Israel Day 6: King David, The Last Supper, And Ancient Toilets

A scrappy little kid from Bethlehem takes on a strong, giant villain named Goliath with just a few stones and his sling and wins, according to the Bible’s Book of Samuel. History tells us our mighty little underdog would grow up to be King David, the second king of Israel.

Aside from being noted as a great warrior, David was also a poet and is credited with composing many of the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms. He was also a musician, known throughout text for playing his harp — which we saw depicted multiple times during our visit to the ancient biblical City of David.

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The area is one of the most intensively excavated sites in the region. For example, this spot was found buried under a major parking lot in 2007.

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In another spot, imprints in clay used to seal documents were found bearing the names of royal officials mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah — one of which served King Zedekiah who ruled over Judah at the time of the destruction of the First Temple.

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Some archaeologists even believe they’ve unearthed pieces of King David’s palace.

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Our guide also took us to excavations which show the layout of various rooms from ancient dwellings. At one stop, she asked if we could spot the toilet. She wasn’t kidding.

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Sure enough — we spotted an acutal ancient royal toilet — one of the few times you can exclaim “holy shit” and mean it.

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Next, we went underground and explored some tunnels below the city. The tunnel was once part of an ancient street, used by the pilgrims, as they were coming up toward the Temple Mount some 2,000 years ago. In later periods, it was also used as a draining tunnel.

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Back above ground, we visited what has been considered since the 12th century, the burial site of King David. You can walk up and see what is believed to be his sarcophagus. It is divided in half by a partition to please the Orthodox. Women on one side. Men on the other.

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Nearby is The Cenacle, also known as the Upper Room, which is a room traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper — the final meal as described in the Gospel that Jesus shared with his disciples before the crucifixion.

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We ended the afternoon with more sightseeing around the Old City.

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For lunch, a bagel from a shop in the Jewish Quarter provided a religious experience for my mouth.


And as we left, our tour guide pointed out this mezuzah hanging outside Jaffa Gate.

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After the war of 1948, bullet fragments in the gate were preserved, melted down, and turned into the mezuzah.

Such a beautiful way to show love is greater than hate. (You can see the bullet holes in the wall below.)

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Our night ended with yet another delicious meal at an Italian-style kosher restaurant named Piccolino. The incredibly sweet owner greeted us with some history of the old stone building and then sat us for a family-style dinner served on a patio under the stars — and under this colorful street art.


Our trip was more than halfway over — but I wasn’t anywhere near ready for it to end.


Read Day 1 | Read Day 2 | Read Day 3 | Read Day 4 | Read Day 5
Read Day 6 | Read Day 7 | Read Day 8 | Read Day 9 | Read Day 10

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