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Jerusalem was the capital city of the united kingdom of Israel for seventy-three years. After that it was the seat of government for the Davidic dynasty of the nation of Judah. It is one of the Bible's most notable cities, being the center for a multitude of events; it existed as early as the Intracity war of Abraham's time. 

Jerusalem served as a very important location for the nation of Israel, not only as its capital, but as the location of the Temple, the only place worship was allowed. Jerusalem became the seat of power for the land of Israel during the time of King David. David drove the Jebusites out of Jerusalem and it became known as the City of David. After David, all of the kings of Israel reigned in Jerusalem. David's son, Solomon, built the Temple in Jerusalem, which was later destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again.

In 701 BC the Assyrians besieged Jerusalem. But, through the prayers of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, an Angel of the Lord saved the city.[1]

In 586 BC the city was conquered and the Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army. After the Persians defeated Babylon, some of the Jews who had been taken as captives by the Babylonians were able to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple. Jerusalem again became the capital of the land of Israel during the Hasmonean period, until 63 BC when the Romans occupied the city.

Herod the Great, a Roman vassal, rebuilt the city and reconstructed the Temple. Jesus visited and preached in the city, and was crucified outside its gates. After the death of Jesus, the city became holy to the Christians. The Romans destroyed the city and the Temple in AD 70.


Early History[]


Jerusalem was founded in the land of Canaan, by a people who would eventually become known as the Jebusites.[2] The city's founders were influenced by prominent Canaanite nations.[3] It was established upon Mount Zion.[4]

Rise as Salem[]

By the time Abraham came into the area, the city was called Salem, meaning "peace," and was ruled by Melchizedek,[5] a priest of "the Most High God." It also became a city-state, similar to the other Canaanite cities around it.

Under Jebusite Rule[]

Evolving to Jerusalem[]

The city was called Jebus, which means "tread down" upon a mountain called Zion, which means "parched." At one point there were two existing names of the city, "Jebus" and "Salem," and it became known by those outside of the city as "Jerusalem". The people of city were still referred to as Jebusites, and it was not uncommon for the city to be referred to as Jebus. The city of Jerusalem also became a fort and expanded vastly in its military capabilities.

Facing Israelite Conquest[]

Adonizedek's Kingship[]

When the nation of Israel began their Conquest of Canaan, they took many cities. One of the earliest they had taken and destroyed was the city of Ai. After that, they had formed an alliance with the city of Gibeon,[6] formally a close ally of Jerusalem. Gibeon was a very important city with a powerful military, and therefore this alarmed Adonizedek of the potential risk for an Israelite conquest of Jerusalem.[6] In order to protect themselves, Jerusalem formed an alliance with multiple cities [7] and combined their militias in order to attack Gibeon.[8] So Jerusalem and the other cities' armies attacked Gibeon.[9]

After the attack, Gibeon sent word to Israel of the capture, and so Israel responded with a counterattack [10] and defeated Jerusalem and their allies' armies.[11] Soldiers of Jerusalem's army retreated, but a large amount (larger than in the battle) were killed by an impending hailstorm.[12]

The kings of each of the five cities and their remaining armies, including Adonizedek of Jerusalem fled to a cave and hid.[12] The Israelite armies continued pursuing them and again critically defeated the armies, with a few survivors managing to escape back to their fortified cities.[13] At the cave site, none of Jebusite armies were present and so Israel captured the Adonizedek [14] and eventually hung him.[15]

Despite the loss of their king, the Jebusites and their city Jerusalem were not conquered after their defeat,[16] because the Tribe of Judah could not dislodge them. When Judah's land allotment was given after the Southern Conquest of Canaan, the Tribe did not go beyond the southern slope of Jerusalem.[17] Additionally the Tribe of Benjamin did not receive land beyond the southern slope of Jerusalem.[18]

Besiegement by Israelite tribes[]

Sometime later, Israel continued conquering cities, such as the city of Bezek.[19] There in that city they found a king called Adoni-bezek, and after he tried to hide, his big toes and thumbs were cut off [20] and he was brought to the city of Jerusalem, which had recently fallen after a siege to the armies of the tribe of Judah. Adoni-bezek, mighty "lord of Bezek," died a humiliated prisoner of war.[21]Shortly thereafter, the Benjamites came down to occupy and inhabit the city (as it was supposed to be a part of their inheritance [22]), but they did not drive out the Jebusites.[23]

Jebusite Cultural Re-conquer[]

Despite the city being captured, and inhabited by the Benjamites, the Jebusites were not exiled from the city.[23] The Jebusite influence was so great over the Benjamites that they eventually became part of the Jebusites culture. By the time a wondering Levite and his concubine traveled to Jerusalem, being referred to as Jebus [24] or the city of the Jebusites.[25] After a servant suggested that they stay in the city, the Levite refused to stay in any of the city that was not inhabited by Israelites.[26]

Many years later, after David had defeated Goliath, and beheaded him, David delivered the head to the City of Jerusalem.[27] When he became king, David would capture of Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

As Israel's capital[]

David Conquers Jerusalem[]

After seven years of ruling as king from the city of Hebron,[28] David reigned for thirty-three years in Jerusalem.[29] Out of Hebron, David and his army marched towards to Jerusalem to conquer it from the Jebusites.[30] The Jebusites in Jerusalem teased David by telling him that he would not conquer the city, because they would not even be able to defeat the disabled.[31]

However when taking the mountain-based fortress,[32] David sarcastically proclaimed that in order to reach the blind and lame, one would have to travel through the water system [33] indicating that the disabled were exiled. Before the attack, David promised that the soldier who led the attack would become the commander-in-chief of the army. Joab earned the position for leading the attack.[34]

City of David[]

After conquering the city, David took up residence in the city and renamed it the City of David [30] and ordered multiple construction projects that built the city up from the stone terraces extending out of the mountain.[35] Shortly after capturing the city, David made a request to Hiram the King of Tyre and acquired materials and construction from him to build his palace.[36]

Moving the Ark to the city[]

Prior to David's rule, there had not been a centralized capital city for the nation of Israel. For this reason the tabernacle and its sacred contents were scattered among the cities. The most sacred of all was the Ark of the Covenant, located in the city of Kirjath-jearim.[37]

After David had established a capital, he conversed with the people, determining that it was feasible to move the Ark to Jerusalem.[38] David at first was hesitant to move it the eponymous "City of David." [39] After housing it temporarily with Obededom and seeing his resulting prosperity,[40] David decided to transport it.[41] David then prepared a tent to house the Ark upon its arrival.[42]

With a multitude of soldiers [43] to accompany the Levites [44] transporting the Ark, and large bands of musicians to play,[45] an huge parade formed to march the Ark into Israel's capital of Jerusalem.[46] It was described as "all of Israel" parading into Jerusalem.

Stabilization under David[]

After the City of Jerusalem had the Palace constructed, and the Ark moved, the city remained stable for a period of time with no major events happening. The city continued to adapt to the newly established rule by Israel, undergoing multiple construction projects ordered by David and various other cultural projects led by the military's commander Joab.[35]

The city would remain the seat of civil and religious power for the rest of David's reign. As military campaigns against foreign nations continued, David had delivered to his city golden shields from an enemy's officers.[47] Joab was also stationed in Jerusalem, for it was the military headquarters.[48] After a military campaign against the Ammonites, the military once again returned to Jerusalem.[49]

Absalom's Rebellion[]

As a result of family conflicts, David's son Absalom did not live in Jerusalem for three years. After his exile, Absalom was brought back to Jerusalem but did not see his father for an additional two years.[50]

After these two years, Absalom began to covet his father's position as King. During this time Absalom granted himself a horse-drawn chariot and a division of fifty men under his personal command.[51] Due to the large numbers of people entering the city to consult the King and his advisors, Absalom would get up early each morning with his militia and occupy the side of the road leading to the city gate. Absalom would ask about the inquiries of all visitors to the city.[52] He explained to those visiting the city that their inquiry would not receive attention unless they had a representative plea to the King.[53] Absalom also complained that if he were the leader of Israel, then representatives would not be required.[54]

David Evacuates the City[]

Absalom unofficially "managed", "lobbied", and "protected" the Gate of Jerusalem for four years.[55] After this time he went back to city of Hebron, bringing with him two-hundred of Jerusalem's inhabitants and multiple of David's staff.[56] David quickly received word of the potential of an attack of Jerusalem by Absalom.[57] Therefore, David quickly called all his staff, palace workers, and armies to evacuate the city to evade slaughter, and to prevent the city from being destroyed in the attack.[58] So David set out with his entire personal workforce belonging to his house, leaving only ten of his concubines to administer the palace.[59]

David marched to the edge of the city,[60] and then stopped and allowed all the people and soldiers loyal to him to march ahead of him.[61] The designated Levite Priests brought with them the Ark of the Covenant, and they set it down somewhere outside of the city and made sacrifices until the entire city was evacuated.[62] The king then told the Priests to take the Ark back to Jerusalem, and that if God found favor with him that he would be able to return to the city.[63] So several priests took the Ark back to the city.[64]

Absalom claims Jerusalem[]

While David and his followers traveled farther and farther from the city, King David sent one of his trusted advisors Hushai back to Jerusalem, so he would not be burdensome to David, and help by confusing Absalom's counsel.[65] Hushai arrived at the city, just as Absalom and his following entered the city [66] and claimed it without bloodshed.[67]

Re-claimed by David[]

Absalom only remained in occupancy of the throne for a short amount of time. After a while David's army attacked Absalom-directed Israelite soldiers and killed Absalom in battle.[68] After this Joab recounted to David's forces the day in which Absalom claimed.[Consider Rewording] [69]

The Tribes of Israel soon began to argue about if David should be re-established as King and allowed to reclaim Jerusalem.[70] After much discussion the nation of Judah re-instated David as King and permitted him to re-enter Jerusalem.[71] So David and his people crossed over the Jordan River, to make the journey back to Jerusalem, marking that David had reclaimed control over the capital.[72]

The City Grows[]

Nearly Destroyed[]

At one point during David's reign, he sinned against God by taking a census of the army.[73] So God punished Israel for his sin, sending the Angel of God to punish Israel by killing many people.[74] The Angel of God almost destroyed the city of Jerusalem in the process, but as the Angel reached his hand out to destroy the city, God told the Angel to stop. The Angel then waited at the threshing floor of Araunah, a native Jebusite of the city, who owned a large portion of Mount Moriah.[75]

Expansion onto Mount Moriah[]

When David saw the Angel was at the threshing floor, he went up and purchased the land.[76] This expanded the territory of Jerusalem, adding Mount Moriah to the existing Mount Zion. The land that was purchased would become a strong point of commerce for the city when the Temple was built there by Solomon. All the construction would bring many coming into that part of the city.

David's burial[]

After ruling thirty-three years as king in Jerusalem,[29] David died. A royal cemetery would be built where he was buried [77] where most of Judah's kings would be buried.


  1. 2 Kings 19 (Link)
  2. Genesis 10:16, 15:21 (Link)
  3. Ezekiel 16:3 (Link)
  4. Psalm 76:2 (Link)
  5. Genesis 14:8, Hebrews 7:1-2 (Link)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Joshua 10:2
  7. Joshua 10:3 (Link)
  8. Joshua 10:4 (Link)
  9. Joshua 10:5 (Link)
  10. Joshua 10:9 (Link)
  11. Joshua 10:10 (Link)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Joshua 10:16
  13. Joshua 10:20 (Link)
  14. Joshua 10:22-23 (Link)
  15. Joshua 10:26 (Link)
  16. Joshua 15:63 (Link)
  17. Joshua 15:8 (Link)
  18. Joshua 18:16 (Link)
  19. Judges 1:4 (Link)
  20. Judges 1:5-6 (Link)
  21. Judges 1:7-8 (Link)
  22. Joshua 18:28 (Link)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Judges 1:21
  24. Judges 19:10 (Link)
  25. Judges 19:11 (Link)
  26. Judges 19:12 (Link)
  27. 1 Samuel 17:54 (Link)
  28. 2 Samuel 5:3, 1 Chronicles 11:3 (Link)
  29. 29.0 29.1 2 Samuel 2:11,5:5; 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Chronicles 3:4
  30. 30.0 30.1 1 Chronicles 11:4
  31. 2 Samuel 5:6 (Link)
  32. 1 Chronicles 11:5, 2 Samuel 5:7 (Link)
  33. 2 Samuel 5:8 (Link)
  34. 1 Chronicles 11:6 (Link)
  35. 35.0 35.1 2 Samuel 5:10, 1 Chronicles 11:8
  36. 2 Samuel 5:11, 1 Chronicles 14:1 (Link)
  37. Joshua 15:9; 2 Samuel 6:2 (Link)
  38. 1 Chronicles 13:1-4 (Link)
  39. 2 Samuel 6:10 (Link)
  40. 2 Samuel 6:11; 1 Chronicles 13:14 (Link)
  41. 2 Samuel 6:12 (Link)
  42. 1 Chronicles 15:1 (Link)
  43. 2 Samuel 6:1, 1 Chronicles 15:3 (Link)
  44. 1 Chronicles 15:2,15 (Link)
  45. 1 Chronicles 15:16 (Link)
  46. 2 Samuel 6:15, 1 Chronicles 15:28 (Link)
  47. 2 Samuel 8:7 (Link)
  48. 2 Samuel 10:14 (Link)
  49. 2 Samuel 12:31 (Link)
  50. 2 Samuel 14:28 (Link)
  51. 2 Samuel 15:1 (Link)
  52. 2 Samuel 15:2 (Link)
  53. 2 Samuel 15:3 (Link)
  54. 2 Samuel 15:4 (Link)
  55. Samuel 15:7 (Link)
  56. 2 Samuel 15:10-12 (Link)
  57. 2 Samuel 15:13 (Link)
  58. 2 Samuel 15:14 (Link)
  59. 2 Samuel 15:16 (Link)
  60. 2 Samuel 15:17 (Link)
  61. 2 Samuel 15:18 (Link)
  62. 2 Samuel 15:24 (Link)
  63. 2 Samuel 15:25 (Link)
  64. 2 Samuel 15:27-29 (Link)
  65. 2 Samuel 15:33-34 (Link)
  66. 2 Samuel 15:37 (Link)
  67. 2 Samuel 16:15 (Link)
  68. 2 Samuel 18:15 (Link)
  69. 2 Samuel 19:3 (Link)
  70. 2 Samuel 9:9 (Link)
  71. 2 Samuel 19:11-14 (Link)
  72. 2 Samuel 19:15-42 (Link)
  73. 2 Samuel 24:10 (Link)
  74. 2 Samuel 24:15 (Link)
  75. 2 Samuel 24:16 (Link)
  76. 2 Samuel 24:24 (Link)
  77. 1 Kings 2:10 (Link)