GOLGOTHA: The site of Golgotha and Garden Tomb:
What do we know about the site of the tomb?
- It was rock-hewn (Mar 15:46).
- "In the place" (Joh 19:46), "near at
hand" (Mar 15:42).
- A private garden belonging to a rich man (Mat
The traditional site, where the "Church of the Holy Sepulchre"
is located today, was probably inside the city walls at that time, and thus
disqualified... for Jesus was crucified outside the city.
Another possibility, "Gordon's Tomb", was discovered in 1867
-- north of the old city, near the Damascus Gate, under a hill somewhat
resembling a skull. (An English explorer named Gordon discovered and excavated
this tomb.) The entire area was found to be honeycombed with tombs dating to
first century. One tomb nearby bore the inscription: "Buried near my
The sepulchre is in what was obviously once a garden -- a
small level yard with a few fruit trees and plants. At the north end is a high
perpendicular wall. There is an opening with a runway suitable for a rock wheel,
and a burial room about 10 feet square.
Golgotha signifies "skull", from the Hebrew "galal" = circle
(cp Galilee). Most likely, then, it was this hill north of Jerusalem, on the
Damascus Road, where criminals were executed. To it was attached the name of
If the ancient tradition is correct, that Golgotha derived its
name from being the burial place of Adam... then here, supposedly, was laid to
rest the skull of the first Adam; and here, also, the last Adam came to restore
that which his predecessor lost.
- it was the place of death,
- shaped like a skull, with recesses for
eyes, mouth, etc,
- and perhaps the site where Adam died [it is an ancient
tradition that Adam died at what later became Jerusalem]; and
- perhaps the
site of the burial of Goliath's head/skull.
A more likely supposition, however, is that Golgotha was the
site of the burial of the skull of Goliath (1Sa 17:54). Thus Christ, in his
death, figuratively bruised the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15) just where David
buried the head of the Philistine, the "man of sin".