Glimpses of Israel - Solomon's Quarries

by Joseph Hunting

There are few places in the world which have not been marred either by war, erosion or other ravages wrought by time and civilization. There is, however, in the very heart of Jerusalem a vast system of underground galleries and interconnecting passages that hasn't changed and is today exactly as it was left by King Solomon's stone masons 3,000 years ago.

When Solomon commenced the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem it is recorded "they brought great stones, costly and hewed stones to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stone squarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house." (I Kings 5:17-18)

Not only was the Temple one of the most magnificent and costly buildings ever constructed, but the method of its construction was unique. The "great stones, costly stones and hewed stones" , some weighing as much as 20 tonnes were quarried from rock in a vast stone quarry beneath the Holy City itself. These stones were then cut and shaped exactly to their precise sizes prior to being brought to the Temple site.

Just how these great stones were laid into place is not known today because no instrument or tool of iron was permitted on the Temple site. "And the house when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building." (I Kings 6:7)

Since that time Jerusalem's history has been a turbulent one. The Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C., rebuilt and destroyed again in 70 A.D. The Holy City itself has also been destroyed and rebuilt many times and even today it is the world's political 'hot potato'. Yet deep in the heart of Jerusalem there is an eerie stillness. It is as though time has stopped since the days when Solomon built the House of the Lord on Jerusalem's holy mount.