Mount Moriah in the Jebusite period



During the Jebusite period (c. 1850-1000 BC), the mountain was used for growing wheat and barley, as attested by the reference to the threshing floor of Araunah in 1 Chronicles 21.15. After God had brought a plague on Israel, the angel of the Lord, who was about to destroy Jerusalem, told King David to build an altar on the threshing floor. The angel was standing on higher ground, between heaven and earth as it were, most likely at the peak of Mount Moriah, while the threshing floor was on lower ground to the east, to exploit the prevailing westerly winds to separate the chaff from the grain. Jewish tradition maintains that David’s altar was built (c. 980 BC) on the same place that Abraham had erected his altar in preparation for the sacrifice of Isaac, before God intervened.