Sing: I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath, UMH 60
Below the Upper Room is King David’s Tomb, minus King David. This state of affairs came to be through the confusion over the site of Mount Zion. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the banishment of all Jews from the new city of Aelia Capitolina in 135 AD, the original Mount Zion (the City of David) was lost to living memory, and the new Mount Zion (the Temple Mount) had become a garbage dump. Therefore, Mount Zion moved across the Tyropoeon Valley and along with it the sites which were supposed to be on Mount Zion.
Let me try to be clear about this: the hills called Mount Zion haven’t moved, they are still right where they have always been. What has moved, is the name. There have been three hilltops called Mount Zion: the first was in the City of David; the second was where Solomon built the First Temple and where the Second Temple was built and where the Dome of the Rock now sits; the third hill called Mount Zion is this site of the Upper Room and King David’s Tomb.
Since the Bible says that King David was buried in the City of David and since the City of David was on Mount Zion pilgrims looked for the King David’s tomb on what they thought was Mount Zion: they never found it. The Crusaders used three very old walls (from the 1st century church/synagogue cited in yesterday’s devotion) to create the tomb we see today.
The real tomb of King David has never been found on the original Mount Zion or in Bethlehem or anywhere else. Over the centuries acceptance of this site grew among Christians, Jews and pilgrims. From 1948 until 1967, when Jews did not have access to the Western Wall, this was a major pilgrimage site and a focal point for prayers. As with the Western Wall, this site is divided into a side for men and a side for women.