King David's Tomb in Jerusalem

King David

"And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, "You will not come in here." Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David" (1 Chronicles 11:4-5).


 Since the dawn of Christianity, the location of Mount Zion was believed to be the western hill of Jerusalem. During the Byzantine period (4th to 7th centuries AD), churches were built on the hill. One was built by Emperor Constantine and named Hagia Sion (Holy Zion). Today, this magnificent church is regarded as one of the oldest and most historically significant churches in Jerusalem.   


During this time period, the location of King David's Tomb was identified.The large sarcophagus was revered as the tomb of the king who made Jerusalem a capital and spiritual center for the tribes of Israel. The Holy Scripture says the king was buried in his city. It happened around 1000 BC.

"Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David"

 (1 Kings 2:10).

The Tomb of King David

King David's sepulchre
King David's sepulchre

Excavations in the 19th century discovered the burial site remains which later (20th century) were proved to be a structure typical of the of early Roman period (1st to 4th century).


The building was remodelled during the Crusader period, then the new Ottoman Turkish authorities  (16th century AD) converted to a mosque named after David (El Masjid Nabi Daoud).  After the state of Israel the site was established, the site was opened for the adherents of all religions but is kept as a synagogue.


On top of the sarcophagus there are seen the inscriptions, 'King David' and 'King David is alive and truly exists' based on the words from the Book of Psalms, 

"You will not allow your holy one to see decay" (16:10). 

In the synagogue of King David's tomb

The Statue of King David on Mount Zion

King David's statue - the gift from Russia
King David's statue - the gift from Russia

In October 2008, the Municipality of Jerusalem received the gift of a statue of King David playing the harp by Alexander Demin. It was donated by the Russian Christian Orthodox Fund of Nikolai, the Miracle Worker.


While the gesture was widely appreciated, some of the religious Jewish community was offended by the presence of the statue next to the holy site of King David's Tomb because it seems to contradict the 2nd Commandment which says,

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" (Exodus 20:4). 


In 2018, the statue was dismantled and moved to another area of Mount Zion. 

New Research about King David's Tomb

Through archaeological excations at the City of David and studying the Bible, further light was shed on the location of this great king's tomb. The book of Nehemiah  describes the repair of the walls of Jerusalem following the  return of the Jewish exiles, 

"The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun, son of Kol-Hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah. He rebuilt it, roofing it over and putting its doors and bolts and bars in place. He also repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the King’s Garden, as far as the steps going down from the City of David. Beyond him, Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of a half-district of Beth Zur, made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool and the House of the Heroes" (Nehemiah 3: 15-16).


The location described in this verse points to the section of the City of David, which is not far from the recently discovered Pool of Siloam. Therefore, the burial place of King David was likely located near the Kidron Valley.


Talmudic literature describes a discussion between Rabbi Akiva and other sages about the tombs of kings and prophets. Rabbi Akiva demanded that all graves be removed from the city. Regarding the tombs of David and the prophetess Hulda, Rabbi Akiva claimed that all unclean things had already been removed, 

"There was a tunnel and all the unclean things were carried out along the underground passages to the Kidron Valley" (Tosefta, Bava Batra 1:11).


This tunnel is next to the Kidron Valley, the location of the tunnels within the City of David. The archaeological park is at the foot of the Western Hill of Jerusalem where the traditional tomb of David is located. 


More information about the tomb of this famous king of Israel can be found in the article, the City of David.

Another young David's statue is placed in Jerusalem's History Museum at the Citadel of David.
Another young David's statue is placed in Jerusalem's History Museum at the Citadel of David.