I asked Yaron Sachs to take us to a view of the Hinnom Valley. He obliged by taking us down and down from our hotel west of the Old City to the south, southeast. Getting there, I recognized some areas we had seen on the taxi ride home on the first Friday when we exited at the Jaffa Gate. (the Friday of Ramadan experience)
Dearest took multiple pictures of the surrounding area while I peered through the cracks. Internet pics when we googled the sign shows it to be the same place we went the following week to get to the Gihon Spring and Hezekiah’s tunnel. If we had known we were practically in the same place, perhaps we could have peered over or around the wall the next week. But we didn’t know.
Mark Twain says it quite right in Innocents Abroad.He expresses the astonishment we all have when we first learn how really small Israel is and how close everything is together.
“Leaving out two or three short journeys of the Savior, he spent his life, preached his gospel, and performed his miracle within a compass no larger than an ordinary county in the United States. It is as much as I can do to comprehend this stupefying fact. How it wears a man out to have to read up to a hundred pages of history every two or three miles — for verily the celebrated localities of Palestine occur that close together. How wearily, how bewilderingly they swarm about your path!” Mark Twain, from Innocents Abroad.
Go here to Gila’s website where she posted more of Mark Twain’s book and added her own pictures.
What I saw through the crack between posts was a narrow place between the foot of the mountain of Old Jerusalem, City of David, etc. etc. and the foot of the mountain that rises on the south side of the Hinnom Valley. (II Chronicles 28:3)
On the Jerusalem side at the base was a typical Canaanite style retaining wall. It was immediately recognizable as our guide taught us in 2010. Note the uncut stacked stones with smaller stones as spacers like this one at Tell Dan (2010).
A space of not more than forty (40) yards separated the two sides in view.
On the Hill of Evil Counsel side, it was solid rock up to a height of 30 feet or more before it was covered over with low-growing trees.
In my imagination, I could see all kinds of intrigue taking place at a time of about 3400 years ago … which probably is why the place is fenced off so securely in the world of today … in Jerusalem … among the opposing sides of a dispute that has continued for … millennia.
I will show several of the pics taken in the immediate area of the entrance to the Jerusalem Walls National Park: