preloader

Jerusalem

The Psephinus Tower in First Century Jerusalem

NW corner of the third wall. The stood 115 feet high according to Josephus and from the top one could see both the Mediterranean Sea and the Mountains of Arabia. Josephus mentions the Tower Psephinus saying, "But wonderful as was the third wall throughout, still more was the tower Psephinus, which rose at its northwest angle and opposite to which Titus encamped. For, being seventy cubits high, it afforded from sunrise a prospect embracing both Arabia and the utmost limits of Hebrew territory as far as the sea." (Josephus Wars). In the Temple Model of Jerusalem the location of the Tower of Psephinus is situated in a certain place which could overlook Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and the Mountains of Moab. This spot is now occupied by a Russian compound in downtown Jerusalem. The octagonal shape is speculated and shaped after the Tower of the Winds in Athens. There was a gate near the tower called by Josephus "The Gate of the Women's Towers" where Titus entered the city with his army.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_psephinus_tower.html

Josephus and the Pool of Siloam

The expression "pool of Siloam (which is translated, Sent)" is found 3 times in Scripture-- (Neh 3:15, "Pool of Shelah"; Is 8:6, "waters of Shiloah"; Jn 9:7, "pool of Siloam"). Josephus frequently mentions Siloam, placing it at the termination of the Valley of the Cheesemongers or the Tyropoeon Valley (Wars 5.4.1)--but outside the city wall (Wars 5.9.4)--where the old wall bent eastward (Wars 5.6.1), and facing the hill upon which was the rock Peristereon, to the E (Wars 5.12.2). From these descriptions it is quite evident that Josephus speaks of the same place as the present Birket Silwan, on the other side of the Kidron. John's account (Jn 9:7) of the blind man sent by Jesus to wash at the pool of Siloam seems to indicate that it was near the Temple. It was from Siloam that water was brought in a golden vessel to the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles; our Lord probably pointed to it when He stood in the Temple and cried, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink" (7:37). The pool of Siloam is fed by a conduit that is cut for a distance of 1,780 feet through solid rock, and which starts at the so-called Virgin's Spring (En-rogel). The reason for which it was cut is unmistakable. The Virgin's Spring is the only spring of fresh water in the immediate neighborhood of Jerusalem, and in time of siege it was important that, while the enemy should be deprived of access to it, its waters should be made available for those who were within the city. But the spring rose outside the walls, on the sloping cliff that overlooks the valley of Kidron. Accordingly, a long passage was excavated in the rock, by means of which the overflow of the spring was brought into Jerusalem; the spring itself was covered with masonry, so that it could be "sealed" in case of war.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_pool_of_siloam.html

The Pool of Siloam in First Century Jerusalem

The only permanent water source of the city in this period, the monumental Pool of Siloam, is clearly distinguishable in the model. It was fed by waters of the Gihon Spring diverted through Hezekiah's Tunnel, built in the 8th century BC. SILOAM SILOAM, POOL OF (si'lo-am). The expression "pool of Siloam (which is translated, Sent)" (John 9:7) is found three times in Scripture-Neh. 3:15, "Pool of Shelah"; Isa 8:6, "waters of Shiloah"; John 9:7, "pool of Siloam." If we compare Neh 3:15 with 12:37, we find that the Pool of Shelah, the stairs that go down from the city of David (southern portion of the Temple mount), and the king's garden were in close proximity. Josephus frequently mentions Siloam, placing it at the termination of the Valley of the Cheesemongers or the Tyropoeon Valley (Wars 5.4.1)-but outside the city wall (Wars 5.9.4)-where the old wall bent eastward (Wars 5.6.1), and facing the hill upon which was the rock Peristereon, to the E (Wars 5.12.2). From these descriptions it is quite evident that Josephus speaks of the same place as the present Birket Silwan, on the other side of the Kidron. Further, the evangelist's account (John 9:7) of the blind man sent by Jesus to wash at the pool of Siloam seems to indicate that it was near the Temple. It was from Siloam that water was brought in a golden vessel to the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles; our Lord probably pointed to it when He stood in the Temple and cried, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink" (7:37). The pool of Siloam is fed by a conduit that is cut for a distance of 1,780 feet through solid rock, and which starts at the so-called Virgin's Spring (see En-rogel). The reason for which it was cut is unmistakable. The Virgin's Spring is the only spring of fresh water in the immediate neighborhood of Jerusalem, and in time of siege it was important that, while the enemy should be deprived of access to it, its waters should be made available for those who were within the city. But the spring rose outside the walls, on the sloping cliff that overlooks the valley of Kidron. Accordingly, a long passage was excavated in the rock, by means of which the overflow of the spring was brought into Jerusalem; the spring itself was covered with masonry, so that it could be "sealed" in case of war. That it was so sealed we know from 2 Chron 32:3-4. The following account of the channel and its inscription is from Major C. R. Conder (Palestine, pp. 27 ff.). "The course of the channel is serpentine, and the farther end near the pool of Siloam enlarges into a passage of considerable height. Down this channel the waters of the spring rush to the pool whenever the sudden flow takes place. In autumn there is an interval of several days; in winter the sudden flow takes place sometimes twice a day. A natural siphon from an underground basin accounts for this flow, as also for that of the 'Sabbatic river' in North Syria. When it occurs the narrow parts of the passage are filled to the roof with water. "This passage was explored by Dr. Robinson, Sir Charles Wilson, Sir Charles Warren, and others; but the inscription on the rock close to the mouth of the tunnel was not seen, being then under water. When it was found in 1880 by a boy who entered from the Siloam end of the passage, it was almost obliterated by the deposit of lime crystals on the letters. Professor Sayce, then in Palestine, made a copy, and was able to find out the general meaning of the letters. In 1881 Dr. Guthe cleaned the text with a weak acid solution, and I was then able, with the aid of Lieutenant Mentell, R.E., to take a proper 'squeeze.' It was a work of labor and requiring patience, for on two occasions we sat for three or four hours cramped up in the water in order to obtain a perfect copy of every letter, and afterward to verify the copies by examining each letter with the candle so placed as to throw the light from right, left, top, bottom. We were rewarded by sending home the first accurate copy published in Europe, and were able to settle many disputed points raised by the imperfect copy of the text before it was cleaned." The inscription records only the making of the tunnel; that it began at both ends; that the workmen heard the sound of the picks of the other party and were thus guided as they advanced, and that when they broke through they were only a few feet apart. The character of the letters seems to indicate that the scribes of Judah had been accustomed for a long time to write upon papyrus or parchment. The pool itself is an oblong tank, partly hewn out of the rock and partly built with masonry, about fifty-three feet long, eighteen feet wide, and nineteen feet deep. The water has a peculiar taste-somewhat brackish-but not disagreeable, though becoming more so with the advance of the hot season.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_pool_of_siloam.html

The Pool of Bethesda in First Century Jerusalem

The Pool of the Sheepmarket was just below the Fortress of Antonia. BETHES'DA (beth-ez'da; Gk. from Aram. Beth hesda, "house of grace"). A spring-fed pool with five porches where invalids waited their turn to step into the mysteriously troubled waters that were supposed to possess healing virtue (John 5:2-4). The last part of v. 3 and all of v. 4, which mention a periodic disturbance of the water by an angel, are placed in brackets in the NASB because there is not sufficient attestation by early texts. Here Jesus healed the man who was lame for thirty-eight years (5:5-9). The place is now thought to be the pool found during the repairs in 1888 near St. Anne's Church in the Bezetha quarter of Jerusalem not far from the Sheep's Gate and Tower of Antonia. It is below the crypt of the ruined fourth-century church and has a five-arch portico with faded frescoes of the miracle of Christ's healing. POOL OF BETHESDA BETHES'DA Heb. "beth Chesda" (house of mercy) Gk. from Aram. Beth hesda, "house of grace"). A spring-fed pool with five porches where invalids waited their turn to step into the mysteriously troubled waters that were supposed to possess healing virtue (Jn 5:2-4). The disturbance of the water by an angel, are placed in brackets in the NASB because there is not sufficient attestation by early texts. Here Jesus healed the man who was lame for thirty-eight years. The historicity of this site was once in question. Scholars like Dr. Alfred Loisy, claimed the detail of the five porticoes was invented. They said John made it up to represent the five books of Moses, which Jesus came to fulfill. But recent archaeological discoveries have once again confirmed the Biblical account. In 1956, digging at the ancient Biblical site of Bethesda, archaeologists unearthed a rectangular pool with a portico on each side and a fifth one dividing the pool into 2 separate compartments. The place is now thought to be the pool found during the repairs in 1888 near St. Anne's Church in the Bezetha quarter of Jerusalem not far from the Sheep's Gate and Tower of Antonia. It is below the crypt of the ruined fourth-century church and has a five-arch portico with faded frescoes of the miracle of Christ's healing. This model at the Holy Land Hotel is a Scholar's conception showing how the site may have looked in Jesus' day.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_pool_of_bethesda.html

Monument of King Alexander Janneus

The Monument of King Alexander Janneus who ruled between 103-76 BCE.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_monument_of_alexander_jannaeus.html

The Ossuary of Caiaphas

This Ossuary of Caiaphas was discovered in Jerusalem by archaeologists. It was carved from limestone and bears the name "Caiaphas", the name of the Temple High Priest during the time of Christ. Ossuaries were typically used to hold the bones of the dead.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_palace_of_caiaphas.html

The Houses of the Lower City

On the SE hill was the Lower City, the ancient city of Jerusalem's core and on its slopes were the crowded houses of the poor.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_houses_of_the_lower_city.html

Old Testament Song

Psalm 125:2 "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever." ~ The Bible

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

The Sports Hippodrome

South near the Synagogue of the Freedmen was the Hippodrome, built by Herod like a Roman Circus, for chariot races. THE SPORTS HIPPODROME The sports Hippodrome was built by Herod the Great like a Roman circus, for chariot races. The spectators sat on stair-like seats around a central space, which had in the middle a large partition that the chariots raced around. This model at the Holy Land Hotel is a Scholar's conception showing how the site may have looked in Jesus' day.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hippodrome.html

Hippicus Tower

Named after a friend, and was 132 feet high.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hippicus_tower.html

Hinnom Valley

All of the rubbish from the entire city of Jerusalem was dumped and burnt here. Otherwise called "the valley of the son of Hinnom," or "the valley of Benhinnom"; a deep and narrow ravine with steep, rocky sides to the S and W of Jerusalem, separating Mt. Zion to the N from the "Hill of Evil Counsel," and the sloping rocky plateau of the "valley of Rephaim" to the S. The earliest mention of the valley of Hinnom is in Josh 15:8; 18:16, where the boundary line between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin is described as passing along the bed of the ravine. On the southern brow, overlooking the valley at its eastern extremity, Solomon erected high places for Molech (1 Kings 11:7), whose horrid rites were revived from time to time in the same vicinity by the later idolatrous kings. Ahaz and Manasseh made their children "pass through the fire" in this valley (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3; 33:6), and the fiendish custom of infant sacrifice to the fire-gods seems to have been kept up in Topheth at its southeast extremity for a considerable period (Jer 7:31; 2 Kings 23:10). To put an end to these abominations the place was polluted by Josiah, who rendered it ceremonially unclean by spreading over it human bones and other corruptions (2 Kings 23:10,13-14; 2 Chron 34:3-5). From that time it appears to have become the common cesspool of the city, into which its sewage was conducted to be carried off by the waters of the Kidron, as well as a laystall, where all its solid filth was collected. From its ceremonial defilement and from the detested and abominable fire of Molech, if not from the supposed everburning funeral piles, the later Jews applied the name of this valley Ge Hinnom, "Gehenna," to denote the place of eternal torment. The name by which it is now known is Wadi Jehennam, or Wadi er Rubeb. See Gehenna; Hell. THE VALLEY OF HINNOM (GEHENNA) All the rubbish of Jerusalem was burnt here. Its interesting to note that Aceldama (Field of Blood) was here in this valley.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hinnom_valley.html

Hill of Calvary

Golgotha "Place of the skull" was located outside the second wall. The actual site of the Cross is still under discussion. CAL'VARY (Grk. kranion, a "skull," but having its English form from the translators' having literally adopted the Lat. word calvaria, a bare "skull"; the Gk. is the interpretation of the Heb. Golgotha, which see; the word occurs once, in Luke 23:33, KJV.) Calvary refers to the place where Christ was crucified, designated as the place of a skull (Golgotha), either because of the shape of the mound or elevation or because it was a place of execution. Some claim that Moriah and Calvary are identical. The shift of the city wall from time to time renders it difficult to locate the spot. It would probably have been a prominent place near the public highway, for the Romans selected such places for public executions. From the fourth century to the present day the sites of Calvary and of the Holy Sepulcher have been shown within the precincts of the church of the Holy Sepulcher, a Crusader construction, standing where Constantine's Basilica was raised. Others identify the spot with "Gordon's Calvary," N of the present N wall. GOLGOTHA Golgotha meaning the "place of the skull" was probably where Jesus was crucified. In 135 AD Rome's Emperor Hadrian covered this traditional site of Golgotha and Jesus' tomb with a massive pavement. Two centuries later, Constantine removed it and built the first Church of the Holy Sepulcher. CAL'VARY (Gk. kranion, a "skull," Heb. Golgotha ) Calvary refers to the place where Christ was crucified, designated as the place of a skull (Golgotha), either because of the shape of the mound or elevation or because it was a place of execution. Some claim that Moriah and Calvary are identical. The shift of the city wall from time to time renders it difficult to locate the spot. It would probably have been a prominent place near the public highway, for the Romans selected such places for public executions. From the fourth century to the present day the sites of Calvary and of the Holy Sepulcher have been shown within the precincts of the church of the Holy Sepulcher, a Crusader construction, standing where Constantine's Basilica was raised. Others identify the spot with "Gordon's Calvary," N of the present N wall.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hill_of_calvary.html

The Walls of Jerusalem

Jerusalem was also surrounded by massive walls. Ps 51:18 "Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem." David’s prayer was answered when his son Solomon build the wall of Jerusalem around the city, and repaired the breaches of the city of David. He also built the Millo (rampart), a fortification which apparently existed when it was inhabited by the Jebusites as with King Hezekiah: 2 Chron 32:4-5 "And he strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken, raised it up to the towers, and built another wall outside; also he repaired the Millo in the City of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance." King Manasseh, after he repented built a wall around the city of David, on the west side of Gihon: 2 Chron 33:13-15 "Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. After this he built a wall outside the City of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate; and it enclosed Ophel, and he raised it to a very great height. Then he put military captains in all the fortified cities of Judah. Also Nehemiah, after the Babylonian captivity, brought helpers including "Shallum and his daughters," and repaired the broken down walls of Jerusalem by "putting their necks to the work of the Lord." By the time of Jesus, according to Josephus, there were three walls that surrounded Jerusalem, "90 towers stood in the first wall, 14 in the second, and 60 in the third." The third wall was built by Herod Agrippa I. Click around the map to learn more about the walls, the towers, and fortifications.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

The Jebusites

During the time of Joshua the city of Jerusalem was named Jebus or Jebusi, and a Canaanite people called the Jebusites dwelt there. Though Joshua had conquered the land there, he never fully drove out the Jebusites, and David had to actually take possession of the stronghold of Zion. Apparently there were some Jebusites who were still living in this area during the time of David, because we find David actually purchasing the ground on which the Temple would be built from Araunah the Jebusite.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Mount Moriah

The Lord had appeared to David at the threshing floor of the Jebusite and this is the exact spot where David instructed his son Solomon to build the house of the Lord, at Mount Moriah. This was also the place in Hebrew history were Abraham bound his son Isaac upon an altar in order to sacrifice him according to the word of the Lord, but an angel of the Lord held back his hand when he drew the knife, for this was only a test of Abraham's obedience and a wonderful picture of God's plan of redemption with the sacrificing of His own Son, the Jewish Messiah Jesus Christ. Today in 2003 Mount Moriah, the top of the Temple hill, is where the Mosque of Omar, more correctly, the Dome of the Rock, now stands. The Arabs call it the Sakhrah Rock. It is a strangely shaped mass of rock, protruding 10 feet above the ground, and is about 50 feet in diameter. It is believed to be the actual site of the altar of burnt offering in Solomon's Temple. Jews, Christians, and Muslims, according to tradition have regarded it as "the stone of foundation," the Foundation Rock of which the Jews claim that it was the precise site of the Holy of Holies of Solomon's Temple and the place where God’s Schekinah glory appeared between the Cherubim, above the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Jerusalem's Four Hills

Ps 87:1 "His foundation is in the holy mountains." Jerusalem rests upon four hills or mountains, but only two of them have biblical names, Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. Between these mountains there is a large valley that the Romans called the Tyropoean. Mount Zion was referred to geographically as the southwestern hill of Jerusalem. But Zion has much greater significance in the Bible and it is frequently mentioned as the place of the Temple and of the King. When David said that he would not rest until he "has found out a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob," the Lord replied with this Scripture: Ps 132:13-14 "For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: "This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it." The hill on the north was called Bezetha, Or the New City. The hill on the east was called the Akra, or Fortress, the according to tradition this was the "stronghold of Zion."

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Jerusalem’s Surrounding Mountains

Beyond the valleys of Jerusalem were the mountains round about. The most famous mountain was the Mount of Olives which stood about 300 feet higher than the Temple Mount and over 100 feet higher than any part of the city. On the north side of the city stood the awesome Mizpeh of Benjamin. There was also Gibeon and Ramah and the ridge near Bethlehem in the distant east. On the night when Jerusalem was captured by the Roman armies, it is told that the mountains "echoed back" the screams of the people who were being slaughtered and also the victorious shouts of the soldiers of Titus.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Jerusalem’s Deep Valley’s

Jerusalem was surrounded on the west, south, and east by deep ravines the which are 200-400 feet deep and therefore made it impossible for an enemy to attack from either these directions. Therefore Herod's Jerusalem was considered unapproachable, except from the north side which was actually protected by the outermost wall which was over 100 feet high and had 90 towers according to Josephus. The deep valley on the west and the southwest side of the city was called the valley of Hinnom (the abhorred place). The deep valley on the east side of the city was called the valley of the Kidron, or Jehoshaphat, where the prophet Joel saw a futuristic vision where the nations of the world would be summoned for judgment. The place where these ravines met was called "Enrogel" or The Well of Joab (2 Sam 17:17). These deep valley’s made the inhabitant’s of Jerusalem to feel safe and secure, as though God Himself were protecting it. It was so secure from an enemy attack that Titus, the Roman General who conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D. said that "if it had not been for the internal dissensions, the city could never have been taken."

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

The Prophet Zechariah

Zechariah 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey." – The Bible

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

Jewish Song in Exile

Psalm 137:5-6 "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy." ~ The Bible

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

Jeremiah

Jer 3:17 "At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts." ~ Jeremiah [The Bible]

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

The Huldah Gates

In the wall were the gates of the prophetess Huldah. The wall measured 211 feet. The Ophel corner was so high that from its top "an Arab with a spear looked like a flax worm." A prophetess, the wife of Shallum (which see), who was keeper of the wardrobe (2 Kings 22:14). She dwelt, in the reign of Josiah, in that part of Jerusalem called the Mishneh (the "Second Quarter"). To her the king sent Hilkiah the priest, Shaphan the scribe, and others to consult respecting the denunciations in the lately found book of the law. She then delivered an oracular response of mingled judgment and mercy, declaring the near destruction of Jerusalem but promising Josiah that he should be taken from the world before these evil days came (22:14-20; 34:22-28), about 639 BC Huldah is known only from this circumstance.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_huldah_gates.html

Hyrcanus Monument

The Funerary Tomb of John Hyrcanus, who was the Hasmonean king and high priest who reigned during the latter part of the 2nd century BC. The tomb monument with its pointed roof looked similar to that of Absaloms also found in the Kidron Valley. The Roman Legions who laid siege to Jerusalem made many attacks near this tomb according to Josephus.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hyrcanus_monument.html

The Kidron Valley

KID'RON (kid'ron; "turbid, dusky, gloomy"; Grk. Kedron; "Cedron," John 18:1, KJV). The brook that flows through the valley of Jehoshaphat. The name was also applied to its bed, the valley of Kidron. It is thus described by Smith (Hist. Geog., p. 511): "To the north of Jerusalem begins the torrent-bed of the Kidron. It sweeps past the Temple Mount, past what were afterward Calvary and Gethsemane. It leaves the Mount of Olives and Bethany to the left, Bethlehem far to the right. It plunges down among the bare terraces, precipices, and crags of the wilderness of Judea-the wilderness of the scapegoat. So barren and blistered, so furnace-like does it [the valley] become as it drops below the level of the sea, that it takes the name of Wady-en-Nar or the Fire Wady. At last its dreary course brings it to the precipices above the Dead Sea, into which it shoots its scanty winter waters; but all summer it is dry." The valley is only 20 miles long but has a descent of 3,912 feet. The place where it enters the Jordan is a narrow gorge about 1,200 feet deep. The Kidron was the brook crossed by David when he fled from Absalom (2 Sam 15:23). Solomon fixed it as the limit of Shimei's walks (1 Kings 2:37); beside it Asa destroyed and burned his mother's idol, or Asherah (15:13); here Athaliah was executed (Josephus, Ant. 9.7.3; cf. 2 Kings 11:16). It then became the regular receptacle for the impurities and abominations of the idol worship when removed from the Temple and destroyed by the adherents of Jehovah (23:4,6,12; 29:16; 30:14); and in the time of Josiah this valley was the common cemetery of Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:6; Jer 26:23; 31:40).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_kidron_valley.html

The Lower City

On the SE hill was the Lower City, the ancient city of Jerusalem's core and on its slopes were the crowded houses of the poor.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_lower_city.html

Mariamme Tower

Named after his beloved wife whom he had murdered. Josephus said "the king considering it appropriate that the tower named after a woman should surpass in decoration those called after men." It stood 74 feet high.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_mariamne_tower.html

Mount Zion

Mount Zion is the largest of the hills in Jerusalem, it stands 2,550 feet high. Mount Zion is mentioned throughout the Old Testament but only once in the New Testament (Revelation 14:1). Mount Zion is located on the southwest side of Jerusalem between the Tyropoeon Valley and the Hinnom Valley and this is the location of the Upper City where the wealthy lived during the time of Jesus. This is also the hill where the Jebusites built a stronghold but were eventually conquered by David. David built palace here on Mount Zion it became the palace and home for the kings of Israel. David and most of his successors (14) were buried on Mount Zion (1 Kings 2:10; 9:43; 14:31).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Mount Moriah

Mount Moriah is located to the northeast of Mount Zion, in the southeast side of Jerusalem between the Kidron Valley and Tyropoeon Valley. It is 2440 feet high. The Bible sometimes calls Mount Moriah by the name of Zion as well. King Solomon increased the size of Mount Moriah who built a high platform and wall on three sides (east, south, and west) and this formed an extremely high summit on the southeast corner. This summit is where the Temple was built, the highest point was the location of the Holy of Holies, the same spot where Abraham was tested to offer his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2). The southern slope of Mount Moriah, extending from the southern wall down to the point where the three valleys meet, was called Ophel (Neh. 3:26, 27).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Mount Acra

Mount Acra is located in Jerusalem on the north side of Mount Zion between the Tyropoeon Valley and the Hinnom Valley. it is interesting that Simon Maccabeus nearly filled up the Tyropoeon Valley which is located between Mount Bezetha and Mount Acra. He also reduced the height of Mount Acra in order to make it lower than Mount Moriah where the Temple stood. Antiochus Epiphanes, ruler of the Seleucid Empire built a fortress in Jerusalem on Mount Acra after he conquered the city in 168 BC. It was here that the Syrians governed the Jews. Later this fortified compound was destroyed by Simon Maccabeus. Mount Acra was important in the Maccabean Revolt and the formation of the Hasmonean Kingdom.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Mount Bezetha

Mount Bezetha is located in Jerusalem west of Acra and in the first century it was north of the Antonia fortress. Mount Bezetha was not included in the city of Jerusalem until the first century after the third wall was built, and therefore received the name "New City."

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Mount Calvary or Golgotha

Mount Calvary (Golgotha) was located near the Damascus Gate on the north side of the city. According to Catholic tradition Jesus was crucified at the site now called the Church of the Holy Sepulchre but recent investigations have confirmed the former view.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is located east of the Temple Mount just across the Kidron Valley. On the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives was the village of Bethany, the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. From here at the Mount of Olives Jesus looked over the beautiful city and wept because of Jerusalem's rebellious leaders. Overlooking the Temple on the Mount of Olives was the garden of Gethsemane, where Christ suffered his agony, betrayal and arrest. In the center of the mount the so-called Church of Ascension stands at about 2,682 feet high where it is traditionally taught that Christ ascended from here into heaven.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

The Hill of Evil Counsel

The Hill of Evil Counsel is located on the south side of Mount Zion on the other side of the Valley of Hinnom. This hill is the traditional place of Aceldama, the Field of Blood (Acts 1:19).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

Tunnel of Hezekiah

King Hezekiah had a tunnel constructed which carried water from the Gihon Spring outside the city to the Pool of Siloam. "When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, intent on making war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his officers and warriors about stopping the flow of the springs outside the city, and they supported him. A large force was assembled to stop up all the springs and the wadi that flowed through the land, for otherwise, they thought, the king of Assyria would come and find water in abundance" (2 Chronicles 32:2-4). These events occurred in the year 701 BCE, when the Assyrian king laid siege to Jerusalem. The Gihon Spring, which was outside the city, confronted King Hezekiah with a double dilemma: to ensure water for the besieged city, yet to deny the source of the water to the Assyrian forces. The Bible describes Hezekiah's solution: "It was Hezekiah who stopped up the spring of water of Upper Gihon, leading it downward west of the City of David "(2 Chronicles 32:30). The waters of the Gihon were diverted into the Gai wadi by means of a tunnel 533 meters (581 yards) long, which was hewed from both ends simultaneously, probably along the course of a natural cleft in the rock. An inscription in the rock at the end of the tunnel describes the completion of the project.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_tunnel_of_hezekiah.html

Mount of Olives in first century Jerusalem

The ridge of hills east of Jerusalem, separated from it by the Jehoshaphat Valley. THE MOUNT OF OLIVES The Mount of Olives where Jesus prayed was outside the city, opposite the eastern wall of the Temple . Here was the garden of Gethsemane which means "olive press." A north-to-south ridge of hills east of Jerusalem where Jesus was betrayed on the night before His crucifixion. This prominent feature of Jerusalem's landscape is a gently rounded hill, rising to about the height of 830 meters (2,676 feet) and overlooking the Temple. The closeness of the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem's walls made this series of hills a grave strategic danger. The Roman commander Titus had his headquarters on the northern extension of the ridge during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He named the place Mount Scopus, or "Lookout Hill," because of the view which it offered over the city walls. The whole hill must have provided a platform for the Roman catapults that hurled heavy objects over the Jewish fortifications of the City. In ancient times the whole mount must have been heavily wooded. As its name implies, it was covered with dense olive groves. The Mount of Olives is also mentioned in a reference by the prophet Zechariah to the future Day of the Lord: "In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south" (Zech 14:4). In the New Testament the Mount of Olives played a prominent part in the last week of our Lord's ministry. Jesus approached Jerusalem from the east, by way of Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives (Mt 21:1; Mk 11:1). On the night of His betrayal, He and His disciples sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26), to the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:36; Mk 14:32). In this garden, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, Jesus was betrayed by Judas and delivered into the hands of His enemies. Name. Its descriptive appellation is "the Mount of Olives" (Heb. har hazzetim, only in Zech 14:4; Grk. to oros tou elaiov, the mount on which the olive grew; Matt 21:1; 24:3; 26:30; Mark 11:1; Luke 19:37; John 8:1). It is referred to (2 Sam 15:30) as "the ascent of the Mount of Olives"; "the mountain which is east of Jerusalem" (1 Kings 11:7); "the mount of destruction" (2 Kings 23:13), from the heathen altars erected there by Solomon (cf. 1 Kings 11:7); "the hills" (Neh 8:15), and "the mount called Olivet" (Acts 1:12). The hill has now two names, Jebel et-Tur, i.e., "the Mount," and Jebel et-Zeitun, "Mount of Olives." Physical Features. The Mount of Olives is a limestone ridge, rather more than a mile in length, running in general direction N and S and covering the whole eastern side of the city of Jerusalem. At the N the ridge bends to the W, enclosing the city on that side also. At the N about a mile intervenes between the city walls, while on the E the mount is separated only by the valley of Kidron. It is to the latter part that attention is called. At a distance its outline is almost horizontal, gradually sloping away at its southern end; but when seen from below the eastern wall of Jerusalem, it divides itself into three or perhaps four independent summits or natural elevations. Beginning at the N they are: Galilee or Viri Galilaei, from the address of the angel to the disciples (Acts 1:11); Mount of Ascension, now distinguished by the minaret and domes of the Church of the Ascension, in every way the most important; Mount of the Prophets, subordinate to the former; and Mount of Offense. Three paths lead from the valley to the summit. The first passes under the N wall of the enclosure of Gethsemane and follows the line of the depression between the center and the northern hill. The second parts from the first about fifty yards beyond Gethsemane and, striking off to the right up the very breast of the hill, surmounts the projection on which is the traditional spot of the lamentation over Jerusalem and thence proceeds directly upward to the village of Bethany. The third leaves the other two at the NE corner of Gethsemane and, making a considerable detour to the S, visits the so-called "Tombs of the Prophets" and, following a slight depression that occurs at that part of the mount, arrives in its turn at Bethany. Every consideration is in favor of the first path being that which David took when fleeing from Absalom, as well as that usually taken by our Lord and His disciples in their morning and evening walks between Jerusalem and Bethany, and that also by which the apostles returned to Jerusalem after the ascension. Tradition assigns many sacred sites to the Mount of Ascension, Gethsemane, and the place of lamentation. The third of the traditional spots mentioned-that of the lamentation over Jerusalem (Luke 9:41-44)-has been shown to have been badly chosen and that the road of our Lord's "triumphal entry" was not by the short and steep path over the summit but the longer and easier route around the southern shoulder of the southern of the three divisions of the mount. Scripture Notices. The Mount of Olives is mentioned in connection with the flight of David from Absalom (2 Sam 15:30); with the building there of high places by Solomon (2 Kings 23:13); and with the vision of the Lord's departure from Jerusalem (Ezek 10:4,19; 11:23), in which last passage the prophet said, "And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood over the mountain which is east of the city." The command to "go out to the hills, and bring olive branches," etc. (Neh 8:15), indicates that the mount, and probably the valley at its base, abounded in various kinds of trees. In the time of Jesus the trees were still numerous (Mark 11:8). The only other OT mention of the Mount of Olives is in Zechariah's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the preservation of God's people (Zech 14:4). The NT narrative makes Olivet the scene of four remarkable events in the history of Jesus: the triumphal entry-its scene being the road that winds around the southern shoulder of the hill from Bethany to Jerusalem (Matt 21:1,8-10; Mark 11:1,8-10; Luke 19:29,36-37,41); the prediction of Jerusalem's overthrow (Mark 13:1-2); Gethsemane-after the institution of the Lord's Supper, Jesus led His disciples "over the ravine of the Kidron" and "out to the Mount of Olives," to a garden called Gethsemane (John 18:1; Matt 26:30,36)

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_the_land_of_jerusalem.html

The Palace of Caiaphas in First Century Jerusalem

This is where informal meetings of a small Sanhedrin were held. Peter denied Jesus in one of these courts. This model at the Holy Land Hotel is a Scholar's conception showing how the site may have looked in Jesus' day. This Ossuary of Caiaphas was discovered in Jerusalem by archaeologists. It was carved from limestone and bears the name "Caiaphas", the name of the Temple High Priest during the time of Christ. Ossuaries were typically used to hold the bones of the dead.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_palace_of_caiaphas.html

The Psalms

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." – The Bible [Psalm 48:1-2]

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

The Talmud

"A city, the fame of which has gone out from one end of the world to the other." ~ The Talmud

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

Islamic Saying

"One prayer in Jerusalem is worth 40,000 elsewhere." ~ Islamic Saying

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

Christian Hymn

"No people blessed as thine, no city like Jerusalem" ~ Christian Hymn

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

The Midrash

"Erets Yisrael is the navel of the world, and Jerusalem is its center, and the Bet ha Mikdash is at the center of Jerusalem, and the Holy of Holies is at its center, and the Holy Ark is at the center of the Holy of holies, and in front of it is the Foundation Stone on which the world was founded." ~ The Midrash

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

Jebus

Jebus was the second name and also mentioned in the Bible. It was an old name of Jerusalem derived from the Jebusites who dwelt there during the time of king David. During this period the city was really Mount Zion, the chief hill (Judg. 19: 10; 1 Chron. 11:4, 5). Note: Even though the Jebusites referred to Jerusalem as Jebus, the Tell El Amarna Tablets shed light on the etymology of the very ancient name using the name "Urusaliyim" for Jerusalem.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

The Dyers Quarter in First Century Jerusalem

This area of dyers was possibly the location of the Upper Room.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_dyers_quarter.html

Salem

Salem was the first recorded name of Jerusalem revealed in the Scriptures. Jeru means city and the word "Salem" comes from the Hebrew 'Shalom" and means "Peace" but it means much more than peace, shalom has a connotation of wholeness, contentment, blessing, prosperity, and lack of aggression. Genesis 14 reveals that Melchizedek was the king of Salem when Abraham met him and paid him tithes from his spoils of the war against the kings of the east. David said, " In Salem is the tabernacle and his dwelling place in Zion " (Ps. 76:2).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Herod's Theater in First Century Jerusalem

Herod the Great had also built a THEATRE in the Upper City. It was a large, open-air auditorium with semicircular rows of seats ascending from a central stage. Wealthy Jews came there to watch the best of Greek and Roman drama. Most traditional Jews, however, scorned this and other outgrowths of Greco-Roman culture as immoral. The model at the Holy Land Hotel is a Scholar's conception showing how the site may have looked in Jesus' day.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_herod_s_theater.html

Herod's Palace in First Century Jerusalem

King Herod built a fantastic fortified palace to provide protection for the Upper City. Just like the Temple, Herod's Palace was constructed on a platform, about 1000 feet (from north-south), and 180 feet (from east-west). The Palace consisted of 2 main buildings, each with its banquet halls, baths, and accommodation for hundreds of guests. It was surrounded with groves of trees, canals, and ponds studded with bronze fountains. At the north side of Herod's palace were three towers (see Herod's three towers). The praetorium of the trial of Jesus was located at Herod's palace which was actually the official residence of the Roman governors when they came to Jerusalem during major Jewish festivals. Unfortunately, nothing remains of its construction. HEROD'S PALACE This model at the Holy Land Hotel is a Scholar's conception showing how the site may have looked in Jesus' day.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_herod_s_palace.html

The Tower of Mariamme in First Century Jerusalem

The Mariamme Tower was the smallest of Herod's three towers standing 74 feet tall. It was named after Herod's beloved Hasmonean wife whom he had murdered. Josephus said "the king considering it appropriate that the tower named after a woman should surpass in decoration those called after men."

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_mariamne_tower.html

The Tower of Hippicus in First Century Jerusalem

Hippicus Tower (named after a friend, and was 132 feet high)

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hippicus_tower.html

The Tower of Phasael in First Century Jerusalem

Phasael Tower (the largest, named after his brother stood 145 feet high).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_phasael_tower.html

Herod's Three Towers in First Century Jerusalem

Built to protect the western side of the city of Jerusalem and his marvelous palace were Herod's 3 towers. These were fantastic towers, the largest was the Phasael Tower but the most beautiful was his Mariamne Tower. 1. Phasael Tower (the largest, named after his brother stood 145 feet high). 2. Hippicus Tower (named after a friend, and was 132 feet high) 3. Mariamme Tower (named after his beloved Hasmonean wife whom he had murdered. Josephus said "the king considering it appropriate that the tower named after a woman should surpass in decoration those called after men." It stood 74 feet high). When Titus destroyed most of Jerusalem in 70 AD., he spared Herod's fortress. Nothing remains of Herod's three towers and a Citadel named "David's Tower" stands on the spot of a Phasael’s Tower.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_herod_s_three_towers.html

Herod's Viaduct in First Century Jerusalem

King Herod built a Viaduct or bridge over the Tyropoeon Valley which linked the Temple with Herod's grand fortified palace and the Upper City.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_herod_s_bridge.html

Herod's Barracks in First Century Jerusalem

Herod's Palace and the Antonia Fortress both served as a barracks for the king.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_barracks.html

The Palace of the Hasmoneans in First Century Jerusalem

Located on the Western side of the Upper City. It contained a roof called the Xystus with where the people in the large square below could be addressed. It had large courts, living quarters, baths, and a service court.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_hasmonean_palace.html

The Golden Gate in First Century Jerusalem

Golden Gate or Susa Gate. During the time of the First Temple the Eastern Gate (also called Shushan or HaKohan gate) was the main entrance into the Temple area. It was also the gate that Jesus entered on a humble donkey in His triumphal entry. If one were to stand on the Mount of Olives he could look over this Eastern Gate into the huge area presently north of the Dome of the Rock and see all the gates (at different levels) in a perfect line: the East (Shushan) Gate --Outer Court Gate --Inner Court Gate --Temple Entrance. The Talmud makes an interesting observation: "All the walls which were there were high, except the wall in the east, so that the priest who burned the heifer, standing on the top of the Mount of Olives, and directing himself to look, saw through the gateway of the sanctuary, at the time when he sprinkled the blood." [Mishnah, Middot 2:4]. The Golden Gate (Eastern Gate) in the eastern wall of Jerusalem gave access to the courtyards of the Temple from the Kidron valley.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_golden_gate.html

The Antonia Fortress in First Century Jerusalem

In 35 B.C. King Herod rebuilt the Baris, a strong fortress to protect the Temple Mount. It was located on the Northwest corner of the Temple Mount and called the Fortress of Antonia, named after Herod’s friend Marc Antony and another of Herod's landmarks. It stood 115 feet high and was partly surrounded by a deep ravine 165 feet wide. It functioned as headquarters for the Roman soldiers, a palace and a barracks. Herod constructed a secret passage from the fortress to the Temple. While overlooking Jerusalem, the Antonia Fortress was garrisoned with 600 Roman soldiers, who watched over the Temple courts in order to preserve order. The Bible spoke about the Antonia Fortress as a barracks (Acts 21:37), and it was here that Paul gave an address to the people (22:1-21). Acts 21:32-36 33 Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out," Away with him!" It is believed that it was here at the Antonia Fortress where Pontius Pilate judged Jesus, but it there is also a possibility that Jesus was judged at the Herodian fortress on the opposite end of the city. Herod's palace was the official residence of the Roman procurator's when they came to Jerusalem during the major Jewish festivals. The holy ceremonial robes of the High Priest were kept in one of the four guard towers of the Antonia Fortress and were worn only on Passover, Yom Kippur and other important religious feast days. The Romans had realized the tremendous power of the office of the High Priest and had taken custody of the garments as a precautionary measure. In the century before the Roman occupation in 63 BC, the king of Israel had also been the high priest and both offices had been hereditary. The Romans had abolished the kingship and had made the office of high priest appointive, always subject to their approval. Nonetheless, in Jesus' day the high priest remained the most powerful figure in the Jewish nation. In 70 A.D. Titus destroyed the Antonia Fortress while sparing the Herodian Fortress.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_antonia_fortress.html

The Gihon Spring in First Century Jerusalem

The only permanent water source of the city in this period, the monumental Pool of Siloam, is clearly distinguishable in the model. It was fed by waters of the Gihon Spring diverted through Hezekiah's Tunnel, built in the 8th century BC. The intermittent spring that constituted Jerusalem's most ancient water supply, situated in the Kidron Valley just below the eastern hill (Ophel). This abundant source of water was entirely covered over and concealed from outside the walls and was conducted by a specially built conduit to a pool within the walls where a besieged city could get all the water it needed. "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?" the people queried in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chron 32:2-4). Hezekiah's Tunnel, 1,777 feet long, hewn out of the solid rock and comparable to the tunnels at Megiddo and Gezer, conducted the water to a reservoir within the city. From the top of Ophel the ancient Jebusites (c. 2000 BC) had cut a passage through the rock where waterpots could be let down a 40-foot shaft to receive the water in the pool 50 feet back from the Gihon. Early excavations at Jerusalem by the Palestine Exploration Fund under the direction of Sir Charles Warren (1867) resulted in finding the 40-foot rock-cut shaft. It is now known as Warren's Shaft. Conrad Shick in 1891 discovered an ancient surface canal that conveyed water from the Gihon Spring to the old pool of Siloam, located just within the SE extremity of the ancient city. Isaiah seems to have alluded to the softly flowing waters of this gentle brook when he spoke poetically of "the gently flowing waters of Shiloah" (Isa 8:6).

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_gihon_spring.html

Jerusalem

Jerusalem was a combination of Jebus and Salem and was first mentioned in the Bible in Joshua 10:1, where Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, made an alliance with other kings against Joshua of Israel.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

City of David

The City of David was the fourth name of Jerusalem mentioned in Scripture. Once David became king over Israel he conquered the Jebusites and stormed their fortress on Mount Zion (1 Sam. 5:5-9).Jerusalem became his home and the capital of his kingdom. Jerusalem became the City of David.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Aelia Capitoiina

Aelia Capitoiina was the name given to Jerusalem in 135 AD by the Emperor Hadrian. After the Roman had destroyed and buried the city they rebuilt a portion of the city and erected a temple to Jupiter on Mount Moriah and forbid access to any Jew to enter Jerusalem. The Emperor Hadrian gave Jerusalem the name "Aelia Capitoiina" and the Moslems retained this name until the time of the Crusades.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

El Khuds

El Khuds is the name given by the Mohammedans, and it is known by this name at the present time to Moslems. Jerusalem regained its name with the creation of the State and Country of Israel despite the fact that the Muslims control the Temple Mount.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Jerusalem’s Location

Jerusalem is located 14 miles west of the Dead Sea, 33 miles east of the Mediterranean. Bethlehem lies about 5 miles to the southeast. The city is situated on an uneven rocky plateau at an elevation of 2,550 feet. It is 3,800 feet above the level of the Dead Sea. It is poetically called "beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth" (Ps 48:2). Its location has helped to give it prestige and protection. Jerusalem stands at a point where three steep-sided little ravines join to form one valley. They are the Kidron, Tyropoeon, and Hinnom valleys. The Kidron runs north and south and lies on the east of the city. Between it and the Tyropoeon Valley (also north-south) a long, narrow spur extends southward; on this stood the Jebusite town conquered by David. Then a western hill (now known as Zion) stands between the Tyropoeon and the Hinnom, which runs north and south and then curves in an easterly direction to join the other two valleys. To the east of the Kidron rises the Mount of Olives.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

The Jerusalem of Herod the Great

The Jerusalem Jesus knew nowhere near resembled the city David conquered in the tenth century BC. At that time, it had been a small, isolated hill fortress, valued more for its location than its size or splendor. Yet from that time on it was known as the City of David, and the kings of David's dynasty, especially his son Solomon, had enlarged and beautified it. In the sixth century BC, the army of Nebuchadnezzar leveled Jerusalem and drove its citizens into exile. During the long years of captivity in Babylon, the Jews in exiles' prayers and longings focused on the distant Holy City. But the city rebuilt by the Jews who returned a century later was far inferior to its former splendor. It was, ironically, the hated tyrant Herod the Great who restored Jerusalem to its former grandeur. In the 33 years of his reign (37-4 B.C.), Herod transformed the city as had no other ruler since Solomon. Building palaces and citadels, a theatre and an amphitheatre, viaducts (bridges) and public monuments. These ambitious building projects, some completed long after his death, were part of the king's single-minded campaign to increase his capital's importance in the eyes of the Roman Empire. No visitor seeing Jerusalem for the first time could fail to be impressed by its visual splendor. The long, difficult ascent from Jericho to the Holy City ended as the traveler rounded the Mount of Olives, and suddenly caught sight of a vista like few others in the world. Across the Kidron Valley, set among the surrounding hills, was Jerusalem, "the perfection of beauty," in the words of Lamentations, "the joy of all the world." The view from the Mount of Olives was dominated by the gleaming, gold-embellished Temple which was located in the most holy spot in the Jewish world and really God's world. This was the Lord's earthly dwelling place, He mediated His throne here and raised up a people to perform rituals and ceremonies here that would foreshadow the coming of His Messiah kinsman redeemer who would be the lamb of God, slain for the sins of the whole world. The Temple stood high above the old City of David, at the center of a gigantic white stone platform. To the south of the temple was THE LOWER CITY, a group of limestone houses, yellow-brown colored from years of sun and wind. Narrow, unpaved streets and houses that sloped downward toward the Tyropean Valley, which ran through the center of Jerusalem. Rising upward to the west was THE UPPER CITY, or Zion, where the white marble villas and palaces of the very rich stood out like patches of snow. Two large arched passageways spanned the valley, crossing from the Upper City to the temple. A high, thick, gray stone wall encircled Jerusalem. It had been damaged, repaired and enlarged over the centuries, and in Jesus' day it was about 4 miles in circumference, bringing about 25,000 people into an area about a square mile. At intervals along the wall were massive gateways. Just inside each gate was a customs station, where publicans collected taxes on all goods entering or leaving the city.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Commerce of the Lower City

Once past one of the gates, you would face a maze of dusty streets and alleyways, running uphill and down in every direction. As you made your way toward the temple, you would hear sounds of voices, the clatter of hooves and odors of cooking food. Along the Small Market street in the Lower City, you would pass open-air shops where Jerusalem's craftsmen sat at work: the city's weavers, dyers, potters, bakers, tailors, carpenters and metalworkers. Farther along you would enter the colorful bazaar, where merchants sold fruits and vegetables, dried fish, sacrificial animals, clothes, perfumes and jewelry. The market street was always crowded and busy, especially on Mondays and Thursdays, the main market days, when citizens and visitors came there to buy goods or souvenirs. Perishable goods were on sale every day. Only on the Sabbath was the street empty and quiet. After traveling you could stop to rest at one of Jerusalem's many taverns or restaurants. There you could select from a menu offering fresh or salted fish, fried locusts, vegetables, soup, pastry and fruit. You could drink local wine or imported beer. The farmers of Jerusalem, like their rural cousins, went out each morning to tend their crops. Most of them worked in the rich olive groves that covered the surrounding hillsides and provided the city's only major export. Jerusalem's numerous craftsmen had for a long time been organized into professional groups and most of them worked in public shops. The members of each group lived in a cluster of houses in a particular section of the city and they usually had their own synagogue. In Jesus' time, there were at least 480 synagogues in Jerusalem.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Pomp of the Upper City

Most of Jerusalem's working people lived in the crowded, noisy precincts of the Lower City. Their one- and two-story houses stood packed closely together. In contrast, the broad fashionable avenues of the Upper City were laid out in an orderly grid pattern like the elegant cities of Greece and Rome. This part of Jerusalem was the home of the rich and powerful Jewish families and high-ranking Roman officials. Comfortably removed from the rest of the population, they lived in spacious white marble mansions and palaces built around courtyards with elaborate gardens and pools. The magnificent royal palace of Herod the Great- later used by the Roman governor of Judea during his visits to Jerusalem-was situated in the uppermost northwest corner of the city. Directly in front of the palace stood the Upper Market, with its Roman-style arcades along three sides and an open court for market booths in the center. Here were the shops of the dealers in luxury goods: the distillers of expensive oils and perfumes; the master tailors and silk merchants; the goldsmiths and silversmiths; the dealers in ivory, incense and precious stones. Household slaves went there to buy expensive imported foods for their masters' banquet tables. Not far away was the PALACE OF THE HIGH PRIEST. (The high priest at the time of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem, Caiaphas, did not live there but in another section of the Upper City. Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin probably took place in one of the large halls of his palace). Herod the Great had also built a THEATRE in the Upper City. It was a large, open-air auditorium with semicircular rows of seats ascending from a central stage. Wealthy Jews came there to watch the best of Greek and Roman drama. Most traditional Jews, however, scorned this and other outgrowths of Greco-Roman culture as immoral.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Jerusalem During the Feasts

During these times the enormous crowd of pilgrims into the Holy City inflated its population of 25,000 to at least four or five times that number. This brought an important stimulus to the city's economy. Besides creating a huge demand for food, lodging and sacrificial animals, the incoming Jews were required to spend a tenth of their annual income (after taxes) within Jerusalem. This "second tithe" was in addition to the tithe they had to pay directly to the temple. Many pilgrims found lodging in one of Jerusalem's inns or in private homes. Some of the foreign Jewish communities had built shelters for their citizens to use when they visited the Holy City. The Essenes and Pharisees also provided lodging for fellow members. But the vast majority stayed in tents outside the city or in private homes in the villages of Bethphage or Bethany, where Jesus and his disciples stayed during his last months of ministry. The overcrowding and the excitement of the festivals frequently led to outbreaks of violence and anti-Roman rebellion. On more than one occasion the huge mass of pilgrims had been stirred up by zealous nationalists or would-be Messiahs. For this reason, the Roman governor made a point of being present during these occasions, and extra soldiers were stationed at strategic locations throughout the city. Besides attracting large crowds of pilgrims three times a year, the temple provided a constant demand for supplies from local merchants. Its requirements provided the backbone of the city's economy, and some had become extremely rich by monopolizing the supplying of certain items. The wealthy family of Garmo, for example, had the exclusive right to bake the offertory loaves of bread for the temple. Other merchants wove the priestly vestments, supplied incense, carried wood for the altar fires and fashioned the sacred ornaments and golden vessels.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

The City of Jerusalem from Ancient Times to the Present

Images of the area of Jerusalem from the time of David, Solomon, and Hezekiah, to the time of Jesus and modern Jerusalem.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_overview.html

Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

The Jewish Wars began in 66 A.D. and they were a direct revolt by the Jews against Rome’s authority. Titus with his Roman legions arrived at the outermost northern Wall of Jerusalem, the Passover of 70 A.D. The Romans built embankments of earthenwork, they placed battering rams and the siege began. The Roman army numbered 30,000; while the Jewish army numbered 24,000. According to Tacitus they were 600,000 visitors crowding the streets of Jerusalem for the Passover. After five months the walls were battered down, the great Temple was burned down, and the city was left ruined and desolate, except for Herod's three great towers at the northwest corner of the city. These served as a memorial of the massive strength of Jerusalem's fortifications which Titus of Rome had brought to rubble. The legions of Rome brought the captives to Caesarea and after over one million Jews were killed, 95,000 captives were taken as prisoners, and among them was Josephus, the ancient Jewish historian. According to Eusebius, the Christians saw the might of the Roman army and through prophetic warning, fled to Pella.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_destruction_of_jerusalem_in_70_a_d_.html

Recent History of Jerusalem

After the devastating destruction of Jerusalem by Titus of Rome in 70 AD there was more disturbing history. In 135 A.D. Bar Cocheba, a false Messiah, organized a revolt against Rome and took possession of the city of Jerusalem, and attempted to rebuild the Temple. The Roman army suppressed the revolt and 580,000 Jews were slaughtered and Judah was desolated. Now the Jews were completely forbidden to ever enter Jerusalem again, or that Jew would die. In about 326 A.D. the Roman emperor Constantine made Jerusalem a leading Christian center, the Temple of Astarte was torn down, the current site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. During the fifth century A.D. Jerusalem became the seat of one of the 5 Patriarchal cities who dominated Christendom, along with Rome, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria. In the year 637 A.D. Jerusalem fell to the followers of Mohammed, and it remained a Mohammedan city, except for a period of about 100 years during the Crusade Period, until 1917 when it returned to the control of Christendom.

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_recent_history_of_jerusalem.html

Josephus

"Like a snowy mountain glittering in the sun" ~ Josephus

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

Pliny

"By far the most distinguished city not in Judea only, but of the whole Orient." ~ Pliny

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html

The Talmud

"Of the 10 measures of beauty that God hath bestowed upon the world, nine of these fall to the lot of Jerusalem." ~ The Talmud

Link: https://bible-history.com/jerusalem/firstcenturyjerusalem_jerusalem_quotes.html