According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem was originally called Salem (Peace), and was the capital of King Melchisedech. This tradition is confirmed by the cuneiform tablets discovered in 1888 at Tell Amarna, in Egypt.......

According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem was originally called Salem (Peace), and was the capital of King Melchisedech (Genesis 14:18). This tradition is confirmed by the cuneiform tablets discovered in 1888 at Tell Amarna, in Egyp. Five of these letters, written at Jerusalem about the year 1400B.C., inform us that the city was then called U-ru-sa-lim. It figures in Assyrian inscriptions under the name of Ur-sa-li-im-mu. According to the Assyrian syllabaries, uru and ur signify "city" (Hebrew ir). In several of the Tell Armana Tablets the word salim is used in the sense of "peace". Ursalim, therefore, means "City of Peace". The Psalmist, too, connects Salem with Sion: "He hath his tabernacle in Salem, and his abode upon the mountain of Sion" (salm 76:3). When the Israelites came into the Land of Promise, Jerusalem was in the power of the Jebusites, and bore the name of Jebus.

The Hebrews, however, were not ignorant of its ancient name; they often called it Jerusalem (Joshua 10:1). In other passages of the Bible it is called Jerusalem (1Chronicles 3:5). The Septuagint. writes its name Ierousalem. Under the hellenizing influences which invaded Palestine, Salem became Solyma, and Jerusalem ta Ierosolyma (The Holy Solyma) (1Maccabees 1:14; 2Maccabees 1:10;). The New Testament employs sometimes the Septuagint form and sometimes that of Machabees, which the Vulgate renders by Jerusalem and Jerosolyma. When the Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city, A.D.136, he gave it the name of AElia Capitolina. From the Mohammedan conquest of Palestine, in the seventh century, until our own times, the Arabs have called it El Quds, "The Holy" -the ir haq qodes, or "Holy City" (Matthew 4:5). Among all other people the name Jerusalem has continued in use until now.

The history of Jerusalem is to a certain degree indistinguishable from that of Israel. It will suffice here to call attention to the most memorable occurrences in the city. As seen above, Jerusalem is the ancient Salem, the capital of Melchisedech, king and priest of the Most High. Learning of the return of Abraham (then called Abram), who had been victorious over Chodorlahomor and his allies, Melchisedech came before the patriarch (Hebrews 7:1)" in the vale of Save, which is the king's vale" (Genesis 14:17). The king's vale is the Valley of Cedron, which begins to the north of the city (2Samuel 18:18; 2Kings 25:4; Jeremiah 39:4). Like all the land of Chanaan, Jerusalem had been for many centuries in subjection to Chaldea; after Abraham's time it passed under the domination of Egypt.

When the Hebrews came into the Land of Promise, the boundary between this tribe and that of Juda run from En Schems, on the Jericho road, to En Rogel, in the Valley of Cedron, then, following "the valley of the son of Ennom" (Joshua 15:7-8) or "of the children of Ennom" (Joshua 18:15,16) of the Judges, Juda and Benjamin had tried to gain possession of it, but in vain, although they put its inhabitants to the sword and gave the city to the flames (Judges 1:8); the city here spoken of is, as Josephus remarks, only the lower city or suburbs. Jerusalem remained (Judges 19:12) independent of Israel until the reign of David.

Statue of King David

King David Tower

Having become king over the Twelve Tribes of Israel, David contemplated making Jerusalem the political and religious centre of God's people. He assembled all the forces of the nation at Hebron, and advanced against Jebus. After long and painful efforts, "David took the castle of Sion" and "dwelt in the castle, and called it, the city of David: and built round about from Mello and inwards" (2Samuel 5:7,9). This was about the year 1058B.C. The king then caused cedar wood to be brought from Lebanon, and workmen from Tyre, to build him a palace. Soon after, the Ark of the Covenant was solemnly brought into the city of David and placed in a tabernacle. The king one day beheld the destroying angel soaring above Mount Moria, ready to strike the Holy City. The Lord stayed his arm, and David, in thanksgiving, bought the threshing-floor which was upon the summit of the hill, the property of Areuna, or Ornan, the Jebusite, and there built an altar, upon which he offered holocausts (2Samuel 24; 1Chronicles 21). Thenceforward Mount Moria was destined to receive the temple of the Most High. David prepared the material and left the execution of the project to his son.

In the fourth year of his reign, Solomon began the building of the Temple, the splendid monument was completed, as to its essential details, in seven years and a half, and with great pomp the Ark of the Covenant was brought from the City of David to the new sanctuary (2Samuel 6). The buildings were erected upon a great platform, constructed by means of immense containing walls. To the west rose the Holy of Holies, surrounded by a series of chambers in several tiers, in front of which, to the east, was a monumental fa?ade, or pylon, formed by two lofty connected towers. Opposite to this entrance rose two great columns of bronze, like obelisks. Towards the east was the great court of the priests, square, surrounded with porches, and enclosing the altar of holocausts, the "sea of brass", and other utensils for sacrifices. This court was surrounded by others which were also enriched with galleries and superb buildings. Solomon next devoted thirteen years to erecting, south of the Temple, "the house of the Forest of Lebanon", his royal palace, with that of his queen, Pharaoh's daughter, as well as the buildings destined for his numerous family, for his guard, and for his slaves. He then connected the Temple and the new royal quarter with the City of David by a wall of enclosure, fortified the Millo (1Kings 9:15), and "filled up the gulf of the City of David" (1Kings 11:27). The people began to murmur under taxation and forced labour.

Insurrection broke out when the proud Roboam, son of Solomon, began his reign (981-65). Ten tribes revolted from him to form the Kingdom of the North, or of Israel, and Jerusalem ceased to be anything more than the capital of the tribes of Benjamin and Juda. At the invitation of Jeroboam, who was elected sovereign of the new kingdom, Sesac, in Juda (976), took Jerusalem, and plundered the immense treasures of the Temple and the royal palace (1Kings 14:25,26). Asa (961-21) and Josaphat (920-894) enriched the Temple after their numerous victories over the neighbouring peoples. Under Joram (893-888) the Philistines, in alliance with the Arabs of the South, in their turn pillaged the Temple and slew or carried off all the sons of the king except the youngest, Ochozias, or Joachaz, the child of Athalia (2Chronicles 21:16,17). On his murder, Athalia had her grandsons put to death, and seized the power. Joas alone, a child of one year, was saved from the massacre by the High-Priest Joiada and secretly reared in the Temple. At the age of six he was proclaimed king by the people, and Athalia was stoned to death. Joas (886-41) restored the Temple and abolished the worship of Baal; but later on, he allowed himself to be perverted, and caused the Prophet Zacharias, the son of Joiada, his preserver, to be put to death. He himself perished by the hands of his servants (2Kings 12). Under Amasias the Israelites of the North vanquished those of the South, attacked Jerusalem, and "broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the gate of the corner, four hundred cubits". The treasures of the Temple and of the royal palace were carried away to Samaria (2Kings 14:13,14). Ozias, or Azarias (811-760), repaired the breech and fortified the wall with strong towers (2Chronicles 26:9). His son Joatham (759-44), a wise and good king, strengthened the city by building "the high gate of the house of the Lord, and on the wall of Ophel he worked much"-south of the royal quarter (2Kings 15:35).

Bar and Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall

Aliyah to the Torah

While the Kings of Syria and Israel were marching against Jerusalem, God sent the Prophet Isaias to King Achaz (743-27), who was at "the conduit of the upper pool". There the Prophet foretold to him the repulse of the enemy and at the same time announced to him that the Messias Emmanuel, should be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:3-14). Achaz used the wealth of the Temple to pay tribute to Theglathphalasar, King of Assyria, whose protection he had sought against the Kings of Israel and Syria; he was impious enough to substitute the worship of Baal-Moloch for that of Yahweh. Ezechias (727-696) hastened to abolish the worship of idols. Alarmed by the fall of the Kingdom of Israel (721), he erected a second wall to protect the suburbs which had come into existence to the north of Mount Sion and the Temple. He made an alliance with Egypt and with Merodach Baladan, King of Babylon, and refused to pay tribute to Assyria. Upon this, Sennacherib, King of Nineve, who was at war with Egypt, invaded Palestine from the south, and sent his chief officers from Lachis to Jerusalem, with a numerous army, to summon the king to surrender at discretion. But, upon the advice of Isaias, the king refused to surrender. To cut off the enemy's water, he dammed the spring of the Upper Gihon and brought the stream to the west of the City of David (2Chronicles 32:3-4,30).

In 666 Assurbanipal's generals came to Jerusalem, put the king in chains, and carried him to Babylon, which was in vassalage to Ninive (2Chronicles 33:9-11). Manasses, however, soon obtained his liberty and returned to Jerusalem, where he repaired the evils he had caused. He also restored the city walls built by his father (2Chronicles 33:12-16). Amon, one of the worst kings of Juda, was assassinated after a reign of two years. Josias, his son (641-08), guided by the Prophet Jeremias, destroyed the idolatrous altars and restored the Temple (621). Upon this occasion the High Priest Helcias found in a hall of the sanctuary an old copy of the Law of Yahweh given by Moses (2Kings 22:8-14). In 601 Nabuchodonosor (Nebuchadnezzar) entered Judea to consolidate his father's power. He carried away as captives to Babylon certain notables of Jerusalem, together with the young Prophet Daniel. Joakim revolted against the Babylonian yoke, but his son Joachin (Jehoiachin), surrendered to Nabuchodonosor. The city was given over to pillage and 10,000 inhabitants, including the king, were carried off to Babylon (2Kings 24:1-16). Sedecias, third son of Josias, succeeded his nephew (596-587). Urged by the Egyptian party, he, too, rebelled against his suzerain. Nabuchodonosor returned to Syria and sent his general, Nabuzardan, against Jerusalem with a formidable army. The city surrendered after a siege of more than eighteen months. The Temple, the royal palaces, and other principal buildings were given to the flames, and the city was dismantled. The sacred vessels, with everything else of value, were carried away to Babylon; the Ark of the Covenant alone could be hidden by the Jews. Sedecias, who, at the last moment, had fled with his army by the southern gate, was overtaken in the plain of Jordan, and his eyes were put out. The high priest, the chief military officers, and the notables of the land were massacred, and the remainder of the inhabitants were transported to Babylon with their blind king. Only husbandmen and the poor were left in the country, with a Jewish governor named Godolias (Gedaliah), who took up his residence at Maspha (2Kings 24:18-20; 2Chronicles 36:11-21).

In 536B.C. Cyrus, King of Persia, authorized the Jews to return to Palestine and rebuild the Temple of the Lord (Ezra 1:1-4). The first convoy, consisting of 42,000 Jews, was dispatched under the leadership of Zorobabel, a prince of Juda. They hastened to restore the altar of holocausts, and in the second year the foundations were laid for another temple, which, however, owing to the difficulties raised by the Samaritans and other neighbouring peoples, was not completed until the sixth year of the reign of Darius (514). The old men could not restrain their tears when they saw the unpretentious character of the new building. In 458, under Artaxerxes I, Esdras came to Jerusalem with 1500 Jews as governor of Judea and completed the political and religious restoration of Israel. Thirteen years later Nehemias, with the authorization of Artaxerxes, completely restored the Holy City.

Model at the time of Second Temple

Close up

After Alexander, Jerusalem suffered much from the long struggle between the Seleucids of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt. Palestine fell to Seleucus Nicanor; but in 305 Ptolemy Soter gained entrance into Jerusalem on a Sabbath Day by stratagem, and carried away a number of Jews to Egypt. A century later (203) Antiochus the Great again tore the Holy City from the grasp of Egypt. When, in 199, it fell once more into the power of Scopas, a general of Ptolemy Epiphanes, the Jews helped the troops of Antiochus, who had just defeated Scopas's army, to definitively drive the Egyptian garrison out of the citadel of Jerusalem. The Seleucids conceived the unfortunate idea of introducing hellenistic-that is, pagan-notions and manners among the Jewish people, especially the sacerdotal and civil aristocracy. The high-priesthood had become a venal office; Jason was supplanted by Menelaus, and Menelaus by Lysimachus. These unworthy priests at last took up arms against each other, and blood flowed freely on several occasions in the streets of Jerusalem (2Maccabees 4). Under pretence of stifling these turmoils, Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 entered the Holy City, stormed the fortifications of the Temple, plundered it of its most sacred vessels, massacred 40,000 persons, and carried off as many more into bondage (1Maccabees 1:17-25; 2Maccabees 5:11-23). Two years later he sent his general Apollonius to suppress the Jewish religion by force and replace it at Jerusalem with Greek paganism. The city was dismantled, and the Acra, the citadel which commanded the Temple and served as a garrison for the Syrians and an asylum for renegade Jews, was reinforced. The statue of the Olympian Jupiter was set up in the Temple of the Most High, while a cruel and bloody persecution everywhere broke out against those Jews who were faithful to their traditions (1Maccabees 1:30-64; 2Maccabees 6:1-11).

The priest Mathathias of Hasmon and his five sons known as the Machabees, organized an heroic resistance. Judas, succeeding on the death of his father (166), gained four victories over the Syrian armies, occupied Jerusalem (164), purified the Temple, strengthened the fortifications, and erected a new altar of holocausts. He also repaired the walls of the city. but could not gain possession of the citadel (Acra) which was held by a Syrian garrison. After various repulses and victories he made an alliance with the Roman Empire (1Maccabees 8). Jonathas succeeded and maintained the struggle with no less heroism and success. He built a wall between the upper city and the Acra, as a barrier against the Syrians. Simon took the place of his brother when Jonathas fell by treachery (142). Three years later, he drove out the Syrian garrison of Acra, razed the fortress, and even levelled the hill on which it had stood-a gigantic undertaking which occupied the entire population for three years. Demetrius II and after him Antiochus Sidetes finally recognized the independence of the Jewish people. Simon, with two of his sons, was assassinated by his son-in-law, and his third son, John Hyrcanus I (135-06), succeeded him on the throne. Antiochus Sidetes, with a formidable army, came to besiege Jerusalem, but consented to withdraw for a ransom of 500 talents, and Hyrcanus took that sum from the treasures of the royal sepulchre. Hyrcanus I was succeeded by his son Aristobulus I, who combined the title of pontiff with that of king, reigning however only one year. His brother and successor, Alexander Jannaeus (105-78), considerably enlarged the boundaries of the kingdom by his many brilliant victories. Upon his death Alexandra, his widow, took the reins of government into her hands for nine years, after which she entrusted the high-priesthood and the kingship to her son Hyrcanus II (69), but his brother Aristobulus took up arms to dispute the possession of the throne. By virtue of the alliance with Rome which Simon had entered into, Pompey, the Roman general, came from Damascus to Jerusalem, in 65B.C., to put an end to the civil war.

The partisans of Hyrcanus opened the gates of the city to the Romans, but those of Aristobulus entrenched themselves within the fortifications of the Temple, and could not be dislodged until after a siege of three months. Their resistance was at last overcome on a Sabbath Day; as many as 12,000 Jews were massacred, and Aristobulus was driven into exile. Pompey restored Hyrcanus to the high-priesthood, with the title of ethnarch, and declared Jerusalem a tributary of Rome.

Caesar authorized Hyrcanus to rebuild the walls that had been demolished by Pompey; but in 48B.C. he appointed Antipater, the Idumean, governor of Palestine, and the latter, four years afterwards, obtained the appointment of his eldest son, Phasael, as prefect of Jerusalem, and of his youngest son, Herod, as governor of Galilee. When Antipater died (43), Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus II, seized the throne, sent Hyrcanus II into exile among his allies, the Parthians and imprisoned Phasael, who killed himself in despair. Herod fled to Rome, where the Senate proclaimed him King of the Jews (40). But it was three years before he wrested Jerusalem from Antigonus, and only after bringing conflagration and bloodshed upon the city. Antigonus, the last of the Hasmonean dynasty, was condemned to death. In 24B.C., Herod the Great built himself a splendid castle upon the site of the Tower of Baris, or of Birah (Nehemiah 2:8), named it Antonia, in honour of Mark Antony, and took up his residence there. He also built a theatre and an amphitheatre for gladiatorial combats. In 19 B.C. the king, whose origin as well as his cruelty rendered him odious to the Jews, thought to win their goodwill by reconstructing the Temple of Zorobabel, little by little, until it should be as splendid as that of Solomon. He also enlarged the sanctuary by extending the galleries to the fortress of Antonia, on the north, and connecting it, on the south, with the site of Solomon's palace, so as to erect there a superb stoa, or basilica. The opening of the new Temple took place in the year 10B.C., but thousands of workmen laboured at it until A.D.64. He built a second strong castle at the northwest angle of Mount Sion, and flanked it with three superb towers-Hippicus, Phasael, and Mariamne. He also opened the tomb of the kings of Juda, in quest of treasure, after which, to allay the popular indignation aroused by his sacrilege, he erected a monument of white marble at the entrance of the tomb. Herod was nearing the end of his reign of nearly forty-one years when Jesus, the Divine Saviour, was born at Bethlehem. A few months after the visit of the three Wise Men of the East, and the massacre of the Innocents he died of a hideous malady, hated by all his people (4B.C.).


Tomb of Jesus

Archelaus, his son, took the title of king, but in the course of the same year Rome left him with only the title of Ethnarch of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Ten years later, he was deposed, and Judea was reduced to the status of a Roman province. Coponius, Marcus Ambivius, Annius Rufus, Valerius Gratus (A.D.14) and Pontius Pilate (26) were successively appointed procurators of the country. Pilate occasioned several seditions, which he stifled with extreme brutality. Under the administration of Pontius Pilate, Jesus Christ was arrested and put to death. The Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of the Divine Saviour have rendered Jerusalem-which was already glorious-the most celebrated city in all the world. The enthusiasm with which, after the Day of Pentecost, thousands of Jews declared themselves disciples of Jesus Christ provoked a violent persecution of Christians, in which the deacon Stephen was the first martyr (Acts 6:8-15). Pontius Pilate having one day seized the funds of the Corban to pay for the construction of an aqueduct, a violent uprising of the Jews was thus occasioned (35). Summoned to Rome to give an account of his conduct, he was banished by Caligula. Two years later, the emperor made Herod Agrippa I, grandson of Herod, tetrarch of the countries beyond Jordan; in 41 Claudius made him king of Judea. Agrippa undertook the construction of the third wall, to the north of the city. To please the Jews, he caused St. James the Greater to be beheaded, and intended the same lot for St. Peter, when an angel came and delivered the Prince of the Apostles from his chains (Acts 12:1-19). Soon afterwards, early in 44, the king died miserably at Caesarea.

At this epoch there came to Jerusalem Saddan, who was called among the Greeks Helen, Queen of Adiabene, a country situated on the Adiabas, which is an eastern tributary of the Tigris. Converted to Judaism, together with her numerous family, she comforted the poor with her bounty during a terrible famine (Acts 11:28). It was she who caused to be excavated, for herself and her family, to the north of the city, the imposing sepulchre known as the Tomb of the Kings. At this time the Blessed Virgin died, and was buried at Gethsemani. St. Peter returned from Antioch to preside at the First Ecumenical Council (Acts 15:1-3). The King of Judea was replaced by a procurator, and Agrippa II, son of the preceding Agrippa, was made Prince of Chalcis and Perea, and charged with the care of the Temple of Jerusalem. He finished the third wall, which had been commenced by his father, and brought the work upon the sanctuary to a termination in A.D.64. Cuspius Fadus, Tiberius Alexander, and Cumanus were successively procurators, from 44 to 52. Then came Felix, Festus, and Albinus, from 52 to 66. With the last four, disorders and massacres occurred incessantly. Gessius Florus (66) surpassed the wickedness of his predecessors, and drove the people to revolt against the Roman domination; Agrippa and his party advocated patience, and appealed to Rome against the procurator; but after several days of civil war, the insurgent party triumphed over the pacific, massacred the Roman garrison, and set fire to the palaces. Cestius Gallus, President of Syria, arrived on 30 October, 66, with the Twelfth Legion, but only met with repulses, and had to retire.

The Christians, recalling Christ's prophecies (Luke 19:43,44), withdrew beyond the Jordan into Agrippa's territory, led by their bishop, St. Simeon. Nero commanded his general, Vespasian, to suppress the insurrection, and Vespasian, accompanied by his son Titus, invaded Galilee, in A.D.67, with an army of 60,000 men. Most of the strong places had been captured, when the death of the emperor occasioned a suspension of hostilities. After the ephemeral reigns of three emperors, aggregating eighteen months, Vespasian was raised to the throne in Nov., 69. Titus received from his father the command of the Army of the East, and in the following year, at the season when the Holy City was crowded with those who had come to the Feast of the Passover, he began to lay siege to it. On the 14th day of Kanthic, or of the Hebrew month Abib-the day of the Passover, corresponding to 31 March-Titus took up his position on Mount Scopus with the Fifth, Seventh, and Fifteenth Legions, while the Tenth Legion occupied the Mount of Olives. On the other side, John of Giscala held the Temple, the Antonia, and the new town at Bezetha, with 11,000 men, and Simon, the son of Giora, held the upper and lower city, on the southwestern hill, with 10,000 men. Attacking the third wall, on 9 April, the legions captured that line of defences after fifteen days' fighting. Once master of the new town, Titus took up a position to the west, on the ground known as "the Camp of the Assyrians".

Entrance of the Holy Sepulchre-Anastasis

Dome of the Holy Sepulchre

An attack upon the second wall immediately followed. Five days later, the Romans gained entrance by a breach, but were repulsed, and mastered it only after five days of fierce and incessant fighting. Titus could then approach the Antonia, which offered the only way of access to the Temple, and the citadel of Herod, which covered the first wall to the north of Mount Sion. After three days given to repose, the causeways and movable towers were made ready against the Hippicus tower and the Antonia. But on 17 May the works raised against the Antonia were ruined and destroyed by the soldiers of John of Giscala, and two days later the movable towers which threatened the Hippicus were set on fire by Simon's men, while a heroic struggle was being maintained on both sides. The Roman general then employed his whole army for three days in surrounding the city with an earthwork of circumvallation, designed to cut off all communication with the city, and so to reduce the place by famine. This soon produced terrible results.

After three weeks of fresh preparations, the battering-rams effected a breach in the wall connecting the Antonia with the Temple, near the Pool of Struthius, but in vain. Two days later, the wall crumbled to pieces above a mine prepared by John of Giscala, and a handful of Roman soldiers gained entrance to the Antonia by surprise, at three o'clock in the morning of 20 Jun. Titus at once had the fortress demolished, in order to use the materials in constructing mounds against the Temple. For three weeks the Jews desperately defended first the outer porticoes and then the inner, which the Romans entered only at the cost of enormous sacrifices. At last on 23 July, a Roman soldier flung a blazing torch into one of the halls adjoining the Holy of Holies. In the midst of frightful carnage the fire spread to the neighbouring buildings, and soon the whole platform was one horrible mass of corpses and ruins. The Romans then set fire to the palace in the hollow of El Wad, and to the Ophel; next day they drove the Jews out of the Acra and burned the lower city as far as the Pool of Siloe. There still remained the third rampart, the formidable stronghold of the upper city, where the defenders of the Acra, laden with booty, had joined Simon's men. Eighteen days were devoted to the preparation of the aggeres (mounds) to the northwest and northeast of the fortress, but scarcely had the battering-rams breached the walls when John and Simon fled secretly with their troops. On the eighth day of Elul (1 August) the city was definitively in the power of the Romans, after a siege of 143 days. To those who congratulated him Titus replied:"It is not I who have conquered. God, in His wrath against the Jews, has made use of my arm".

The walls of the Temple and those of the city were demolished. But Titus wished to preserve the fortress of the upper city, with the three magnificent towers of Herod's palace. Besides, the upper city was needed as a fortified station for the Tenth Legion, which was left to garrison Jerusalem. During this siege-one of the most sanguinary recorded in history-600,000 Jews, according to Tacitus, or, according to Josephus, more than a million, perished by the sword, disease, or famine. The survivors died in gladiatorial combats or were sold into slavery. "David took the castle of Sion" and "dwelt in the castle, and called it, the city of David:and built round about from Mello and inwards" (2Samuel 5:7,9). When Solomon had completed the Temple and the House of the Forest of Lebanon, 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, with a porch 30 cubits by 50, he erected the palaces and other buildings. Lower down, towards the south, in the locality which figures in the post-Exilic texts as the Ophel, we find the Gabaonites (Joshua 9:22) and other Nathinites-foreign races placed at the service of the Levites to furnish wood and water for the sacrifices (Ezra 2:58; Nehemiah 3:26).

Sion, the City of David, before the exile, the Jews could not have been ignorant of the location, for the boundary wall of Sion enclosed the sepulchres of the prophet-king and fourteen of his successors; the last two Books of Kings repeat this thirteen times (1Kings 2:10; 2Kings 8:24), and Paralipomenon bears similar witness. On their return from exile, the old men (Ezra 3:12) must have remembered in what quarter of the city the burial-places of David and his descendants were situated; in point of fact, Nehemias does not hesitate to use them as a landmark (Nehemiah 3:16). Hyrcanus I and Herod the Great even opened these tombs of the kings to find treasure in them. The white marble monument erected by the latter seems to have remained standing until A.D.133. At any rate the tomb of David was well known among the Jews and the disciples of Christ in the time of St. Peter (Acts 2:29). Now Josephus, an eyewitness, says that the Jebusite city, which became the City of David, occupied the high western plateau of the southwestern hill, which is now known as Mount Sion. In his time it was called "the upper city", and again the upper agora, or market (1Maccabees 12:36). The word Millo is always translated Acra in the Septuagint and Josephus, and, according to the latter, the Millo, or Mello, occupied the high plateau on the northeast side of the same hill, and was in his time called Acra, "lower city" and "lower market" (1Maccabees 1:38). It was this hill, commanding the Temple, that was levelled by the Hasmoneans. The Talmudists agree with the Jewish historian as to the position of the two markets. Eusebius of Caesarea ("Golgotha"), St. Jerome ("Ad Eustoch."), St. Epiphanius ("De mens."), and all later writers, Jewish and Christian, locate Sion, the City of David, upon the southwestern hill, which has never borne any other name than that of Mount Sion.

Jerusalem old city

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