Jerusalem is an important Palestine|Palestinian city, sacred because of its association with David and Jesus to Jews and Christians respectively; it is also sacred to Islam because of its traditional associations with Abraham and Muhammad. Its history is central to the Biblical narrative and the development of Christianity; and as a theological symbol Jerusalem exercised a profound influence on Christian writing and hymnology.
Theologically, Jerusalem is the most important city on earth in the history of God’s revelation to man in those divine acts by which redemption has been accomplished. It was the royal city, the capital of the only kingdom God has (thus far) established on earth. Here the temple was erected, and here, during the kingdom age, Sacrifice|sacrifices were offered. This was the city of the prophets, as well as the kings of David’s line. Here occurred the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost on an assembled group in this city, giving birth to the Christian church; and here the first great church council was held. Jerusalem is “the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name” (1Kgs.14.21). Even the first-century Rome|Roman historian Pliny referred to Jerusalem as “by far the most famous city of the ancient Orient.” This city has been the preeminent objective of pilgrimage|pilgrimages for over two thousand years, and it was in an attempt to recover the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem that the Crusades were organized.
No site in all Scripture receives such constant and exalted praise as Jerusalem. Concerning no place in the world have such promises been made of ultimate glory and permanent peace.
While the word Jerusalem is Semitic, it apparently was not a name given to the city for the first time by the Hebrew people. Far back in the time of the Amarna Letters (1400 b.c.), it was called U-ru-sa-lim, that is, a city of Salim, generally taken to mean “city of peace.” In the Hebrew Bible the word first appears in Josh.10.1 where it is spelled Yerushalayim. In the Aramaic of Ezra.4.8, Ezra.4.20, Ezra.4.24; Ezra.5.1 it is Jerushlem. In the records of Sennacherib it is called Ursalimu. In the Syriac it is Urishlem; in the LXX, it is Hierousalem. The Romans, at the time of Hadrian, a.d. 135, changed the name to Aelia Capitolina. For centuries, Arabs have called the city Al-Kuds al-Sharif, which means “the Sanctuary.”
Although some have suggested that Salem was taken as the name of a Canaan|Canaanite deity--making it the city of the god Salem--it is more likely that Salem was the earlier name for the city, the name given it during Abraham's interaction with Melchizedek, the king of Salem (Gen.14.18; Ps.76.2). Because the name of the city means peace, we are told that in this place God himself will give peace (Hag.2.9). The children of God are exhorted to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps.122.6). Isaiah said, “For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will extend peace to her like a river”' (Isa.66.12). This word “Salem” is the basis of both the Arabic greeting “Salam” and the Jewish greeting “Shalom,” both meaning “peace be with you.”
Since medieval times, the Jewish pronunciation of יְרוּשָׁלָ֑יִם has been yerusalayim, a dual form, perhaps on the analogy of מִצְרָֽיִם, misrayim, (double) Egypt.
Jerusalem is situated thirty-three miles east of the Mediterranean Sea|Mediterranean and fourteen miles west of the Dead Sea, at an elevation of 2,500 ft., at a major road junction on the crest of west Palestine’s central ridge. This ridge rises slowly from the promontory of Mt. Gilboa in the N (1,700 ft.) to a point near Hebron, c. twenty miles south of Jerusalem (3,370 ft.). Although Jerusalem’s highest point (under 2,600 ft.) cannot rival Hebron to its south, David properly described its location, for most of his subjects, “to which the tribes go up” (Ps 122:4).
From the west, the rail line approaches Jerusalem through Samson’s rugged valley of Sorek (Judg 16:4), still guarded with concrete blockhouses from the 1948 fighting, and ending in the valley of Rephaim (2 Sam 5:22) just south of the city. Until recently, the only alternative route consisted of the Jaffa highway, which branched off from the valley of Aijalon to the north and snaked its way along the canyons, through Abu Ghosh (Old Testament Kiriath-jearim, one of the several sites proposed for New Testament Emmaus, Luke 24:13) to Jerusalem.
From the east, one leaves the Jordan River|Jordan, by Jericho, at over 1,200 ft. below Mediterranean sea level and must then ascend through the barren Senonian chalk wilderness of Judah by the gorge called Adummim (Josh 15:7), the Ascent of “Blood,” probably because of its red ochre deposits. Rainfall is practically nonexistent here, the winds from the western Sea having been drained of their life-giving moisture by the intervening ridge. The highest point is reached just east of the city, on the 2,650 ft. crest of the Mount of Olives|Mt. of Olives. Though difficult of access, Jerusalem enjoys a correspondingly protected location. Furthermore, whereas lacking significant natural resources, it does lie astride the major north-south trade route, which renders its location both commercially and politically strategic. It was its control of this ridge route that probably dictated its settlement in the first place.
Because of “the mountains...round about Jerusalem” (Ps 125:2) the city’s plateau remains hidden until the traveler suddenly tops one of the higher ridges that surround it. From the east, for example, as he crosses Olivet--as is still done every Palm Sunday, following the course of Christ’s Triumphal Entry|triumphal entry--the whole city of Jerusalem suddenly appears, spread out in a great panorama.
Jerusalem consists of a complex of five, once sharply distinguished hills, carved out of hard Cenomanian limestone, roughly one-half mile square. On the western and southern sides lies the “L”-shaped valley of Hinnom (Josh 15:8); eastward is the gorge of the brook Kidron, perhaps Joel’s valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2).
The interior of the square was once bisected by a ravine running from north to south and finally curving into the Kidron just north of its junction with the Hinnom. In New Testament times it was called the Tyropoeon Valley|Tyropoeon “cheesemakers” Valley; and it may be (partially) equivalent to the Old Testament מַכְתֵּ֑שׁ, “mortar” (Zeph 1:11). Though still discernible in the north, in the form of a depression west of the Damascus Gate, successive destructions of the city have now obliterated most of its course. Jerusalem’s present day profile, with its apparently uninterrupted rise from the Kidron escarpment westward to “Mt. Zion” (see below) and then with an abrupt drop into the Hinnom Valley, fails to indicate the up to 100 ft. of debris with which the central ravine is now choked.
East of the Tyropoeon lie three hills. The southernmost is the smallest, its crest having an elevation of only 2,200 ft.; but its sharp declivities and narrow ridge-like character, slightly pinched off in the north, made it the most easily defensible part of the whole. Archeological investigation has confirmed that this was the original Zion, or “City of David” (2 Sam 5:7). Northward (Ps 48:2) lies the broader summit of Moriah, originally a threshing floor, but designated by David as a place of sacrifice and the Temple Mount|temple mount (2 Chron 3:1), which it has remained to this day. Its rocky peak, over which the altar of sacrifice was erected, may be identified with the spot on which Abraham was willing to offer up his son Isaac, “upon one of the mountains” of “the land of Moriah” (Gen 22:2). For nearly thirteen centuries it has been covered by the Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock. The surrounding area is now artificially leveled off to form a roughly rectangular court, 1,000 by 1,500 ft., 2,400 ft. in elevation: the Haram esh-Sharif, or “Noble Sanctuary.”
A fairly flat saddle once separated Moriah from the third, or northeast hill, Mt. Bezetha, the peak of which still lies outside the northeastern city wall. The natural lines of demarcation are somewhat obscured, for when Herod expanded the Haram northward, he obliterated a ravine that had formerly cut across the northeast corner of the Temple area.
Jerusalem’s western half was subdivided by a larger ravine that branched off midway in the course of the Tyropoeon: the “cross valley,” cutting westward to the present Jaffa Gate. To its south lay what the Old Testament may have designated as Mount Gareb|Mt. Gareb (Jer 31:39), but to which subsequent history, after the abandonment of the original City of David in a.d. 70, has assigned the old name of Zion (Josephus, War, V. iv. 1), probably because of the dominant position of its 2,550 ft. elevation peak. Though Gareb was once again embraced within expanded Byzantium|Byzantine Jerusalem, in a.d. 985 the Muslim Caliph of Cairo, so as to shorten the city’s line of defense, once more redirected the southern wall roughly .2 miles farther north, with the result that the southern part of Gareb, together with the whole of ancient Zion, have henceforward remained outside the walls of Jerusalem and have become partially unoccupied.
To the northwest, the land stretches off in an incline, broken only by what was once a hill or spur, on which now rests the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Environment and Other Characteristics
The annual rainfall at Jerusalem amounts to about twenty-five inches, but this is concentrated in the winter months. Temperature, moderated by the elevation, shows seasonal averages ranging from 40o to 85o F. Snow is rare; but the stone buildings of old Jerusalem can, upon occasion, become frankly dank and cold, cf. Ezra 10:9: “the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month [early January]...all the people sat in the open square... trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.” Yet from May until October, the grass turns brown, and the hamsin wind that blows from off the eastern deserts may produce a period of serious heat and drought. Generally, however, the western sea breeze keeps the days mild and the evenings cool.
Two springs provide the water that was so essential for occupation, especially prior to the coming of the Israelites, with whom appeared also the development of cistern|cisterns with linings of waterproof lime. The Gihon (1 Kings 1:33; 2 Chron 32:30), or Virgin’s Spring, issues from a grotto on the Kidron Valley side of the City of David and produces an intermittent stream. En-Rogel (Josh 15:7; 2 Sam 17:17), or Job’s Well, perhaps the “Jackal's Well|Jackal’s Well” of Nehemiah 2:13, lies farther south, below the junction of the Kidron and the Hinnom. It is a true well, which in winter bubbles up in artesian fashion (November to March, after the seasonal rain has raised the surrounding water table).
Architecture and Layout
From a literary viewpoint, Jerusalem is blessed with an abundance of citations both canonical and otherwise, far more than for any other ancient capital. Josephus in particular (Josephus, War, V. iv. 1-4) describes the city just prior to its fall to Rome in a.d. 70. Yet with but few exceptions, these references concern its outer boundaries and fortifications, not its inner structure. From an archeological viewpoint, Jerusalem remains almost inaccessible. It has not been systematically excavated, like other sites, due in part to religious taboos. Particularly in the Haram area, these cut off any major investigation, from the time of C. Warren and his primitive shafts of 1867 up until the start of excavation by B. Mazar and the Hebrew University at the southern Temple wall, which commenced in 1968. Even more, this is due to the continuous occupation of the city; it is primarily the fringes of Jerusalem that have been touched, where certain walls and tower fragments can be dated as far back as the pre-Davidic Jebusites.
Borders and Gates
The present “Old City” walls and gates stem from a.d. 1542 and the Turkish sultan Suleiman II. Admittedly, this city does not extend all the way southward to the Hinnom Valley: its perimeter excludes part of modern “Zion” (the ancient southwest hill of Gareb) and almost the whole of the City of David (SE hill). This receives compensation from its bulged out Christian Quarters to the northwest and its large Muslim Quarter east of Bezetha, resulting in a somewhat disproportionate 4,200 ft. for Suleiman’s north wall. As a result, the Old City walls as visited by today’s traveler do not differ too greatly in total length from those known by Jesus. Especially on the east and west sides of the Temple area, the huge lower stones with their characteristically Herodian grooved edges, indicate rebuilding on top of the actual New Testament foundations. The extent of these fortifications far outstrips that of the other towns of Palestine; cf. “the [one] gate” of the northern capital of Samaria (1 Kings 22:10) with Jerusalem’s seven.
On the south, over the old central valley, lies the Gate of the Moors, or Dung Gate—but the Old Testament Dung Gate, (Potsherd Gate [?], Jer 19:2) was farther south, on Hinnom’s edge (Neh 2:13; 3:13), at the southern limit of the Old Testament walls. Westward, up on the crest of Gareb, is the Zion Gate (or David Gate), considerably west of the Old Testament Valley Gate (2 Chron 26:9; Neh 2:13), which would seem to correspond more closely to the Gate of the Moors.
On the west, where the “cross valley” used to drop into the Hinnom, stands the Jaffa Gate (Old Testament Corner Gate, 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chron 26:9), once again, since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the main artery for commerce to the coast or to Hebron. To its north stood Nehemiah’s Tower of the Ovens, or Furnaces (Neh 3:11); and built into the foundations of the present “tower of David,” just south of the Gate, are the typically grooved stones of Herod’s Tower of Phasael. Similar stones appear in the basement of the nearby School of the Brethren. In 1890, the Turkish government opened up the New Gate just past the northwest corner of the city, thus restoring the number of gates to seven. From 1948 to 1967, when no-man’s-land extended along the west part of the wall, the New Gate, Jaffa Gate, and Zion Gate were barricaded and unapproachable.
The site of David’s palace can no longer be identified, though it seems to have been in the southeast of Zion, the City of David (Neh 12:37). Although most Tomb|tombs that are claimed for King|kings or Prophet|prophets of Israel are spurious, David’s sepulchre is known to have been at the south end of the east side of Zion, near the surviving “stairs that go down from the City of David” (3:15, 16); the same site is presumably confirmed by Peter’s words that David’s tomb “is with us to this day” (Acts 2:29). It may possibly be equated with two “barrel vaults” at that point. First excavated by R. Weill in 1913, 1914, these tunnel-like structures were reached at their south ends by vertical shafts and arched doorways, three and one-half ft. high and two ft. wide. The tunnels themselves are about six ft. wide and fifty ft. long. Both have lost much of their upper portions through Roman quarrying in post-New Testament times; but half of the more western tunnel’s vaulted ceiling is preserved, over twelve ft. from the floor. Yet the floor in the back (N) twenty ft. is higher, only six ft. from the ceiling, and a deep groove midway up the stone walls of the front (S) portion yet showed remains of a masonry flooring and indicates a division into two stories. Features of the construction indicate that the lower was the later addition. A trough across the rear of the upper level, three and one-half ft. wide and one ft. deep, might possibly have served as a sarcophagus for David or Asa (2 Chron 16:14); or the added level, as Hezekiah’s added part (32:33). Certain notches and lines do correspond to features of Hezekiah’s undeniably authentic water tunnel, and Simons finds it “difficult to resist the impression that with these tombs we have indeed come into possession of some remains of the royal sepulchres.” Josephus seems to have located falsely the tomb of David on Gareb (Josephus, War, V. iv. 1; cf. Antiq. VII, xv. 3, XIII. viii. 4, XVI. vii. 1), where a Jewish shrine is marked to this day, next to the Church of the Dormition, south of the present Old City walls.
North of Zion, the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite prob. stood on the highest point of Moriah, which is clearly distinguished by a crag that is now surmounted by the Muslim “Dome of the Rock.” 2 Chronicles 3:1 also makes it clear that Solomon built the house of Yahweh on Mt. Moriah, “at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor,” which might suggest that it was the most holy place of the Temple that rested on the rock. Such a resting place would indeed provide a level foundation for the Temple; but it would considerably crowd the holy place, the porch, and the courts, all of which would then have had to have lain to the east, before the sharp drop-off of the Kidron. In light of the following facts: that a channel runs north from the rock, presumably to carry off the blood and the other liquids that were employed in libations; that a cave exists under the rock, which would serve well for ashes and other refuse; and that 1 Chronicles 22:1 specifically designates the rock for the altar--it seems more likely that the rock supported the foundation of the altar and that the Temple would originally have stood to its west, probably on supporting walls that were built up. Whether or not any such still remain within and beneath the sacred enclosure of the Haram it has been impossible to investigate.
The so-called tombs of Absalom and Zechariah, on the east side of the Kidron Valley are actually examples of the נֶ֫פֶשׁ, H5883, soul, or monument placed above a tomb, the latter for the priestly family of Bene Hezir. Their pyramid, or conical, tops with supporting Ionic columns and cornices cut out of the solid rock of the hillside indicate a Greco-Egyptian style of the 3rd century b.c. Many more Hebrew graves followed in this general Olivet area, probably because of Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah’s advent in victory would occur upon this ridge (Zech 14:5); and it is then that the resurrection of the saints will take place (1 Thess 4:16).
In the Hellenistic period, oven-like horizontal shafts, or כּוּכִים, began to replace the bench-like shelves or alcoves cut into tomb walls for the reception of bodies. The so-called Tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, exhibits the כּוּכִים structure. Examples that contain dozens of such shafts appear in the “Tombs of the Kings” (actually, of the family of Queen Helen of Adiabene, mid-1st Christian century), north of the city, beyond the present St. George Cathedral, and in the “Tombs of the Judges” (or, Sanhedrin), with their Greek facades and even with a great forecourt and benches cut from the living rock for funerary meals, to the northwest. At the former, and at a Herodian family tomb west of the Hinnom, south of the King David Hotel, may still be found in place, the six ft. disks of stone that were rolled in a carved trench to seal the tomb doorways. The trench, though not the stone, appears likewise at the Garden Tomb, just north of the Damascus gate. Ordinarily, tombs were located outside the walls of the city. Of King Herod’s mighty building projects, only three significant fragments survive. His Temple has vanished; but much of the Herodian terracing for its surrounding courts remains intact. This is especially the case for the southern platform, with its supporting arches—the so-called “Stables of Solomon”: actually, Crusader, but with the lower parts of the pillars genuinely Herodian--and for its surrounding wall. On the west are the massive stones of the “Wailing Wall”; and at the southeast corner, where the platform rises 150 ft. above the natural ground level, what some have identified with the “pinnacle” of the Temple (Matt 4:5, Luke 4:9; the πτερύγιον, G4762, lit., “little wing,” AG, “end,” “edge”). At this point, the Herodian construction still rises 130 ft., or to within 20 ft. of its original height; cf. Mark 13:1, “What wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” Indeed, one of the top “railing” stones was recovered in the 1968 excavations of the Hebrew University, at the very spot where it fell outside the south wall in a.d. 70.
Two stone bridges connected the Temple area with, respectively, valley stairs and Herod’s palace to the west. Only the spring of “Robinson's Arch|Robinson’s Arch” remains projecting from the southwest Temple wall, of what was once a great span. One hundred fifty yards farther north is “Wilson’s Arch,” which yet stands practically intact, though beneath more modern structures. Smaller arches carry the causeway westward from what was once the Tyropoeon Valley to his citadel between the southwest and the northwest hills. There the footings of his three huge towers of Hippacus, Phasael (incorporated into the present “Tower of David”), and Mariamne still determine the pattern of the Turkish fort at the Jaffa Gate.
Finally, Herod’s Tower of Antonia (Acts 21:34-37) underlies today’s convent of the Dames of Zion. They may be similar to Gabbatha (q.v.), “the pavement” (John 19:13), where Jesus appeared before Pontius Pilate|Pilate. The location of the “praetorium” (Mark 15:16) cannot be verified. Though some might identify it with Herod’s palace, to the west, the factor of the pavement at Antonia would indicate that the present “Via Dolorosa” does commence at the proper point, namely at this Tower.
Except for such general locations as the Garden of Gethsemane, somewhere on the west side of Olivet (Matt 26:30, 36; cf. Acts 1:12), little can be said for authentic sites associated with the Jerusalem ministries of Jesus. The Pool of Bethesda (Bethzatha, ASV mg.), near the Sheep Gate (John 5:2), just may be identifiable with a reservoir, far below the present land surface, by the Abbey of St. Anne in the Bezetha area; and a case can be made for the equation of the ruins at St. Peter’s of Gallicantu “cockcrowing” on Gareb with the house of Caiaphas and hence of the trial of Christ and the prison of the apostles (Matt 26:57; Acts 5:18). A 1st century flight of steps that here descends into the Tyropoeon Valley may have felt the feet of the Master. The present western site of the “House of the Last Supper” has little to commend it; and Calvary-Golgotha, “the place of a skull” (John 19:17), despite popular identification with a “hill” is not even known to have been an elevation.
The hill of “Gordon’s Calvary,” with its accompanying “Garden Tomb,” now resembles a skull, but did not do so in a.d. 30. Its location cannot be said to be impossible. The same is the case for the traditional Church of the Holy Sepulchre, on a spur of Jerusalem’s northwest hill. The one known fact of Calvary is that it lay outside the city (John 19:17, 20; Heb 13:12). On the one hand, wherever it was above the “cross valley” that Herod built his second north wall, it might seem unlikely that this commanding spur would not have been included within his defenses. On the other hand, excavations have found fragments of ancient walls south and east of the church and have failed to establish settled occupation of this area until after the time of Pontius Pilate. The presence within the church of the so-called “Tomb of Joseph” might favor its location outside the city of a.d. 30. K. Kenyon’s recent excavation just south of the church uncovered an old quarry that lay outside the 7th century b.c. town and that remained vacant until the Rom. rebuilding of a.d. 135. She therefore insists that the church site must have lain outside also (Jerusalem, p. 154). Because this area clearly lay within Herod Agrippa|Agrippa’s third north wall, it seems possible that it might have lain within the second wall as well.
Two inscriptions from ancient Jerusalem have been plausibly associated with incidents in the early apostolic church. At the southern end of old Zion has appeared the floor plan of a building complex and the “Inscription of Theodotos,” identifying it as a synagogue, hospice, and bathing establishment for pilgrims “from abroad”; it may correspond to the “synagogue of the freedmen” that opposed Stephen (Acts 6:9). From the Temple area have come two separate inscriptions, from a whole regularly spaced series that warned Gentiles to approach no closer into the inner courts: “Whosoever may be caught attempting to do so will have only himself to blame if his death should ensue in consequence,” a prohibition that Paul was accused of violating (21:28).
The memory of New Testament sites must largely have been erased in the destruction of a.d. 70, although continued excavation may unearth additional details.
The scientific study of Jerusalem’s history begins with the coming of Edward Robinson, an American pastor, to the city in 1838. It was taken up in earnest by the Palestinian Exploration Fund in 1865, who sponsored the extensive tunneling projects of Capt. (later Sir) Charles Warren (1867-1869), around the Temple area. Muslim opposition then brought such work generally to an end, though Bliss and Dickie were able to sink similar shafts and tunnels around parts of the perimeter of the former city (1894-1897). Scientifically controlled excavation, checked by an accurate system of pottery chronology, began yet another generation later; and even then, religious controls, plus the urban construction that covers most of the land, prevented thorough archeological investigation. A noteworthy exception was the series of campaigns conducted by Kathleen Kenyon in various parts of the city (1961-1967). With the reunification of the city under Israeli control in 1967, opportunities have reopened; and the Hebrew University excavations, commenced by B. Mazar in 1968 outside the western and southern walls of the Temple area, give promise of clearing up a number of remaining historical uncertainties. The Bible constitutes the primary source for reconstructing the history of Jerusalem, unequaled for any other ancient Near Eastern city. Its words are supplemented by an increasing flow of archeological data and also, especially in its later periods, by contemporaneous, secular literary sources.
The earliest remains from Jerusalem consist of Early Paleolithic handaxes (but no actual skeletons), systematically excavated in 1933 from the Sorek plain, or valley of Rephaim, just southwest of the present city. Urban culture, however, arose with the coming of the Canaanites in 3000 b.c.
Pre-Israelite, to 1406 B.C.
The city is first named in Middle Bronze Age times (2000-1600 b.c.) in Egyptian twelfth dynasty execration texts, c. 1900-1800, which employ the form, Urushalim, “foundation (?) of Shalem”; cf. its initial Biblical designation, in Moses’ writing of Genesis, c. 1450 b.c., as “Salem” (Gen 14:18; cf. Ps 76:2). שָׁלֵ֔ם, signifies “complete,” “prosperous,” “peaceful” (cf. Heb 7:2), though it may also have been the name of a “prospering” Canaanite deity, Shalem. The name was not originally Hebrew in any event.
The choice of Jerusalem’s location seems to have been dictated by factors of defense and of water. The latter was supplied from the Gihon spring in the Kidron Valley below and to the E (2 Chron 32:30), from which a supply tunnel angled upward to within the city. Correspondingly, the east walls, which were once thought to have run along the eastern edge of the crest, and hence to have restricted the city to a width of about 100 yards, are now known, at least from 1800 b.c. onward, to have lain some 50 yards farther east, two-thirds of the way down the slope, which was crowded with houses. The wide northern wall, over 20 ft. in thickness, has not yet been fully exposed, but its area has been closely pinpointed by K. Kenyon’s excavations. They demonstrate that occupation prior to the 10th century b.c. began at a point 100 yards south of the present south wall of Jerusalem. The city then extended about one-quarter mile southward. Its western wall lay on the summit of the ridge, along its west side. Its total area, once thought to have been less than eight acres (which is still not uncharacteristic of Canaan’s towns), is now known to have been almost eleven. Finally, its elevation, while less than Moriah or Gareb, was not such as to impair its security, firepower being limited as it was in those days.
Jebusite vs. Israel, to 1003 B.C.
Midway in the Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 b.c.) Scripture, in its records of Joshua’s wars at the time of the conquest (1406-1400 b.c.), identifies a certain Adoni-zedek as “king of Jerusalem” (Josh 10:1). This Amorite, indeed, headed up the confederacy of southern Canaanitish kings that opposed Joshua; and he lost his life, following their defeat at Bethhoron (10:23, 26; 12:10). But Jerusalem itself seems to have escaped unscathed.
During the period of the judges, the city carried the corresponding name of יְב֔וּס, Jebus (Judg 19:10-11; 1 Chron 11:4). It was at this point, in the 14th cent., that the Jebusites constructed a series of stone filled platforms down the hill slope to the wall on the E side of the city; cf. Jerusalem’s designation as, “by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the side [ASVmg., ‘shoulder’] of the Jebusite southward” (Josh 15:8; 18:16, though technically the city did not then reach to the Hinnom Valley). These stone “shoulders” enabled a more efficient use of the slope for building; but unhappily the eventual collapse of the hillside platforms, combined with quarryings on the crest, have removed all traces of Canaanite buildings.
David, to 970
David forthwith transferred his residence to Zion, the fortified city of Jerusalem, and named it after himself, “the City of David” (2 Sam 5:9). He also engaged in considerable building. This included his palace, by means of cedar timbers and skilled craftsmen provided by Hiram king of Tyre (v. 11), and the “Millo,” q.v. (v. 9), “a filling,” which may refer to a reinforcing of the system of platforms and terraces already established by the Canaanites on the eastern slope of Zion (K. Kenyon, BA, XXVII , 43; cf. the similar activity by Solomon [1 Kings 9:15, 24] and Hezekiah [2 Chron 32:1-5]).
In 970 b.c., at the close of David’s reign, his son Adonijah, who stood next to Absalom in point of age, proposed to usurp the throne of Israel from Solomon, the heir designate. While in the very act of being crowned at En-Rogel (1 Kings 1:9), Adonijah heard sounds from the Gihon Spring, 700 yards farther up the Kidron, indicating that Nathan and Zadok had persuaded David to have Solomon anointed there, immediately, as his successor (vv. 38-45). To this day shouting may in fact be heard from one spring to the other, and thus Adonijah’s attempt was frustrated. Shortly thereafter, David died and was buried in the City of David (2:10); see below, III, B.
Solomon, to 930
The city walls of Jerusalem were necessarily extended northward to include the Moriah area (1 Kings 3:1); and Kenyon discovered that occupation N of the original Canaanite northern wall (see above, A, 1) did in fact begin in Solomonic, 10th cent. times (Jerusalem, p. 56). On the W, the new walls simply continued along the western edge of the summit of the Zion-Moriah ridge; on the E, however, Zion’s walls stood two-thirds of the way down the slope. These Solomon did not seek to extend, but built his northern prolongation along the eastern edge of the crest only (Kenyon, p. 200, note 20a), thus pinching off the width of the city to a little more than fifty yards, at least at the point where Solomon’s addition joined the former northern wall.
Solomon brought the Ark up to Mt. Moriah from Mt. Zion during the Feast of Tabernacles the following year, 958 b.c. (2 Chron 5:2-10). He also reunited it with the remaining elements of the Mosaic sanctuary by bodily transporting the Tabernacle to Jerusalem from Gibeon and laying it up within the new Temple (5:5). The climax of the dedication occured when the theophanic cloud of God’s glory entered and filled the Temple (1 Kings 8:10, 11), so that it became in very truth the “house of the Lord.” Jerusalem was thus confirmed as the chosen city of God, as the place in which his “name” (q.v.), condescended to dwell (2 Chron 6:6).
Solomon also constructed an acropolis complex, with casemate walls and presumably extensive stable facilities (cf. 1 Kings 9:19; 10:26), at the N end of the crest of Zion (Kenyon, BA, XXVII , 41; cf. Jerusalem, p. 56). Among his other public buildings were: the “House of the Forest of Lebanon,” a 180 ft. hall resting on forty-five columns of cedar in three rows; the throne room, which was distinguished as “the porch of judgment”; and a large palace, adequate for the king’s harem of 1,000 women (1 Kings 7:2-8). This last edifice, in fact, required thirteen years for its construction, as opposed to the seven for the Temple (v. 1), though the latter did have the benefit of David’s advance preparations. These structures are described as built “of costly stones, hewn according to measure, sawed with saws” (v. 9), topped by courses of cedar beams (v. 12). Kenyon’s discovery, by the N wall of the old city of Zion, of a proto-Aeolic pilaster capital and of carefully polished facing stones similar to those found in Ahab’s (Phoen.) palace at Samaria suggest the remnants of at least one of the Solomonic buildings at this point (Jerusalem, p. 59). Others were presumably erected to the S of the Temple, where the Aksa Mosque now stands; at the southeastern end of Moriah; and in nearby areas.
The palace of the daughter of Pharaoh lay outside the City of David and “up” (9:24), perhaps between Moriah and Zion, but not on either because of the presence of the holy Ark, with which her own residence was felt to be incompatible (2 Chron 8:11). It may have been associated with Ophel, q.v., the “swelling,” possibly to the NE of the old Zion, where the ridge swings eastward; for the same term, Ophel, may designate a similar “hill” or “projection” at Samaria (2 Kings 5:24).
Evidence concerning the higher, southwestern hill of Jerusalem is sparse. Kathleen Kenyon discovered no occupation on its southeast slopes prior to the 1st Christian cent., so its southern portion must not have been included within the city walls until New Testament times. Her excavations on the northern part of the hill, immediately to the S of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, uncovered a quarry, which would have lain outside any ancient walls, but with an initial 7th cent. b.c. fill (Jerusalem, pp. 152, 153), suggestive of the presence of city by that date at least (and prob. earlier?) to its S. The testimony of Jeremiah 31:38-40 suggests that the incorporation of the northern portion—which includes the peak of the SW hill—into Jerusalem may have been preexilic. At present, the only concrete evidence lies in the fact that Herod’s W side towers were built over previous fortifications, though these may of course be no earlier than postexilic. Solomon, however, in building up other major Israelite cities, is said also to have labored on the wall of Jerusalem (1 Kings 9:15); and, pending the results of further excavation, either he or the prosperous 8th cent. monarch Uzziah (see below, C, 2) would have been the most capable of accomplishing such expansion.
The result is then a city shaped like a great inverted “L,” extending W and S from Mt. Moriah. The southern wall of its western arm has not yet been determined. The large wall at the extreme S that moves across the central Tyropoeon Valley and along the rim of the Hinnom Valley, which was first identified by F. J. Bliss and E. C. Dickie in 1898 as the original Solomonic wall, is now dated by Kenyon only to the time of Herod Agrippa I, a.d. 41-44 (ibid., pp. 155-161) and must be abandoned in favor of something more closely approximating the present SW wall of Jerusalem. The northern wall of the western arm would have followed the natural defense line along the southern edge of the “cross valley” (see above, I, B), moving directly W from the Temple area (Jos. War, V. iv. 1).
Judah, to Jehu’s revolt, 841
Upon Solomon’s death in 930, and the refusal at Shechem of northern Israel to accept Rehoboam’s kingship, the latter fled to Jerusalem and sought to raise troops to subdue Ephraim (1 Kings 12:18, 21); but God forbade it. Rehoboam was forced to content himself with defensive measures (2 Chron 11:5-12). Immediately after his own accession in the N, Jeroboam prohibited further pilgrimages to Jerusalem by members of the ten tribes (1 Kings 12:27, 28), though as a result many of the Levites emigrated S, strengthening the religious position of Jerusalem. Northern secular support for Rehoboam came to an end in three years (2 Chron 11:14-17).
The division left Judah seriously weakened from a military standpoint, so that in 926, Shishak (Sheshonk I), first pharaoh of Egypt’s twenty-second dynasty, was able to raid, almost at will, throughout Israel (12:2-4). Jerusalem escaped actual plundering, but only by the payment of a heavy indemnity in treasure (v. 9) arranged between Shishak and Rehoboam, presumably at Gibeon (Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible, pp. 283, 287). This is confirmed by the omission of Jerusalem from the list of plundered cities, as inscribed on the wall of Shishak’s Karnak temple. The years that followed witnessed a further comparative impoverishment of Judah as opposed to the wealth of Israel and its successive capitals. Abijam (913-910) acted in faith and gained a striking victory against Israel, but only when almost overcome (2 Chron 13).
To the fall of Samaria, 722
He and his son and co-regent Jotham (751-736) seem to have been responsible for levelling out the “pinched off” area of the Solomonic extension of Jerusalem between Zion and Moriah (27:3; cf. II B. 2 above, and Ophel), by running a wall so as to include much of the slope of this eastern part of the ridge, just as was already included along Mt. Zion to the S (cf. Angle). Because of Uzziah’s eventual death by leprosy, 739 b.c., his interment, although in the City of David (2 Kings 15:7), is specified as “in the burial field which belonged to the kings” (2 Chron 26:23), that is, “not in the tomb of the them...that his body might not defile the kings, but only in the neighborhood of royal graves” (KD, “Chronicles,” p. 430). That he was buried “...with his fathers” (2 Kings 15:7) might then indicate the less honorable tomb of his grandfather Joash, and perhaps of Jehoram as well; see above. J. Simons, however, suggests: “not in one of the monumental rock tombs underneath, but in the ‘field’ above” (Jerusalem in the Old Testament, p. 205). This might account in turn for the subsequent removal of his remains to another location; in 1931, E. L. Sukenik discovered in a museum on the Mount of Olives a limestone tablet, a little over one ft. square, dating to c. the birth of Christ, and reading in four lines of Aram., “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened.”
To the fall of Jerusalem, 586
In the days of Ahaz, shortly after 734, Isaiah had predicted an Assyrian attack, advancing against Jerusalem from Bethel and Ai (Aiath) in the N down to Nob, from which the Assyrian could “shake his fist...at...the hill of Jerusalem” (10:28-32; cf. Mic 1:9). Nob prob. identifies the ridge with that which was later called Mt. Scopus, NE of the city, a northern extension of Olivet (NIC, OT, “Isaiah,” I, 375). Sargon II of Assyria campaigned in the W in 720, when he defeated the Egyptians at Raphia on their border, and again in 711, when he destroyed Ashdod on the Philistine plain. Because in his annals of the latter event Sargon spoke of “punishing Judah,” the Isaiah 8 passage may be descriptive of the route of the 711 attack (G. A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible, p. 469). Yet it may refer to 701 b.c., when although the main army of Sargon’s successor Sennacherib moved against Jerusalem from Lachish in the SW (cf. Mic 1:10-15), “another Assyrian unit” may have “marched against Jerusalem via the province of Samaria” (Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible, p. 339).
It is significant, however, that Isaiah’s contemporary, Micah, proclaimed an opposite destructibility for Zion, because of sin (Mic 3:10-12): punishment had been merely alleviated through the king’s repentance (Jer 26:19); and Isaiah too could speak of a postponed but still inevitable destruction (Isa 39:5-8). Even at that time it was but a “remnant” that escaped the depredations and deportations of Sennacherib (37:32; cf. 36:1), and much of the next period of Isaiah’s ministry was devoted to comforting Jerusalem, which had received of Yahweh’s hand (through Sennacherib) double for all her sins (40:2; 51:17; cf. J. B. Payne, WTJ, pp. 29, 30 [1967-1968]).
Hezekiah’s burial is located “in the ascent of the tombs of the sons of David” (2 Chron 32:33). This does not necessarily imply a burial place outside the royal sepulchres. מַעֲלֵה “ascent,” might mean “upper locality,” hence “they buried him in the higher part of the graves of the sons of David,” perhaps “due to the lack of room in the hereditary buryingplace of the kings” (ICC, “Chronicles,” pp. 493, 494); see below, III, B. During the preceding 8th cent., Hezekiah’s grandfather Jotham (2 Kings 15:38) and great-great-grandfather Amaziah (14:20; 2 Chron 25:28) had been buried in the royal necropolis, and Hezekiah was apparently the last monarch to be so interred.
Hezekiah’s weaker successor, Manasseh, resubmitted to Assyria and forfeited the independence that his father had gained at such cost (cf. 2 Chron 33:11), though he did later rebuild the walls of old Zion (v. 14). K. Kenyon describes, in fact, no less than six rebuildings of the SE wall during the last cent. and a half of the southern kingdom (Judah). None were built on the bedrock, as had been the previous Jebusite wall, which may account for some of the collapses even apart from hostile attack (cf. Kenyon, Jerusalem, pp. 66-68).
The ruins of a few small 7th cent. houses have also been recovered from the top of the eastern slope of Zion, the earliest actual floorplans known from Jerusalem (pp. 82-84). Their contributions to cultural knowledge, however, are disappointing. The homes there must have belonged to the lower classes: irregular in shape, with poorly built walls of rough stone covered with mud plaster. Pottery fragments were abundant, including a number of figurines of the fertility goddess and of animals, perhaps also used in apostate worship. Most significant were forty-one disk shaped stone weights of assorted sizes up to twenty-four shekels (6/10 lb.), carefully polished and marked with their values.
Late in his reign, Manasseh was summoned to Babylon by the Assyrian monarch Ashurbanipal, perhaps in 648 b.c. after a major revolt in that city had been brought to an end. In fear for his life, Manasseh turned to Yahweh and was delivered (vv. 12, 13). Although he removed “all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city” (v. 15), he was unable at that late date to undo a lifetime of corruption or to stop the people from a continuing resort to the high places (v. 17).
At some point during his long, fifty-five year reign, the original tombs of the kings seem to have been sealed off or at least abandoned, perhaps because of being filled. As a result, royal burials from the time of Manasseh onward to the end of the southern kingdom were performed in “the garden of Uzza” (2 Kings 21:18, 26; cf. 23:30 with 2 Chron 35:24). The location is undefinable, except that it formed a part of the gardens of Manasseh’s palace.
After Josiah’s death in 609, Jerusalem suffered under its four last, incompetent Davidic kings. Jehoiakim (608-598), for example, practiced injustice and the enslavement of his people to erect an extravagant palace (Jer 22:13-15; cf. 2 Kings 24:4) that was doomed to destruction within a score of years and not a stone of which can yet be identified in Jerusalem. In 605 b.c., Jehoiakim was forced to submit to Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon, who proceeded to plunder the Temple treasure and take captive certain prominent hostages (2 Chron 36:7; Dan 1:1-4), a fact validated by the recent appearing of the king’s own contemporaneous chronicles of his western campaigns (D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings ). A subsequent revolt resulted in a brief Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 597. The city capitulated on March 16, with more plundering as a result and the deportation of the newly installed Jewish king with over 10,000 captives (2 Kings 24:10-16).
Shortly after this event (cf. Jer 29:2), the prophet Jeremiah attempted to encourage his people with a prediction of future restoration, in the course of which he defined a rough outline of the city of Jerusalem: the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord (31:38-41). Because the Tower of Hananel stood at the NW corner of the Temple and the Horse Gate at its SE (see below, III, A), the prophet must have been making a counterclockwise circuit of what would some day be a dedicated community, omitting the Temple area on the city’s NE as already holy ground. The geographical question involved is whether Jeremiah was envisioning a future expansion or simply describing the preexilic city as it existed in 597 b.c., that is, whether Mt. Gareb (if it really is the SW hill of Jerusalem; see above, I, B) did not as yet lie within the existing walls or did. The latter appears more probable, “not the enlargement of Jerusalem, but its complete sanctification” Laetsch, Bible Commentary, “Jeremiah” p. 259), esp. since the Corner Gate, or Gate of the Corner, had existed since at least 800 b.c. (2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chron 26:9; cf. J. Simons, Jerusalem in the OT, 231); see above, B, 2.
A final desperate revolt under Judah’s last king, Zedekiah, ended in a two and one-half year siege of Jerusalem, from Jan., 588, to July, 586 (2 Kings 25:1-3). One month later, the Babylonian commander burned the Temple, the palaces, and the houses of Jerusalem and broke down its surrounding walls (vv. 8-11). No known, significant remnant of the preexilic city survives to the present.
Exile, to 538 B.C.
Persian, to 332 B.C.
At the close of his ministry, prob. after the Greco-Persian war of 480-479 (cf. Zech 9:13), Zechariah predicted a restoration of Jerusalem: “But Jerusalem shall remain aloft upon its site, from the Gate of Benjamin [q.v., on the E, prob. the Muster Gate] to the place of the first gate [“former gate,” RSV, perhaps the Old or Ephraim Gate], to the Corner Gate [on the W], and from the Tower of Hananel [on the N] to the king’s wine presses [at the king’s gardens (?) on the S]” (14:10); he designates, in other words, a set of traditional extremities for the city (see below, under “Nehemiah’s walls,” and in III, A.). The nature of Samaritan complaints against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem during the reign of Xerxes, 485-465 (Ezra 4:6), remains unknown; but they were prob. due to a continuing policy of exclusion by the Jews (cf. v. 3)
The third chapter of Nehemiah’s book describes the course of the walls, beginning at the NE of Jerusalem and moving in a counterclockwise direction. The features he listed are these:
Apparently Nehemiah did not intend this list to be exhaustive of distinguishable points on the perimeter of Jerusalem, but simply to mark off the building segments. For there are elsewhere mentioned: the Corner Gate (between no. 7 and 8, so marked 7a on the accompanying map; Zech 14:10); the Jackal’s Well (between no. 8 and 9, Neh 2:13; see above I, C); and the Gate of the Guard (E of no. 1, 12:39), though this last may have been only an inner gate of the Temple, or perhaps equivalent to no. 19. It appears likely that the Ephraim Gate of 8:16; 12:39 is but an alternate designation for no. 5, the Old Gate, q.v.; and the King’s Pool, 2:14, for no. 10, the Pool of Shelah, see Siloam. No distances for the segments are given, except for 1,000 cubits (1,500 ft.), one of the two unusually long assignments on the SW side of the city, between no. 8 and no. 9 (3:13), the Valley Gate and the Dung Gate.
A general agreement now exists over the location of items no. 1-3 and 9-20 (cf. J. Simons, Jerusalem in the OT, ch. VII); but that of nos. 4-8 depends upon whether Nehemiah’s city embraced all (L.-H. Vincent, J. Simons), part, or none (K. Kenyon, Y. Aharoni and M. Avi-Yonah) of Jerusalem’s SW hill; see above, II, B, 2, and below, the alternate maps, as indicated. The total length of the walls in Nehemiah’s time, according to K. Kenyon, would be 2,800 yards, 4,500, or 4,400 respectively; so, in any event, large elements of earlier walls must have been reused for their completion, in the fifty-two days indicated.
In its southern portion, however, the work of 444 b.c. enclosed only the crest of the City of David. These are the solid, but rough, walls, nine ft. thick, reported by J. W. Crowfoot and R. A. S. Macalister, which the latter from his digging in 1923-1926 erroneously identified as David’s eastern wall. Nehemiah’s reduced circuit would seem to have been dictated by the availability of water from Hezekiah’s tunnel, which obviated the need for fortifications that would extend down to the lower slopes on the E side of Zion for access to the Gihon spring, and by the now irreparable collapse of the old Jebusite terraces above it, following 586 b.c.; cf. Nehemiah’s inability even to pick a way through while on his initial reconnaissance (Neh 2:14). Thus, whereas the western part of his reconstruction may have consisted in the repair of former gates and walls still largely in existence (e.g., nos. 8, 9, 11; 3:1-15), his really new and hardest work lay along the eastern crest of Zion (note how nos. 12, 13, 14, 16 are all interior designations; vv. 16-27). It was an ascent (12:37), with a resumed notation of former gates coming only with the northern part of the eastern walls (e.g., nos. 17, 18, 19; 28-32), which would have again followed the line of Solomonic fortifications.
To the W lay no. 8, the Valley Gate, whichever be its location among the above-cited proposals. From it Nehemiah set out, and to it he returned, on his preliminary tour of inspection (Nehemiah 2:13-15). From it also set out the two great companies of national leaders, priests, and Levitical singers, to march along the walls at their dedication (12:27-43). The one group, under Ezra, turned right, moving S, E, and N to the Temple area, where they were met by the other, under Nehemiah, which had turned left and moved N, E, and S to Moriah; see below, III, A, on modern locations that correspond to the points listed on the perimeter of restored Jerusalem.
Almost immediately, Nehemiah set up regular daily watches on the walls of the capital (7:3), for “the city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been built” (v. 4). In the fall of 444, he assembled all Israel to Zion to hear the Law read by Ezra and his fellow Levites at “the square before the Water Gate” (8:1-3) and to keep a Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem that proved to be the greatest since the days of Joshua (vv. 14-18).
By a casting of lots Nehemiah then set about repopulating the “holy city” (11:1, 18) with ten percent of the Judean community (vv. 1, 2). Figures follow, that list c. 1,400 valiant men of Judah and Benjamin (vv. 4-9) and 1,650 men in the various Levitical ranks (vv. 10-19), though the totals may not be complete.
Nehemiah’s first governorship, of twelve years, expired in 432; and he returned to the court of Artaxerxes (13:6). After a time, however, he was granted leave to reassume oversight of the affairs of Jerusalem. He executed a number of reforms in both Temple and city (v. 7), which correspond to the problems described by the (presumably contemporaneous) prophet Malachi. Nehemiah specifically utilized the rebuilt gates to keep certain Tyrian merchants out of the city, who were attempting to conduct business on the Sabbath (vv. 19-22). The expiration date of his second governorship is unknown, except that it seems to have extended into the reign of Darius II, 423-404 b.c. (12:22) at which point the OT and its information about Jerusalem comes to a close.
Letters from the Jewish colony of Elephantine in S Egypt refer in 410 b.c. to Johanan (12:22) as high priest in Jerusalem and in 407 to a Pers. governor Bagoas over Judah (ANET, pp. 491, 492). During the reign of Artaxerxes II, 404-359 (cf. W. O. E. Oesterley, A History of Israel, II: 170 n.), a brief allusion is made by Josephus (Jos. Antiq. XI. vii. 1) to an attempt of Bagoas to replace Johanan with his brother Jeshua, to Jeshua’s murder within the Temple by Johanan, and to subsequent reprisals by Bagoas. Otherwise, the only known facts of the remaining Pers. period that relate to Jerusalem concern Artaxerxes III, who carried many Jews captive in 344 b.c., following an unsuccessful revolt incited by Pharaoh Nekhtenebef II of Egypt’s thirtieth dynasty.
Hellenistic, to 165 B.C.
In 332 b.c., during his advance into Egypt (prob. between the capture of Tyre in July and that of Gaza in Nov.), Alexander the Great assumed control over Jerusalem from the Persians, thus inaugurating its Gr. period. Josephus has preserved legends of an armed advance by Alexander against the capital and of the city’s miraculous preservation, following which the conquerer is said to have made sacrifices to God under the direction of the Jewish high priest (Jos. Antiq. XI, viii. 3-5). But behind these unreliable tales, it does appear that the Greeks treated Jerusalem with tolerance and that a number of Jews actually enlisted in his armies (cf. Oesterley, op. cit., II, 189, 190).
Upon Alexander’s death in 323 b.c., Antigonus, one of his senior generals, gained control over Pal., only to lose it to Ptolemy, the Gr. monarch in Egypt, after the Battle of Ipsus in 301. The Ptolemies continued to hold it for over a cent. Ptolemy IV prob. visited Jerusalem after his victory over Antiochus III, Gr. monarch of Syria, in 217, though the legend in 3 Maccabees 1:9-2:24 about Yahweh’s thwarting his attempt to enter the most holy place of the Temple again appears unreliable. Subsequent fighting led to considerable destruction within Jerusalem by Ptolemy V’s general Scopas in 200 b.c.; but in 198 Antiochus did permanently conquer Pal. and was welcomed into the capital city (Jos. Antiq. XII, iii. 3). An official of his son Seleucus IV (187-175), in accordance with Daniel’s prophecy of over three centuries before (Dan 11:20), attempted to rob the Temple but was in some way prevented (cf. 2 Macc 3:7-40).
In 167 b.c., a Graeco-Syrian garrison erected and then continued to maintain the ἄκρα, citadel, on a site near the Jerusalem Temple, so as to maintain full control over the area (cf. 1 Macc 3:45). As related in 1 Maccabees,
They fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers and it became their citadel....They stored up arms and food, and collecting the spoils of Jerusalem, they stored them there, and became a great snare. It became an ambush against the sanctuary, an evil adversary of Israel continually (1:33-36).
The location of this akra is one of the major unresolved problems in the topographical history of Jerusalem. Its association with the City of David (1:33; 14:36) suggests Ophel or Zion to the S of the temple; see below, on the possible artificial lowering of this hill under Simon. However, presently known altitudes would suggest the eastern slope of Gareb as more likely for dominating the Temple, across the Tyropoeon to the W (cf. Y. Aharoni and M. Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, map 204). It appears significant, however, that in contrast with the strongly Hel. type pottery found at Samaria, with its Gr. colonies, that jar fragments from 2nd cent. Jerusalem exhibit only slight Grecian influence: Zion was not about to capitulate to the sons of Greece (Zech 9:13; cf. Kenyon, Jerusalem, pp. 136, 137).
Hasmonean, to 63
Meanwhile, Judas Maccabeus had rebuilt the fortifications of Jerusalem (4:60), but Antiochus took advantage of the edict to enter the city and then to destroy the protecting walls that Judas had raised (6:62). The following year Judas defeated another Gr. army, under Nicanor, who fled to Jerusalem and threatened to burn the Temple (7:32-35). The priests prayed for divine intervention; in March of 161 Judas proceeded to rout the Greeks, and Nicanor’s head and right hand were subsequently exhibited outside Jerusalem (v. 47).
In 160 b.c., after the death of Judas, the corrupt high priest, Alcimus, attempted further to dismantle Jerusalem’s inner Temple walls, but he was prevented by a fatal attack of palsy (9:54-56). Starting in 153, Judas’ brothers Jonathan and Simon were able progressively to refortify the city “with squared stones for better fortification” (10:11; cf. 12:36, 37; 13:10; 14:37); but it was not until Jonathan’s death in 143 that Simon was granted full political liberty, from Demetrius II (13:36-42).
Simon finally starved out the akra in 142 b.c. (13:49-51; 14:36). Josephus elaborates. He also...cast it down to the ground, that it might not be any more a place of refuge to their enemies, when they took it, to do them a mischief, as it had been till now. And when he had done this, he thought it their best way, and most for their advantage, to level the very mountain itself upon which the citadel happened to stand, that so the temple might be higher than it. And, indeed, when he had called the multitude to an assembly, he persuaded them to have it so demolished....so they all set themselves to the work, and levelled the mountain, and in that work spent both day and night without any intermission, which cost them three whole years before it was removed, and brought to an entire level with the plain of the rest of the city. After which the temple was the highest of all the buildings, now the citadel, as well as the mountain whereon it stood, were demolished (Jos. Antiq. XIII. vi. 7).
If the site of the akra were indeed the old City of David, this would account for much of the disappearance of earlier relics from this part of Jerusalem (though it suffered post-NT quarrying as well). The whole tale, however, remans suspect because Simon seems actually to have cleansed and continued to use the akra (1 Macc 13:50; 14:37).
The later Hasmoneans constructed a palace across the central valley and connected it with the Temple area by a bridge. Over the ruins of the 7th cent. houses along the eastern edge of the summit of Zion, they constructed a series of bulwarks; and archeological remains become more plentiful with this period. At the top of Miss Kenyon’s 1961 digging above the Gihon spring stands a large tower with corners of squared stones, which had formerly been credited to David and Solomon; but it can now be assigned to the second half of the 2nd cent. b.c. (Kenyon, Jerusalem, pp. 114-116) as the work of Simon the Hasmonean (143-135) or of his son John Hyrcanus (135-105). The so-called Jebusite ramp to its N must therefore have been a slightly later, subterranean stone buttress to support a weakness in the wall above it. The statement in 1 Maccabees 13:52 that Simon “strengthened the fortifications of the temple hill alongside the citadel, and he and his men dwelt there” prob. refers to the NW corner of Moriah, where the preexilic Tower of Hananel had stood. This fortress came to be called Baris.
The history of Hasmonean Jerusalem is one of repeated devastations. Antiochus VII (139-129 b.c.) besieged the city and, when a submission was arranged, broke down the walls. John rebuilt them (16:23). His son Alexander Jannaeus (104-78 b.c.) maintained constant warfare with his Gr. neighbors but alienated his own Jewish people by an increasing secularism, which led after his reign to a final loss of independence for the restored Jewish state in 63 b.c. and to the downfall of the Hasmoneans.
Alexander’s son Hyrcanus II, the last legitimate Hasmonean priest-king, was displaced from Jerusalem by his brother Aristobulus II (69-63 b.c.). Both appealed to the Rom. general Pompey in Damascus, but when the latter arrived at Jerusalem, Aristobulus resisted. Hyrcanus surrendered the W city, on Gareb; but Aristobulus cut the Tyropoeon bridge and held out in Baris and the Temple area to the E. After a three months’ siege, the citadel fell; Pompey killed 12,000 Jews and carried many more off as slaves. He dismantled the walls of Jerusalem but allowed Hyrcanus to continue as high priest and as an ethnarch under Rome, though with the actual power slipping more and more into the hands of Antipator, an Idumean (Edomite) administrator. The Romans entered Jerusalem again in 54 but allowed its walls to be rebuilt. In 40 b.c., the Parthians, from Persia, plundered the city and carried off Hyrcanus to Babylon. Rome then appointed Antipater’s son Herod as client king over Israel; and in the year 37, Herod’s Rom. troops brought Jerusalem under siege again, broke through the city’s N wall, and with great slaughter set up this Idumean as king.
Herod, to 4 B.C.
With the advent of Herod, the Romans, and their aqueducts, Jerusalem ceased to remain dependent upon the springs in the Kidron and expanded rapidly northwestward. At the NW corner of the Temple Herod developed the former Baris into one of his two major fortresses in Jerusalem: his Tower of Antonia (q.v.), named in honor of his friend and patron, the Rom. Mark Antony. Beneath the paving stones of its court, two huge underground cisterns were cut into the rock, and at each of its four corners stood an interior tower: the tallest, to the SE, dominated the Temple area; cf. its use in Acts 21:34 as a refuge for Paul from the Jewish mob. Herod’s other major fortress guarded the W (Jaffa) gate of the city, with three great towers named for his friend Hippicus, his brother Phasael, and his wife Mariamne. To its S lay his extensive personal palace, which he connected with the Temple area by a great bridge over the Tyropoeon; see below, III, B. Farther S in the Valley were his theater, amphitheater, and hippodrome, though their exact locations remain uncertain. It was presumably Herod who built a second NW wall, N of the city’s former upper limit along the southern bank of the “cross valley.”
Herod’s greatest achievement was his reconstruction and expansion of the sacred Jerusalem Temple (q.v.). Designed to placate the Jews, his project included a major extension of the court area, to a N-S length of c. 2,500 ft. and an E-W breadth of c. 1,000 ft. On the N, this meant cutting off and leveling the base rock, up to the very foundations of Antonia; on the S it required the construction of an artificial platform; see below, III, B. Within various courts lay the Temple itself, of approximately the Solomonic surface dimensions, but with the roof of the entrance tower 165 ft. in height. Begun in 20 b.c., the work was not completed until a.d. 64, six years before its total destruction; cf. the statement made to Christ in John 2:20 that the construction had occupied forty-six years up to this point in a.d. 27.
Jesus and Jerusalem, to A.D. 30
Advised by an angel of Herod’s death, Joseph brought his family back to Nazareth, avoiding Judah and Jerusalem for fear of Herod’s son Archelaus, who ruled in the city as ethnarch of Judah until a.d. 6 (Matt 2:19-23). Jesus, when of the age of twelve, traveled again to Jerusalem for a Passover feast, where He amazed the teachers with His understanding and answers (Luke 2:41-50). His youth was spent in Nazareth, His baptism occurred at the Jordan, and His inaugural temptations were located in the neighboring wilderness (prob. of Judah). At this time, Satan took Him “to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle (wing, ASVmg.) of the temple,” vainly tempting Christ to cast Himself down and thus question Yahweh’s care (Matt 4:5-7). But it was some time after His ministry had begun, in Galilee, before He revisited His “Father’s house” (cf. Luke 2:49).
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matt 23:37-39).
This indicated His triumph that was yet to be, in Jerusalem. Later that day, as He and the disciples rested on Olivet, He again predicted the city’s fall of a.d. 70 (e.g., Luke 21:5-24) but also the coming of false Christs, final tribulation, heavenly wrath, and His own second advent in glory (vv. 25-36; cf. Matt 24:23-25:13).
To the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70
Jesus had commanded His disciples to preach “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations,” but “beginning from Jerusalem,” they were to stay in the city, until...clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:47-49; cf. v. 52). Ten days later, in a Jerusalem “upper room” or some other unknown “place” (Acts 1:13; 2:1), they did in fact experience the Pentecostal outpouring of God’s Spirit, which empowered them to carry the Gospel world-wide (2:1-3; cf. 1:8; 2:41, 42).
In a.d. 41, all Pal. was united for a three year period under the rule of Herod’s grandson, Herod Agrippa I (cf. Acts 12:1, 19-23). This energetic monarch commenced a third northern wall, approximately coextensive with the present N fortifications of the “Old City.” His Tower of Psephinus (Jos. War V. iv. 2) would thus have stood at about the NW corner of the modern walls; and the main N gateway (or at least its small side arch, for pedestrians) has been uncovered by J. B. Hennessy (1966), directly beneath the present Damascus Gate. There does, confessedly, exist a ruin, the “Castle of Goliath,” farther to the N, as well as certain wall fragments found by Sukenik and Mayer (1925-1927). The latter were once identified with Agrippa’s third N wall but are now known to be of a later date and may represent Titus’ siege works of a.d. 70. Josephus had indeed located the third wall over the “royal caverns” (ibid.; cf. Jos. Antiq. XX. iv. 3), which are near today’s Damascus Gate. According to Kenyon, it was also Herod Agrippa who first enclosed the southern part of Gareb, joining it to Zion on the E by the massive walls and gates first discovered by Bliss and Dickie in 1894-1897. The later Rom. procurators faced an increasing breakdown of law and order in Jerusalem. James the brother of the Lord (Acts 15:13; 21:18) suffered martyrdom by stoning in a.d. 62 (Jos. Antiq. XX. ix. 1); and before the city’s demise, its Christian community fled to safety across the Jordan, in obedience to Christ’s word in Matthew 24:15-22. The fatal Jewish revolt began in a.d. 66 and lasted three and one-half years (cf. Luke 19:43; 21:20). The Rom. general Titus finally forced his way into the city, breaking successively through the three N walls; and on August 6 of the year 70 his army burned the Temple, eventually leveling it, just as Jesus had predicted (Mark 13:2). Except for Herod’s three western towers, the city and its fortifications were totally destroyed.
Before the siege was concluded, 600,000 Jews were killed and thousands more were led away into captivity. “Jerusalem has no history for 60 years after its destruction” (C. R. Conder). One futile and tragic attempt of the Jews to win freedom from the Romans was concentrated in the rebellion of a.d. 134, led by the false messiah Bar Kochba. This rebellion was overwhelmingly crushed, and what was left of the city was leveled to the ground, even the foundations being plowed up.
Two years later the Romans began rebuilding the city, now to be called Aelia Capitolina. All Jews were strictly excluded from this new city for two centuries, until the reign of Constantine.
Rebuilt in a.d. 135 as the Roman colony Aelia Capitolina, the city has since experienced nine major periods: Roman (continued), to 330; Byzantine, to 638; Arab, to 1099; Crusader, to 1187 (plus 1229-1244); Arab again, to 1516; Turkish, to 1917; British, to 1948; Jordanian, to 1967; and Israeli, to the present.
In the early part of the fourth century, due to the fervent devotion of Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine, concerning whom traditions soon multiplied regarding divine assistance given to her that led to the discovery of the true cross, the great Church of the Holy Sepulchre called Anastasis (the Greek word for resurrection) was built. From then on, Jerusalem became increasingly the object of pilgrimages and of rich gifts. Jerome says, “It would be a long task to try to enumerate chronologically from the day of the ascension of our Lord until our own time, the bishops, martyrs, and doctors of the Church who came to Jerusalem, believing themselves to be deficient in religion, in science, and to possess only an imperfect standard of virtue until they had worshiped Christ on the very spot where the Gospel first shone from the gibbet.”
In a.d. 614 a Persian general under King Chosroes II seized the city and slaughtered sixty thousand Christians, taking thirty-five thousand more into slavery. In 628 Heraclius made peace with the son of the invader Chosroes, entering Jerusalem in triumph through the Golden Gate. In 637 the city capitulated to Omar the Galiph, who entered its precincts without bloodshed. In 688 the first Dome of the Rock was erected.
Muhammad, more or less acquainted with both the Old Testament and New Testament, felt it was necessary to be in some way identified with this city, holy to both Jews and Christians; and Islam soon interpreted a passage in the Koran as implying that Muhammad was miraculously carried to Jerusalem and was divinely consecrated there, but there is no real evidence for this journey. In a.d. 969 Jerusalem fell under the power of the Shia'h Khalif of Egypt. In 1009 the Caliph Hakim, son of a Christian mother, began his devastating work in Jerusalem by ordering the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. By 1014 some thirty thousand churches in Palestine had been burned or pillaged. In 1077 a general of the Seljuk Turks drove out the Egyptians, slaughtering some three thousand residing within the walls of the city.
A new era--pitiful, sad, and shameful--now dawned for Jerusalem. On June 7, a.d. 1099, the Christian army of the First Crusade camped before Jerusalem. The city was seized on July 14, and the awful slaughter pursued by these so-called Christian knights was something that the Muslim world has never forgotten or forgiven. For eighty years the city knew no other enemy at her gates. There then came on the stage of history the truly great Saladin who, after his overwhelming victory in his battle with the Crusaders at the Horns of Hattin, camped before the city on September 20, 1187. He entered it on October 2, enforcing strict orders that no violence or orgy of conquest should be engaged in by his soldiers such as the Christian Crusaders had participated in almost a century before. By this act of mercy he put the Christians to shame. But the city was not to know peace. In 1229, it was regained by Frederick II, through negotiations. In 1244 it fell before the Kharezmian Tartars. In 1247 it was seized again by the Egyptians. In 1260 it was recaptured by the Tartars. In 1517 it was taken by the Ottoman Turks, who held it for four centuries.
World War I to the present day
On December 9, 1917, the British General Allenby entered the city on foot; on October 31, 1918, the armistice was signed, and four hundred years of Turkish rule came to an end.
On April 24, a.d. 1920, the mandate for Palestine and Transjordan was assigned to Great Britain, which for nearly thirty years experienced one reverse after another in attempting to rule the country. On May 14, 1948, the British mandate terminated, and the National Council at Tel-Aviv proclaimed the State of Israel. There followed the bitter, often brutal war for Palestine, as a result of which nearly a million Arabs were driven from their homes. By the spring of 1949, Israel was recognized by forty-five governments. The struggle with the Arab bloc of nations has unhappily continued.
Millennial, to the final judgment
New Jerusalem, forever
VI. Recent Archaeology. Excavations from a.d. 1969 have revealed, among other things, that the temple stood about a hundred yards (ninety-four m.) north of the Dome of the Rock. An earlier gate (perhaps Solomonic) was detected beneath the present Golden Gate. A flight of thirty steps two hundred feet (sixty-three m.) wide, leading up to the southern gates of the temple mount, was found dating to the time of Christ. The Cardo Maximus (main street) of the Byzantine city was discovered along with foundations of Justinian’s New Church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Essene gate mentioned by Josephus has probably been located in the SW wall south of the modern Holy Land Institute.
Because of the city’s role in the history of the people of God, “Jerusalem” inevitably acquired broad metaphorical usage within Scripture, esp. among the OT prophets and poets (cf. Pss 48; 87; 122).
A capital city usually automatically represents its nation. Samaria epitomizes the (sinful) character of N Israel, so Micah could assert, “What are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem?” (Micah 1:5 KJV). Frequently, therefore, “Jerusalem” simply designates the southern kingdom (Judah), whether in commendation (Jer 2:2; Obad 20) or in censure (Mic 3:10; Zeph 1:12).
Mention of Jerusalem in prophecy
Jerusalem is mentioned frequently in Biblical prophecy:
- In Deut.12.1-Deut.12.32, though no name is mentioned, six times reference is made to the future place of the sanctuary, “the place the Lord your God will choose” (see also 1Kgs.8.29, 1Kgs.8.48).
- The promise that Sennacherib’s attempt to capture the city would fail (2Kgs.19.32-2Kgs.19.34; Isa.29.7; Isa.30.19; Isa.31.4-Isa.31.5).
- The destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar (2Kgs.22.16-2Kgs.22.17; 2Kgs.23.7; 2Chr.34.24-2Chr.34.25; Isa.4.3-Isa.4.5; Isa.10.11-Isa.10.12; Isa.22.9-Isa.22.11; Ezek.8.9; Ezek.24.1ff.).
- The desecration of the city by Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan.8.11-Dan.8.14; Dan.11.30-Dan.11.32).
- The destruction of the city by the Romans under Titus (Dan.9.26; Matt.24.2; Mark.13.2; Luke.13.33-Luke.13.35; Luke.19.41-Luke.19.44; Luke.21.6, Luke.21.20, Luke.21.24).
- A prophecy concerning this city during the present age (Dan.9.26; Zech.12.3; Luke.21.24).
- The episode of the two witnesses to be martyred in this city (Rev.11.1-Rev.11.19).
- A final assault on this city by the nations of the earth (Isa.29.1-Isa.29.7; Isa.31.1-Isa.31.9-Isa.34.1-Isa.34.17; Joel.3.9-Joel.3.12; Zech.14.1-Zech.14.3).
- A cleansing of the city of its spiritual uncleanness (Isa.1.25-Isa.1.26; Isa.4.3-Isa.4.4; Joel.3.17; Zech.14.1-Zech.14.3).
- A city that will ultimately and permanently know the presence of the glory of God (Isa.62.2; Ezek.43.1-Ezek.43.2); peace (Ps.122.6-Ps.122.9; Isa.60.17; Isa.66.12); and joy (Ps.53.6; Isa.5.11).
- The city to which the nations of the earth will come for instruction and blessing (Ps.102.21-Ps.102.22; Isa.2.2-Isa.2.4).
The person addressed might exhibit changing connotations. Isaiah 52:1, 2, e.g., calls on Zion to “Awake, awake, put on your strength; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city...loose the bonds from your neck,” referring to the national return from exile. But after the Servant Song of Isa. 52:13-ch. 53 and Jerusalem’s justification, Isaiah continues, “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear...for the children of the desolate...will be more than the children of her that is married” (54:1; cf. 53:10). The prophet thus symbolically predicts the Church as the bride of Christ (54:5), persecuted, but to gain gentile converts (v. 3) more numerous than Israel had before (Gal 4:26-28; G. D. Young, ETSB, “Papers” , pp. 79, 80). This suggests a final symbolism:
Bibliography and Further Reading
- Y. Aharoni and M. Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas (1968), maps 114, 166, 170, 204
- M. Avi-Yonah, Jerusalem (1960)
- N. Avigad, Discovering Jerusalem, 1980
- J. Boudet (ed.), Jerusalem: A History (ET 1967)
- C. R. Conder, The City of Jerusalem, 1909
- W. D. Davies, The Gospel and the Land, 1974
- C. Gulston, Jerusalem: The Tragedy and the Triumph (1978)
- F. Hollis, The Archaeology of Herod’s Temple (1934)
- J. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (ET 1969)
- M. join-Lambert, Jerusalem (1958)
- K.M. Kenyon, Jerusalem: Excavating 3000 Years of History (1967), “Excavating in Jerusalem,” BA, XXVII (1964), 34-52; and Jerusalem: Excavating 3000 Years of History (1967); and Digging Up Jerusalem, 1974
- L. Levine (ed.), The Jerusalem Cathedra, 1981.
- B. Mazar, The Mountain of the Lord, 1975; Y. Yadin (ed.), Jerusalem Revealed, 1975
- J. B. Payne, Theology of the Older Testament (1962), 108, 153, 365, 366, 492-504
- S. Perowne, Jerusalem and Bethlehem (1965)
- N.W. Porteous, “Jerusalem-Zion: The Growth of a Symbol,” in Living the Mystery (1967), chap. 7
- J. Simons, Jerusalem in the Old Testament (1952)
- G. A. Smith, Jerusalem: the Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Times to A.D. 70 (1908) and Jerusalem... from the Earliest Times to a.d. 70, 1908
- E. Sukenik and L. Mayer, The Third Wall of Jerusalem: an Account of Excavations (1930)
- L.-H. Vincent, Jérusalem Antique (1912) and Jérusalem Nouvelle (1914-1926)
- L.-H. Vincent and A. Steve, Jérusalem de l’Ancien Testament (1954-1956); Marie-Aline, Soeur, de Sion, La Fortresse Antonia à Jérusalem et la question du Prétoire (1955); and Le Lithostrotos et le problème du Prétoire à Jérusalem (1957)
- J. Wilkinson, Jerusalem as Jesus Knew It, 1978
SECOND QUARTER (מִשְׁנֶ֑ה, second [district]). A district of Jerusalem in which Huldah the prophetess lived (Zeph 1:10; KJV THE SECOND; 2 Kings 22:14 and 2 Chron 34:22; KJV THE COLLEGE). It lay in an angle formed by the W wall of the Temple and the ancient N Wall of the city, and was later included within the wall built by Nehemiah.