Angel of Death Trickery?

Renowned commentators have stated that the Foundation Stone (Jacob's stone) was located in the Holy of Holies (of the first and second Temple) and that the 12 stones, from which it was formed were at the precise site that was, is and will be the site of the permanent holy altar. How do we understand this apparent contradiction?

The altar of Jerusalem's Holy Temple once facilitated individual and national sacrifices and will do so again in future. During its inauguration alone, some 120,000 sheep were slaughtered for it and the feasting that followed! In its location, on the Temple Mount, it served the nation for almost 1000 years, with only a short disruption, but it did not survive the ancient Roman destruction and onslaught at the beginning of the Common Era (CE).

Moses Maimonides (known as Rambam), the pre-eminent Rabbi and commentator in his Mishneh Torah on Jewish Law of The Chosen Temple tells us that the precise place Abraham once bound (Akeida) and offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice is the same place of the future altar. Further, that the place modern Jews consider the location of the Temples' Holy of Holies is established by tradition. The ambiguity about these locations are reflected accurately by the Rambam.

The commentators expounded that 12 stones of the Akeida altar (or its ramp) were used by Jacob, when he slept adjacent to Akeida the night he dreamed of a stairway to heaven. God fused those 12 stones into a single rock, which He infused with the foundation of the earth. That became known as The Foundation Stone or 'Even Ha-Shtiah', which, by tradition was located in the Holy of Holies. In context the various accounts do not reconcile, primarily because the Holy of Holies of the first and second temple was some distance from and not adjacent to the altar. Therefore, The Foundation Stone (comprising Jacob's stone) could not have been located at or adjacent to the site of Akeida.

For his book, "In Ishmael's House", Martin Gilbert researched passages about the Jews written exclusively in Islamic works. In 638 CE Calif Omar raided Jerusalem, among his men was a Jewish convert to Islam, Ka'b al-Ahbar (Hebrew name was Akiva). Almost 600 years after the Romans had destroyed the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary and its holy altar, Calif Omar requested Ka'b point out the place where the Holy of Holies once stood. After some misgivings, Ka'b identified the spot where the shrine to Calif Omar was erected. Today that shrine is known as the Dome of The Rock, the golden dome that occupies a prominent location on the Temple Mount. That particular location has no special designation in fact or Jewish law, only that it is universally accepted and by Jewish tradition associated with the western most wall of the temple mount.

Detailed legal arguments do not contradict that King Solomon built the first temple altar, Chronicles (II 3:1) on the same site King David had previously built his altar when he made restitution for his wrongful census of the nation. One opinion suggests David's prophecy aligned his altar with Akeida. However, the Bible states the site was located at the feet of the 'angel of death' that was standing between heaven and earth with its sword suspended over Ancient Jerusalem and that prophet Gad caused David to buy the site from the Jebusite king and bring an offering. The detailed arguments are important because the Bible relates the altar was built for David's personal sin and benefit, not for that of the nation. At that time the mobile, national altar was still in service in Givon and David made it crystal clear this was his personal account; 2 Samuel 24:17: “I alone am guilty, I alone have done wrong; but these poor sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand fall upon me and my father’s house!”

Careful archaeological excavation west of the Gihon Spring, on Mount Moriah's east facing slope, has revealed evidence that the precise site of Akeida may have been hidden under fallen ground cover of the mountain for more than 1000 years. Then, 2600 years ago it was uncovered and immediately buried by constructors of city walls indicating the site has been concealed for 3500-3600 years.

Stone of Israel, Jacob's Stone or Foundation Stone?

Whether David and Solomon were tricked by the 'angel of death' into selecting a site different to Akeida or this new evidence points to the real Akeida, we must objectively consider all the arguments and commentaries we have learned and prepare ourselves for new possibilities on Holy Mount Moriah.