Biblical Archaeology Review 37:2, March/April 2011

Where Was Solomon’s Palace?

We know where King David’s city was. It was on the little 10–12-acre ridge south of the Temple Mount, just outside the Old City walls. On this all are agreed. This little ridge is still called the City of David.

Then King Solomon extended the city northward to the Temple Mount, where he built the Temple.

We know he had a palace—or at least a royal residence. As Israel Finkelstein has noted in BAR, “When you have a dynasty ruling in the capital of a territorial entity, you always have a palace and a royal shrine near the palace.”a And, for what it’s worth (pace, Israel F.), the Bible also indicates Solomon had a palace. It is described in some detail in 1 Kings 7:1–12. It took 13 years to build. Cedar from Lebanon was used throughout. The foundations were of costly stone. The structure was 30 cubits high with three tiers of windows facing each other. One portico of the building was known as the Hall of Judgment, where the king pronounced his decisions, also called the Throne Room. The whole place was surrounded with courtyards, including the Great Courtyard. Behind one of these courtyards was the king’s private residence.

But where was this palace?

Until now, the universal answer to this question has been that Solomon’s palace was located between the northern edge of the City of David and the Temple—perhaps on the southern end of the Temple Mount itself.

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