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Model of Ancient Jerusalem with Topography
God Created Jerusalem
Long before the threshing floor of Araunah was ever purchased by David or the Temple of Solomon had ever become a twinkle in Solomon's eye, Jerusalem had long been strategically set apart in the providence of an Almighty God as the city of the great King. Not until the foundations of the great Temple of Solomon were being laid was there even the slightest glimpse of the wealth of resources available below the ground level of the magnificent city of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem's Geological Formation
One amazing fact is that the hills upon which Jerusalem was built lies in a very interesting geological formation. When glancing at the surface there is a very hard layer of limestone, but beneath this brittle surface there lies another layer, a deep bed of beautiful white limestone, and mysteriously soft before it is exposed to the air. This would make the task of building a beautiful palace or temple much easier for masons who could, without much difficulty, cut out perfect blocks. Underneath this deep deposit of limestone is a third layer, also of limestone, but much harder and impervious to the action of water. This may not seem interesting at first glance but when you think about the lack of underground springs of water in Jerusalem and all of the times that Jerusalem was under siege, you can easily see the providential reason in the mind of God for this. The people living there could hew out tremendous cisterns in the soft second layer of limestone and the third layer of impervious rock would make a perfect bottom. In no other way could the city hold such a tremendous population that it has. In fact Jerusalem was literally honeycombed with massive cisterns that hold millions of gallons of rain-water. One interesting note is that the famous Pool of Hezekiah, where Christ did a miracle, is actually just a huge cistern and can be seen there today. Another important reason for seeing God's providence in the geological formation of this city is that the middle layer of rock, the soft white limestone, was a relatively easy place to create vast quarries that could run underground far beneath the surface where, as mentioned in the Bible, no sound of mallet or chisel could be heard in the place where the great blocks of limestone were being hewn into exact shape.
Also see: Hezekiah's Tunnel
Jerusalem's Strategic Location
The two valleys, of Kidron and Hinnom, gave to Jerusalem its impregnable strength. They made it impossible to attack the city from either side. one interesting fact that is very significant is when king David captured the Jebusite fort which was an enormously difficult task, the fort lies in the angle of those same two valleys. The foundations of the Jebusite fort have recently been discovered. Strategically, the weakest side of Jerusalem is on the north, and to some extent the west. To prevent enemy attacks from the north deep moats were cut in the limestone rock with a large wall (perpendicular rock face) which was about 30 feet high. On the western side there was a series of intersecting valleys leading up to Jerusalem. So the enemy would have to attack from the Philistine plain and through one of the two valleys which would put them at a disadvantage.
The Name of God in the Landscape
The natural formation of valleys that surround Jerusalem is amazing. These deep valleys protect the city from 3 sides, so that the only invasion that could happen would be from the north side. You can also see from above the valleys form the letter "shin" in Hebrew (a U with a slash) which is the symbol for God's revealed name "Shaddai" the bountiful nourisher and protector. This gives the Jews a sense of God's protection and love. The Temple can also be placed where either the Dagesh is or for the dot on the top right of the letter shin. The valleys were much deeper in ancient times.
Psalms 137:5-6 "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget her cunning If 1 do not remember thee Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy"
(More to come)
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Reconstructions Sketches of ancient cities & monuments from archaeology.
Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History by Brisco. 304 Pages, 2014
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