International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
IV. General Topography of Jerusalem.
From the foregoing description of the "natural site," it will be seen that we have to deal with 5 natural subdivisions or hills, two on the western and three on the eastern ridges.
1. Description of Josephus:
In discussing the topography it is useful to commence with the description of Josephus, wherein he gives to these 5 areas the names common in his day (BJ, V, iv, 1,2). He says: "The city was built upon two hills which are opposite to one another and have a valley to divide them asunder .... Now the Valley of the Cheesemongers, as it was called, and was that which distinguished the hill of the upper city from that of the lower, extended as far as Siloam" (ibid., V, iv, 1). Here we get the first prominent physical feature, the bisection of the city-site into two main hills. Farther on, however, in the same passage--one, it must be admitted, of some obscurity--Josephus distinguishes 5 distinct regions:
(1) The Upper City or Upper Market Place:
(The hill) "which sustains the upper city is much higher and in length more direct. Accordingly, it was called the citadel (phrourion) of King David .... but it is by us called the Upper Market Place." This is without dispute the southwestern hill.
(2) Akra and Lower City:
"The other hill, which was called Akra, and sustains the lower city, was double-curved" (amphikurtos). The description can apply only to the semicircular shape of the southeastern hill, as viewed from the "upper city." These names, "Akra" and "Lower City," are, with reservations, therefore, to be applied to the southeastern hill.
(3) The Temple Hill:
Josephus' description here is curious, on account of its indefiniteness, but there can be no question as to which hill he intends. He writes: "Over against this is a third hill, but naturally lower than the Akra and parted formerly from the other by a fiat valley. However, in those times when the Hasmoneans reigned, they did away with this valley, wishing to connect the city with the temple; and cutting down the summit of the Akra, they made it lower, so that the temple might be visible over it." Comparison with other passages shows that this "third hill" is the central-eastern--the "Temple Hill."
"It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to the old city with this wall (i.e. the third wall) which had been all naked before; for as the city grew more populous, it gradually crept beyond its old limits, and those parts of it that stood northward of the Temple, and joined that hill to the city, made it considerably larger, and occasioned that hill which is in number the fourth, and is called `Bezetha,' to be inhabited also. It lies over against the tower Antonia, but is divided from it by a deep valley, which was dug on purpose. .... This new-built part of the city was called `Bezetha' in our language, which, if interpreted in the Greek language, may be called the `New City.' " This is clearly the northeastern hill.
(5) The Northern Quarter of the City:
From the account of the walls given by Josephus, it is evident that the northern part of his "first wall" ran along the northern edge of the southwestern hill; the second wall enclosed the inhabited part of the northwestern hill. Thus Josephus writes: "The second wall took its beginning from the gate which they called Gennath in the first wall, and enclosing, the northern quarter only reached to the Antonia." This area is not described as a separate hill, as the inhabited area, except on the South, was defined by no natural valleys, and besides covering the northwestern hill, must have extended into the Tyropeon valley.
2. Summary of the Names of the Five Hills:
Here then we have Josephus' names for these five districts:
(1) Southwestern Hill:
Southwestern Hill, "Upper City" and "Upper Market Place"; also the Summary Phrourion, or "fortress of David." From the 4th century AD, this hill has also been known as "Zion," and on it today is the so-called "Tower of David," built on the foundations of two of Herod's great towers.
(2) Northwestern Hill:
"The northern quarter of the city." This district does not appear to have had any other name in Old Testament or New Testament, though some of the older authorities would place the "Akra" here (see infra). Today it is the "Christian quarter" of Jerusalem, which centers round the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
(3) Northeastern Hill:
"Bezetha" or "New City," even now a somewhat sparsely inhabited area, has no name in Biblical literature.
(4) Central-eastern Hill:
The "third hill" of Josephus, clearly the site of the Temple which, as Josephus says (BJ, V, v), "was built upon a strong hill." In earlier times it was the "threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite." On the question whether it has any claims to be the Moriah of Gen 22:2, as it is called in 2 Ch 3:1, see MORIAH. The temple hill is also in many of the Hebrew writings called Zion, on which point see ZION.
(5) Southeastern Hill:
This Josephus calls "Akra" and "Lower City," but while on the one hand these names require some elucidation, there are other names which have at one period or another come to be applied to this hill, namely, "City of David," "Zion" and "Ophel." These names for this hill we shall now deal with in order.
3. The Akra:
In spite of the very definite description of Josephus, there has been considerable difference of opinion regarding the situation of the "Akra." Various parts of the northwestern, the northeastern, the southeastern hills, and even the central-eastern itself, have been suggested by earlier authorities, but instead of considering the various arguments, now largely out of date, for other proposed sites, it will be better to deal with the positive arguments for the southeastern hill. Josephus states that in his day the term "Akra" was applied to the southeastern hill, but in references to the earlier history it is clear that the Akra was not a whole hill, but a definite fortress (akra = "fortress").
(1) It was situated on the site, or on part of the site, which was considered in the days of the Maccabees to have been the "City of David." Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BC), after destroying Jerusalem, "fortitled the city of David with a great and strong wall, with strong towers and it became unto them an Akra" (1 Macc 1:33-36). The formidable fortress--known henceforth as "the Akra"--became a constant menace to the Jews, until at length, in 142 BC, it was captured by Simon, who not only razed the whole fortress, but, according to Josephus (Ant., XIII, vi, 7; B J, V, iv, 1), actually cut down the hill on which it stood. He says that "they all, labouring zealously, demolished the hill, and ceasing not from the work night and day for three whole years, brought it to a level and even slope, so that the Temple became the highest of all after the Akra and the hill upon which it was built had been removed" (Ant., XIII, vi, 7). The fact that at the time of Josephus this hill was evidently lower than the temple hill is in itself sufficient argument against any theory which would place the Akra on the northwestern or southwestern hills. (2) The Akra was close to the temple (1 Macc 13:52), and from its walls the garrison could actually overlook it (1 Macc 14:36). Before the hill was cut down it obscured the temple site (same place) . (3) It is identified by Josephus as forming part, at least, of the lower city, which (see below) bordered upon the temple (compare BJ, I, i, 4; V, iv, 1; vi, 1). (4) The Septuagint identifies the Akra with Millo (2 Sam 5:9; 1 Ki 9:15-24; 2 Ch 32:5).
Allowing that the original Akra of the Syrians was on the southeastern hill, it is still a matter of some difficulty to determine whereabouts it stood, especially as, if the statements of Josephus are correct, the natural configuration of the ground has been greatly altered. The most prominent point upon the southeastern hill, in the neighborhood of Gihon, appears to have been occupied by the Jebusite fortress of ZION (which see), but the site of the Akra can hardly be identical with this, for this became the "City of David," and here were the venerated tombs of David and the Judean kings, which must have been destroyed if this hill was, as Josephus states, cut down. On this and other grounds we must look for a site farther north. Sir Charles Watson (PEFS, 1906, 1907) has produced strong topographical and literary arguments for placing it where the al Aqsa mosque is today; other writers are more inclined to put it farther south, somewhere in the neighborhood of the massive tower discovered by Warren on the "Ophel" wall (see MILLO). If the account of Josephus, written two centuries after the events, is to be taken as literal, then Watson's view is the more probable.
4. The Lower City:
Josephus, as we have seen, identified the Akra of his day with the Lower City. This latter is not a name occurring in the Bible because, as will be shown, the Old Testament name for this part was "City of David." That by Lower City Josephus means the southeastern hill is shown by many facts. It is actually the lowest part of the city, as compared with the "Upper City," Temple Hill and the Bezetha; it is, as Josephus describes, separated from the Upper City by a deep valley--the Tyropeon; this southeastern hill is "double-curved," as Josephus describes, and lastly several passages in his writings show that the Lower City was associated with the Temple on the one end and the Pool of Siloam at the other (compare Ant, XIV, xvi, 2; BJ, II, xvii, 5; IV, ix, 12; VI, vi, 3; vii, 2).
In the wider sense the "Lower City" must have included, not only the section of the city covering the southeastern hill up to the temple precincts, where were the palaces (BJ, V, vi, 1; VI, vi, 3), and the homes of the well-to-do, but also that in the valley of the Tyropeon from Siloam up to the "Council House," which was near the northern "first wall" (compare BJ, V, iv, 2), a part doubtless inhabited by the poorest.
5. City of David and Zion:
It is clear (2 Sam 5:7; 1 Ch 11:5) that the citadel "Zion" of the Jebusites became the "City of David," or as G. A. Smith calls it, "David's Burg," after its capture by the Hebrews. The arguments for placing "Zion" on the southeastern hill are given elsewhere (see ZION), but a few acts relevant especially to the "City of David" may be mentioned here: the capture of the Jebusite city by means of the gutter (2 Sam 5:8), which is most reasonably explained as "Warren's Shaft" (see VII); the references to David's halt on his flight (2 Sam 15:23), and his sending Solomon to Gihon to be crowned (1 Ki 1:33), and the common expression "up," used in describing the transference of the Ark from the City of David to the Temple Hill (1 Ki 8:1; 2 Ch 5:2; compare 1 Ki 9:24), are all consistent with this view. More convincing are the references to Hezekiah's aqueduct which brought the waters of Gihon "down on the west side of the city of David" (2 Ch 32:30); the mention of the City of David as adjacent to the Pool of Shelah (or Shiloah; compare Isa 8:6), and the "king's garden" in Neh 3:15, and the position of the Fountain Gate in this passage and Neh 12:37; and the statement that Manasseh built "an outer wall to the City of David, on the west side of Gihon" in the nachal, i.e. the Kidron valley (2 Ch 33:14).
The name appears to have had a wider significance as the city grew. Originally "City of David" was only the name of the Jebusite fort, but later it became equivalent to the whole southeastern hill. In the same way, Akra was originally the name of the Syrian fort, but the name became extended to the whole southeastern hill. Josephus looks upon "City of David" and "Akra" as synonymous, and applies to both the name "Lower City." For the names Ophel and Ophlas see OPHEL.
V. Excavations and Antiquities.
During the last hundred years explorations and excavations of a succession of engineers and archaeologists have furnished an enormous mass of observations for the understanding of the condition of ancient Jerusalem. Some of the more important are as follows:
In 1833 Messrs. Bonorni, Catherwood and Arundale made a first thorough survey of the Charam (temple-area), a work which was the foundation of all subsequent maps for over a quarter of a century.
In 1838, and again in 1852, the famous American traveler and divine, E. Robinson, D.D., visited the land as the representative of an American society, and made a series of brilliant topographical investigations of profound importance to all students of the Holy Land, even today.
In 1849 Jerusalem was surveyed by Lieuts. Aldrich and Symonds of the Royal Engineers, and the data acquired were used for a map constructed by Van de Vilde and published by T. Tobler.
In 1857 an American, J.T. Barclay, published another map of Jerusalem and its environs "from actual and minute survey made on the spot."
In 1860-1863 De Vogue in the course of some elaborate researches in Syria explored the site of the sanctuary.
2. Wilson and the Israel Exploration Fund (1865):
In 1864-65 a committee was formed in London to consider the sanitary condition of Jerusalem, especially with a view to furnishing the city with a satisfactory water-supply, and Lady Burdett-Coutts gave 500 pounds toward a proper survey of Jerusalem and its environs as a preliminary step. Captain (later Lieutenant-General Sir Charles) Wilson, R.E., was lent by the Ordnance Survey Department of Great Britain for the purpose. The results of this survey, and of certain tentative excavations and observations made at the same time, were so encouraging that in 1865 "The Israel Exploration Fund" was constituted, "for the purpose of investigating the archaeology, geography, geology, and natural history of the Holy Land."
3. Warren and Conder:
During 1867-70 Captain (later Lieutenant-General Sir Charles) Warren, R.E., carried out a series of most exciting and original excavations all over the site of Jerusalem, especially around the Charam. During 1872-75 Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Conder, R.E., in the course of the great survey of Western Israel, made further contributions to our knowledge of the Holy City.
In 1875 Mr. Henry Maudslay, taking advantage of the occasion of the rebuilding of "Bishop Gobat's Boys' School," made a careful examination of the remarkable rock cuttings which are now more or less incorporated into the school buildings, and made considerable excavations, the results being described in PEFS (April, 1875).
In 1881 Professor Guthe made a series of important excavations on the southeastern hill, commonly called "Ophel," and also near the Pool of Siloam; his reports were published in ZDPV, 1882.
The same year (1881), the famous Siloam inscription was discovered and was first reported by Herr Baurath Schick, a resident in Jerusalem who from 1866 until his death in 1901 made a long series of observations of the highest importance on the topography of Jerusalem. He had unique opportunities for scientifically examining the buildings in the Charam, and the results of his study of the details of that locality are incorporated in his wonderful Temple model. He also made a detailed report of the ancient aqueducts of the city. Most important of all were the records he so patiently and faithfully kept of the rock levels in all parts of the city's site whenever the digging of foundations for buildings or other excavations gave access to the rock. His contributions to the PEF and ZDPV run into hundreds of articles.
M. Clermont-Ganneau, who was resident in Jerusalem in the French consular service, made for many years, from 1880 onward, a large number of acute observations on the archaeology of Jerusalem and its environs, many of which were published by the PEF. Another name honored in connection with the careful study of the topography of Jerusalem over somewhat the same period is that of Selah Merrill, D.D., for many years U.S. consul in Jerusalem.
7. Bliss and Dickie:
In 1894-97 the Israel Exploration Fund conducted an elaborate series of excavations with a view to determining in particular the course of the ancient southern walls under the direction of Mr. T.J. Bliss (son of Daniel Bliss, D.D., then president of the Syrian Protestant College, Beirut), assisted by Mr. A.C. Dickie as architect. After picking up the buried foundations of walls at the southeastern corner where "Maudslay's scarp" was exposed in the Protestant cemetery, Bliss and Dickie followed them all the way to the Pool of Siloam, across the Tyropeon and on to "Ophel"--and also in other directions. Discoveries of great interest were also made in the neighborhood of the Pool of Siloam (see SILOAM).
Following upon these excavations a number of private investigations have been made by the Augustinians in a large estate they have acquired on the East side of the traditional hill of Zion.
In 1909-1911 a party of Englishmen, under Captain the Honorable M. Parker, made a number of explorations with very elaborate tunnels upon the hill of Ophel, immediately above the Virgin's Fount. In the course of their work, they cleaned out the whole Siloam aqueduct, finding some new passages; they reconstructed the Siloam Pool, and they completed Warren's previous investigation in the neighborhood of what has been known as "Warren's Shaft."
8. Jerusalem Archaeological Societies:
There are several societies constantly engaged in observing new facts connected with the topography of ancient Jerusalem, notably the School of Archaeology connected with the University of Stephens, under the Dominicans; the American School of Archaeology; the German School of Biblical Archaeology under Professor Dalman, and the Israel Exploration Fund.
VI. The City's Walls and Gates.
1. The Existing Walls:
Although the existing walls of Jerusalem go back in their present form to but the days of Suleiman the Magnificent, circa 1542 AD, their study is an essential preliminary to the understanding of the ancient walls. The total circuit of the modern walls is 4,326 yards, or nearly 2 1/8 miles, their average height is 35 ft., and they have altogether 35 towers and 8 gates--one of which is walled up. They make a rough square, with the four sides facing the cardinal points of the compass. The masonry is of various kinds, and on every side there are evidences that the present walls are a patchwork of many periods. The northern wall, from near the northwestern angle to some distance East of the "Damascus Gate," lies parallel with, though somewhat inside of, an ancient fosse, and it and the gate itself evidently follow ancient lines. The eastern and western walls, following as they do a general direction along the edges of deep valleys, must be more or less along the course of earlier walls. The eastern wall, from a little south of Stephen's Gate to the southeastern angle, contains many ancient courses, and the general line is at least as old as the time of Herod the Great; the stretch of western wall from the so-called "Tower of David" to the southwestern corner is certainly along an ancient line and has persisted through very many centuries. This line of wall was allowed to remain undestroyed when Titus leveled the remainder. At the northwestern angle are some remains known as Kala`at Jalud ("Goliath's castle"), which, though largely medieval, contain a rocky core and some masonry of Herodian times, which are commonly accepted as the relics of the lofty tower Psephinus.
2. Wilson's Theory:
The course of the southern wall has long been a difficulty; it is certainly not the line of wall before Titus; it has none of the natural advantages of the western and eastern walls, and there are no traces of any great rock fosse, such as is to be found on the north. The eastern end is largely built upon the lower courses of Herod's southern wall for his enlarged temple-platform, and in it are still to be found walled up the triple, single and double gates which lead up to the Temple. The irregular line followed by the remainder of this wall has not until recent times received any explanation. Sir Charles Wilson (Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre) suggests the probable explanation that the line of wall from the southwestern to the "Zion Gate" was determined by the legionary camp which stood on the part of the city now covered by the barracks and the Armenian quarter. Allowing that the remains of the first wall on the North and West were utilized for this fortified camp (from 70-132 AD), and supposing the camp to have occupied the area of 50 acres, as was the case with various European Roman camps, whose remains are known, the southern camp wall would have run along the line of the existing southern walls. This line of fortification having been thus selected appears to have been followed through the greater part of the succeeding centuries down to modern times. The line connecting the two extremities of the southern wall, thus determined by the temple-platform and legionary camp, respectively, was probably that first followed by the southern wall of Hadrian's city AElia.
3. The Existing Gate:
Of the 8 existing city gates, on the west side there is but one, Babylonian el Khulil (the "Gate of Hebron"), commonly known to travelers as the Jaffa Gate. It is probably the site of several earlier gates. On the North there are 3 gates, Babylonian Abd'ul Kamid (named after the sultan who made it) or the "New Gate"; Babylonian el `amud ("Gate of the Columns"), now commonly called the "Damascus Gate," but more in ancient times known as "St. Stephen's Gate," and clearly, from the existing remains, the site of an earlier gateway; and, still farther east, the Babylonian es Sahirah ("Gate of the Plain"), or "Herod's Gate." On the east side the only open gate is the Babylonian el `Asbat ("Gate of the Tribes"), commonly called by native Christians, Babylonian Sitti Miriam ("Gate of the Lady Mary"), but in European guide-books called "St. Stephen's Gate." A little farther South, near the northeastern corner of the Charam, is the great walled-up Byzantine Gate, known as Babylonian edition Dahariyeh ("Gate of the Conqueror"), but to Europeans as the "Golden Gate." This structure has been variously ascribed to Justinian and Heraclius, but there are massive blocks which belong to a more ancient structure, and early Christian tradition places the "Beautiful Gate" of the Temple here. In the southern wall are two city gates; one, insignificant and mean, occupies the center of el Wad and is known as Babylonian el Mugharibeh ("Gate of the Moors"), and to Europeans as the "Dung Gate"; the other, which is on the crown of the western hill, traditional Zion, is the important Babylonian Nebi Daoud ("Gate of the Prophet David"), or the "Zion Gate."
All these gates assumed their present form at the time of the reconstruction of the walls by Suleiman the Magnificent, but the more important ones occupy the sites of earlier gates. Their names have varied very much even since the times of the Crusaders. The multiplicity of names for these various gates--they all have two or three today--and their frequent changes are worth noticing in connection with the fact that in the Old Testament history some of the gates appear to have had two or more names.
As has been mentioned, the course of the present southern wall is the result of Roman reconstruction of the city since the time of Titus. To Warren, Guthe, Maudslay and Bliss we owe a great deal of certain knowledge of its more ancient course. These explorers have shown that in all the pre-Roman period (and at least one period since) the continuation southward of the western and eastern ridges, as well as the wide valley between--an area now but sparsely inhabited--was the site of at once the most crowded life, and the most stirring scenes in the Hebrew history of the city. The sanctity of the Holy Sepulchre has caused the city life to center itself more and more around that sanctuary, thereby greatly confusing the ancient topography for many centuries.
4. Buried Remains of Earlier Walls:
(1) Warren's excavations revealed: (a) a massive masonry wall 46 ft. East of the Golden Gate, which curved toward the West at its northern end, following the ancient rock contours at this spot. It is probable that this was the eastern wall of the city in pre-Herodian times. Unfortunately the existence of a large Moslem cemetery outside the eastern wall of the Charam precludes the possibility of any more excavations in this neighborhood. (b) More important remains in the southeastern hill, commonly known as "Ophel." Here commencing at the southeastern angle of the Charam, Warren uncovered a wall 14 1/2 ft. thick running South for 90 ft. and then Southwest along the edge of the hill for 700 ft. This wall, which shows at least two periods of construction, abuts on the sanctuary wall with a straight joint. Along its course were found 4 small towers with a projection of 6 ft. and a face from 22 to 28 ft. broad, and a great corner tower projecting 41 1/2 ft. from the wall and with a face 80 ft. broad. The face of this great tower consists of stones one to two ft. high and 2 or 3 ft. long; it is founded upon rock and stands to the height of 66 ft. Warren considers that this may be ha-mighdal ha-yotse' or "tower that standeth out" of Neh 3:25.
(2) In 1881 Professor Guthe picked up fragmentary traces of this city-wall farther south, and in the excavations of Captain Parker (1910-1911) further fragments of massive walls and a very ancient gate have been found.
(3) Maudslay's excavations were on the southwestern hill, on the site occupied by "Bishop Gobat's School" for boys, and in the adjoining Anglo-German cemetery. The school is built over a great mass of scarped rock 45 ft. square, which rises to a height of 20 ft. from a platform which surrounds it and with which it is connected by a rock-cut stairway; upon this massive foundation must have stood a great tower at what was in ancient times the southwestern corner of the city. From this point a scarp facing westward was traced for 100 ft. northward toward the modern southwestern angle of the walls, while a rock scarp, in places 40 ft. high on the outer or southern side and at least 14 ft. on the inner face, was followed for 250 ft. eastward until it reached another great rock projection with a face of 43 ft. Although no stones were found in situ, it is evident that such great rock cuttings must have supported a wall and tower of extraordinary strength, and hundreds of massive squared stones belonging to this wall are now incorporated in neighboring buildings.
(4) Bliss and Dickie's work commenced at the southeastern extremity of Maudslay's scarp, where was the above-mentioned massive projection for a tower, and here were found several courses of masonry still in situ. This tower appears to have been the point of divergence of two distinct lines of wall, one of which ran in a direction Northeast, skirting the edge of the southeastern hill, and probably joined the line of the modern walls at the ruined masonry tower known as Burj el Kebrit, and another running Southeast down toward the Pool of Siloam, along the edge of the Wady er Rababi (Hinnom). The former of these walls cannot be very ancient, because of the occurrence of late Byzantine moldings in its foundations. The coenaculum was included in the city somewhere about 435-450 AD (see IX, 55), and also in the 14th century. Bliss considers it probable that this is the wall built in 1239 By Frederick II, and it is certainly that depicted in the map of Marino Sanuto (1321 AD). Although these masonry remains are thus comparatively late, there were some reasons for thinking that at a much earlier date a wall took a similar direction along the edge of the southwestern hill; and it is an attractive theory, though unsupported by any very definite archaeological evidence, that the wall of Solomon took also this general line. The wall running Southeast from the tower, along the edge of the gorge of Hinnom, is historically of much greater importance. Bliss's investigations showed that here were remains belonging to several periods, covering altogether considerably over a millennium. The upper line of wall was of fine masonry, with stones 1 ft. by 3 ft. in size, beautifully jointed and finely dressed; in some places this wall was founded upon the remains of the lower wall, in others a layer of debris intervened. It is impossible that this upper wall can be pre-Roman, and Bliss ascribes it to the Empress Eudoxia (see IX, 55). The lower wall rested upon the rock and showed at least 3 periods of construction. In the earliest the stones had broad margins and were carefully jointed, without mortar. This may have been the work of Solomon or one of the early kings of Judah. The later remains are evidently of the nature of repairs, and include the work of the later Judean kings, and of Nehemiah and of all the wall-repairers, down to the destruction in 70 AD. At somewhat irregular intervals along the wall were towers of very similar projection and breadth to those found on Warren's wall on the southeastern hill. The wall foundations were traced--except for an interval where they passed under a Jewish cemetery--all the way to the mouth of the Tyropeon valley. The upper wall disappeared (the stones having been all removed for later buildings) before the Jewish cemetery was reached.
5. The Great Dam of the Tyropeon:
During most periods, if not indeed in all, the wall was carried across the mouth of the Tyropeon valley upon a great dam of which the massive foundations still exist under the ground, some 50 ft. to the East of the slighter dam which today supports the Birket el Kamra (see SILOAM). This ancient dam evidently once supported a pool in the mouth of the Tyropeon, and it showed evidences of having undergone buttressing and other changes and repairs. Although it is clear that during the greater part of Jewish history, before and after the captivity, the southern wall of Jerusalem crossed upon this dam, there were remains of walls found which tended to show that at one period, at any rate, the wall circled round the two Siloam pools, leaving them outside the fortifications.
6. Ruins of Ancient Gates:
In the stretch of wall from "Maudslay's Scarp" to the Tyropeon valley remains of 2 city gates were found, and doubtful indications of 2 others. The ruins of the first of these gates are now included in the new extension of the Anglo-German cemetery. The gate had door sills, with sockets, of 4 periods superimposed upon each other; the width of the entrance was 8 ft. 10 inches during the earliest, and 8 ft. at the latest period. The character of the masonry tended to show that the gate belonged to the upper wall, which is apparently entirely of the Christian era. If this is so, this cannot be the "Gate of the Gai" of Neh 3:13, although the earlier gate may have occupied this site. Bliss suggests as a probable position for this gate an interval between the two contiguous towers IV and V, a little farther to the East.
Another gate was a small one, 4 ft. 10 inches wide, marked only by the cuttings in the rock for the door sockets. It lay a little to the West of the city gate next to be described, and both from its position and its insignificance, it does not appear to have been an entrance to the city; it may, as Bliss suggests, have given access to a tower, now destroyed.
The second great city gateway was found some 200 ft. South of the Birket el Kamra, close to the southeastern angle of the ancient wall. The existing remains are bonded into walls of the earlier period, but the three superimposed door sills, with their sockets--to be seen uncovered today in situ--mark three distinct periods of long duration. The gate gave access to the great main street running down the Tyropeon, underneath which ran a great rock-cut drain, which probably traversed the whole central valley of the city. During the last two periods of the gate's use, a tower was erected--at the exact southeastern angle--to protect the entrance. The earliest remains here probably belong to the Jewish kings, and it is very probable that we have here the gate called by Neh (3:13) the "Dung Gate." Bliss considered that it might be the "Fountain Gate" (Neh 3:15), which, however, was probably more to the East, although Bliss could find no remains of it surviving. The repairs and alterations here have been so extensive that its disappearance is in no way surprising. The Fountain Gate is almost certainly identical with the "Gate between the Two Walls," through which Zedekiah and his men of war fled (2 Ki 25:4; Jer 39:4; 52:7).
7. Josephus' Description of the Walls:
The most definite account of the old walls is that of Josephus (Jewish Wars, V, iv, 1, 2), and though it referred primarily to the existing walls of his day, it is a convenient one for commencing the historical survey. He describes three walls. The first wall "began on the North, at the tower called Hippicus, and extended as far as the Xistus, and then Joining at the Council House, ended at the western cloister of the temple." On the course of this section of the wall there is no dispute. The tower Hippicus was close to the present Jaffa Gate, and the wall ran from here almost due West to the temple-area along the southern edge of the western arm of the Tyropeon (see III, 2, above). It is probable that the Karet edition Dawayeh, a street running nearly parallel with the neighboring "David Street," but high up above it, lies above the foundations of this wall.
8. First Wall:
It must have crossed the main Tyropeon near the Tarik bab es Silsilel, and joined the western cloisters close to where the Mechkemeh, the present "Council House," is situated.
Josephus traces the southern course of the first wall thus: "It began at the same place (i.e. Hippicus), and extended through a place called Bethso to the gate of the Essenes; and after that it went southward, having its bending above the fountain Siloam, when it also bends again toward the East at Solomon's Pool, and reaches as far as a certain place which they called `Ophlas,' where it was joined to the eastern cloister of the temple." Although the main course of this wall has now been followed with pick and shovel, several points are still uncertain. Bethso is not known, but must have been close to the southwestern angle, which, as we have seen, was situated where "Bishop Gobat's School" is today. It is very probably identical with the "Tower of the Furnaces" of Neh 3:11, while the "Gate of the Essenes" must have been near, if not identical with, the "Gate of the Gai" of 3:13. The description of Josephus certainly seems to imply that the mouth of the Siloam aqueduct ("fountain of Siloam") and the pools were both outside the fortification. We have seen from these indications in the underground remains that this was the case at one period. Solomon's Pool is very probably represented by the modern Birket el Khamra. It is clear that the wall from here to the southeastern angle of the temple-platform followed the edge of the southeastern hill, and coincided farther north with the old wall excavated by Warren. As will be shown below, this first wall was the main fortification of the city from the time of the kings of Judah onward. In the time of Josephus, this first wall had 60 towers.
9. Second Wall:
The Second Wall of Josephus "took its beginning from that gate which they called `Gennath,' which belonged to the first wall: it only encompassed the northern quarter of the city and reached as far as the tower Antonia" (same place). In no part of Jerusalem topography has there been more disagreement than upon this wall, both as regards its curve and as regards its date of origin. Unfortunately, we have no idea at all where the "Gate Gennath" was. The Tower Antonia we know. The line must have passed in a curved or zigzag direction from some unknown point on the first wall, i.e. between the Jaffa Gate and the Charam to the Antonia. A considerable number of authorities in the past and a few careful students today would identify the general course of this wall with that of the modern northern wall. The greatest objections to this view are that no really satisfactory alternative course has been laid down for the third wall (see below), and that it must have run far North of the Antonia, a course which does not seem to agree with the description of Josephus, which states that the wall "went up" to the Antonia. On the other hand, no certain remains of any city wall within the present north wall have ever been found; fragments have been reported by various observers (e.g. the piece referred to as forming the eastern wall of the so-called "Pool of Hezekiah"; see VII, ii, below), but in an area so frequently desolated and rebuilt upon--where the demand for squared stones must always have been great--it is probable that the traces, if surviving at all, are very scanty. This is the case with the south wall excavated by Bliss (see VI), and that neighborhood has for many centuries been unbuilt upon. It is quite probable that the area included within the second wall may have been quite small, merely the buildings which clustered along the sides of the Tyropeon. Its 40 towers may have been small and built close together, because the position was, from the military aspect, weak. It must be remembered that it was the unsatisfactory state of the second wall which necessitated a third wall. There is no absolute reason why it may not have excluded the greater part of the northwestern hill--and with it the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre--but there is no proof that it did. The date of the second wall is unknown (see below).
10. Third Wall:
This third wall, which was commenced after the time of Christ by Herod Agrippa I, is described in more detail by Josephus. It was begun upon an elaborate plan, but was not finished in its original design because Agrippa feared Claudius Caesar, "lest he should suspect that so strong a wall was built in order to make some innovation in public affairs" (Jewish Wars, V, iv, 2). It, however, at the time of the siege, was of a breadth of over 18 ft., and a height of 40 ft., and had 90 massive towers. Josephus describes it as beginning at the tower Hippicus (near the Jaffa Gate), "where it reached as far as the north quarter of the city, and the tower Psephinus." This mighty tower, 135 ft. high, was at the northwestern corner and overlooked the whole city. From it, according to Josephus (Jewish Wars, V, vi, 3), there was a view of Arabia (Moab) at sunrising, and also of "the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions at the Sea westward." From this corner the wall turned eastward until it came over against the monuments of Helene of Adiabene, a statement, however, which must be read in connection with another passage (Ant., XX, iv, 3), where it says that this tomb "was distant no more than 3 furlongs from the city of Jerusalem." The wall then "extended to a very great length" and passed by the sepulchral caverns of the kings--which may well be the so-called "Solomon's Quarries," and it then bent at the "Tower of the Corner," at a monument which is called the Monument of the Fuller (not identified), and joined to the old wall at the Kidron valley.
The commonly accepted theory is that a great part of this line of wall is that pursued by the modern north wall, and Kal`at el Jalud, or rather the foundation of it, that marks the site of Psephinus. The Damascus Gate is certainly on the line of some earlier gate. The "Tower of the Corner" was probably about where the modern Herod's Gate is, or a little more to the East, and the course of the wall was from here very probably along the southern edge of the "St. Anne's Valley," joining on to the Northeast corner of the Charam a little South of the present Stephen's Gate. This course of the wall fits in well with the description of Josephus. If the so-called "Tombs of the Kings" are really those of Queen Helena of Adiabene and her family, then the distance given as 3 furlongs is not as far out as the distance to the modern wall; the distance is actually 3 1/2 furlongs.
Others, following the learned Dr. Robinson, find it impossible to believe that the total circuit of the walls was so small, and would carry the third wall considerably farther north, making the general line of the modern north wall coincide with the second wall of Josephus. The supporters of this view point to the description of the extensive view from Psephinus, and contend that this presupposed a site on still higher ground, e.g. where the present Russian buildings now are. They also claim that the statement that the wall came "over against" the monument of Queen Helena certainly should mean very much nearer that monument than the present walls. Dr. Robinson and others who have followed him have pointed to various fragments which they claim to have been pieces of the missing wall. The present writer, after very many years' residence in Jerusalem, watching the buildings which in the last 25 years have sprung up over the area across which this line of wall is claimed to have run, has never seen a trace of wall foundations or of fosse which was in the very least convincing; while on the other hand this area now being rapidly covered by the modern suburb of Jerusalem presents almost everywhere below the surface virgin rock. There is no evidence of any more buildings than occasional scattered Roman villas, with mosaic floors. The present writer has rather unwillingly come to the opinion that the city walls were never farther north than the line they follow today. With respect to the objection raised that there could not possibly have been room enough between the two walls for the "Camp of the Assyrians," where Titus pitched his camp (Jewish Wars, V, vii, 3), any probable line for the second wall would leave a mean of 1,000 ft. between the two walls, and in several directions considerably more. The probable position of the "Camp of the Assyrians" would, according to this view, be in the high ground (the northwestern hill) now occupied by the Christian quarter of the modern city. The question of what the population of Jerusalem was at this period is discussed in IX, 49, below. For the other great buildings of the city at this period, see also IX, 43-44, below.
11. Date of Second Wall:
Taking then the walls of Jerusalem as described by Josephus, we may work backward and see how the walls ran in earlier periods. The third wall does not concern us any more, as it was built after the Crucifixion. With respect to the second wall, there is a great deal of difference of opinion regarding its origin. Some consider, like Sir Charles Watson, that it does not go back earlier than the Hasmoneans; whereas others (e.g. G.A. Smith), because of the expression in 2 Ch 32:5 that Hezekiah, after repairing the wall, raised "another wall without," think that this wall goes back as far as this monarch. The evidence is inconclusive, but the most probable view seems to be that the "first wall," as described by Josephus, was the only circuit of wall from the kings of Judah down to the 2nd century BC, and perhaps later.
12. Nehemiah's Account of the Walls:
The most complete Scriptural description we have of the walls and gates of Jerusalem is that given by Nehemiah. His account is valuable, not only as a record of what he did, but of what had been the state of the walls before the exile. It is perfectly clear that considerable traces of the old walls and gates remained, and that his one endeavor was to restore what had been before--even though it produced a city enclosure much larger than necessary at his time. The relevant passages are Neh 2:13-15, the account of his night ride; 3:1-32, the description of the rebuilding; and 12:31-39, the routes of the two processions at the dedication.
13. Valley Gate:
In the first account we learn that Nehemiah went out by night by the VALLEY GATE (which see), or Gate of the Gai, a gate (that is, opening) into the Gai Hinnom, and probably at or near the gate discovered by Bliss in what is now part of the Anglo-German cemetery; he passed from it to the Dung Gate, and from here viewed the walls of the city.
14. Dung Gate:
This, with considerable assurance, may be located at the ruined foundations of a gate discovered by Bliss at the southeastern corner of the city. The line of wall clearly followed the south edge of the southwestern hill from the Anglo-German cemetery to this point. He then proceeded to the Fountain Gate, the site of which has not been recovered, but, as there must have been water running out here (as today) from the mouth of the Siloam tunnel, is very appropriately named here.
15. Fountain Gate:
Near by was the KING'S POOL (which see), probably the pool--now deeply buried--which is today represented by the Birket el Kamra. Here Nehemiah apparently thought of turning into the city, "but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass" (2:14), so he went up by the Nachal (Kidron), viewed the walls from there, and then retraced his steps to the Valley Gate. There is another possibility, and that is that the King's Pool was the pool (which certainly existed) at Gihon, in which case the Fountain Gate may also have been in that neighborhood.
All the archaeological evidence is in favor of the wall having crossed the mouth of the Tyropeon by the great dam at this time, and the propinquity of this structure to the Fountain Gate is seen in Neh 3:15, where we read that Shallum built the Fountain Gate "and covered it, and set up the doors thereof .... and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Shelah (see SILOAM) by the KING'S GARDEN (which see), even unto the stairs that go down from the city of David." All these localities were close together at the mouth of el Wad.
Passing from here we can follow the circuit of the city from the accounts of the rebuilding of the walls in Neh 3:15 f. The wall from here was carried "over against the sepulchres of David," which we know to have stood in the original "City of David" above Gihon, past "the pool that was made," and "the house of the Gibborim" (mighty men)--both unknown sites. It is clear that the wall is being carried along the edge of the southeastern hill toward the temple. We read of two angles in the wall--both needed by the geographical conditions--the high priest's house, of "the tower that standeth out" (supposed to have been unearthed by Warren), and the wall of the OPHEL (which see).
16. Water Gate:
There is also mention of a Water Gate in this position, which is just where one would expect a road to lead from the temple-area down to Gihon. From the great number of companies engaged in building, it may be inferred that all along this stretch of wall from the Tyropeon to the temple, the destruction of the walls had been specially great.
17. Horse Gate:
Proceeding North, we come to the Horse Gate. This was close to the entry to the king's house (2 Ki 11:16; 2 Ch 23:15; Jer 31:40). The expression used, "above" the Horse Gate, may imply that the gate itself may have been uninjured; it may have been a kind of rock-cut passage or tunnel. It cannot have been far from the present southeastern angle of the city. Thence "repaired the priests, every one over against his own house"--the houses of these people being to the East of the temple. Then comes the Gate of Hammiphkad (see HAMMIPHKAD, GATE OF), the ascent (or "upper chamber," margin) of the corner, and finally the SHEEP GATE (which see), which was repaired by the goldsmiths and merchants.
18. Sheep Gate:
This last gate was the point from which the circuit of the repairs was traced. The references, Neh 3:1,31; 12:39, clearly show that it was at the eastern extremity of the north wall.
The details of the gates and buildings in the north wall as described by Nehemiah, are difficult, and certainty is impossible; this side must always necessarily have been the weak side for defense because it was protected by no, or at best by very little, natural valley. As has been said, we cannot be certain whether Nehemiah is describing a wall which on its western two-thirds corresponded with the first or the second wall of Josephus. Taking the first theory as probable, we may plan it as follows: West of the Sheep Gate two towers are mentioned (Neh 3:1; 12:39). Of these HANANEL (which see) was more easterly than HAMMEAH (which see), and, too, it would appear from Zec 14:10 to have been the most northerly point of the city. Probably then two towers occupied the important hill where afterward stood the fortress Baris and, later, the Antonia. At the Hammeah tower the wall would descend into the Tyropeon to join the eastern extremity of the first wall where in the time of Josephus stood the Council House (BJ, V, iv, 2).
19. Fish Gate:
It is generally considered that the FISH GATE (which see) (Neh 3:3; 12:39; Zeph 1:10; 2 Ch 33:14) stood across the Tyropeon in much the same way as the modern Damascus Gate does now, only considerably farther South. It was probably so called because here the men of Tyre sold their fish (Neh 13:16). It is very probably identical with the "Middle Gate" of Jer 39:3. With this region are associated the MISHNEH (which see) or "second quarter" (Zeph 1:10 margin) and the MAKTESH (which see) or "mortar" (Zeph 1:11).
20. "Old Gate":
The next gate westward, after apparently a considerable interval, is translated in English Versions of the Bible the "OLD GATE" (which see), but is more correctly the "Gate of the old ...."; what the word thus qualified is, is doubtful. Neh 3:6 margin suggests "old city" or "old wall," whereas Mitchell (Wall of Jerusalem according to the Book of Neh) proposes "old pool," taking the pool in question to be the so-called "Pool of Hezekiah." According to the view here accepted, that the account of Nehemiah refers only to the first wall, the expression "old wall would be peculiarly suitable, as here must have been some part of that first wall which went back unaltered to the time of Solomon. The western wall to the extent of 400 cubits had been rebuilt after its destruction by Jehoash, king of Israel (see IX, 12, below), and Manasseh had repaired all the wall from Gihon round North and then West to the Fish Gate. This gate has also been identified with the Sha`ar ha-Pinnah, or "Corner Gate," of 2 Ki 14:13; 2 Ch 25:23; Jer 31:38; Zec 14:10, and with the Sha`ar ha-Ri'shon, or "First Gate," of Zec 14:10, which is identified as the same as the Corner Gate; indeed ri'shon ("first") is probably a textual error for yashan ("old"). If this is so, this "Gate of the Old" or "Corner Gate" must have stood near the northwestern corner of the city, somewhere near the present Jaffa Gate.
21. Gate of Ephraim:
The next gate mentioned is the Gate of Ephraim (Neh 12:39), which, according to 2 Ki 14:13; 2 Ch 25:23, was 400 cubits or 600 ft. from the Corner Gate. This must have been somewhere on the western wall; it is scarcely possible to believe, as some writers would suggest, that there could have been no single gate between the Corner Gate near the northwestern corner and the Valley Gate on the southern wall.
22. Tower of the Furnaces:
The "Broad Wall" appears to correspond to the southern stretch of the western wall as far as the "Tower of the Furnaces" or ovens, which was probably the extremely important corner tower now incorporated in "Bishop Gobat's School." This circuit of the walls satisfies fairly well all the conditions; the difficulties are chiefly on the North and West. It is a problem how the Gate of Ephraim comes to be omitted in the account of the repairs, but G.A. Smith suggests that it may be indicated by the expression, "throne of the governor beyond the river" (Neh 3:7). See, however, Mitchell (loc. cit.). If theory be accepted that the second wall already existed, the Corner Gate and the Fish Gate will have to be placed farther north.
23. The Gate of Benjamin:
In Old Testament as in later times, some of the gates appear to have received different names at various times. Thus the Sheep Gate, at the northeastern angle, appears to be identical with the Gate of Benjamin or Upper Gate of Benjamin (Jer 20:2; 37:13; 38:7); the prophet was going, apparently, the nearest way to his home in Anathoth. In Zec 14:10 the breadth of the city is indicated, where the prophet writes, "She shall be lifted up, and shall dwell in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate."
24. Upper Gate of the Temple:
The Upper Gate of the Temple (2 Ki 15:35; 2 Ch 27:3; compare 2 Ch 23:20; Ezek 9:2) is probably another name for the same gate. It must be remembered the gates were, as excavations have shown us, reduced to a minimum in fortified sites: they were sources of weakness.
The general outline of the walls and gates thus followed is in the main that existing from Nehemiah back until the early Judean monarchy, and possibly to Solomon.
25. The Earlier Walls:
Of the various destructions and repairs which occurred during the time of the monarchy, a sufficient account is given in IX below, on the history. Solomon was probably the first to enclose the northwestern hill within the walls, and to him usually is ascribed all the northern and western stretch of the "First Wall"; whether his wall ran down to the mouth of the Tyropeon, or only skirted the summit of the northwestern hill is uncertain, but the latter view is probable. David was protected by the powerful fortifications of the Jebusites, which probably enclosed only the southeastern hill; he added to the defenses the fortress MILLO (which see). It is quite possible that the original Jebusite city had but one gate, on the North (2 Sam 15:2), but the city must have overflowed its narrow limits during David's reign and have needed an extended and powerful defense, such as Solomon made, to secure the capital. For the varied history and situation of the walls in the post-Biblical period, see IX ("History"), below.
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'jerusalem, 2'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE
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