Daughter of Zion

ZION, DAUGHTER OF (בַת־צִיֹּ֔ון; LXX θυγάτηρ Σιών). A fig. expression frequently used by the OT prophets for Jerusalem and its inhabitants.

Lamentations 2:10, which speaks of the “elders of the daughter of Zion,” clearly shows that the whole population of Jerusalem is thus personified, and that the construct is here used in an appositional sense. Such a fig. use of “daughter of” is not confined to “daughter of Zion.” Psalm 137:8 refers to the “daughter of Babylon.” Isaiah uses the expression with Jerusalem, Babylon, Sidon, Tarshish, and Gallim. Jeremiah speaks twice of the “daughter of Egypt” and twice of the “daughter of Babylon.” In his Book of Lamentations, “daughter of Jerusalem” appears twice, “daughter of Edom” twice, and “daughter of Judah” three times. In all of these cases a nation or city is personified, giving recognition to the human character of the inhabitants. The figure was particularly popular with the prophets.

Statistics for “daughter of Zion” tell much the same story. In 2 Kings 19:21 “daughter of Zion” is paralleled by “daughter of Jerusalem,” showing their essential equivalence; the statement is made by Isaiah, who uses the phrase six times in the Book of Isaiah. Jeremiah uses “daughter of Zion” eleven times in the Books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. Micah, Zephaniah and Zechariah also use the expression.

In contrast to this usage, the pl., “daughters of,” generally refers to individual women (e.g., Isa 3:16), but is used a number of times to indicate the suburbs or villages belonging to a city. In the NT “daughter of Zion” appears in Matthew 21:5 and John 12:15.