Mamre and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, reported today that the site of Mamre near Hebron has been visited recently and may be opened soon.

The site is mentioned three times in Genesis, in chapters 13,14, and 18. This is where Abraham settled after separating from his nephew Lot, where he built an altar to G-d, and where G-d sent him three angels to inform him that his son Isaac would be born the following year.
It was also here that Abraham established the first Hebrew army, for the purpose of rescuing Lot, who had been kidnapped by the Four Kings during their war against the Five Kings as described in Genesis.

The Herodian wall with pilasters in Mamre - © Leen Ritmeyer

Today, Elonei Mamre is also one of Israel’s most important archaeological sites. A two-meter-high, 70-by-30-meter wall has been found there, apparently built by King Herod 2,000 years ago. The wall’s construction has similar characteristics to that in the Machpelah Cave [the Cave of the Patriarchs, ed.] and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Remains of two towers from an earlier period have also been found in Elonei Mamre.

In the 1980’s I visited the site and made this reconstruction drawing of the Herodian enclosure. It was amazing to see how closely the architectural style of the outer walls resembled those of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Reconstruction drawing of the Herodian enclosure at Mamre - © Leen Ritmeyer

8 thoughts on “Mamre and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem”

  1. Has there been found Herodian stones cut like this in and around the Tempel mount ? Or is it just the much later southern facade of Al-Aqsa that resembels the outer wall in Hebron and Mamre ? Did the upper outer wall of the Tempel mount, really look like the outer wall in Hebron and Mamre ? Are there any other findings, except for the trumpeter’s stone, telling us something about the upper wall of Herod’s Tempel mount ?

  2. Peter,
    Many pilaster stones have been found in the excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount. The Southern Wall looked the same as the Western Wall. I have described these in geat detail in my book “The Quest – Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem”.

  3. Dear Prof, perhaps you can help me with a ? that no one, even in Facebook pages dedicated to the Cave of Machpelah will answer or have no answer.

    To my best understanding, the Cave was explored twice durning the last century. By all accounts, there are no bodies, shrouds or bones in the caves. Jacob was embalmed in Egypt so surely there must be some remains in better then average condition. But there is nothing except different bit and pieces of crockery and coins etc.

    I dont see as anybody, be it the Crusaders or Muslims, during their tenure as Mgmt of the Cave would have allowed any desecration. Maybe there is a reason that Jacobs burial coffin, which I assume, because of the great respect he was accorded as father of the man who saved Egypt from famine had his image carved into it. Perhaps he was removed placed in a niche and the box itself taken as a relic of reverence.???

    3 Patriarchs, 3 Matriarchs, but nothing, at least in my researching, that explains why there were no bodies in any kind of shape down below

    Prof, have your come across any literature that may account for the lack of evidence that 6 bodies were ever entombed there? Is there reason to question the tombs overall authenticity?

    Appreciate anything you can suggest or books your can recommend on this matter.

    Sincere thanks for any and all thoughts you have on the matter.


  4. Avi, I wish I knew more about this, but I don’t. Of course, I remember that Moshe dayan let a 12 year old girl down a shaft and apparently there was another exploration below the floor, but I couldn’t help you with the vexing question of where Jacob’s sarcophagus is. The other remains have probably turned to dust by now. Here are some websites with further information and bibliography:

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