Stepped_Stone_StructureBiblical References to the Stepped-Stone Structure

I especially liked Jane Cahill’s “Jerusalem in David and Solomon’s Time” (November/December 2004). Her outstanding article ties together the history of archaeology in the City of David.

I first suggested that the Stepped-Stone Structure was the Fortress of Zion 20 years ago (Queries & Comments, January/February 1984, under the heading “Has the Fortress of Zion Been Found?”). At that time, Yigal Shiloh, the excavator, would only say that it was the supporting substructure for a large building.

Since the Stepped-Stone Structure dates to the 13th-12th century B.C. and is so massive, it must have supported a very important, as well as large, building. What could be more important than a fortress?

It has been suggested that the stepped-stone structure is the Millo of the Bible. From 2 Samuel 5-9 we know that the Millo was there when David conquered Jerusalem and is associated with the Fortress of Zion (see also 1 Chronicles 11-8). Another passage seems to say that Solomon “built” the Millo, but obviously he only modified or repaired it since it was already there (1 Kings 9-15, 24; also 1 Kings 11-27). Hezekiah, too, repaired the Millo (2 Chronicles 32-5). In addition, 2 Kings 12-20 mentions “the house of Millo” in the time of King Jehoash (late ninth century B.C.) Perhaps this could be the Burnt Room House of Ahiel’s House, at the base of the Stepped-Stone Structure. This passage suggests that it was on the slope, “going down to Silla” (2 Kings 12-21, referring to their village of Silwan?).

The implications of these passages are that- (1) The Millo is associated with the Fortress of Zion. (2) It was there when David conquered Jerusalem. (3) It was modified or repaired during the United Monarchy and the Kingdom of Judah, and (4) it had at least one house associated with it during the Kingdom of Judah. These criteria fit the Stepped-Stone Structure.

Fran Slattery

Torrence, California

Jane Cahill responds-

The Stepped-Stone Structure—particularly its substructure—is indeed the only structure found thus far in Jerusalem that could possibly have been the Millo mentioned in the Old Testament.

Cahill’s Breath of Fresh Air

Finally! In a world of minimalists, someone—Jane Cahill—with some common sense! It seems that so many scholars are so bent on protecting their own theories, preconceptions and biases that they refuse to accept that the Biblical record might indeed bear an accurate resemblance to history. Cahill wonderfully demonstrates how Jerusalem could be occupied for many centuries and thus reflect building and renovation activities from several eras. Indeed, one need only return to Jerusalem to see this is the case today.

Jim Church

Peace River, Alberta, Canada