The verb "[ph]-[g]ah" means to encounter, meet or reach, perhaps encounter (as in strike down) can relate to killing or murder. However, because a softer verb was not chosen commentators interpret this long memory, encoded into the Bible's Hebrew words as if Jacob came upon, fell upon, collided with, or stumbled onto the place.
Regular readers of this blog will know my view that the standing stone or matzevah in ancient Jerusalem's temple zero complex (see image below) is the one Jacob erected the morning after his "va-yi[ph][g]ah" experience which was followed, that night by his famous 'stairway-to-heaven' dream.
|Four room temple complex on Upper Ridge above the Gihon Spring|
|Looking west into Room 2|
Only the raised bedrock platform at the rear (west) end of room 3 was purposely left in place when the original constructors shaped the bedrock into these four rooms. The image (below) of room 3 bedrock floor contrasts the liquids channel (left of image) carved into the bedrock floor from retained (top rear) raised altar platform. This serves to emphasize the purpose of the construction as a temple complex from the outset.
|Room 3 altar platform left in place when rooms bedrock was removed to shape rooms|
The man-made-wall in the background, west of the green outlined bedrock (below) was dated to the time of King Hezekiah by various archaeologists. Around 1000 years earlier, toward the end of the middle Bronze Age the man-made-wall did not exist, but the bedrock features of rooms 1,2,3 and 4 did. We know that because pottery artifacts discovered in passages immediately east and north of these rooms are dated to the middle bronze age and chisel markings are indicative of that time.
|Matzevah or standing stone at the rear, west end of room 2|
The man-made-wall (City Wall in image below) approximately demonstrates the relative position of the four room temple complex on the Upper ridge in context to the City Wall at the site of the excavations. It also illustrates the proximity of the Upper Ridge temple complex to the water of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley below.
For those who are familiar with the Bible story of Jacob: On the run from his brother, Jacob made his way to Mount Moriah (Genesis 28:11), the holy place of his ancestors where his father was once offered as a sacrifice by his grandfather whose homeland Jacob was about to leave behind. When the sun set he stumbled upon the bedrock and fell into room 2 of the temple complex. That night he packed stones around his head, which he took from room 3 and exhausted he fell asleep. In the morning when he awoke, he erected the stone and anointed it (Genesis 28:18) and after twenty years in exile he returned back to it (Genesis 35:14). I maintain that this is the place Jacob was seeking and this is the place Israel is still seeking, perhaps one day we will find it!