Part 2 of the Jerusalem mini-series. In this episode, we explore the Kidron Valley.
Season 1, Episode 38
In the last episode, we walked through Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem, which led us to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent lis last hours before he was taken to to be judged.
This Episode, we continue the Jerusalem tour as we descend into the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
Jerusalem rests on the edge of two valleys: The Hinnom and the Kidron.
Both of these Valleys do not have a pleasant history.
The Hinnom valley is where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire to Molech, who is believed, by some scholars, to be Satan.
The Kidron valley, is where King Jehoshaphat overthrown the enemies of Israel, and where the Levites would throw away the unclean and defiled items to.
The Kidron valley is located on the east side of Jerusalem. If we exit Via Dolorosa street through the Lion’s Gate, and walk a few minutes east, we’ll find ourselves in the valley of Kidron.
Today the valley is a mix of ancient and modern graveyard. Since many Jews believe that they will be resurrected when Messiah will come through the East Gate, they are willing to pay big money to be buried as close to the gate as possible. So they could be the first to enter the new kingdom.
If only they knew that the Messiah they are waiting for had already told them that "the last will be first, and the first will be last."
As we descended lower into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we find the monument which Absalom built for himself. Through generations, the Jews had an interesting custom to bring their children here and have them throw rocks at the monument, as a reminder to what happens when you disobey God.
According to the Bible, Absalom was not buried inside of his own monument. Instead, he was buried in a shame way. Joab threw him into a pit and piled a heap of rocks on top.
Today the monument is sealed, but in the early 20th century, they were able to get inside and find an inscription from the 4th century: “This is the tomb of Zachariah, the martyr, the holy priest, the father of John”. Could this really be the tomb of John the Baptist?
During the rebellion of Absalom, King David, fled Jerusalem through this valley. Then he mentions this valley in Psalm 23:
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Because this valley is located on the east side of Jerusalem, it is covered in shadow most of the day. The overlooking monument of the wicked king Absalom reminds the fate of those who rebel against God. The burial caves scream “death”, and the adjacent valley of Hinnom points to the eternal lake of fire. It makes sense for David to write these words as he fled from Absalom, but it even makes more sense to apply it to Jesus.
This valley is located right between Gethsemane and Jerusalem. So when Jesus was captured in Gethsemane, he had to actually walk through this valley, and into Jerusalem.
Right next to Absalom's monument is what believe to the Tomb of prophet Zachariah. However, the archeologist could not yet find the actual tomb as they have evidence to believe that this is a monolith. Completely carved out of the solid rock and does not contain a burial chamber.