The city of Jerusalem in the Bible: A Brief History

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The city of Jerusalem in the Bible: A Brief History

Post  annlovesjesus on Sat 18 Jul 2009, 11:38 am

The city of Jerusalem carries so much history it would need a full library to disclose all the history associated with this ancient city. The name itself carries strong connotations for even the most ignorant of oriental and Bible history.

The name of Jerusalem is a good place to start on our brief journey. The Hebrew form Jerusalem or Yerushalayim as it is found in current Israeli maps, means Possession or foundation of Twofold Peace. There are other translations based on the Akkadian rendition of the city’s name that provides the meaning City of Peace. Logically though the Hebrew rendition must take precedence and we will keep the Hebrew meaning.

Early History of Jerusalem
The first historical mention of the city of Jerusalem is found between the years 1943 and 1933 B.C.E when Abraham’s meets Melchizedek, who is called “king of Salem”. Who composed the city of Salem and the origins of Salem are as obscure as the origin of the king-priest that ruled it, Melchizedek.

Interestingly the location where Abraham offered his son Isaac on “one of the mountains” in the land of Moriah seems to have been located within the mountainous region around Jerusalem. We don’t know if Melchizedek was still alive, but it is very likely that Salem remained friendly territory for Abraham.

Another historical mention of Jerusalem is found in the Amarna Tablets, a series of letters from Canaanite rulers to their Egyptian overlord. These tablets include 7 letters from the king of Urusalim (Jerusalem). By this time the city was the possession of pagan Hamitic Canaanites, under the power of the Hamitic Egyptian Empire.
Interestingly the king of Jerusalem was among the confederate kings that attacked Gibeon, his name was Adoni-zedez meaning My Lord is righteousness with is similar to the meaning of Melichizedec, which means King of Righteousness.
After the conquest of the Promised Land the city of Jerusalem was on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin. Judah is credited with conquering it in Judges 1:8 but then seems to have lost it as the invading force continued as it is said that the Jebusites continued dwelling with them in Jerusalem.

This situation continued until David conquered Jerusalem when an attack spearheaded by Joab which gained entry through a water tunnel or gutter. After this David moves his capital here and the city began to be known as the city of David and also as Zion.
After this David began an ambitious building program of the city. There is no record of the city falling in battle during the entire rule of David. He did choose to retreat from it when his son Absalom rebelled against him and began a civil war.

Towards the end of David’s rule he prepared the city for the construction of the Temple. A task that would be left to his son Salomon.

Once the kingdom of Israel was divided the city of Jerusalem became the capital of the Two tribe nation of Judah under King Rehoboam. Throughout the remainder of Jerusalem’s history a pattern of blessings for the city when true worship was practiced and of apostasy and grave problems when the city turned away from true worship.

King Uzziah made significant additions to the city, especially in the form of defenses and fortifications. This did not stop Babylonian forces from conquering the city from King Zedekiah in 607 B.C.E

This sets a natural pause n the history of this magnificent city. We encourage you to continue an analysis of this city as part of your personal study of the Bible.

Source: The Bible
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