The Temple in Jerusalem is also known as Holy Temple or the First Temple. The temple is located in the old city of Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount. According to the Hebrew Bible, the First Temple was built around in 957BC by the King Solomon. There are several tales related to the first temple, according to the Book of Deuteronomy, the place of Israelite sacrifice was replaced by the Tabernacle. Then the temple was sacked by Sheshonk I, Pharaoh of Egypt.
History of the Site:
In 10th century BCE, the first Temple was built by the King Solomon. The land was acquired by Solomon’s father, King David, who raised the idea of building a grand temple. According to the Bible, King David was dismissed by lord due to his sins and the job of building was passed to his son.
The land was linked with Moriah, where patriarch Abraham brought his son for sacrifice. A minor reference was made in bible, which explains the reason why Solomon built this temple. The prime reason why the temple was built was to mark a permanent residence for the Ark of Covenant.
A Debate on Solomon Temple
The Solomon Temple or the First Temple on the Mount is not known, nor do have any physical existing artifacts discovered by archaeologists. There are numerous artifacts existing below-ground preserved for years! But according to the research two Muslim shrine stands on this piece of land – one the Dome of the Rock and other Al-Aksa Mosque, which marks that there was no possibility of Israeli excavation here!
It is being said, in 1999 WAQF, started constructing underground Mosque adjacent to Al-Aksa. It was at that time, when Jewish Archaeologist observed a large amount of soil and remnants were extracted and dumped in Old City, in the Kidron Valley, they started a project called ‘Temple Mount Sifting’. During this time, a large number of items were found which dated to First temple period.
The Temple was said to be a single place where sacrifice to God was made, also the only place where God dwell. According to the Bible, when the single monarchy was split into Judah and Israel, Rehoboam Solomon’s Son, made duplication of temple as new altars, which was constructed in Israel at Dan.
Then in 720BC, Israel was conquered and its 10-tribes went into exile, it was the time, when Jerusalem again became the lone cultic center.
The Solomon temple was attacked by several powers, then in 586BCit was totally destroyed by army of the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar. It was then the residents of Judah were sent to live short exile, at Iraq (of present day).
Then, with fall of Babylon Power, the Cyrus Persian emperor took the power and allowed Jews to return to the land of Israel. The temple was rebuilt in 515BC, called Herod’s temple.
Second Temple: Herod’s temple
The Second Temple was upgraded structure of the first temple, its construction was led as half Jewish and half Edumean Herod. A King of Judea was appointed by Roman who died in 4BC. The structure of the Second Temple was finished in 20BC. It was in 66BC the first Jewish Revolt began and then in 70CE Titus the Roman general looted the temple and demolished.
The First Revolt, then brought destruction of ‘Second Temple’, and also destruction of Jerusalem. Then during the Second Jewish Revolt (132-135) Judaism made a deep turn from temple based cult to daily sacrifice to its respective god. The place took prayer for animal sacrifice. Jews still mourn about the destruction of the Temple. Destruction of both First and Second Temple has gravely marked its place. But for Jewish ‘Zion’ is evolved from the loss of this ritual center of the temple. Hence, the modern re-establishment of Jewish National home, the land of Israel is called ‘Zionism’.