The Second Wall - First Century Jerusalem

Jerusalem's Walls During the Second Temple Period  
Jerusalem's Walls During the Second Temple Period According to the Model at the Israel Museum

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The date of its construction and the exact course of the second wall is still under speculation, mainly because archeological discoveries have been few, and so also the literary sources. It was no doubt built during the Herodian period.

 

This wall ran from Herod's palace, by the Damascus gate, all the way to the Antonia fortress at the northwest corner of the temple. According to Josephus, this wall was fairly short and contained 14 towers (Wars 5:4:3; 158). It also had sort of a moat in front of the wall, like a quarry, we know this because of archaeology.

The Walls of Jerusalem

Jerusalem was also surrounded by massive walls. Ps 51:18 "Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem." Davidís prayer was answered when his son Solomon build the wall of Jerusalem around the city, and repaired the breaches of the city of David. He also built the Millo (rampart), a fortification which apparently existed when it was inhabited by the Jebusites as with King Hezekiah: 2 Chron 32:4-5 "And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance." King Manasseh, after he repented built a wall around the city of David, on the west side of Gihon: 2 Chron 33:13-15 "Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.

After this he built a wall outside the City of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate; and it enclosed Ophel, and he raised it to a very great height. Then he put military captains in all the fortified cities of Judah. Also Nehemiah, after the Babylonian captivity, brought helpers including "Shallum and his daughters," and repaired the broken down walls of Jerusalem by "putting their necks to the work of the Lord." See The Walls of Jerusalem

The Time of Jesus - 3 Walls

By the time of Jesus, according to Josephus, there were three walls that surrounded Jerusalem, "90 towers stood in the first wall, 14 in the second, and 60 in the third." The third wall was built by Herod Agrippa I. Click around the map on the first page to learn more about the walls, the towers, and fortifications.

The First Wall

The first wall was referred to as the "old wall" in the writings of Josephus and it encompassed the areas of the Lower and Upper Cities. It was originally built by one of the Hasmonean kings around 130 BC. See The First Wall

The Second Wall

The second wall is fairly uncertain due to lack of evidence, some say it began at the Citadel and and ran by the Damascus Gate and formed a loop ending at the Antonia Fortress. See The Second Wall

The Third Wall

The third wall began during the reign of Herod Agrippa I and evidence suggests that it was built around the new city from the Citadel around the northern Beth Zetha quarter forming a loop until it reached the Temple Mount. See The Third Wall

Also See: Herod's Temple

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Map of Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (Click to Enlarge)

Ancient Jerusalem - First Century Jerusalem Market Pavilions Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) Phasael Tower Hippicus Tower Mariamne Tower Hyrcanus Monument Herod's Barracks Click here to view the illlustration Herod's Palace Upper Agora Hasmonean Palace Xystus Market Palace of Annas Herod's Theater Palace of Caiaphas Tomb of King David Dyers Quarter Wilson's Arch Robinson's Arch Western Wall Adiabenian Palaces Synagogue of the Freedmen Sports Hippodrome Pool of Siloam Huldah Gates Tomb of Huldah Temple Facade Antonia Fortress Pool of Bethesda Alexander Jannaeus Monument Jerusalem Roads Tomb of Absalom Gihon Spring Tunnel of Hezekiah Hakeldama - Field of Blood First Century Jerusalem - Roads Serpent's Pool Western Road Hinnom Valley Kidron Valley Tyropoeon Valley New City Upper City Jerusalem's Lower City City of David Mount of Olives Damascus Gate New City Kidron Valley Pilate's Aquaduct Herod's Bridge Jerusalem Temple Court of the Gentiles Court of the Gentiles Golden Gate Introduction Kidron Bridge Walls Walls Jerusalem's Walls Walls Lower City Walls Hyrcanus Monument Jerusalem Walls Jerusalem Walls Walls Jerusalem Walls Pinnacle of the Temple

"Whoever has not seen Jerusalem in its splendor has never seen a fine city."? Babylonian Talmud (Succah, 51b)

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Primary Sources for the Study of First Century Jerusalem: Josephus, The Mishnah, The New Testament, Pliny.

First Century Jerusalem

The Jerusalem of Herod the Great

 

The Jerusalem Jesus knew nowhere near resembled the city David conquered in the tenth century BC. At that time, it had been a small, isolated hill fortress, valued more for its location than its size or splendor. Yet from that time on it was known as the City of David, and the kings of David's dynasty, especially his son Solomon, had enlarged and beautified it.

 

In the sixth century BC, the army of Nebuchadnezzar leveled Jerusalem and drove its citizens into exile. During the long years of captivity in Babylon, the Jews in exiles' prayers and longings focused on the distant Holy City. But the city rebuilt by the Jews who returned a century later was far inferior to its former splendor. It was, ironically, the hated tyrant Herod the Great who restored Jerusalem to its former grandeur.

 

In the 33 years of his reign (37-4 B.C.), Herod transformed the city as had no other ruler since Solomon. Building palaces and citadels, a theatre and an amphitheatre, viaducts (bridges) and public monuments. These ambitious building projects, some completed long after his death, were part of the king's single-minded campaign to increase his capital's importance in the eyes of the Roman Empire.

 

No visitor seeing Jerusalem for the first time could fail to be impressed by its visual splendor. The long, difficult ascent from Jericho to the Holy City ended as the traveler rounded the Mount of Olives, and suddenly caught sight of a vista like few others in the world. Across the Kidron Valley, set among the surrounding hills, was Jerusalem, "the perfection of beauty," in the words of Lamentations, "the joy of all the world."

 

The view from the Mount of Olives was dominated by the gleaming, gold-embellished Temple which was located in the most holy spot in the Jewish world and really God's world. This was the Lord's earthly dwelling place, He mediated His throne here and raised up a people to perform rituals and ceremonies here that would foreshadow the coming of His Messiah kinsman redeemer who would be the lamb of God, slain for the sins of the whole world.

 

The Temple stood high above the old City of David, at the center of a gigantic white stone platform.

 

To the south of the temple was THE LOWER CITY, a group of limestone houses, yellow-brown colored from years of sun and wind. Narrow, unpaved streets and houses that sloped downward toward the Tyropean Valley, which ran through the center of Jerusalem.

 

Rising upward to the west was THE UPPER CITY, or Zion, where the white marble villas and palaces of the very rich stood out like patches of snow. Two large arched passageways spanned the valley, crossing from the Upper City to the temple.

 

A high, thick, gray stone wall encircled Jerusalem. It had been damaged, repaired and enlarged over the centuries, and in Jesus' day it was about 4 miles in circumference, bringing about 25,000 people into an area about a square mile. At intervals along the wall were massive gateways. Just inside each gate was a customs station, where publicans collected taxes on all goods entering or leaving the city.

 

First Century Jerusalem

Bible History Online


? Bible History Online (http://www.bible-history.com)

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