Section B Topography

Chapter 9 - Kidron Valley

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The view standing in the Kidron Valley looking south. The Mount of Olives is to the left and the Temple Mount is to the right at the top of Mount Moriah.

The Kidron Valley runs north-south between the Mount of Olives and the eastern wall of the Temple Mount and the City of David. This valley actually continues all the way to the Dead Sea. The total length of the valley is 20 miles, and it falls 4,000 feet. The Gihon Springs naturally filled this valley, but the settlers of Jerusalem diverted the water into pools and channels to be used by the city.

The Bible describes David fleeing across this valley and up the Mount of Olives to escape his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15:13-30). King Asa worshipped here at pagan altars with idols and Asherah poles (1 Kings 15:13). Athaliah was executed here after her evil reign in Judah was brought to a violent end (2 Kings 11:16). Today there are many tombs and graves in the Kidron, since burying people here became a practice in the days of Josiah (2 Kings 23:6).

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this city will be rebuilt... The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.” - Jeremiah 31:38-40

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Looking down into the steep Kidron Valley from the City of David located on the Eastern Hill or the Old Ancient Core.

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This photo is looking up from the Kidron Valley at the southeast corner of the Temple Mount Wall. In the days of the New Testament, the building on this corner of the Temple Mount would have been even higher. Josephus describes the view from the roof of the Royal Stoa, or Solomon’s Porch, saying:

It was a structure more noteworthy than any under the sun. The height of the portico was so great that if anyone looked down from its rooftop he would become dizzy and his vision would be unable to reach the end of so measureless a depth. - Josephus, Antiquities 15.412

It is important to realize that the Kidron Valley was much deeper 2,000 years ago. The bottom of the Kidron Valley has been raised by the rubble and debris of centuries falling into it. This is where Jesus was tempted by Satan to jump:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.” –Matthew 4:8