In that manner as mount Olivet lay over-against the city on the east, the valley of Kedron running between,--so, on the north, behind a valley somewhat broader, stretched out from Sion northward, the land swelled into a hill, at the place which from thence was called Zophim; because thence there was a prospect on all sides, but especially towards the city.
Concerning it Josephus thus: "Caesar, when he had received a legion by night from Ammaus, the day after moving his tents thence, He entered into Scopo so called. Where the city appeared, and the greatness of the Temple shining out: as that plain tract of land, touching upon the north coast of the city, is truly called Scopus, The Viewer."
Hence those canons and cautions: "He that pisseth, let him turn his face to the north: he that easeth nature, to the south. R. Josi Ben R. Bon saith, The tradition is, From Zophim and within":--that is, if this be done by any one from Zophim inwards, when he is now within the prospect of the city; when he pisseth, let him turn his face to the north, that he do not expose his modest parts before the Temple: when he easeth nature, let him turn his face to the south, that he expose not his buttocks before it.
"If any one, being gone out of Jerusalem, shall remember, that holy flesh is in his hand, if he be now gone beyond Zophim, let him burn it in the place where he is." (For it is polluted by being carried out of the walls of Jerusalem.) "But if he be not beyond Zophim, let him go back, and burn it before the Temple." Where the Gloss thus; "Zophim is a place whence the Temple may be seen." But another Gloss doth not understand the thing here of that proper place, but of the whole compass about the city, wheresoever the city could first be seen. So R. Eliezer, of Abraham, going from the south to Jerusalem, "The third day they came to Zophim: but when he came to Zophim, he saw the glory of the Divine Majesty sitting upon the Mount" (Moriah).