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On a bridge outside of Jerusalem stands one of the most exciting discoveries of the last few years in the Holy Land.
An ancient temple dating back to the iron age and roughly similar in size and similar in shape to the first temple in Jerusalem. “This is the only real temple that was excavated in Judah in Israel and is uniquely a temple that was built during the time that according to the Bible, Solomon built his temple only seven kilometers from the site in Jerusalem exactly the same plan exactly the same direction east-west is nearly the same size” explained, professor Oded Lipschits, a Tel Aviv University archaeologist.
“We are sure in three meters than the temple in Jerusalem according to the Bible and these temples continue to exist during all the first temple period of Jerusalem. We don’t know until when but at least for four or five hundred years with some layers and changes that occur during the hundreds of years of the existence of Judah as a kingdom.”
Researchers found an altar in 2012 which opened the gate to greater excavations. The site has been excavated from the early 1990s but has been delayed due to the development of Highway 1, linking Jerusalem with Tel Aviv. The area is associated with the Biblical city of Mozah mentioned in the book of Joshua as one of the cities of the tribe of Benjamin.
Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, (Joshua 18:26)
But this temple is not mentioned in the bible at all – a fact that may shed light on the history of the Israelites in the iron age.
“You know we always say history is written by winners and so that’s the agenda they wanted to show,” said Shua Kisilevitz, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University.
“So, of course, the agenda became later on, and this is Biblical scholarship -this is not archaeology, it’s a very late perception of having one temple in Jerusalem and having one God. And we know even the Bible tells us that until the very end of the period, there were many places of worship so finding the temple here is wonderful because this temple and the Temple in Jerusalem according to the biblical texts, were built according to the same plan. And they have the same motifs and they were serving the same area of population. And so I think this is the closest we’ll ever get to digging the temple in jerusalem because that temple is archaeologically non-existent we can never go and dig there we can never find it.”