The name of the rocky eminence on which Solomon built a magnificent temple to Jehovah. Earlier, his father David had purchased the site from the Jebusite Araunah (Ornan) in order to erect an altar there, as this was the divinely indicated means for ending a scourge resulting from David’s sin in connection with the taking of a census.—2Sa 24:16-25; 1Ch 21:15-28; 2Ch 3:1; see ARAUNAH.
Ancient Jewish tradition links the temple site with the mountain in “the land of Moriah” where Abraham, at God’s command, attempted to offer up Isaac. (Ge 22:2; see Jewish Antiquities, VII, 329-334 [xiii, 4].) This would make “the land of Moriah” the mountainous region around Jerusalem. It was to “the land of Moriah” that Abraham traveled from the vicinity of Beer-sheba; and on the third day, he saw that divinely designated place from a distance.—Ge 21:33, 34; 22:4, 19.
Some have objected to identifying Mount Moriah with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, because of its distance from Beer-sheba and its lack of visibility “from a distance.” But it was “to the land of Moriah” that Abraham was to make a trip. On the first day, Abraham rose early, saddled his ass, split the wood, loaded it on the animal, and then began his trip. (Ge 22:2, 3) It was “on the third day that Abraham raised his eyes and began to see the place [the land of Moriah] from a distance.” Thus, the second day was the only full day of travel. As to the visibility of Mount Moriah and the traveling distance, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary notes: “However, the distance from S Philistia to Jerusalem is c. 80 km, which might well have required 3 days to traverse, and in Genesis the place in question is not a ‘mount Moriah’ but one of several mountains in a land of that name, and the hills on which Jerusalem stands are visible at a distance. There is no need to doubt therefore that Abraham’s sacrifice took place on the site of later Jerusalem, if not on the Temple hill.” (Edited by J. Douglas, 1980, Vol. 2, p. 1025) Therefore, the trip of some 80 km (50 mi) on foot from Beer-sheba to Mount Moriah would conceivably have taken more than two full days.
Mount Moriah evidently was far enough from the Salem of Abraham’s time that the attempted sacrifice of Isaac did not take place in full view of the city’s inhabitants. There is no record that these witnessed the incident or tried to interfere. That the site was somewhat isolated centuries later may be deduced from the fact that in David’s day there was a threshing floor on Mount Moriah. However, no mention is made of any buildings on the site.—2Ch 3:1.
Today the Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock is situated atop Mount Moriah.—See JERUSALEM (Later Periods).