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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Tsiyon', צַיּוֹן , sunny [Gesen.] or fort [Fü rst]; Sept. [usually] and New. Test. Σιών, Vulg. Sion; A. V. "Sion" in New. Test.), a prominent hill (הִי ) of Jerusalem, being generally regarded as the south-westernmost and the highest of those on which the city was built. It included the most ancient part of the city with the citadel, and, as first occupied for a palace, was called the city of David (2 Chronicles 5:2). Being the original site of the tabernacle pitched by David for the reception of the ark, it was also called the holy hill, or hill of the sanctuary (Psalms 2:6). By the Hebrew prophets the name is often put for Jerusalem itself (Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 10:24; Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 33:14; Psalms 48:2; Psalms 48:11-12; comp. Romans 9:33; Romans 11:26; 1 Peter 2:6; Revelation 14:1); also for its inhabitants, sometimes called sons or daughters of Zion (Isaiah 1:27; Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 49:14; Isaiah 52:1; Psalms 9:14; Psalms 97:8; Zechariah 2:7; Zechariah 2:10; Zechariah 9:9; Zechariah 9:13; Zephaniah 3:14; Zephaniah 3:16; Joel 2:23; Matthew 21:5; John 12:15); and for the spiritual Sion, the church or city of the living. God (Hebrews 12:22; Hebrews 12:28; Galatians 4:26; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10).

There never has been any considerable doubt as to the identity of this hill. Josephus, indeed, singularly enough appears to ignore the name Zion; but he evidently calls the same hill the site of the Upper City. In modern times Fergusson has attempted to identify it with Mount Moriah (Jerusalem Revisited; the Temple, etc.), and Capt. Warren, with equal futility, has contended for its identity with Akra (The Temple or the Tomb [Lond. 1880]). The mistake of the latter has originated from not observing that Josephus uses ἄκρα, the summit in two senses: (a) the citadel on Mount Zion (Ant. 7:3,1, where it is clearly distinguished from "the lower city"), and (b) the hill Akria (ibid. 2, where it, is clearly distinguished from "the upper city"). (See ACRA).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zion'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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