The city of Jerusalem is supposed to be first mentioned in the Bible under the name Salem. If this supposition is correct, it was the residence of Melchizedec. From the time of Abraham's interview with this mysterious personage it is not mentioned again until after the invasion of the country by the Children of Israel under Joshua, a period of about four hundred and sixty years, when it is found in the possession of a Canaanitish tribe called Jebusites. At this period, and for a considerable time after, it was known under the name of Jebusi or Jebus. There can be no doubt that this name was derived from that of Jebus, the ancestor of the Jebusites, who then inhabited the city.
The origin of the name Jerusalem has been the subject of several different theories, the most plausible of which is that it is a combination of the preceding names Jebus and Salem, the b in Jebus being changed for euphony to r, thus forming the compound word Jerusalem.
The author of the book of Joshua states that the children of Judah could not drive out the inhabitants of Jerusalem, "but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day." Yet the author of Judges, in recapitulating the conquests under Joshua, says that "the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire." We gather as the result of these two statements that the city was at one time captured, but that the Jebusites retook it and then held it permanently, living in it at peace with the adjacent tribe of Judah. It should also be observed that the city lay within the territory assigned to Benjamin, the line passing through the Valley of Hinnom immediately south of it. It is probable that Judah's first attack on it was made previous to the assignment of Benjamin's lot, and while it was yet considered within the territory of Judah.
Image: Rock Soundings of Jerusalem
Jerusalem remained in possession of the Jebusites during the entire period of the Judges, through the reign of Saul, and until the eighth year of the reign of David, when it was captured and made the capital of David's kingdom. The fact that it had been successfully held by a handful of Jebusites in the very heart of the land of Israel for more than five hundred years was manifest proof of its superior military strength, and justified its choice as a capital. An occasional reference to the opposite cut from a draft by Conder, representing the actual lay of the rock of the entire city, will help the reader to understand the description which follows.
At this time, as is evident from the statements of the sacred text, the city was confined to the summit of Mount Zion, and the stronghold of its defenses was a fortification called Millo. The theory of some modern scholars, headed by Mr. Ferguson, that Mount Zion, the city of David, was on the southern end of Moriah, has been disproved by Warren and Conder.
This mountain was completely isolated by surrounding ravines, except at its northwest corner, where a narrow saddle of rock connected it with higher ground lying off in that direction. On the top of that saddle the modern Joppa gate now stands. Outside of this gate to the southwest, and within fifty yards of it, the Valley of Gihon, which heads about half a mile due west of this point, makes an abrupt turn to the south and passes—deepening rapidly as it goes—along the western side of Mount Zion. Thence, by an abrupt turn to the east, it passes along the southern side of the mount as far as its southeastern extremity. Its present surface is some 40 or 50 feet below the city wall opposite the Joppa gate, about 120 feet below the top of the mountain at the southwestern curve, and about 154 feet at the southeastern curve. Originally it was still deeper, for it has been filled up to a considerable depth, stone walls having been built across it at short intervals to cause an accumulation of soil. All of that portion of it south of Mount Zion is called the Valley of Hinnom.
The present Joppa gate is on the western slope of the connecting saddle mentioned above, the exact water-shed of the rock of this saddle, according to Conder's excavations, being about 70 yards east of this gate. From this water-shed a valley runs due east along the northern base of Mount Zion, growing deeper and narrower as it advances. It curves abruptly to the south around the northeastern corner of the mount, and thence runs almost due south until it joins the Valley of Hinnom. This valley is called the Tyropeon. The separating saddle, from which it takes its descent, is 40 feet below the top of Mount Zion, and the valley, as it passes along the northern side of this mount, has a depth to the rock of more than 100 feet; but now it is filled up in places with rubbish to a depth of 40 feet. At the northeastern curve it is 150 feet below the top of Zion, and midway the eastern side of Zion it attains a depth of 290 feet. These figures are based upon the rock-levels ascertained by the excavations of Captain Warren, and they show that from the very nature of the ground on which the original Jerusalem stood it could be approached only by a steep ascent on every side, except along the top of the narrow ridge at the northwest, and that the top of this ridge was 40 feet below the highest ground within the city. The chief fortification, called Millo, must have been located here, and here at the present day stands its successor, the fortification called the Tower of David. Properly defended at this point, the city was impregnable against any ordinary attacking force; and it is not surprising that when David came near to assault it the Jebusites taunted him with the remark, "Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither."
Josephus, in his account of David's capture of Jerusalem, speaks of a lower city which he took before he assaulted the citadel. Dr. Barclay supposes this to be Salem. But there is no Scripture authority for this, and it is unreasonable in itself: for why should the city be built on low ground in front of the citadel, fully exposed to attack, when there was unassailable ground behind the citadel, with the latter for a protection at its only weak point? It was a military necessity to build the city on the top of Zion.
As the city was when David took it, such it continued to be throughout his reign, with the exception of internal improvements and the strengthening of its fortifications. This, therefore, is the city which we must have in mind when we are considering its history during the reign of David, and the allusions to it made in the Psalms of David,—for example, the exulting strains of the forty-eighth psalm:
"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.
Is Mount Zion on the sides of the North,
The city of the great King.
Walk about Zion, and go round about her:
Tell the towers thereof.
Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces;
That ye may tell it to the generation following."
The site selected for the Temple of Solomon, we are told, was "in Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared to David, his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Ornan (or Araunah) the Jebusite."
Mount Moriah was a long, straight ridge, running north and south, a short distance northeast of Mount Zion. From one extremity to the other it was more than a mile in length, while its width was less than a quarter of a mile at the widest part. It terminated towards the south in a long slope, narrowing as it descended, and reaching a level near the point of junction between the Valley of Hinnom and the Tyropeon Valley. The latter valley separated this southern slope from Mount Zion, and the northern end of Zion was due west from the highest part of Mount Moriah. Much the greater part of Mount Moriah lay farther north than this. As we stated in the last section, the descent from the summit of Mount Zion to its northeastern foot in the Tyropeon Valley was 150 feet, but the ascent thence to the top of Moriah was only 50 feet, the latter mountain being 100 feet lower than the former. The elevation of the two above the sea is respectively 2540 feet and 2440 feet. But the Tyropeon Valley deepens very rapidly as it passes southward, and at the southern extremity of the temple inclosure it has a depth of 150 feet below the summit of Moriah, measuring down to the rock.
It thus appears that when Solomon prepared to build his temple Mount Moriah was entirely outside of Jerusalem; that it was separated from it by a deep, narrow ravine; and that its summit, where the temple was to stand, was due east of the northern part of the city. It had been the wheat-field of Araunah, the Jebusite. David had allowed him to retain it after he had taken the city, but had purchased it from him at the time of the plague. The eastern side of Mount Moriah was a steep slope descending into another deep and narrow ravine, called sometimes the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and sometimes the Valley of the Kedron. The bed of this valley descends but little more rapidly than the slope of the mountain, and its average depth may be stated at 240 feet below the top of the ridge of Mount Moriah.
On the very summit of Mount Moriah Solomon built his temple, laying the foundations, of course, on the solid rock, and including in them the threshing-floor on which David had made his offering. Around it he made an inner court, inclosed by a wall, and outside of this a greater court. But the summit of the mountain, being a sharp ridge, did not furnish a level space of sufficient extent for these courts, and hence the necessity of the work which constituted the chief part of his undertaking, demanding the labor of the vast army of workmen for a period of seven years. Of this work Josephus gives a brief and characteristic description. After speaking of the temple proper and the inclosure of the inner or Jewish court, he says: "But he made that temple which was beyond this,—a wonderful one indeed, and such as exceeds all description in words; nay, if I may so say, is hardly believed upon sight; for when he had filled up great valleys with earth which, on account of their great depth, could not be looked on when you bended down to see them without pain, and had elevated the ground four hundred cubits, he made it to be on a level with the top of the mountain on which the temple was built, and by this means the outmost temple, which was exposed to the air, was even with the temple itself."
This rude and inaccurate description is readily understood, and its inaccuracies corrected, in the light of recent excavations. No doubt Josephus formed his conception of the work from the appearance of the temple mount in his own day; and many modern observers have drawn conclusions from its appearance not less inaccurate than his. Nothing but actual excavations to the natural rock of the mountain and its adjacent valleys could determine what Solomon's work really was; and previous to these excavations many conclusions of the utmost importance could be reached only by conjecture. But during the year 1867 excavations were made by Captain Warren, under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund of Great Britain, to the foundations of the present wall around the site of the temple, and to the solid rock in many other places about this mountain. It was ascertained that most of the present outer wall of the temple inclosure was founded by Solomon, the lowest layers of the rock being now precisely where he laid them. We are able, therefore, to state in most particulars proximately, and in some precisely, what work of Solomon Josephus describes so obscurely in the above extract. It was as follows:
Wishing to make a broad level area on top of the mountain and nearly on a level with its sharp summit, he laid the foundations of the eastern and western walls on the solid rock near the foot of the mountain on each side, and built them up perpendicular until their tops were on a level with the top of the mountain. This required the western wall to be 150 feet high at its southern end, and 80 feet high just opposite the temple. The eastern wall was 170 feet high at its southern extremity, and 70 feet opposite the temple; but on account of descent of the rock from this point northward it was 160 feet high near its northern end, where it crosses a depression in the rock. It is 1536 feet long, while the western wall is 1608.
To connect the southern ends of these two walls, which were 927 feet apart, a cut was made across that part of the mountain which lay between them, and the solid rock laid bare to receive the foundations of the southern wall. The rock here rises about 100 feet as we pass from the east side westward, and then descends about 80 feet ere we reach the southwestern corner. This wall, then, in order to reach the level of the mountain's top, was built up like the southern end of the eastern wall, with which it made an angle, 170 feet high; at the highest part of the rock towards the west it was 70 feet high, and at the southwestern angle 150 feet. Everywhere, as Captain Warren discovered, the foundation stones were laid not only on the natural rock, but within a bed 24 inches deep cut for them into this rock, so that nothing could move them from their places. The foundation stones in many places bear to this day the marks of Phoenician letters painted on them by Hiram's workman, to show the order in which they were to be laid down. Many of these stones are of enormous size. Captain Warren reports one in the southeast angle whose estimated weight is 100 tons, and one at the southwest angle which, though not so heavy, is 38 feet 9 inches long. Several are seen above ground which approach this magnitude.
Image: Substructions at the Southeast Corner of the Har'am.
The two side walls are not parallel, but they diverge toward the north, so that, although only 927 feet apart at the southern end, they are 1044 feet apart at the northern end. At the northwestern angle the natural rock came to the surface, and rose 20 feet above the level that was desired: so here the rock was cut away in leveling, and a perpendicular wall of it 20 feet high was left at the corner, and for some distance east of it. The western wall terminated against this natural rock, and the northern wall, starting from it eastward, closed up the remainder of the northern end. This rock formed a narrow neck connecting this part of Mount Moriah with that part which extended farther north, and on this, in Herod's time, stood the fortification called the Tower of Antonia.
When Solomon had erected these walls, his next task was to level the inclosed space, amounting to thirty-five acres, so as to bring the low slopes next to the walls up to the height of the space about the temple, or nearly so. He left the court immediately about the temple higher than the surrounding area, but doubtless only a few feet higher. The filling in necessary for the purpose of this leveling, is estimated by Captain Warren at not less than 70,000,000 of cubic feet. To save the necessity of filling this space solidly, a large number of stone piers were built at the southeastern angle, where was the greatest open space, nearly to the desired height. Vaults of masonry were turned on top of these, and earth laid on top of the vaults. These, when first discovered in modern times, were called Solomon's Stables, in ignorance of their true design. They are seen in the preceding cut.
When the space within the walls was thus leveled, or reduced sufficiently near to a level to suit Solomon's purposes, the walls were doubtless carried up still higher all around, and a parapet constructed on top of them; so that they served the additional purpose of a military defense to the temple. As such they presented, on the eastern side, a perpendicular front, averaging more than 150 feet, with a steep approach to the foot of the wall from the narrow floor of the Kedron Valley. Opposite the southeast angle this valley was 100 feet lower than the foundation of the wall and very close to it. The entire height of the wall at this angle above the valley below must have been not less than 280 feet. The earth outside the wall at this point, as Captain Warren discovered by his excavations, was only 8 feet deep; for in digging here he passed through débris until within 8 feet of the rock, when he struck the original natural soil. The exposed part of the wall then, outside, was about 172 feet high, supposing it to have been built 10 feet higher than the summit of the mountain, while the exposed part inside was only 10 feet. Thus was the mountain cased in with a stone wall, and changed from a sharp ridge to a vast mound, with a level summit of thirty-five acres containing the temple and its courts. Only at the northwestern corner of the inclosed space was it approachable on level ground, and in this respect it was precisely like Mount Zion. What extra defense was built here the Scriptures do not inform us; probably nothing more than a suitable strengthening of the wall by towers and buttresses.
This temple-crowned and stone-encased mountain was next connected with the previously existing city on Mount Zion by running two walls across the intervening valley, one from the northern curve of Mount Zion, and the other from such a point along the eastern side of the same as to connect it most conveniently with the southern end of the temple inclosure. No trace has been found of the foundations of these walls, but the remains of two bridges that once spanned the valley and furnished passages from one mountain to the other have been discovered. The more southern of these, 39 feet from the angle, is called Robinson's arch, from the name of its modern discoverer, Dr. Edward Robinson; and the more northern Wilson's arch, from the name of its discoverer, Captain Wilson, of the Palestine Exploration Fund. It is believed that both of these arches were built by Herod; but beneath them are the remains of older ones, which are supposed to have been the work of Solomon.
Many modern reconstructors of ancient Jerusalem have located Solomon's palace at the southern end of the temple inclosure, and most of these have supposed that it occupied the southeast angle; but they seem to have strangely overlooked the fact that, if thus situated, it must have been built on the tall columns erected there for the purpose of leveling up the surface, and the erection of a large and massive palace on such supports is unheard of in the history of architecture. The author cannot resist the conclusion advocated by Captain Warren, against the almost unanimous voice of recent explorers, that this palace stood on the loftier hill of Zion. As Warren is the most thorough and exhaustive explorer who has ever worked on the topography of Jerusalem, his opinion is entitled to the highest degree of respect.
When Solomon's work on Jerusalem was completed, the city walls included, as we have seen in the previous section, Mount Zion, a small portion of Mount Moriah, and so much of the Tyropeon Valley as lay between these two. The southern continuation of Mount Moriah, often mentioned under the name Ophel, a long tongue-like slope terminating at the junction of the Tyropeon and Kedron Valleys, was left outside the walls. All of the same mount which lay north of the northern wall of the temple court was also left outside, but a broad ditch in the solid rock, which is still visible, was cut across it to prevent an easy approach from that direction. At that time the northern wall of Mount Zion overlooked the upper part of the Tyropeon Valley, while another valley nearly at a right angle to this extended northward along the entire western base of Mount Moriah. In the angle between these two valleys arose a knoll whose rock-summit is 2490 feet above the sea level, just 50 feet lower than the summit of Mount Zion. See the cut of the rock-soundings, page 144. All of this was then outside of the city. But a second wall, beginning at the northwest corner of Zion, and heading the Tyropeon Valley, inclosed this knoll, and passing thence across the other valley terminated at the northwestern corner of the temple wall. Josephus calls the part thus inclosed the lower city, from the fact that it was all lower than Mount Zion; and he says that "it is of the shape of the moon when she is horned," by which he evidently means that its outward limit was an arc of a circle. It is possible that this wall was built by Solomon, and that it is included in the Scripture statement that he built "the wall of Jerusalem round about;" but we have no specific ground on which to ascribe the work to him, and we have as little for ascribing it to any one of his successors. The next statement which we find in the Scriptures concerning the building of walls is in 2 Chronicles 26:9, where it is said that "Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem, at the corner gate, and at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall, and fortified them." This appears to be a strengthening of existing walls by additional means of defense, but not the erection of new walls.
In the reign of Jotham, the successor of Uzziah, there seems to have been a wall upon Ophel, the southern extremity of Mount Moriah; for it is said of Jotham that "He built the high gate of the house of the Lord, and upon the wall of Ophel he built much." Of the extent of this wall we know nothing.
Hezekiah found it necessary to again repair the walls of the city, and he built a new wall of whose position and extent we know nothing. We have only the brief statement that "he built up the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David."
To Manasseh, the son and successor of Hezekiah, is ascribed the complete inclosure of Ophel: "He built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon in the valley, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height." The clauses, "without the city of David" and "on the west side of Gihon in the valley," locate that part of this wall which reached from the wall of the city of David, or Mount Zion, across to Ophel. Gihon is the name by which the Tyropeon Valley was then known. This wall was "in the valley" because it extended across the valley, and it was "on the west of Gihon" in the sense that most of it was on the west side, the deepest part of the valley here lying close under the precipice of Ophel. Many modern writers on Jerusalem have doubted the existence of a wall around Ophel, and they gave this passage a different interpretation, until Captain Warren actually found a large portion of it during his excavations, and traced its course from the southeastern angle of the temple-wall about 700 feet south, where it terminated within a few feet of the surface. It is 14 feet thick, and, though entirely under ground, it is from 40 to 60 feet high.
We have no account of other additions to the city previous to the Babylonian captivity. We suppose that no others were made, and that consequently the city of Jerusalem, during the period of the kings of Judah, attained to no greater dimensions than those which we have given above. In other words, the city, in its greatest extent during this period, included no more than Mount Zion, Mount Moriah as far north as the temple-court extended, the valley between these two, and the comparatively low ground lying in the angle north of the former and west of the latter.
When Nehemiah re-erected the walls, after the return of the Jews from Babylon, he built on the old foundations, and the former dimensions of the city seem to have been restored. From that time till the time of Christ only two alterations are known to have been made in its topography. Josephus represents the Asmonean princes as having cut down the top of the knoll in the lower city called Akra, and filled up the Tyropeon Valley. This was a change in the level of the northern part of the city. The other change was made by Herod. He reconstructed the temple and its surrounding walls, and built a fortification at the northwest corner of its outer court, which he named Antonia in honor of Mark Antony. He also built a number of towers in the walls of Zion and Akra. These changes left the general outline of the city about as it was before the captivity, and consequently the Jerusalem of the gospel narratives was nearly identical in extent with the Jerusalem of the later kings and prophets.
Image: The Tower of David,—Northern Side
The most important addition made to the city after the time of Solomon, and the one which brought it to the greatest extent it ever attained, was begun by Agrippa (the Herod of Acts 12.) and afterwards completed by the Jews. It is commonly called the third wall, the second being the semicircular one inclosing Akra, and the first the original wall around Mount Zion. The only account of this wall which has come down to us is given by Josephus. He represents it as starting from the Tower of Hippicus, supposed to be identical with the present Tower of David (see the cut on the opposite page), adjoining the Joppa gate; thence it ran north as far as the most northern part of the city; thence it passed somewhat east of north until it came "over against the monuments of Helena" (a locality not certainly identified); thence it extended to "the Tower of the Corner," which must be the northeastern angle of the wall; and thence it ran southward along the eastern declivity of Mount Moriah, overlooking the Kedron Valley, until it united with the northeastern wall of the temple inclosure, which had previously been the northeastern corner of the city. This wall inclosed additional space along the western and northern sides of Akra, which had been called the lower city. The northwestern part of the ground thus inclosed was higher than the summit of Mount Zion. It has an elevation of 2570 feet, according to Conder, while that of Mount Zion is 2540 feet. It also inclosed the northern extension of Mount Moriah, which Josephus says was then called Beze'tha, the New City. This historian states the occasion of constructing this wall in these words: "As the city grew more populous it gradually crept beyond its old limits, and those parts of it which stood north of the temple and joined that hill to the city made it considerably larger, and occasioned that hill, which is in number the fourth, to be inhabited also." His account of the cessation of Agrippa's work on the wall, and of its subsequent completion, is as follows: "He left off building it after he had only laid the foundations, out of the fear he was in of Claudius Cæsar, lest he should suspect that so strong a wall was built in order to make some innovation in public affairs; for the city could in no way have been taken if that wall had been finished in the manner it was begun. As its parts were connected together by stones twenty cubits long and ten cubits broad, which could never have been either easily undermined by any iron tools or shaken by any engines... After this it was erected with great diligence by the Jews as high as twenty cubits, above which it had battlements of two cubits and turrets of three cubits altitude, insomuch that the altitude extended as far as twenty-five cubits."
The death of Agrippa occurred in the year 44 of our era, just ten years after the death of Jesus, and twenty-six years before the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus; consequently, this enlargement of the city to the greatest dimensions which it ever attained occurred subsequent to the solemn announcement of its doom which had been made by Jesus. Though that doom was to befall it, according to the prediction, before the generation then living should pass away, when ten years had passed the city had started on a new career of growth and apparent prosperity, yet the words of Jesus were not falsified by the result.
Jerusalem was taken by Titus in the year 70 of our era after a desperate war and a bloody siege. It is asserted by Josephus that during this war 97,000 Jews were carried into captivity, and that the number of those who perished in the city was 1,100,000. He does not claim that the population of the city was equal to this last sum, but that so many were assembled there at the Passover feast when the siege was begun, and were shut up within the city by the approach of the Roman army. His account of the destruction of the city at the close of the siege is given in the following words:
"Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any had there remained any other such work to be done), Cæsar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency, that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne, and so much of the wall as inclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of a city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground, by those who dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came hither believe it ever had been inhabited."
Such was the close of Jerusalem's history as a Jewish city. It fell with the downfall and dispersion of the nation. A very brief synopsis of its subsequent history is given in Smith's Bible Dictionary (Art. Jerusalem), from which we glean the following facts. For more than fifty years after its destruction by Titus Jerusalem disappears from history. Of its annals during this period we know nothing. But in A. D. 132, under the Emperor Hadrian, the Jews then in Palestine concocted a secret revolt, made one Bar Co'chebas their leader, crowned him as a king, took possession of the ruins of Jerusalem, and undertook to rebuild the temple. They maintained themselves against the Roman army, which was sent to subdue them, for two years, when the city was taken, and Bar Co'chebas was killed. Other fighting of a most desperate character followed, in which there was frightful slaughter on both sides; but the Jews who escaped the slaughter were totally dispersed. Under Hadrian's orders the ruins of the city which Titus had left standing were razed, the site of the temple was ploughed over, a temple to Jupiter was built on a portion of it, and a statue of the emperor was erected where the Holy of Holies had been. A Roman colony was planted in the city, and its name was changed to Aelia Capitolina, a name which it continued to bear for several centuries, and Jupiter was proclaimed its guardian deity. Jews were forbidden to enter the city under pain of death, and this prohibition continued in force for about 200 years; but about the middle of the fourth century they were allowed to enter it once a year, and weep over it on the anniversary of its capture. Jerome represents them in his day as being accustomed thus to weep by the west wall of the temple, and says: "On the ninth of the month Ab might be seen the aged and the decrepit of both sexes, with tattered garments and disheveled hair, who met to weep over the downfall of Jerusalem, and purchased permission of the soldiery to prolong their lamentations."
After the changes effected by Hadrian, but little is known of the city until the fourth century, except that it became to some extent a Christian city, and that a list of twenty-three bishops who resided there is preserved. In A. D. 326, the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, visited Jerusalem and built a church on the Mount of Olives to commemorate the ascension of Christ, and one in Bethlehem over the supposed site of the Saviour's birth. Her son, the emperor, followed her example by building a chapel over the supposed site of the Holy Sepulchre.
In the year 362, the Emperor Julian, commonly called the apostate, was moved by his hatred of Christianity to attempt the reconstruction of the Jewish temple and the restoration of its ancient worship. Materials were furnished at his expense, and many of the Jews entered upon the work with great enthusiasm; but while they were clearing away the rubbish and preparing for the foundations of the new temple balls of fire issued from under the ruins and frightened the workmen away. Many exaggerated accounts of this incident were given by Christian writers of the period, but the principal fact is asserted in the writings of Ammianus Marcellinus, a friend and companion in arms of the emperor, and it must be credited. The occurrence was universally ascribed at the time to supernatural agency, but it may have been the result of the explosion of gases which had accumulated in openings amid the ruins, and which exploded as the air was let in by the tools of the workmen.
In the year 529 the Greek emperor Justinian built in Jerusalem a church in honor of the Virgin Mary, and also established a number of monasteries in the neighborhood of Jerusalem and Jericho. The country had then been for two hundred years the resort of many pilgrims, and monks and hermits had been for a long time swarming to its sacred localities in great numbers. This state of affairs was interrupted early in the next century by the results of a war between the Emperor Heraclius and the Persians under Chosro'es II. The Persian army invaded Palestine in 614, and, assisted by many Jews, took Jerusalem by assault, slew many of the monks and clergy, demolished all the churches, and burned much of the city. The war lasted for fourteen years, and finally resulted in a victory over the Persians and the restoration of Jerusalem; but the triumph was of short duration, for in 637, only nine years later, the city was surrendered to the Calif Omar and entered upon its history as a Mohammedan city. It was stipulated as one condition of the surrender that the Christian population should be still permitted to worship in their existing churches, but that no more churches should be built. This liberty has been continued with but little interruption until the present day. Omar removed the dirt and filth which had accumulated on the site of the temple, assisting in the work with his own hands, and built thereon a wooden place of prayer. In the year 688, only fifty-one years after the surrender to Omar, the Calif Abd-el-Melek replaced this wooden structure by the splendid building which now occupies the spot, improperly called the Mosque of Omar. This last fact is attested by an inscription in the building itself.
The next important epoch in the history of the city is its capture by the Crusaders in the year 1099. It was then made the seat of a Christian kingdom, and continued so until after the fatal battle of Hattîn, near Tiberias, in July, 1187, in which the celebrated Saladin broke the power of the Christian kingdom and again restored Jerusalem to Mohammedan dominion. Within the next fifty years it fell twice more into the hands of Christians, only to be speedily lost, and finally, in 1244, the efforts of the Crusaders were abandoned, and Palestine remained a dependency of the caliphate of Egypt.
In the year 1517, Selim I., sultan of the Ottoman empire, took possession of the country, and his successor, Suleiman, built the present walls of Jerusalem, A. D. 1542. With the exception of eight years, from 1832 to 1840, during which it was once more held by Egypt, under Mohammed Al'i, it has remained under the dominion of the Turkish sultan until the present time, a period of three hundred and sixty-three years.
In studying the remainder of our description of Jerusalem, it would be well for the reader to make frequent references to the plan of the city on the opposite page.
Image: Plan of Jerusalem
The only gate now on the western side of Jerusalem is the one called by the Arabs Bab-el-Kulîl (the Gate of the Friend). An inscription cut in Arabic characters into a marble slab over the entrance sufficiently points out the "friend" referred to in the name. It is this: "There is no god but God, and Abraham is the friend of God." This gate is chiefly known to Europeans as the Joppa gate, because through it the road to Joppa enters the city. But it is sometimes called the "Bethlehem Gate," because the road to Bethlehem, which approaches it from the southwest, also enters through it. Much more than half the travel and traffic of the entire city at the present time passes through this gate; consequently, it is the best point from which to start in attempting to give the reader a general conception of the city.
From the Joppa gate the wall runs almost due northwest about 1300 feet, where it reaches the northwest corner of the city. Here stood an old castle called Kalât el Jalûd (the Castle of Goliath); but in the year 1878 its ruins were entirely demolished, and the ground is now occupied by a large and handsome two-story school-building belonging to the Franciscan monks, and by the garden and playground attached to this building. The natural rock on which the wall stands rises at this corner several feet above the outside surface, and the inner surface here is the highest part of the city.
Image: The Damascus Gate
From the northwest corner of the city the distance along the northern wall to the Damascus gate is nearly 600 yards, in a waving line. The direction is about east northeast, and there is a descent of about 50 feet, so that when you stand on top of the wall over that gate, which is 50 feet high, you are about on a level with the foundation of the wall back at the northwest corner. This is the most elaborately constructed of all the present gates, and it is defended by two towers, which are seen in the preceding cut. Passing along the top of the wall from this gate in the same general direction, but a little nearer east, at a distance of 375 yards farther we come to a gate now closed up, called Herod's gate. In passing this distance we have crossed over another rise in the ground, which is nearly as high as the northwest corner; and here the natural rock shows itself at least 25 feet above the outside surface, forming a perpendicular ledge, on the top of which the wall is built. Standing here and looking back, we can very plainly see that we have crossed a valley, and that the Damascus gate is in the lowest part of it. Then turning and looking toward the northeast corner, we see that there is a rapid descent to the Herod gate, and thence, a level to the corner. From the Herod gate to the northeast corner, bearing very little north of east, is about 330 yards. Adding together the figures now given along the northern wall, we find the distance about 1300 yards, nearly three-quarters of a mile. This is the longest side of the city.
The eastern wall is 921 yards or a little more than half a mile in length, and its course is nearly due north and south. From the northeast corner south to St. Stephen's gate, the only gate now in use on this side, is about 341 yards, and the descent is probably 40 feet. Thence to the corner of the har'am or temple inclosure, is about 67 yards, and the entire length of the eastern wall of the har'am is 512 yards. This wall overlooks the Valley of the Kedron all the way, and it maintains a gradual descent through its entire length, though the steepest descent is from the northern end of it down to St. Stephen's gate.
The wall on the south side of the city is very crooked. Starting from the southeast corner of the har'am, the wall of this inclosure is the outer wall of the city for about 238 yards westward, where the city wall starts out at a right angle, and runs by a rapid descent down the slope of Ophel southward for 98 yards. Thence making another right angle, it runs west 171 yards, where it reaches a small gate commonly called the Dung gate, but called in Arabic Mugrabin or Stranger's gate. This last piece of wall crosses the Tyropeon Valley, and makes an ascent of about 50 feet up the side of Mount Zion, and the gate is on a shoulder of this mount. The wall where it crosses the valley is not over five feet above the level of the ground on the inside which is here cultivated as a garden, though it is more than 30 feet above the ground on the outside. From the Dung gate the wall continues to ascend toward the southwest, making four angles of 45° alternately southward and westward, and reaches Zion gate (sometimes called David's gate) at a distance of about 320 yards. This gate is on the highest part of Mount Zion crossed by the wall, and it is nearly 300 yards from the southwest corner of the city. The entire southern wall, from the southeast corner of the har'am to the southwest corner of the city, is 1127 yards long, or about two-thirds of a mile.
The western wall runs almost due north from its southern extremity until it reaches the ditch surrounding the citadel near the Joppa gate, a distance of nearly 300 yards. This fortification extends thence 153 yards to the Joppa gate. Consequently this gate is about 453 yards north of the southwest angle of the wall, and, as we saw in the beginning of this description, about 433 yards from the northwest angle. The entire western wall, then, is 886 yards, or about a half-mile in length, with the Joppa gate a little nearer its northern than its southern extremity. This is the shortest side of the city.
The measurements above given were taken by the author himself, and chiefly by measuring along the top of the wall. It was his aim to get the distances along the general direction of each wall, and consequently he left out the length of some portions of each which run at right angles to the general course. The whole distance around the wall, according to these figures, is about 4264 yards, or a little less than 2 1/2 miles. The circuit of the city is represented by Conder at about 23/4 miles, and it would very nearly reach this distance if the measurement were made on the ground outside, and included all the sinuosities of the walls.
The wall varies in height from forty to fifty feet above the outside surface, but at the southeast angle of the har'am it is eighty feet. It is nine feet thick at the base; the parapet is three feet thick; and there are two places for the lines of soldiers to stand upon, each three feet wide, and one about four feet below the other.
The hills of the ancient city have undergone so little change as to be identified without the least uncertainty. About one-half of Mount Zion now lies outside of the southern wall, and the most of it is cultivated in grain, thus fulfilling to the letter the prediction of Micah when he said to Judah, "Therefore shall Zion, for your sake, be ploughed like a field."
Ak'ra, the hill north of Zion, still rises forty feet higher than the highest part of Zion, but it still slopes downward as it approaches the angle between Zion and Moriah. It also slopes downward toward the Joppa gate, and more rapidly still toward the Damascus gate. The ridge north of the temple inclosure, once an unbroken continuance of Mount Moriah, has undergone the greatest change. Where the wall crosses it between the Damascus gate and the Herod gate a cut has been made through its solid rock, so as to leave a wide space between the wall which rests on one side of the cut and the other perpendicular side, thus preventing the possibility of an approach to the wall along the crest of the ridge. This cut is about two hundred feet wide. So much of the original ridge as lies between this wall and the north wall of the har'am is now called Beze'tha, which means, as explained by Josephus, the new city.
That part of the original Mount Moriah which is inclosed by the har'am wall remains as it was in the days of Herod, with the exception of the changes effected by the frequent destruction and re-erection of its walls and the entire change of the buildings within.
The greatest change in the surface-level of the city has taken place, as would naturally be supposed, in its valleys. All of these have been to a great extent filled up. Conder estimates the present surface of David Street, along the northern foot of Mount Zion, as forty feet higher than its ancient level, and thinks that the city in general has an average elevation of thirty feet, the result of so frequently tearing down houses and building others on their ruins. But the greatest filling up of the Tyropeon Valley is along that part which lies between Mount Moriah and Mount Zion. Near the southwest corner of the har'am, Captain Warren found the rock sixty feet below the present surface, and a short distance from that corner, along the southern wall, where the surface maintains the same level, he found it ninety feet below. His shafts were sunk through rubbish, which was so loose and so much disposed to "run," that he was compelled to case them strongly with wood as he descended. The cut on the following page represents the shaft which he sank at the southeast angle of the har'am, and it illustrates his mode of working at other points. He was compelled to sink his shafts at a distance from the wall, and then tunnel under to examine the foundations, because there were graves near the wall which he was not allowed to disturb.
Image: One of Captain Warren's Shafts
The same indefatigable explorer found that the Valley of the Kedron is also largely filled up. At the southeast corner of the har'am the rock was found eighty-seven feet below the present surface, and the whole of this is made earth and rubbish except eight feet of "fat-mold" next to the rock. Here there is an accumulation of about nearly eighty feet of débris from the crumbled materials of former walls. He also found the ancient bed of the Kedron, which was identified by its layer of water-worn pebbles, forty feet beneath its present surface. Moreover, the deepest part of this valley has been pushed eastward by the accumulation of rubbish from the wall until it is now ninety feet east of the original bed of the Kedron. The fact that this stream has long since ceased to flow except in the wettest of seasons is accounted for by the fact that this vast accumulation of loose rubbish absorbs the water as it flows from the hill-sides. This valley begins about a mile north of the city as a mere depression in the surface; and when it first turns southward, northeast of the city, it is a smooth, broad valley covered with grain-fields and olive-orchards. When it reaches a point opposite the northeastern angle of the city wall it has become quite narrow, its sides are steep, and its depth beneath the wall is nearly as great as it attains at any point below, for though its bed continues to descend, the surface along the foot of the wall descends almost as rapidly. Opposite St. Stephen's gate the side of the valley is so steep that the road descending into it is cut with a zigzag, and when it reaches nearly to the bottom of the valley a further descent is saved by a stone bridge on arches thrown across to the foot of the Mount of Olives. From this bridge southward, almost to the southeast angle of the city wall, the valley has a level bed fifty yards or more in width, set with olive-trees and cultivated in grain. Walls have been built across it at intervals to check the wash and to secure an accumulation of soil. Below the southeast angle of the wall, however, the valley becomes a narrow ditch and shows marks of the rapid rush of torrents of water after heavy winter rains. Here it deepens rapidly, and near the extreme southern foot of Ophel it widens out again and makes room for luxuriant vegetable-gardens irrigated by water from the Pool of Siloam.
Image: the Valley of Gihon
The Valley of Hinnom, as we have stated, has also undergone a considerable elevation. No excavations have been made in it, so as to ascertain the exact depth of the rock beneath the present surface, but a great part of its space is occupied by large and flourishing olive-trees, showing that the depth of the soil must be considerable. It is no longer the narrow, deep, and gloomy gorge that it once was. When the brow of Mount Zion was crowned with lofty walls, and its rocky side was bare of soil, while the bed of the valley was the naked rock now many feet beneath the surface, it was a gloomy place, and well adapted to the horrid orgies practiced there in a spot called Tophet by two of the apostate kings of Judah. But now nearly all that part of it which lies south of Mount Zion is from fifty to seventy-five yards wide, and has a smooth floor and a rich soil. It is preserved from being washed into gullies during the winter rains by stone walls built across it at short intervals, and it receives an annual accretion of rich soil by the wash from the heights on either side. The olive-trees spread over it a pleasant shade, but not thick enough in the spring to prevent the maturing of the grain that is grown on the well-ploughed ground. On the western side of Mount Zion, and about midway between its northern and southern extremities, this valley is occupied by Bîrket es Sûltan (the Pool of the Sultan), known to English readers as the lower pool of Gihon. From the lower end of this pool to its head, a half-mile west of Joppa gate, the valley is known as the Valley of Gihon. The chief portion of the upper part is cultivated in much the same manner as the lower part. In the above cut we look up the Valley of Gihon to the western wall of the city.
There are only four streets in the city of Jerusalem which are dignified by names, and all these seem to have been named by Europeans.
The first of these with which the traveler becomes acquainted is David Street. It commences at the Joppa gate and runs almost due east through the city to the principal gate into the har'am. It is nearly a straight line; but just before crossing the Tyropeon Valley it makes a right angle to the right, and, after running south a few steps, another right angle to the left, resuming its original course. From the last angle to the har'am it has the name of Temple Street. David Street is about twelve feet wide between the houses, with sidewalks about two feet wide and slightly elevated.
The Joppa gate, which admits us into this street, is a strong tower thirty-six feet square, with its sides toward the cardinal points of the compass. The gateway is not on its western side, as one would naturally expect, but on that portion of its northern side which projects in front of the wall. You approach it by a road parallel with the wall which runs off to the northwest. Entering here, by a door twelve feet wide and sixteen feet high, you turn square to the left, and enter the city through a similar opening on its eastern side. This arrangement was intended for the better defense of the gateway against an enemy trying to force his way through. The shutter is a folding door made of timber five or six inches thick, covered with sheet-iron, and thickly set with the heads of iron bolts. This gate, like all the others of the city, now stands open night and day; so that visitors are no longer under the necessity, as they were a few years ago, of getting inside of the city before sunset to prevent being excluded for the night. A military guard is kept at each gate, but chiefly to regulate the ingress and egress of the soldiers of the Turkish garrison. Perhaps their presence also tends to preserve the quiet and good order which always prevail among the comers and goers. Through this gate pass more than half the people who go in and out of Jerusalem; and the level space in front of it is always crowded with motley groups of men, women, and children; beggars, camels, and donkeys. All styles of dress are seen, and many different languages are spoken.
After passing through this gate you see before you an open space of irregular shape, bordered on the right by a low wall guarding the moat of the citadel, and on the left by a garden-wall and some small houses. The space varies from six to ten yards in width, and stretches about seventy yards before you on a level, when it begins to descend, and soon enters the narrow mouth of David Street. Along this descent on the left are two stores, kept on the European plan and supplied with European articles; and next to them is the Mediterranean Hotel, a two-story building of stone, with comfortable rooms and good accommodations. It is kept, and has been for many years, by a German named Hornstein. He was one of Dr. Barclay's converts while a missionary in Jerusalem. Passing the hotel and entering David Street, you continue to descend until you reach the angle in the street above mentioned. In this descent you cannot keep the sidewalk, on account of meeting persons whom you cannot pass without stepping into the street, and on account of persons, baskets, boxes, etc., occupying it in front of the open shops. The stones of the street are so slick, of so many different sizes, and so rounded on the top, that it requires constant care to maintain a perpendicular, and walking on them is laborious. The street is nearly always crowded, and while no vehicles of any kind are ever seen in the city, you meet many loaded camels and asses, which occupy nearly the entire street, and they turn neither to the right hand nor to the left to avoid a collision with you. The bazaars here are devoted chiefly to the sale of groceries and other provisions, including vegetables and fruits, and the traffic is chiefly in the hands of Turks and Ar'abs. About the angles of the street towards the har'am are the shops which deal in dry goods, and here, besides the Ar'ab dealers, are many Jews. Here the street is covered overhead, partly by arches and partly by matting stretched on poles. It reaches the har'am on a level with its surface, showing that here the Tyropeon Valley has been filled up to a level with the top of Mount Moriah. On the right, as you pass down David Street, are a number of narrow alleys leading up the slope of Mount Zion, some of them so steep that they are ascended by steps. On the left you occasionally pass a mill, and occasionally a house devoted to the buying and selling of grain. Indeed, the amount of traffic on this street, and the stir and business activity, are quite a surprise to any one who enters Jerusalem with the idea that it is a dead city. On your left, as you enter this street from the Joppa gate, the ground rises by a gradual slope northward. But below the Mediterranean Hotel the ground to the left runs off for some distance on a level, and farther down the street there is a descent to the left which increases as you advance. This arises from the fact that David Street occupies a bench cut along the northern side of Mount Zion. It slopes downward only fast enough to strike the level of Mount Moriah at its farther end.
If you enter the city from the east you pass through St. Stephen's gate. The principal street from this gate runs westward entirely across the city nearly parallel with David Street, the space between the two being about two hundred yards wide. This is the Via Dolorosa.
St. Stephen's gate is a square tower like the Joppa gate, but does not, like it, project beyond the wall. Its door is immediately in front; but after you enter the tower you turn square to the left and enter the city through its southern side. As you do so you see before you a narrow street, 200 feet long, leading along the city wall to the north end of the har'am, and entering that inclosure through a narrow gateway in its wall. On the right of this street, all the way, is the so-called Pool of Bethesda, of which we will give a description in another section. Turning westward at the gate you see the Via Dolorosa stretching before you, with a gradual rise as it advances. On your left for a considerable distance, filling all the space between the street and the har'am wall, is the Pool of Bethesda. A wall six feet high guards against falling into it. On your right, opposite the pool, is the church and convent of St. Anne, belonging to the Latin Church, and dedicated to Anne, the supposed mother of the Virgin Mary. After passing the pool the remainder of the space between the street and the northern end of the har'am is occupied by the barracks for the Turkish garrison. This pile of buildings is supposed (for reasons which have satisfied nearly all the explorers of Jerusalem) to occupy the identical sites of the house of Pontius Pilate, and the castle of Antonia in which Paul was confined by the chief captain. Two narrow passages run through under this mass of buildings from the Via Dolorosa into the har'am, making, with the one above mentioned, three entrances into the northern end of that inclosure.
Image: Via Dolorose,—Pilate's Arch
Opposite the northwest corner of the barracks stands a Latin convent, and from its wall springs an arch which spans the narrow street and supports a small room with a window looking eastward. (See the cut on the opposite page.) This is called Pilate's arch, or the arch of Ecce Homo, because of a tradition, dating from the fifteenth century, that here Pilate caused Jesus to be led forth, and exclaimed, "Ecce Homo!"—"Behold the Man!" At this point the Via Dolorosa, having maintained a slight ascent from the lower corner of the barracks, begins a rapid descent toward the west. This descent leads into the bottom of the valley which separates the hill Beze'tha, the southern end of which we have just crossed, from Ak'ra. The Via Dolorosa here turns to the left and follows this valley southward for a short distance, when it makes another angle to the west, and continues with a constant ascent up the slope of Ak'ra to the western side of the city. About one hundred yards from the last-mentioned angle it passes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where tradition locates the crucifixion and burial of Jesus; and along the course of the street from the arch at the convent to this church are pointed out by the superstitious priests of the city the spots at which all the incidents of the march of Jesus from Pilate's house to Golgotha that are mentioned in the Scriptures, and several which the Scriptures do not mention, took place.
The principal cross-street running north and south and connecting the two streets which we have now described is Christian Street. On leaving the Mediterranean Hotel and descending David Street, at a distance of seventy or eighty yards you come to the southern end of Christian Street, and turning into it by a right angle you follow it to the Via Dolorosa. It runs almost on a level, and it is the seat of the Christian Bazaar, or the shops kept by Christians of the Greek and Latin Churches, together with a few kept by Protestants and Jews. Many of these shops are kept very much after the European style, and among them are a bookstore, an antiquarian establishment, and a regular European dry-goods store.
If you return to David Street and pass farther eastward, before reaching the corner of Mount Zion you cross Damascus Street, along which, as far as the eye can reach to the left, you see the Turkish Bazaar. This street, starting southward from Damascus gate and crossing the Via Dolorosa at a right angle, here crosses David Street at a similar angle, and continues its course southward until it reaches Zion gate, in the southern wall of the city. It is the longest street in the city, and that part south of David Street is called Zion Street. A group of short covered streets near the intersection of David and Damascus Streets accommodate the principal bazaars for the sale of dry goods, boots and shoes, saddlery, and all the articles of like character manufactured or sold by Turks, Ar'abs, and Jews.
The city is divided into four distinct quarters, named according to the predominant population in each. All that portion which lies south of David Street is divided into the Armenian quarter toward the west, and the Jewish quarter toward the east. Zion Street is the dividing line. The portion north of David Street is divided into the Christian quarter, which includes all the northwestern part of the city, and the Turkish, which includes all the northeastern part. Damascus Street is usually put down as the dividing-line between these two quarters. None of these quarters must be understood as being strictly exclusive, for while there are certainly very few besides Jews in the Jewish quarter, and few besides Christians in the Christian quarter, both