The chief city of the Holy Land, and to the Christian the most illustrious in the world. It is situated in 31 degrees 46'43" N. lat., and 35 degrees 13' E. long. on elevated ground south of the center of the country, about thirty-seven miles from the Mediterranean, and about twenty-four from the Jordan. Its site was early hallowed by God's trial of Abraham's faith, Ge 22; 2Ch 3:1. It was on the border of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, mostly within the limits of the former, but reckoned as belonging to the latter, because conquered by it, Jos 15:8; 18:16,28; Jg 1:1-8. The most ancient name of the city was Salem, Ge 14:18; Ps 76:2; and it afterwards was called Jebus, as belonging to the Jebusites, Jg 19:10-11. Being a very strong position, it resisted the attempts of the Israelites to become the sole masters of it, until at length its fortress was stormed by David, 2Sa 5:6,9; after which it received its present name, and was also called "the city of David." It now became the religious and political center of the kingdom, and was greatly enlarged, adorned, and fortified. But its chief glory was, that in its magnificent temple the ONE LIVING AND TRUE GOD dwelt, and revealed himself.
After the division of the tribes, it continued the capital of the kingdom of Judah, was several times taken and plundered, and at length was destroyed at the Babylonian captivity, 2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 12:9; 21:16; 24:23; 25:23; 36:3,10; 17-20. After seventy years, it was rebuilt by the Jews on their return from captivity about 536 B. C., who did much to restore it to its former splendor. About 332 B. C., the city yielded to Alexander of Macedon; and not long after his death, Ptolemy of Egypt took it by an assault on the Sabbath, when it is said the Jews scrupled to fight. In 170 B. C., Jerusalem fell under the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes, who razed its walls, set up an image of Jupiter in the temple, and used every means to force the people into idolatry. Under the Maccabees, however, the Jews, in 163 B. C., recovered their independence. Just a century later, it was conquered by the Romans. Herod the Great expended vast sums in its embellishment. To the city and temple thus renovated the ever-blessed Messiah came, in the fullness of time, and made the place of his feet glorious. By his rejection and crucifixion Jerusalem filled up the cup of her guilt; the Jewish nation perished from off the land of their fathers, and the city and temple were taken by Titus and totally destroyed, A. D. 70-71. Of all the structures of Jerusalem, only three towers and a part of the western wall were left standing. Still, as the Jews began to return thither, and manifested a rebellious spirit, the emperor Adrian planted a Roman colony there in A. D. 135, and banished the Jews, prohibiting their return on pain of death. He changed the name of the city to Aelia Capitolina, consecrated it to heathen deities, in order to defile it as much as possible, and did what he could to obliterate all traces both of Judaism and Christianity. From this period the name Aelia became so common, that the name Jerusalem was preserved only among the Jews and better-informed Christians. In the time of Constantine, however, it resumed its ancient name, which it has retained to the present day. Helena, the mother of Constantine, built two churches in Bethlehem and on mount Olivet, about A. D. 326; and Julian, who, after his father, succeeded to the empire of his uncle Constantine, endeavored to rebuild the temple; but his design, and that of the Jews, whom he patronized, was frustrated, as contemporary historians relate, by an earthquake, and by balls of fire bursting forth among the workmen, A. D. 363.
The subsequent history of Jerusalem may be told in a few words. In 613, it was taken by Chosroes king of Persia, who slew, it is said, 90,000 men, and demolished, to the utmost of his power, whatever the Christians had venerated: in 627, Heraclius defeated Chosroes, and Jerusalem was recovered by the Greeks. Soon after command the long and wretched era of Mohammedanism. About 637, the city was taken from the Christians by the caliph Omar, after a siege of four months, and continued under the caliphs of Bagdad till 868, when it was taken by Ahmed, a Turkish sovereign of Egypt. During the space of 220 years, it was subject to several masters, Turkish and Saracenic, and in 1099 it was taken by the crusaders under Godfrey Bouillon, who was elected king. He was succeeded by his brother Baldwin, who died in 1118. In 1187, Saladin, sultan of the East, captured the city, assisted by the treachery of Raymond, count of Tripoli, who was found dead in his bed on the morning of the day in which he was to have delivered up the city. It was restored, in 1242, to the Latin princes, by Saleh Ismael, emir of Damascus; they lost it in 1291 to the sultans of Egypt, who held it till 1382. Selim, the Turkish sultan, reduced Egypt and Syria, including Jerusalem, in 1517, and his son Solyman built or reconstructed the present walls in 1534. Since then it has remained under the dominion of Turkey, except when held for a short time, 1832-4, by Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt. At present, this city is included in the pashalic of Damascus, though it has a resident Turkish governor.
Jerusalem is situated on the central tableland of Judea, about 2,400 feet above the Mediterranean. It lies on ground which slopes gently down towards the east, the slope being terminated by an abrupt declivity, in some parts precipitous, and overhanging the valley of Jehoshaphat or of the Kidron. This sloping ground is also terminated on the south by the deep and narrow valley of Hinnom, which constituted the ancient southern boundary of the city, and which also ascends on its west side, and comes out upon the high ground on the northwest. See GIHON. But in the city itself, there were also two ravines or smaller valleys, dividing the land covered by buildings into three principal parts or hills. ZION, the highest of these, was in the southwest quarter of the city, skirted on the south and west by the deep valley of Hinnom. On its north and east sides lay the smaller valley "of the cheesemongers," or Tyropoeon also united, near the northeast foot of Zion, with a valley coming down from the north. Zion was also called, The city of David; and by Josephus, "the upper city." Surrounded anciently by walls as well as deep valleys, it was the strongest part of the city, and contained the citadel and the king's palace. The Tyropoeon separated it from Acra on the north and Moriah on the northeast. ACRA was less elevated than Zion, or than the ground to the northwest beyond the walls. It is called by Josephus "the lower city." MORIAH, the sacred hill, lay northeast of Zion, with which it was anciently connected at its nearest corner, by a bridge over the Tyropoeon, some remnants of which have been identified by Dr. Robinson. Moriah was at first a small eminence, but its area was greatly enlarged to make room for the temple. It was but a part of the continuous ridge on the east side of the city, overlooking the deep valley of the Kidron; rising on the north, after a slight depression, into the hill Bezetha, the "new city" of Joephus, and sinking away on the south into the hill Ophel. On the east of Jerusalem, and stretching from north to south, lies the Mount of Olives, divided from the city by the valley of the Kidron, and commanding a noble prospect of the city and surrounding county. Over against Moriah, or a little further north, lies the garden of Gethsemane, with its olive trees, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Just below the city, on the east side of the valley of the Kidron, lies the miserable village of Siloa; farther down, this valley unites with that of Hinnon, at a beautiful spot anciently "the king's gardens;" still below, is the well of Nehemiah, anciently En-rogel; and from this spot the united valley winds among mountains southward and eastward to the Dead sea. In the mouth of the Tyropoeon, between Ophel and Zion, is the pool of Siloam. In the valley west and northwest of Zion are the two pools of Gihon, the lower being now broken and dry. In the rocks around Jerusalem, and chiefl
called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once "the city of Judah" (2Ch 25:28). This name is in the original in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or "foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two mountains on which it was built, viz., Zion and Moriah; or, as some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the "lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a mountain fastness" (comp. Ps 68:15-16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1-2; 122:3). It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands in Palestine, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.
Illustration: Plan of Ancient Jerusalem Illustration: Plan of Modern (1897) Jerusalem Illustration: Section Across Jerusalem Illustration: Jerusalem from Mt Scopus Illustration: David Street
It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Ge 14:18; comp. Ps 76:2). When first mentioned under the name Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Jos 10:1). It is afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Jg 19:10; 1Ch 11:4); but in the time of David it was divided between Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken and set on fire by the men of Judah (Jg 1:1-8); but the Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of Goliath thither (1Sa 17:54). David afterwards led his forces against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the city of David" (2Sa 5:5-9; 1Ch 11:4-8). Here he built an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2Sa 24:15-25), and thither he brought up the ark of the covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the kingdom.
After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah (B.C. 1010). He also greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the great centre of all the civil and religious affairs of the nation (De 12:5; comp. De 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16; Ps 122).
After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by the kings of Israel (2Ki 14:13-14; 18:15-16; 23:33-35; 24:14; 2Ch 12:9; 26:9; 27:3-4; 29:3; 32:30; 33:11), till finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (2Ki 25; 2Ch 36; Jer 39), B.C. 588. The desolation of the city and the land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into Egypt (JER 40-44), and by the final carrying captive into Babylon of all that still remained in the land (Jer 52:3), so that it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the predictions, De 28; Le 26:14-39.
But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built, in troublous times (Da 9:16,19,25), after a captivity of seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the first year of Cyrus" (Ezr 1:2-3,5-11). The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews, consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia, till B.C. 331; and thereafter, for about a century and a half, under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till B.C. 167. For a century the Jews maintained their independence under native rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The city was then laid in ruins.
The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site, there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are now what they were in the ancient city. Till A.D. 131 the Jews who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the Roman sway. But in that year the emperor (Hadrian), in order to hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the leadership of one Bar-Chohaba (i.e., "the son of the star") in revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards (A.D. 135), however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter, and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."
In A.D. 326 Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated A.D. 335. He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force, and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."
In A.D. 614 the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it till A.D. 637, when it was taken by the Arabians under the Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in A.D. 960, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt, and in A.D. 1073 under the Turcomans. In A.D. 1099 the crusader Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this day. In A.D. 1187 the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the Christians. From that time to the present day, with few intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems. It has, however, during that period been again and again taken and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.
In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon, the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish exclusiveness.
Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean." This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25 geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the mountains of Ephraim and Judah.
Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains, whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every nationality of East and West, is represented at one time.
Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of table
Jeru-, "the foundation" (implying its divinely given stability, Ps 87:1; Isa 14:32; so spiritually, Heb 11:10); -shalem, "of peace". The absence of the doubled "sh" forbids Ewald's derivation, jerush- "possession". Salem is the oldest form (Ps 76:2; Heb 7:2; Ge 14:18). Jebusi "the Jebusite" (Jos 15:8; 18:16,28; Jg 19:10-11) and the city itself. Jebus, the next form, Jerusalem the more modern name. Melchi-zedek ("king of righteousness") corresponds to Adoni-zedek," lord of righteousness," king of Jerusalem (Jos 10:1), the name being a hereditary title of the kings of Jerusalem which is "the city of righteousness" (Isa 1:21-26). Psalm 110 connects Melchizedek with Zion, as other passages do with Salem. The king of Salem met Abram after his return from the slaughter of the kings, therefore near home (Hebron, to which Jerusalem was near).
The valley of Shaveh, the king's dale (Ge 14:17; 2Sa 18:18), was the valley of Kedron, and the king of Sodom had no improbable distance to go from Sodom in meeting him here (two furlongs from Jersalem: Josephus, Ant. 7:10, section 3). Ariel, "lion of God," is another designation (Isa 29:1-2,7). (See ARIEL.) Also "the holy city" (Mt 4:5; 27:53; Re 11:3). AElius Hadrianus, the Roman emperor, built it (A.D. 135), whence it was named AElia Capitolina, inscribed still on the well known stone in the S. wall of the Aksa. Jerusalem did not become the nation's capital or even possession until David's time, the seat of government and of the religious worship having been previously in the N. at Shethem and Shiloh, then Gibeah and Nob (whence the tabernacle and altar were moved to Gibeon). (See DAVID.) The boundary between Judah and Benjamin ran S. of the city hill, so that the city was in Benjamin, and Judah enclosed on two sides the tongue or promontory of land on which it stood, the valley of Hinnom bounding it W. and S., the valley of Jehoshaphat on the E.
The temple situated at the connecting point of Judah and northern Israel admirably united both in holiest bonds. Jerusalem lies on the ridge of the backbone of hills stretching from the plain of Jezreel to the desert. Jewish tradition placed the altars and sanctuary in Benjamin, the courts of the temple in Judah. The two royal tribes met in Jerusalem David showed his sense of the importance of the alliance with Saul of Benjamin by making Michal's restoration the condition of his league with Abner (2Sa 3:13). Its table land also lies almost central on the middle route from N. to S., and is the watershed of the torrents passing eastward to Jordan and westward to the Mediterranean (Eze 5:5; 38:12; Ps 48:2).
It lay midway between the oldest civilized states; Egypt and Ethiopia on one hand, Babylon, Nineveh, India, Persia, Greece, and Rome on the other; thus holding the best vantage ground whence to act on heathendom. At the same time it lay out of the great highway between Egypt and Syria and Assyria, so often traversed by armies of these mutually hostile world powers, the low sea coast plain from Pelusium to Tyre; hence it generally enjoyed immunity from wars. It is 32 miles from the sea, 18 from Jordan, 20 from Hebron, 36 from Samaria; on the edge of one of the highest table lands, 3700 ft. above the Dead Sea; the N.W. part of the city is 2,581 ft. above the Mediterranean sea level; Mount Olivet is more than 100 ft. higher, namely, 2,700 ft. The descent is extraordinary; Jericho, 13 miles off, is 3,624 ft. lower than Olivet, i.e. 900 ft. below the Mediterranean. Bethel to the N., 11 miles off, is 419 ft. below Jerusalem. Ramleh to the W., 25 miles off, is 2,274 ft. lower. To the S. however the hills at Bethlehem are a little higher, 2,704; Hebron, 3,029. To the S.W. the view is more open, the plain of Rephaim beginning at the S. edge of the valley of Hinnom and stretching towards the western sea. To the N.W. also the view reaches along the upper part of the valley of Jehoshaphat.
The city is called "the valley of vision" (Isa 22:1-5), for the lower parts of the city, the Tyro-peon (the cheesemakers), form a valley between the heights. The hills outside too are "round about" it (Ps 125:2). On the E. Olivet; on the S. the hill of evil counsel, rising from the vale of Hinnom; on the W. the ground rises to the borders of the great wady, an hour and a half from the city; on the N. a prolongation of mount Olivet bounds the prospect a mile from the City. Jer 21:13,"inhabiters of the valley, rock of the plain" (i.e. Zion). "Jerusalem the defensed" (Eze 21:20), yet doomed to be "the city of confusion," a second Babel (confusion), by apostasy losing the order of truth and holiness, so doomed to the disorder of destruction like Babylon, its prototype in evil (Isa 24:10; Jer 4:23). Seventeen times desolated by conquerors, as having become a "Sodom" (Isa 1:10). "The gates of the people," i.e. the central mart for the inland commerce (Eze 26:2; 27:17; 1Ki 5:9). "The perfection of beauty" (La 2:15, the enemy in scorn quoting the Jews' own words), "beautiful for situation" (Ps 48:2; 50:1-2).
The ranges of Lebanon and Antilebanon pass on southwards in two lower parallel ranges separated by the Ghor or Jordan valley, and ending in the gulf of Akabah. The eastern range distributes itself through Gilead, Mesh, and Petra, reaching the Arabian border of the Red Sea. The western range is the backbone of western Palestine, including the hills of Galilee, Samaria, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Judah, and passing on into the Sinaitic range ending at Ras Mohammed in the tongue of land between the two arms of the Red Sea. The Jerusalem range is part of the steep western wall of the valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. W. of this wall the hills sink into a lower range between it and the Mediterranean coast plain. The eastern ravine, the valley of Kedron or Jehoshaphat running from N. to S., meets at the S.E. grainer of the city table land promontory the valley of Hinnom, which on the W. of the precipitous promontory first runs S., then bends eastward (S. of the promontory) until it meets the valley of Jehoshaphat at Bir Ayub; thence as one they descend steeply toward the Dead Sea. The promontory itself is divided into two unequal parts by a ravine running from S. to N. The western part or "upper city" is the larger and higher.
The eastern part, mount Moriah and the Acra or "lower city" (Josephus), constitute the lower and smaller; on its southern portion is now the mosque of Omar. The central ravine half way up sends a lateral valley running up to the general level at the Jaffa or Bethlehem gate. The central ravine or depression, running toward the Damascus gate, is the Tyropeon. N. of Moriah the valley of the Asmonaeans running transversely (marked still by the reservoir with two arches, "the pool of Bethesda" so-called, near St. Stephen's gate) separates it from the suburb Bezetha or new town. Thus the city was impregnably entrenched by ravines W., S., and E., while on the N. and N.W. it had ample room for expansion. The western half is: fairly level from N. to S., remembering however the lateral valley spoken of above. The eastern hill is more than 100 ft. lower; the descent thence to the valley, the Bir Ayub, is 450 ft. The N. and S. outlying hills of Olivet, namely, Viri Galilaei, Scopus, and mount of Offence, bend somewhat toward the city, as if "standing round about Jerusalem." The neighbouring hills though not very high are a shelter to the city, and the distant hills of Moab look like a rampart on the E.
The route from the N. and E. was from the Jordan plain by Jericho and mount Olivet (Lu 17:11; 18:35; 19:1-29,45,2 Samuel 15-16; 2Ch 28:15). The route from Philistia and Sharon was by Joppa and Lydda, up the two Bethherons to the high ground at Gibeon, whence it turned S. and by Ramah and Gibeah passed over the N. ridge to Jerusalem. This was the road which armies took in approaching the city, and it is still the one for heavy baggage, though a shorter and steeper road through Amwas and the great wady is generally taken by travelers from Jaffa to Jerusalem. The gates were:
(1) that of Ephraim (2Ch 25:23), the same probably as that
(2) of Benjamin (Jer 20:2), 400 cubits from
(3) "the corner gate" (2Ch 25:23).
Great interest naturally attaches to this city because of its O.T. and N.T. histories, and its future glory. The signification of the name is somewhat uncertain: some give it as 'the foundation of peace;' others 'the possession of peace.' Its history has, alas, been anything but that of peace; but Hag 2:9 remains to be fulfilled: "in this place will I give peace," doubtless referring to the meaning of 'Jerusalem.' The name is first recorded in Jos 10:1 when Adoni-zedec was its king, before Israel had anything to do with it, and four hundred years before David obtained full possession of the city. 2Sa 5:6-9. This name may therefore have been given it by the Canaanites, though it was also called JEBUS. Jg 19:10. It is apparently symbolically called SALEM, 'peace,' in Ps 76:2;* and ARIEL, 'the lion of God,' in Isa 29:1-2,7; in Isa 52:1 'the holy city,' as it is also in Mt 4:5; 27:53. The temple being built there, and Mount Zion forming a part of the city, made Jerusalem typical of the place of blessing on earth, as it certainly will be in a future day, when Israel is restored.
* On the TELL AMARNA TABLETS (see THE TELL AMARNA TABLETS under 'Egypt') Jerusalem occurs several times as u-ru-sa-lim, the probable signification of which is 'city of peace.'
Jerusalem was taken from the Jebusites and the city burnt, Jg 1:8; but the Jebusites were not all driven out, for some were found dwelling in a part of Jerusalem called the fort, when David began to reign over the whole of the tribes. This stronghold was taken, and Jerusalem became the royal city; but the great interest that attaches to it arises from its being the city of Jehovah's election on the one hand, and the place of Jehovah's temple, where mercy rejoiced over judgement. See ZION and MORIAH. In Solomon's reign it was greatly enriched, and the temple built. At the division of the kingdom it was the chief city of Judah. It was plundered several times, and in B.C. 588 the temple and city were destroyed by the king of Babylon. In B.C. 536, after 70 years (from B.C. 606, when the first captivity took place, Jer 25:11-12; 29:10), Cyrus made a declaration that God had charged him to build Him a house at Jerusalem, and the captives were allowed to return for the purpose. In B.C. 455 the commission to build the city was given to Nehemiah. It existed, under many vicissitudes, until the time of the Lord, when it was part of the Roman empire. Owing to the rebellion of the Jews it was destroyed by the Romans, A.D. 70.
Its ruins had a long rest, but in A.D. 136 the city was rebuilt by Hadrian and called ?lia Capitolina. A temple to the Capitoline Jupiter was erected on the site of the temple. Jews were forbidden, on pain of death, to enter the city, but in the fourth century they were admitted once a year. Constantine after his conversion destroyed the heathen temples in the city. In A.D. 614 Jerusalem was taken and pillaged by the Persians. In 628 it was re-taken by Heraclius. Afterwards it fell into the hands of the Turks. In 1099 it was captured by the Crusaders, but was re-taken by Saladin. In 1219 it was ceded to the Christians, but was subsequently captured by Kharezmian hordes. In 1277 it was nominally annexed to the kingdom of Sicily. In 1517 it passed under the sway of the Ottoman Sultan, and became a part of the Turkish empire. It has already sustained about thirty sieges, and although in the hands of the Jews now its desolations are not yet over!
The beautiful situation of Jerusalem is noticed in scripture; it stands about 2593 feet above the sea, and the mountains round about it are spoken of as its security. Ps 125:2; La 2:15. Between the mountains and the city there are valleys on three sides: on the east the valley of the Kidron, or Jehoshaphat; on the west the valley of Gihon; and on the south the valley of Hinnom. The Mount of Olives is on the east, from whence the best view of Jerusalem is to be had. On the S.W. lies the Mount of Offence, so called because it is supposed that Solomon practised idolatry there. On the south is the Hill of Evil Counsel; the origin of which name is said to be that Caiaphas had a villa there, in which a council was held to put the Lord to death. But these and many other names commonly placed on maps, have no other authority than that of tradition. To the north the land is comparatively level, so that the attacks on the city were made on that side.
The city, as it now stands surrounded by walls, contains only about one-third of a square mile. Its north wall running S.W. extends from angle to angle, without noticing irregularities, about 3930 feet; the east 2754 feet; the south 3425 feet; and the west 2086 feet; the circumference being about two and a third English miles. Any one accustomed to the area of modern cities is struck with the small size of Jerusalem. Josephus says that its circumference in his day was 33 stadia, which is more than three and three-quarters English miles. It is clear that on the south a portion was included which is now outside the city. Also on the north an additional wall enclosed a large portion, now called BEZETHA; but this latter enclosure was made by Herod Agrippa some ten or twelve years after the time of the Lord. Traces of these additional walls have been discovered and extensive excavations on the south have determined the true position of the wall.
Several gates are mentioned in the O.T. which cannot be traced; it is indeed most probable they do not now exist. On the north is the Damascus gate, and one called Herod's gate walled up; on the east an open gate called St. Stephen's, and a closed one called the Golden gate; on the south Zion gate, and a small one called Dung gate; on the west Jaffa gate. A street runs nearly north from Zion gate to Damascus gate; and a street from the Jaffa gate runs eastward to the Mosque enclosure These two streets divide the city into four quarters of unequal size. Since the formation of the State of Israel a large modern city has built up to the North West of the Old City.
There is a fifth portion on the extreme S.E. called MORIAH, agreeing, as is supposed, with the Mount Moriah of the O.T., on some portion of which the temple was most probably built. It is now called 'the Mosque enclosure,' because on it are built two mosques. It is a plateau of about 35 acres, all level except where a portion of the rock projects near the centre, over which the Mosque of Omar is built. To obtain this large plain, walls had to be built up at the sides of the sloping rock, forming with arches many chambers, tier above tier. Some chambers are devoted to cisterns, and others are called Solomon's stables. That horses have been kept there at some time appears evident from rings being found attached to the walls, to which the horses were tethered.
Josephus speaks of Jerusalem being built upon two hills with a valley between, called the TYROPOEON VALLEY. This lies on the west of the Mosque enclosure and runs nearly north and south. Over this valley the remains of two bridges have been discovered: the one on the south is called the 'Robinson arch,' because that traveller discovered it. He judged that some stones which jutted out from the west wall of the enclosure must have been part of a large arch. This was proved to have been the case by corresponding parts of the arch being discovered on the opposite side of the valley. Another arch was found complete, farther north, by Captain Wilson, and is called the 'Wilson arch.' Below these arches were others, and aqueducts.
Nearly the whole of this valley is filled with rubbish. There may have been another valley running across the above, as some suppose; but if so, that also is choked with debris, indeed the modern city appears to have been built upon the ruins of former ones, as is implied in the prophecy of Jer 9:11; 30:18. The above-named bridges would unite the Mosque enclosure, or Temple area, with the S.W. portion of the city, which is supposed to have included ZION.
The Jews are not allowed in the Temple area, therefore they assemble on a spot near Robinson's arch, called the JEWS' WAILING PLACE, where they can approach the walls of the area which are built of very
(the habitation of peace), Jerusalem stands in latitude 31 degrees 46' 35" north and longitude 35 degrees 18' 30" east of Greenwich. It is 32 miles distant from the sea and 18 from the Jordan, 20 from Hebron and 36 from Samaria. "In several respects," says Dean Stanley, "its situation is singular among the cities of Palestine. Its elevation is remarkable; occasioned not from its being on the summit of one of the numerous hills of Judea, like most of the towns and villages, but because it is on the edge of one of the highest table-lands of the country. Hebron indeed is higher still by some hundred feet, and from the south, accordingly (even from Bethlehem), the approach to Jerusalem is by a slight descent. But from any other side the ascent is perpetual; and to the traveller approaching the city from the east or west it must always have presented the appearance beyond any other capital of the then known world --we may say beyond any important city that has ever existed on the earth --of a mountain city; breathing, as compared with the sultry plains of Jordan, a mountain air; enthroned, as compared with jericho or Damascus, Gaza or Tyre, on a mountain fastness." --S. & P. 170,
1. Jerusalem, if not actually in the centre of Palestine, was yet virtually so. "It was on the ridge, the broadest and most strongly-marked ridge of the backbone of the complicated hills which extend through the whole country from the plain of Esdraelon to the desert." Roads. --There appear to have been but two main approaches to the city:--
1. From the Jordan valley by Jericho and the Mount of Olives. This was the route commonly taken from the north and east of the country.
2. From the great maritime plain of Philistia and Sharon. This road led by the two Beth-horons up to the high ground at Gibeon, whence it turned south, and came to Jerusalem by Ramah and Gibeah, and over the ridge north of the city. Topography. --To convey an idea of the position of Jerusalem, we may say, roughly, that the city occupies the southern termination of the table-land which is cut off from the country round it on its west, south and east sides by ravines more than usually deep and precipitous. These ravines leave the level of the table-land, the one on the west and the other on the northeast of the city, and fall rapidly until they form a junction below its southeast corner. The eastern one --the valley of the Kedron, commonly called the valley of Jehoshaphat --runs nearly straight from north by south. But the western one --the valley of Hinnom-- runs south for a time, and then takes a sudden bend to the east until it meets the valley of Jehoshaphat, after which the two rush off as one to the Dead Sea. How sudden is their descent may be gathered from the fact that the level at the point of junction -about a mile and a quarter from the starting-point of each-- is more than 600 feet below that of the upper plateau from which they began their descent. So steep is the fall of the ravines, so trench-like their character, and so close do they keep to the promontory at whose feet they run, as to leave on the beholder almost the impression of the ditch at the foot of a fortress rather than of valleys formed by nature. The promontory thus encircled is itself divided by a longitudinal ravine running up it from south to north, called the valley of the Tyropoeon, rising gradually from the south, like the external ones, till at last it arrives at the level of the upper plateau, dividing the central mass into two unequal portions. Of these two, that on the west is the higher and more massive, on which the city of Jerusalem now stands, and in fact always stood. The hill on the east is considerably lower and smaller, so that to a spectator from the south the city appears to slope sharply toward the east. Here was the temple, and here stands now the great Mohammedan sanctuary with its mosques and domes. The name of MOUNT ZION has been applied to the western hill from the time of Constantine to the present day. The eastern hill, called MOUNT MORIAH in
See Mount, Mountain
was as already remarked, the site of the temple. It was situated in the southwest angle of the area, now known as the Haram area, and was, as we learn from Josephus, an exact square of a stadium, or 600 Greek feet, on each side. (Conder ("Bible Handbook," 1879) states that by the latest surveys the Haram area is a quadrangle with unequal sides. The west wall measures 1601 feet, the south 922, the east 1530, the north 1042. It is thus nearly a mile in circumference, and contains 35 acres. --ED.) Attached to the northwest angle of the temple was the Antonia, a tower or fortress. North of the side of the temple is the building now known to Christians as the Mosque of Omar, but by Moslems called the Dome of the Rock. The southern continuation of the eastern hill was named OPHEL, which gradually came to a point at the junction of the valleys Tyropoeon and Jehoshaphat; and the norther BEZETHA, "the new city," first noticed by Josephus, which was separated from Moriah by an artificial ditch, and overlooked the valley of Kedron on the east; this hill was enclosed within the walls of Herod Agrippa. Lastly, ACRA lay westward of Moriah and northward of Zion, and formed the "lower city" in the time of Josephus.
Walls. --These are described by Josephus. The first or old wall was built by David and Solomon, and enclosed Zion and part of Mount Moriah. (The second wall enclosed a portion of the city called Acra or Millo, on the north of the city, from the tower of Mariamne to the tower of Antonia. It was built as the city enlarged in size; begun by Uzziah 140 years after the first wall was finished, continued by Jotham 50 years later, and by Manasseh 100 years later still. It was restored by Nehemiah. Even the latest explorations have failed to decide exactly what was its course. (See Conder's Handbook of the Bible, art. Jerusalem.) The third wall was built by King Herod Agrippa, and was intended to enclose the suburbs which had grown out on the northern sides of the city, which before this had been left exposed. After describing these walls, Josephus adds that the whole circumference of the city was 33 stadia, or nearly four English miles, which is as near as may be the extent indicated by the localities. He then adds that the number of towers in the old wall was 60, the middle wall 40, and the new wall 99. Water Supply --(Jerusalem had no natural water supply, unless we so consider the "Fountain of the Virgin," which wells up with an intermittent action from under Ophel. The private citizens had cisterns, which were supplied by the rain from the roofs; and the city had a water supply "perhaps the most complete and extensive ever undertaken by a city," and which would enable it to endure a long siege. There were three aqueducts, a number of pools and fountains, and the temple area was honeycombed with great reservoirs, whose total capacity is estimated at 10,000,000 gallons. Thirty of these reservoirs are described, varying from 25 to 50 feet in depth; and one, call the great Sea, would hold 2,000,000 gallons. These reservoirs and the pools were supplied with water by the rainfall and by the aqueducts. One of these, constructed by Pilate, has been traced for 40 miles, though in a straight line the distance is but 13 miles. It brought water from the spring Elam, on the south, beyond Bethlehem, into the reservoirs under the temple enclosure. --ED.) Pools and fountains. --A part of the system of water supply. Outside the walls on the west side were the Upper and Lower Pools of GIHON, the latter close under Zion, the former more to the northwest on the Jaffa road. At the junction of the valleys of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat was ENROGEL, the "Well of Job," in the midst of the king's gardens. Within the walls, immediately north of Zion, was the "Pool of Hezekiah." A large pool existing beneath the temple (referred to in Ecclus. 1:3) was probably supplied by some subterranean aqueduct. The "King's Pool" was probably identical with the "Fountain of the Virgin," at the southern angle of Moriah. It possesses the peculiar
JERUSALEM, formerly called Jebus, or Salem, Jos 18:28; Heb 7:2, the capital of Judea, situated partly in the tribe of Benjamin, and partly in that of Judah. It was not completely reduced by the Israelites till the reign of David, 2Sa 5:6-9. As Jerusalem was the centre of the true worship, Ps 122:4, and the place where God did in a peculiar manner dwell, first in the tabernacle, 2Sa 6:7,12; 1Ch 15:1; 16:1; Ps 132:13; 135:2, and afterward in the temple, 1Ki 6:13; so it is used figuratively to denote the church, or the celestial society, to which all that believe, both Jews and Gentiles, are come, and in which they are initiated, Ga 4:26; Heb 12:22; Re 3:12; 21:2,10. Jerusalem was situated in a stony and barren soil, and was about sixty furlongs in length, according to Strabo. The territory and places adjacent were well watered, having the fountains of Gihon and Siloam, and the brook Kidron, at the foot of its walls; and, beside these, there were the waters of Ethan, which Pilate had conveyed through aqueducts into the city. The ancient city of Jerusalem, or Jebus, which David took from the Jebusites, was not very large. It was seated upon a mountain southward of the temple. The opposite mountain, situated to the north, is Sion, where David built a new city, which he called the city of David, whereto was the royal palace, and the temple of the Lord. The temple was built upon Mount Moriah, which was one of the little hills belonging to Mount Sion.
Through the reigns of David and Solomon, Jerusalem was the metropolis of the whole Jewish kingdom, and continued to increase in wealth and splendour. It was resorted to at the festivals by the whole population of the country; and the power and commercial spirit of Solomon, improving the advantages acquired by his father David, centred in it most of the eastern trade, both by sea, through the ports of Elath and Ezion-Geber, and over land, by the way of Tadmor or Palmyra. Or, at least, though Jerusalem might not have been made a depot of merchandise, the quantity of precious metals flowing into it by direct importation, and by duties imposed on goods passing to the ports of the Mediterranean, and in other directions, was unbounded. Some idea of the prodigious wealth of Jerusalem at this time may be formed by stating, that the quantity of gold left by David for the use of the temple amounted to