Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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        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" (2 Chr. 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" (compare 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 Israel, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the
        southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.
        It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Gen.
        14:18; compare Ps. 76:2). When first mentioned under the name
        Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Josh. 10:1). It is
        afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Judg. 19:10; 1
        Chr. 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 (Judg. 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 (1 Sam. 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" (2 Sam. 5:5-9; 1 Chr. 11:4-8). Here he built an
        altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite
        (2 Sam. 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
        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 (Deut. 12:5; compare 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 (2 Kings 14:13, 14; 18:15, 16; 23:33-35;
        24:14; 2 Chr. 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 (2 Kings 25; 2
        Chr. 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 (52:3), so that
        it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the
        predictions, Deut. 28; Lev. 26:14-39.
        But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built,
        in troublous times (Dan. 9:16, 19, 25), after a captivity of
        seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the
        first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 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
        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 tablets includes
        six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack
        of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim
        ("city of peace"). Another monumental record in which the Holy
        City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in B.C. 702. The
        "camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about A.D. 70, on the
        flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of
        the city.
        The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and
        was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear
        to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name
        Zion (or Sion) appears to have been, like Ariel ("the hearth of
        God"), a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was
        more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter
        grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's
        Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city
        were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and
        the Temple (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14).
        Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with
        ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending
        less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were
        first shown in the 4th and later centuries A.D., and have no
        authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most
        of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and
        the course of the old walls having been traced.
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Jerusalem' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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