sunny; height, one of the eminences on which Jerusalem was built. It was surrounded on all sides, except the north, by deep valleys, that of the Tyropoeon (q.v.) separating it from Moriah (q.v.), which it surpasses in height by 105 feet. It was the south-eastern hill of Jerusalem.
When David took it from the Jebusites (Jos 15:63; 2Sa 5:7) he built on it a citadel and a palace, and it became "the city of David" (1Ki 8:1; 2Ki 19:21,31; 1Ch 11:5). In the later books of the Old Testament this name was sometimes used (Ps 87:2; 149:2; Isa 33:14; Joe 2:1) to denote Jerusalem in general, and sometimes God's chosen Israel (Ps 51:18; 87:5).
(See JERUSALEM.) Lieut. Conder (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, Oct. 1877, p. 178) takes Zion for a district name, like "Mount Ephraim." It means sunny mountain. Hezekiah brought his aqueduct (2Ch 22:12; 33:14) from Gihon, the Virgin's fountain, to the western side of the city of David (which is thus Ophel). Zion was the city of David (2Sa 5:9; 1Ch 11:7,2 Chronicles 5); even the temple was sometimes said to be on Zion (1Ma 4:5:2); so was Millo (2Ch 32:33).
The name thus appears to have had a somewhat wide application; but it mainly applies to the eastern of the two main hills on which Jerusalem latterly was built. W. F. Birch (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, July 1878, p. 129) remarks that ancient Jerusalem stood on a rocky plateau enclosed on three sides by two ravines, the king's dale on the W. and S., the brook Kedron on the E. Another ravine, the valley of Hinnom, cleft the space thus enclosed. Between the "brook" and "valley" was the ridge on the southern end of which stood at the beginning of David's reign the hereto impregnable fortress of Jebus (afterward called Zion). In the valley W. of the ridge lay the rest of the city, once captured by the Israelites, but now occupied by the Jebusites. On its eastern side near the" brook" was an intermittent fountain, called then Enrogel, once Gihon in the "brook," afterward Siloah, now the fountain of the Virgin.
The inducement to build on the southern part of this ridge rather than on the northern part, or on the higher hill on the W., was the water supply from the fountain at its base. Moreover some Hittite, Amorite, or Melchizedek himself, engineered a subterranean watercourse extending from the fountain for 70 ft., and then by a vertical rock-cut shaft ascending 50 ft. into the heart of the city, so that in a siege the inhabitants might have a supply of water without risk to themselves, and without the knowledge of the besiegers. So secure did the Jebusites seem, that they defied David, as if "the lame and the blind" would suffice to defend the fortress (2Sa 5:6). David promised that whoever should first get up the tsinor, "gutter," as the subterranean aqueduct was called, should be commander in chief. Joab ventured and won.
How David heard of the secret passage, and how Joab accomplished the feat, is not recorded; but Capt. Warren (3000 years subsequently) found the ascent of the tsinor so hard (Jerusalem Recovered, p. 244-247) that the conviction is forced on one that Joab, who was as cunning as he was valiant, must have had some accomplice among the Jebusites to help him in his perilous enterprise, just as occurred at Jericho and at Bethel (Joshua 2; Jg 2:22-23).
In subsequent years Araunah, a Jebusite of rank, owned the threshing area and lands just outside the city of David, and sold them at an enormous price to David for an altar and site of the temple. If he was the traitor to the Jebusites, by whose help Joab entered the city, we can understand the otherwise strange fact that he was left in possession of such valuable property in such a situation (2Sa 24:18-24). Josephus' testimony rather favors this conjecture (Ant. J. 7:3, Section 1-3): "Araunah was a wealthy man among the Jebusites, but was not slain by David in the siege because of the goodwill he bore to the Hebrew, and a particular benignity and affection which he had to the king himself" (Ant. J. 7:13, Section 4). "He was by his lineage a Jebusite, but a particular friend of David, and for that cause it was that when he overthrew the city he did him no harm." (See TEMPLE.)
ZION. See SION.