late Bronze Age ended in roughly 1200 BCE. This coincided with the arrival of the Philistines on the southwestern coast of the southern Levant, shortly after the appearance of the early Israelites in the central hill country, with their small villages and egalitarian lifestyles. In the High Chronology, the Iron I period lasted from 1200 BCE through 1000 BCE. In this scheme, the Iron IIA period begins in roughly 1000 BCE. In the central hill country, it is marked by urbanization, gradual fortifications and royal architecture. From a timing perspective, this period appears to correlate with the biblical account of the beginnings of King David’s monarchy, a high point in biblical Israel’s history.

The image above is of a lintel, from above the doorpost, of an Egyptian residence in Beth She’an, in the 12th century, before the transition to a Canaanite material culture. It is on display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem. 

Whose Jerusalem?

Credit: BiblePlaces.com, Jerusalem

In Numbers 1, the Bible records the findings of a census taken to count the members of each tribe. “All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. The number from the tribe of Judah was 74,600…The number from the tribe of Benjamin was 35,400.”

In Numbers 2, the tribes were given a designated space in the Israelite encampment. “On the east, toward the sunrise, the divisions of the camp of Judah are to encamp under their standard…On the west will be the divisions of the camp of Ephraim under their standard…The tribe of Manasseh will be next to them…The tribe of Benjamin will be next.”

In Numbers, the census figures and the tribal order are exact. But in the division of the land, especially as it related to Jerusalem, the Bible is less clear.

In Joshua 15, “The allotment for the tribe of Judah, according to its clans, extended down to the territory of Edom, to the Desert of Zin in the extreme south…The eastern boundary is the Dead Sea as far as the mouth of the Jordan…The western boundary is the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.” The northern cut off in the center “ran up the Valley of Ben Hinnom along the southern slope of the Jebusite city, that is, Jerusalem. From there it climbed to the top of the hill west of the Hinnom Valley at the northern end of the Valley of Rephaim.” According to the author of Joshua, “Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the people of Judah.”

In Joshua 18 it lists the cities that were allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. These included “Zelah, Haeleph, the Jebusite city, that is, Jerusalem, Gibeah and Kiriath.”

In Judges 1, the tribe of Judah succeeded in capturing the hill country. But of the tribe of Benjamin, “The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.”

The Sennacherib Prism records the events of the late 8th century, and associates Jerusalem with Judah. The Assyrian king Sennacherib trapped Hezekiah the Ia-u-da-ai, meaning the Judahite, in Ur-sa-li-im-mu, in Jerusalem. But the situation in the Iron I period from roughly 1200 BCE-1000 BCE is not well attested in the archaeological record. Thus we cannot say with any certainty who exactly dwelled in Jerusalem at this earlier stage: Judahites, Benjaminites, Jebusites, or some other group.

On the subject of the disputed city of Jerusalem, Psalm 125 begins, “A song of ascents. Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”

The photo shown above can be a visual guide to the topography of Jerusalem and the mountains surrounding Jerusalem.

The photo is taken east of Jerusalem, looking to the west. In the foreground, from right to left, are Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives, which rise above the Temple Mount. Moving west, the topography descends into the Kidron Valley, before rising to the Temple Mount.

The area to the south of the Temple Mount, to the left of it in the photo, outside of today’s Old City walls, is the City of David, likely the site of the original city. This hill descends to the point where the Kidron Valley meets the Valley of Hinnom from the west.

What is not immediately obvious in the photo, due to the ancient construction, is that the area of the Western Wall of Herod’s Temple sits in another valley, the Tyropoeon Valley. The Tyropoeon Valley lies between the Temple Mount and the Western Hill. Those who have visited the Old City of Jerusalem by entering through Jaffa Gate, will note that the path to the Western Wall through the Arab Market or the Jewish Quarter descends to the Western Wall. The area around the Jaffa Gate is the top of the Western Hill.

In honor of the topic, the inspiration for a well known song about Jerusalem:

 

Sift and Ye Shall Find

Leviticus 25 instructs against working the land during the sabbatical and Jubilee years. “But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.” Similarly, in the Jubilee year, the land is to be left fallow. “The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.”

Unlike single period sites and abandoned sites, Jerusalem has maintained a continuous occupation since before the Iron Age. This complicates archaeological work, as parts of the ancient city are beneath modern structures, and ancient dwellers would have been more likely to remove artifacts. This is further complicated today by the status of the Temple Mount, whose dirt is required to be left fallow.

After Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, it left the Temple Mount in the hands of its traditional caretakers. The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, funded by the King of Jordan, maintained control of the site, restricting archaeological work. 

Solomon’s Temple as described in the Bible involved an array of resources, and if destroyed, might have left remnants in the dirt. The site was likely overturned during Herod’s temple construction, but if this prevented the establishment of the fixed layers typical of an archaeological mound built over time, Iron Age artifacts should have remained in the fill dirt.

In 1 Kings 6 and 7, Solomon built his temple and palace and with a variety of woods, dressed stone and gold and bronze. The location of the construction would most likely have been in the vicinity of the Temple Mount. While the wood likely would deteriorate over time, and metals likely to have been collected for re-use, temple visitors and staff would have been likely to deposit objects over time.

In addition to the Waqf’s restrictions on archaeological work, the State of Israel requires salvage excavation to take place at archaeological sites before construction work can begin. In the late 1990s, illegal construction work was done on the Temple Mount. In the process, 9,000 tons of dirt were removed and dumped in the Kidron Valley. Archaeologists Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira collected the dirt and initiated the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

The project has discovered finds from nearly four millennia, stretching back to the 2nd millennium BCE. Included in the finds are artifacts from the Iron IIA  and broader Iron II period. There have been a number of notable finds. A cylindrical gold bead, similar in design to similar beads in cultic use elsewhere was found. Shards of Red Burnished Slip pottery from the Iron IIA period were found. A bronze arrowhead from Iron II indicates a military presence or activity. A seal showing two animals was found, as were weights for use in trade.

While the artifacts do not on their own prove the existence of the First Temple, it does indicate the site was active in the Iron IIA period, the time period equated with Solomon’s temple.

Standard Pillars, Unique Names

Leviticus 24 provides instructions for tending to the menorahs in the Tabernacle: The Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning continually. Outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, Aaron is to tend the lamps before the Lord from evening till morning, continually. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. The lamps on the pure gold lampstand before the Lord must be tended continually.

The entranceway into the Tabernacle required passing through curtains to enter the structure. Solomon’s temple was more ornate, with a portico with pillars in front of the enclosed portion of the building. “The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord 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.”

1 Kings 7 explains how the portico was designed and built: “King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.”

Solomon had Huram design two pillars, which were called Jakhin and Boaz. “He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakhin and the one to the north Boaz. The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.”

The Late Bronze Age and Iron Age temple at Ain Dara in Syria contained a similar design feature. In the entrance to the portico of the Ain Dara temple stood two columns on either side of the entranceway. All that remains today are the bases of the pillars, but they still provide information. The pillars had diameters of approximately three feet. Based on their position, they appear to have been load bearing, supporting a roof.

The exact location and purpose of the Jakhin and Boaz pillars in Solomon’s temple is debated. It is not clear if they were load bearing pillars. If the comparisons to Ain Dara extend to the pillars, it suggests that they might have supported a roof.

The Ain Dara temple had many design features that compare to Solomon’s temple. The buildings had similar layout of rooms in a row, with a portico in the front adorned by pillars. The buildings were both rectangular in shape. Each featured a shrine area in the rear of the building, and a storage area around the sanctuary building. Water basins were positioned in the courtyard in front of the building.

These similarities do not prove the existence of Solomon’s temple as described in the Bible. But they do demonstrate that Solomon’s temple as described in the Bible fits the architectural style of the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age in the Levant. This makes it unlikely to have been an invention by a much later writer, who would not have been able to recreate that level of detail.

For a visual of Solomon’s temple, representing one opinion of the design of the pillars, the following video:

The Temples’ Purifying Seas

In Leviticus 16, the High Priest is restricted from entering the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle all days save the Day of Atonement. In order to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest had to perform a series of rituals and offerings before entering. This process began with the High Priest bathing in water. This process also ended with ritual purification. “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments.”

1 Kings 7 describes the elements of Solomon’s temple, which included installations for water, which would be used in purification rituals and in offerings. “He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it, ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea. The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.” Two thousands baths here translates to roughly 12,000 gallons.

Another source for water for ritual was a series of basins. “He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands.” Forty baths, each basin holding roughly 240 gallons of water.”

The Ain Dara Temple in northwestern Syria that was built in the Late Bronze Age, and expanded in the Iron Age II, contains many features similar to Solomon’s Temple as described in the Bible. Storage for water can likely be added to the list.

In Solomon’s temple, the large ‘Sea of cast metal’ is placed in the front courtyard close the altar used for sacrifices. In the Ain Dara temple, a large chalkstone basic was placed in the paved courtyard. The logical explanation is that this basin held water used in temple rituals.

Cherubs and Lions in Temple Design

Source =http://www.flickr.com/photos/isawnyu/5446033390/ |Author =Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Contact, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain_Dara_(archaeological_site)

Following Leviticus’ description of ritually defiling skin afflictions, Leviticus 14 delineates the purification process. Once deemed clear of the condition, the afflicted person brought two birds, one of which would be killed and the other released. This would be followed by washing of the person’s clothes, followed by shaving the person’s hair and then bathing in water. On the 8thday, the now cleansed person would bring offerings to the Tabernacle.

If the purification process was the same during the first temple period, then the temple the afflicted person would be visiting would be more ornate than the Tabernacle building. 1 Kings 6 gives the following description. “The main hall in front of this room was forty cubits long. The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers.” On the exterior of the building, “On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers.”

The entrances featured designs. “For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors out of olive wood that were one fifth of the width of the sanctuary. And on the two olive-wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold. In the same way, for the entrance to the main hall he made doorframes out of olive wood that were one fourth of the width of the hall. He also made two doors out of juniper wood, each having two leaves that turned in sockets. He carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold hammered evenly over the carvings.”

The Ain Dara Temple in northwestern Syria, which was active between the 14th and 8th centuries BCE, provides an example of a temple that was contemporary with Solomon’s temple as described in the Bible. In addition to similarities in size, layout and a shrine room, it also was lined with carved designs both inside and outside.

The carved reliefs included images of lions, winged cherubs, sphinxes and a clawed figure, of which only the claws remained. It also contained images of palmettes, the fan shaped leaves of the palm tree, and floral patterns.

The similarity in the specific design elements between the Ain Dara temple and the Solomon’s temple in the Bible is yet another sign that Solomon’s temple fit the time period in the 10th and 9th centuries BCE.

The image above is of the Ain Dara temple, with a winged figure in the lower left corner.