Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Pictorial History of Jerusalem

A city called Rušalim in the Execration texts of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (19th century BCE) is identified as Jerusalem. Jerusalem was then called Urušalim in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba (1330s BCE). The name "Jerusalem" is variously etymologized to mean "foundation of the god Shalem", the original tutelary deity of the city.


The ambitious Ophel excavation in Jerusalem has produced many finds, but precious little before the tenth century BC

Ceramic evidence indicates occupation of Jerusalem, as far back as the Copper Age (c. 4th millennium BCE), with evidence of a permanent settlement during the early Bronze Age (c. 3000–2800 BCE). It was founded by Northwest Semitic people with organized settlements from around 2600 BCE.


Details labeled on a model of the ancient city of Salem (Jerusalem) or the city David took from the Jebusites to establish as the center of his kingdom.

In the late Bronze Age, Jerusalem was the capital of an Egyptian vassal city-state, a modest settlement governing a few outlying villages and pastoral areas, with a small Egyptian garrison and ruled by appointees such as king Abdi-Heba. At the time of Seti I and Ramesses II, major construction took place as prosperity increased.




This period, when Canaan formed part of the Egyptian empire, Jerusalem is defined as lying within territory allocated to the tribe of Benjamin though occupied by Jebusites. David is said to have conquered these in the Siege of Jebus, and transferred his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem. 


Jerusalem is one of the oldest continuing cities in the world. There were people living there as early as the 4th millennium BC, but the fortress/city began to be famous after David captured it and made it his capital. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.




King David reigned for 40 years. He died about 970 BCE. Jerusalem became the capital of a united Kingdom of Israel. During his reign, David had been too busy with court intrigue and hard-fought battles to think about renovating the city.

Jerusalem at the Time of David David’s City: 12–13 Acres Population: 2,400

His son was more ambitious. Solomon used Phoenician craftsmen and enforced labor to carry out the great construction program that resulted in the building of the First Temple and the palace in Jerusalem.


JERUSALEM:BIBLE ARCHITECTURE:Jerusalem as it was in the period from Solomon to Hezekiah


On Solomon's death, ten of the northern Tribes of Israel broke with the United Monarchy to form their own nations, kings, prophets, priests, traditions relating to religion, capitals and temples in northern Israel. The southern tribes, together with the Aaronid priesthood, remained in Jerusalem, with the city becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, instead of th Kingdom of Israel.

During the  Judean kingdom renovations included Hezekiah's Tunnel, an aqueduct built by Judean king Hezekiah, the Broad Wall, a defensive fortification,  Monolith of Silwan, Tomb of the Royal Steward, and Israelite Tower. A huge water reservoir dating from this period was discovered in 2012 near Robinson's Arch, indicating the existence of a densely built-up quarter across the area west of the Temple Mount.

In 922BC the Egyptian pharaoh Sheshonk I led a raid into Judah, and sacked the city. He was followed in the next century by the Philistines and Arabs, and then in 786BC Joash of Israel invaded Judah and plundered the treasures of the Temple and the royal palace, and destroyed a number of newly built fortresses, and tore down part of the wall surrounding Jerusalem.



The First Temple period ended around 586 BCE, when the Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem, laid waste to Solomon's Temple, and its king deported to Babylon. The long exile in Babylon began. 


JERUSALEM:BIBLE ARCHITECTUREThe city of Jerusalem in the Herodian period

During the Herodian periodHerod demolished everything that was there to build his temple and palace; built from Lebanese cedar, with a vestibule hall of columns, a throne room, residential quarters and a luxurious palace for the women of the harem. There would also have been extensive courtyards, onto which the palace rooms opened. The palace was quite independent of the city, with a high wall surrounding it. It was necessary to pass through a guard-house to enter it.

JERUSALEM:BIBLE ARCHITECTUREA model of the city in King Herod's time. All available land would have been covered by buildings



In 538BC Cyrus II, founder of the Achaemenian dynasty of Persia, issued an order allowing the Jewish population to return to their homeland. The once magnificent city was a sorry sight. Nothing  remained but a few small buildings and a peasantry living in huts, where once there had been the Temple, palaces, houses and commercial buildings. 

Zerubbabel, of the house of David, began to rebuild Jerusalem. The Temple was restored by 515BC, and Jerusalem once more became the center of the new state. Its position was strengthened when Nehemiah restored the fortifications surrounding the city.

After the coming of Alexander the Great, Palestine was taken over by his marshal, Ptolemy I, who had occupied Egypt. In 198BC Jerusalem was taken over by the dynasty descended from Seleucus I, another of Alexander's marshal. In 167BC Antiochus IV desecrated the Temple, and a revolt against the Seleucid rulers broke out.  This revolt was led by the Maccabees, who were able to expel the Seleucids.

Jerusalem regained its position as the capital of an independent state, now ruled by the priestly Hasmonean family.

Rome had been expanding into the eastern Mediterranean, and in 63BC Pompey captured Jerusalem. By 40BC Herod, who had distinguished himself as governor of Galilee, was appointed a 'client king' of Judaea. During the reign of King Harold Jerusalem enjoyed its greatest period of greatness. The Temple Mount esplanade was enlarged with supporting walls (including the Western Wall, now called the Wailing Wall), the new Temple was built, and Jerusalem also acquired a Hellenistic amphitheater.

In 66AD the Jewish people rebelled against Rome and in 70AD the city was besieged and almost completely destroyed by the Roman forces under Titus. The Temple was reduced to ashes.








Jerusalem or the city of the Lord. This map was engraved by D.Nimmo and published by A . Fullarton & Co. The map was first published in 1835 by Samuel Arrosmith who was a bookseller in London. This publication is from 1840's. The city of Jerusalem is depicted as it would have looked at the time of Jesus. Prominently shown are the Temple mound, the hill of Zion and mount of Olives. Many other locations are depicted.The map is an original engraving on steel. More





History of the wall


More: Bible History, Bible Architecture

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