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  ZION, The CITY of DAVID and JERUSALEM

Color drawing of Jerusalem

Larger view of map

So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 2Samuel 5:9

 

It has become common practice, even among scholars to make synonymous the three names, Zion, The City of David and Jerusalem. This has lead to a misreading of the geography of the area, especially at the time of the United Kingdom. I will try and clarify that with as little commentary as usual and a strict reliance on the sources.

In the quote above, it is quite clear that David first captured a fort and called that fort "The City of David". But it also had another name :-

Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. 2Samuel, 5:7

 

And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. 1Chron. 11:5

 

So the fort, stronghold, castle was called initially Zion and David renamed it "The City of David". It was at that time a small city indeed. However, not for long.

So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. 2Samuel 5:9

He thus expanded the fort, the stronghold, the Millo, and thus expanded his "City".

Thus the City of David expanded but obviously Zion and the castle did not. IT remained PART of the City of David and as we have seen was cut down to the bed-rock at the time of the Hasmoneans. That area was transferred to the West Hill and the name went with it. The West hill became known as Zion.

It becomes clear that the population was to expand also and the area on the East Hill was extremely small. The obvious choice was to expand to the West and that expansion together with the City of David became known as Jerusalem. This is made clear :-

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 1Kings, 8:1

 

This verse has caused countless problems for scholars and has been used to argue against the proposition that the Temple was not built upon the Haram el Sharif but some distance to the South around the Gihon Spring. The critics argue that if the Ark had to be brought OUT OF the City of David, the only place it could be brought to was the Temple Mount.

However, the facts show the reverse. The Biblical account shows that the Temple was built around the threshing floor of Arauna which David had purchased and where he had kept the Ark. What our critics fail to notice is that whilst the building was going on, the Ark had to be kept somewhere else. It had to be safe and where safer that David's Citadel, Zion, The Millo? When the Temple was finished therefore, Solomon had the Ark brought from " out of the city of David, which is Zion." In other words that part of the City, known as Zion, the Citadel.

Where was Solomon at the time to receive the great masses? Too small an area on the East Hill, so he probably assembled them on the West Hill, now a part of Jerusalem.

Confirmation of that proposition is found :-

And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshing place of Araunah the Jebusite. 2Samuel 24:16

 

Here is an angel in the area of the threshing floor which was in the City of David and he points away in the direction of Jerusalem, i.e. the West Hill.

As a final confirmation that Jerusalem was something more than "The City of David" which was something more than "Zion" :-

And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. 1Kings 3:1

 

But David had already built a wall around his "City of David". What wall therefore was Solomon building? It had to have been a different wall in a different place...... and so it was. It was now the expanded Jerusalem.

Michael S. Sanders
Irvine California
Thursday, May 31, 2001

 




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