Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Jerusalem

Additional Links

(Heb. יְרוּשָׁלִם, Yerushala'im, fully [in 1 Chronicles 3:5; 2 Chronicles 25:1; Esther 2:6; Jeremiah 26:18] יְרוּשָׁלִים, Yerushala'yim [with final ה directive, יְרוּשָׁלֵמָה, 1 Kings 10:2; fully יְרוּשָׁלִיְמָה, 2 Chronicles 32:9]; Chald. יְרוּשְׁלֵם or יְרוּשְׁלֶם, Yerushelem'; Syr. Urishlem; Gr. Ι᾿ερουσαλήμ (τὰ ) ῾Ιεροσόλυμα [Gen. ύμων ]; Latin Hierosolymna), poetically also SALEM (שָׁלֵם, Shalenz'), and once ARIEL (See ARIEL) (q.v.); originally JEBUS (See JEBUS) (q.v.); in sacred themes the "City of God," or the "Holy City" (Nehemiah 11:1; Nehemiah 11:16; Matthew 4:5), as in the modern Arab. name el-Khuds, the Holy (comp. ἱερόπολις, Philo, Opp. 2:524); once (2 Chronicles 25:28) the "city of Judah." The Hebrew name is a dual form (see Gesenius, Lehrg. p. 539 sq.; Ewald, Krit. Gramm. 332), and is of disputed etymology (see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 628; Rosenmü ller, Altflerth. 2, 2, 202; Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 2, 584), but probably signifies possession of peace (q.d. יֵרוּשׁאּשָׁלֵם [rather than יְרוּ שָׁלֵם, i.e. foundation of peace, as preferred by Gesenius and Fü rst]), the dual referring to the two chief mountains (Zion and Moriah) on which it was built, or the two main parts (the Upper and the Lower City, i.e. Zion and Acra). It has been known under the above titles in all ages as the Jewish capital of Palestine.

I. History. This is so largely made up of the history of Palestine itself in different ages, and of its successive rulers, that for minute details we refer to these, (See JUDEA); we here present only a general survey, but with references to sources of more detailed information.

1. This city is mentioned very early in Scripture, being usually supposed to be the Salem of which Melchizedek was king (Genesis 14:18). B.C. cir. 2080. Such was the opinion of the Jews themselves; for Josephus, who calls Melchizedek king of Solyma (Σόλυμα ), observes that this name was afterwards changed into Hierosolyma (Ant. 1, 10, 3). All the fathers of the Church, Jerome excepted, agree with Josephus, and understand Jerusalem and Salem to indicate the same place. The Psalmist also says (Psalms 76:2), "In Salem is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion." (See SALEM).

The mountain of the land of Moriah, which Abraham (Genesis 22:2) reached on the third day from Beersheba, there to offer Isaac (B.C. cir. 2047), is, according to Josephus (Ant. 1, 13, 2), the mountain on which Solomon afterwards built the Temple (2 Chronicles 3:1). (See MORIAH).

The question of the identity of Jerusalem with "Cadytis, a large city of Syria," "almost as large as Sardis," which is mentioned by Herodotus (2, 159; 3, 5) as having been taken by Pharaoh-Necho, need not be investigated in this place. It is interesting, and, if decided in the affirmative, so far important as confirming the Scripture narrative, but does not in any way add to our knowledge of the history of the city. The reader will find it fully examined in Rawlinson's Herodotus, 2, 246; Blakesley's Herodotus Excursus on Bk. 3, ch. 5 (both against identification); and in Kenrick's Egypt, 2, 406, and Dict. of Gk. and Rom. Geogr. 2, 17 (both for it).

Nor need we do more than refer to the tradition of traditions they are, and not mere individual speculation of Tacitus (Hist. 5, 2) and Plutarch (Is. et Osir. ch. 31) of the foundation of the city by a certain Hierosolymus, a son of the Typhon (see Winer's note, 1, 545). All the certain information to be obtained as to the early history of Jerusalem must be gathered from the books of the Jewish historians alone.

2. The name Jerusalem first occurs in Joshua 10:1, where Adonizedek (q.v.), king of Jerusalem, is mentioned as having entered into an alliance with other kings against Joshua, by whom they were all overcome (comp. Joshua 12:10). B.C. 1618. (See JOSHUA).

In drawing the northern border of Judah, we find Jerusalem again mentioned (Joshua 15:8; compare Joshua 18:16). This border ran through the valley of Ben-Hinnom; the country on the south of it, as Bethlehem, belonged to Judah; but the mountain of Zion, forming the northern wall of the valley, and occupied by the Jebusites, appertained to Benjamin. Among the cities of Benjamin, therefore, is also mentioned (Joshua 18:28) "Jebus, which is Jerusalem" (comp. Judges 19:10; 1 Chronicles 11:4). At a later date, however, owing to the conquest of Jebus by David, the line ran on the northern side of Zion, leaving the city equally divided between the two tribes. (See TRIBE). There is a rabbinical tradition that part of the Temple was in the lot of Judah, and part of it in that of Benjamin (Lightfoot, 1, 1050, Lond. 1684). (See TEMPLE).

After the death of Joshua, when there remained for the children of Israel much to conquer in Canaan, the Lord directed Judah to fight against the Canaanites; and they took Jerusalem, smote it with the edge of the sword, and set it on fire (Judges 1:1-8), B.C. cir. 1590. After that, the Judahites and the Benjamites dwelt with the Jebusites at Jerusalem; for it is recorded (Joshua 15:63) that the children of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites inhabiting Jerusalem; and we are farther informed (Judges 1:21) that the children of Benjamin did not expel them from Jerusalem (comp. Judges 19:10-12). Probably the Jebusites were removed by Judah only from the lower city, but kept possession of the mountain of Zion, which David conquered at a later period. This is the explanation of Josephus (Ant. 5, 2, 2). (See JEBUS). Jerusalem is not again mentioned till the time of Saul, when it is stated (1 Samuel 17:54) that David took the head of Goliath and brought it to Jerusalem, B.C. cir. 1063. When David, who had previously reigned over Judah alone in Hebron, was called to rule over all Israel, he led his forces against the Jebusites, and conquered the castle of Zion which Joab first scaled (1 Samuel 5:5-9; 1 Chronicles 12:4-8). He then fixed his abode on this mountain, and called it "the city of David," B.C. cir. 1044. He strengthened its fortifications, (See MILLO), but does not appear to have enlarged it.

Thither he carried the ark of the covenant; and there he built to the Lord an altar in the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, on the place where the angel stood who threatened Jerusalem with pestilence (2 Samuel 24:15-25). But David could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God on account of the wars which were about him on every side (2 Samuel 7:13; 1 Kings 5:3-5). Still the Lord announced to him, through the prophet Nathan. (2 Samuel 7:10), "I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more," B.C. cir, 1043. From this it would seem that even David had, then at least, no assurance that Jerusalem in particular was to be the place which had so often been spoken of as that which God would choose for the central seat of the theocratical monarchy, and which it became after Solomon's Temple had been built. (See TEMPLE).

3. The reasons which led David to fix upon Jerusalem as the metropolis of his kingdom are noticed elsewhere, (See DAVID), being, chiefly, that it was in his own tribe of Judah, in which his influence was the strongest, while it was the nearest to the other tribes of any site he could have chosen in Judah. The peculiar strength also of the situation, enclosed on three sides by a natural trench of valleys, could not be without weight. Its great strength, according to the military notions of that age, is shown by the length of time the Jebusites were able to keep possession of it against the force of all Israel. David was doubtless the best judge of his own interests in this matter; but if those interests had not come into play, and if he had only considered the best situation for a metropolis of the whole kingdom, it is doubtful whether a more central situation with respect to all the tribes would not have been far preferable, especially as the law required all the adult males of Israel to repair three times in the year to the place of the divine presence. Indeed, the burdensome character of this obligation to the more distant tribes seems to heave been one of the excuses for the revolt of the ten tribes, as it certainly was for the establishment of schismatic altars in Dan and Beth-el (1 Kings 12:28). Many travelers have suggested that Samaria, which afterwards became the metropolis of the separated kingdom, was far preferable to Jerusalem for the site of a capital city; and its central situation would also have been in its favor as a metropolis for all the tribes. But as the choice of David was subsequently confirmed by the divine appointment, which made Mount Moriah the site of the Temple, we are bound to consider the choice as having been providentially ordered with reference to the contingencies that afterwards arose, by which Jerusalem was made the capital of the separate kingdom of Judah, for which it was well adapted. (See JUDAH).

The promise made to David received its accomplishment when Solomon built his Temple upon Mount Moriah, B.C. 1010. He also added towers to the walls, and otherwise greatly adorned the city. By him and his father Jerusalem had been made the imperial residence of the king of all Israel; and the Temple, often called "the house of Jehovah," constituted at the same time the residence of the King of kings, the supreme head of the theocratical state, whose vice regents the human kings were taught to regard themselves. It now belonged, even less than a town of the Levites, to a particular tribe: it was the center of all civil and religious affairs, the very place of which Moses spoke, Deuteronomy 12:5 : "The place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come" (comp. 9:6; 13:14; 14:23; 16:11-16; Psalms 122). (See SOLOMON).

Jerusalem was not, indeed, politically important: it was not the capital of a powerful empire directing the affairs of other states, but it stood high in the bright prospects foretold by David when declaring his faith in the coming of a Messiah (Psalms 2:6; Psalms 1, 2; Psalms 37; Psalms 102:16-22; Psalms 110:2). In all these passages the name Zion is used, which, although properly applied to the southernmost part of the site of Jerusalem, is often in Scripture put poetically for Jerusalem generally, and sometimes for Mount Moriah and its Temple. (See ZION).

The importance and splendor of Jerusalem were considerably lessened after the death of Solomon, under whose son Rehoboam ten of the tribes rebelled, Judah and Benjamin only remaining in their allegiance, B.C. 973. Jerusalem was then only the capital of the very small state of Judah. When Jeroboam instituted the worship of golden calves in Beth-el and Dan, the ten tribes went no longer up to Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice in the house of the Lord (1 Kings 12:26-30). (See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF).

After this time the history of Jerusalem is continued in the history of Judah, for which the second book of the Kings and of the Chronicles are the principal sources of information. After the time of Solomon, the kingdom of Judah was almost alternately ruled by good kings, "who did that which was right in the sight of the Lord," and by such as were idolatrous and evil disposed; and the reign of the same king often varied, and was by turns good or evil. The condition of the kingdom, and of Jerusalem in particular as its metropolis, was very much affected by these mutations. Under good kings the city flourished, and under bad kings it suffered greatly. Under Rehoboam (q.v.) it was conquered by Shishak (q.v.), king of Egypt, who pillaged the treasures of the Temple (2 Chronicles 12:9), B.C. 970. Under Amaziah (q.v.) it was taken by Jehoash, king of Israel, who broke down four hundred cubits of the wall of the city, and took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the Temple (2 Kings 14:13-14), B.C. cir. 830. Uzziah (q.v.), son of Amaziah, who at first reigned well, built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them (2 Chronicles 26:9), B.C. cir. 807. His son, Jotham (q.v.), built the high gate of the Temple, and reared up many other structures (2 Chronicles 27:3-4), B.C. cir. 755. Hezekiah (q.v.) added to the other honors of his reign that of an improver of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 29:3), B.C. 726. At a later date, however, he despoiled the Temple in some degree in order to pay the levy imposed by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 18:15-16), B.C. 713. But in the latter part of the same year he performed his most eminent service for the city by stopping the upper course of Gihon, and bringing its waters by a subterraneous aqueduct to the west side of the city (2 Chronicles 32:30). This work is inferred, from 2 Kings 20, to have been of great importance to Jerusalem, as it cut off a supply of water from any besieging enemy, and bestowed it upon the inhabitants of the city. The immediate occasion was the threatened invasion by the Assyrians. (See SENNACHERIB).

Hezekiah's son, Manasseh (q.v.), was punished by a capture of the city in consequence of his idolatrous desecration of the Temple (2 Chronicles 33:11), B.C. cir. 690; but in his later and best years he built a strong and very high wall on the west side of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 33:14). The works in the city connected with the names of the succeeding kings of Judah were, so far as recorded, confined to the defilement of the house of the Lord by bad kings, and its purgation by good kings, the most important of the latter being the repairing of the Temple by Josiah (2 Kings 20:23), B.C. 623, till for the abounding iniquities of the nation the city and Temple were abandoned to destruction, after several preliminary spoliations by the Egyptians (2 Kings 23:33-35), B.C. 609, and Babylonians (2 Kings 24:14), B. C. 606, and again (2 Kings 24:13), B.C. 598. Finally, after a siege of three years, Jerusalem was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, who razed its walls, and destroyed its Temple and palaces with fire (2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 39), B.C. 588. Thus was Jerusalem smitten with the calamity which Moses had prophesied would befall it if the people would not keep the commandments of the Lord, but broke his covenant (Leviticus 26:14; Deuteronomy 28). The finishing stroke to this desolation was put by the retreat of the principal Jews, on the massacre of Gedaliah, into Egypt, B.C. 587, where they were eventually involved in the conquest of that country by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 40-44). Meanwhile the feeble remnant of the lower classes, who had clung to their native soil amid all these reverses, were swept away by a final deportation to Babylon, which left the land literally without an inhabitant (Jeremiah 52:30). B.C. 582. (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jerusalem'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/j/jerusalem.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
Prev Entry
Jeruel