History and Archaeology
Where is King David Buried?
Is it on Mount Zion or in Silwan? Records say that Mount Zion was the place, but others say that this is not true
Tradition holds that David's Tomb is in a structure on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem. This is an ancient belief that goes back a thousand years. Benjamin of Tudela, the ancient Jewish traveler, mentions Mount Zion in the context of King David and said after his visit there in the twelfth century, “above the spring of Silwan in the mountain are the Metzudas Tzion and the tombs of the kings. There is also an old structure there referred to as the Sanctuary of David, which is directed towards the Temple. In honor of this place, candles are normally kindled, as it is believed to be the structure of David. This is also believed to be the place in which David placed the Ark of the Covenant, from the time he had brought it to the time the Temple was built by King Solomon.”
Until the year 5767, Torah crowns brought from communities that perished during the holocaust were placed on the tomb. But they have since been stolen and disappeared.
The problem is, that Rabbi Yehiel Michael Tukachinsky of blessed memory, claims in his book, Jerusalem and its Borders, that it says in the book of Kings that King David was buried with his forefathers in the City of David which is located in the area of Silwan and is close to the spring of Silwan. During the time of King David, there was no presence on Mount Zion. This is also mentioned in the book of Nechemia (chapter 3), that the tomb of David is close to the spring of Silwan in the area of the walls of the city near the Dung Gate.
It is clear that the settlement of Nechemia and the Dung Gate were in today’s Silwan region. Some speculate that following the emergence of ancient Jerusalem, the tombs of the kings were moved here from their place in the City of David.
But Rabbi Tukachinsky unequivocally concludes that King David cannot be buried on Mount Zion. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau suggests that whoever is buried on Mount Zion, is not King David himself but rather some of his descendants; kings of later periods. This is basically what Benjamin of Tudela says: that the kings of the house of David are buried here and not David himself. So according to this opinion, where then is King David buried?
About a hundred years ago, Baron Edmond De Rothschild sent the Jewish archaeologist, Raymond Weil on a quest to find the tombs of the house of David, and inside the most beautiful rock, at the southern end of the City of David, he discovered caves, which in his opinion, are the tombs of the house of David.