The city David took from the Jebusites in 1005 BC was about 10 acres in size with a population of about 2,000.
Melchizedek, or Melchi-Zedek, was from the royal line of the Canaanite or Jebusite priest-kings who ruled Jerusalem and served God on Mount Moriah.
After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley) (probably where the Kidron and Hinnom Valley’s meet). Then Melchizedek king of Salem (Jerusalem) brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. - Genesis 14:17-20
Later in Genesis 22:2 Abraham would return to Mount Moriah just north of Jerusalem to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God. God told Abraham:
Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about. - Genesis 22:2
Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and were living near them. He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon: “Come up and help me attack Gibeon,” he said, “because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.”- Joshua 10:1-5
The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire. - Judges 1:8
The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David. - 2 Samuel 5:6-7
On that day, David said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” - 2 Samuel 5:8 (1 Chronicles 11:4-9)
David then took up residence in the fortress, and so it was called the City of David. He built up the city around it, from the supporting terraces (literally - “Millo”) to the surrounding wall, while Joab restored the rest of the city. And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him. - 1 Chronicles 11:7-9
And he built the city all around from the Millo in a complete circuit. - 1 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Samuel 5:9
Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the breach of the city of David his father. - 1 Kings 11:27
Above is Solomon's city in 940 BC after he included 22 more acres to the north of the City of David. The population was about 5,000 at this time.
Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. - 2 Chronicles 3:1
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. - 2 Samuel 24:24-25
So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. - 1 Chronicles 21:25
The difference in price recorded in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles is because the verses in 2 Samuel record the price of the threshing floor and the oxen (fifty shekels of silver) while the verse in 1 Chronicles records the price for the entire site where the threshing floor was located (600 shekels of gold). David purchased what we would today call the Temple Mount for 600 shekels of gold. David’s descendents have never sold what David purchased that day.
The hill just north of the City of David was used as a threshing floor by the Jebusites, but it had also been associated with local worship for many years:
• Melchizedek, the King of Salem and Priest of God most High, would have worshipped on Mount Moriah in 2000 BC (Genesis 14)
• Abraham offered Isaac on Mount Moriah around 1950 BC (Genesis 22)
• Even in Abraham’s day this site (the future site of the Jewish Temple Mount) was called “the Lord provides” (Genesis 22:14)
Then around 980 BC, David rebuilt the altar of Abraham on the same spot (2 Samuel 24:18-20) and designed the plans for the Temple and the Temple Mount that Solomon would later construct in approximately 960 BC (2 Samuel 7).
Solomon spent seven years building the Temple.
Solomon’s palace was built just south of the Temple Mount on the Ophel. The palace project took 13 years and included the entire palace precinct— the House of Pharaoh’s Daughter, the throne room, the Hall of Columns and the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
Solomon also built up the City of David and its fortifications. Part of the city wall that Solomon built has been discovered and was excavated in 2010.
Hezekiah's city expanded to the west over the Central Valley on up to the Western Hill. The total area of the walled city was about 125 acres with an estimated population of 25,000.
Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord. . . . they hired masons, and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord. So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. - 2 Chronicles 24:4, 12-13
Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them. . . In Jerusalem he made engines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. - 2 Chronicles 26:9, 15
Jotham (750-735 BC)
He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord and did much building on the wall of Ophel. - 2 Chronicles 27:3
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. - 2 Chronicles 29:3
Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. - 2 Chronicles 32:30
In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. - Isaiah 22:8-11
He built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. - 2 Chronicles 33:4
They gave it (money) to the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord. And the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord gave it for repairing and restoring the house. They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone, and timber for binders and beams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. - 2 Chronicles 34:10-11
Eighty men arrived from Shechem and Shiloh and Samaria, with their beards shaved and their clothes torn, and their bodies gashed, bringing grain offerings and incense to present at the temple of the Lord. - Jeremiah 41:5
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, theLord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:“The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.Anyone of his people among you – may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.” - Ezra 1:1-3
Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates carried it out with diligence. So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia.The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. -Ezra 6:13-15
I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work. Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” – Nehemiah 2:13-17
When approximately 4,500 exiles returned from Babylon, they occupied an area of about 30 acres. The gates are identified in Nehemiah 12:31-40.
The wall of Jerusalem was completed by Nehemiah and the citizens of the city in 445 BC. The dedication ceremony is recorded in Nehemiah:
I had the leaders of Judah go up on top of the wall. I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks.One was to proceed (out of the Valley Gate on top of the wall to the right, toward the Dung Gate ...Ezra the scribe led the procession. At the Fountain Gate they continued directly up the steps of the City of David on the ascent to the wall and passed above the house of David to the Water Gate on the east. The second choir proceeded in the opposite direction. I followed them on top of the wall, together with half the people – past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, over the Gate of Ephraim, the Jeshanah Gate, the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate. At the Gate of the Guard (Prison Gate, Inspectors Gate) they stopped. The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; so did I, together with half the officials, as well as the priests. - Nehemiah 12:31-40
Rule by the Persian Empire that Nehemiah had served under was replaced by Grecian rule in 332 BC when Alexander the Great entered Jerusalem. The Jewish high priest, Jaddua, met Alexander outside the city walls and showed him the scroll of the prophecy of Daniel which foretold the coming of the four-winged leopard and the goat from the west. Both of these identified Alexander as the next conqueror of the Middle East. Alexander and the Greeks then worshipped in Jerusalem. Alexander promised the Jews their city and told them their Temple would never be defiled by the Greeks.
The promise was good for 160 years until 172 BC when the Grecian king of Syria, the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanies, executed the righteous Jewish high priest Onias III and replaced him with wicked men such as Jason and Menelaus who plundered the temple. In 168 BC Antiochus attacked Jerusalem, burning and looting homes then selling the women and children into slavery. There were 22,000 Syrian soldiers stationed in the Akra, a fortress built on the Ophel south of the Temple Mount looking north over the Temple courts and activities. The temple was plundered and desecrated, and on December 25, 168 BC, Antiochus set up an altar to Zeus to replace the Jewish altar of burnt offering.
It was at this time that the Maccabees revolted against the Syrian invaders, and during the next four years war filled the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
By 164 BC Judas Maccabeus had regained control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, but Syrian soldiers maintained control of the stronghold next to the Temple
Mount called the Akra. They would remain in control of this stronghold until Judas’s brother Simon drove out all Syrian troops 22 years later in 142 BC. By this time the Maccabees had established their rule, and Israel was recognized as an independent Jewish state by the rising power of Rome. Simon Maccabeus was given the title of high priest, general, and king for the Jewish state. This act established the Hasmonean Dynasty.
(The title Hasmonean comes from the name Hasmon, one of the ancestors of the priestly family of Judas and Simon Maccabeus.)
The Hasmoneans ruled until the Roman general Pompey entered Jerusalem in 63 BC amid civil war between two Hasmonean brothers and their political parties, the Pharisees and the Saducees. The Hasmonean government continued to deteriorate until 47 BC when Julius Caesar appointed Antipater, Herod the Great’s father, to be the manager of Caesar’s affairs in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Galilee.
Antipater immediately began rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem that had been damaged during the previous 123 years of fighting. After Antipater was poisoned in 43 BC (a year after Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome), his son Herod was appointed by Marc Antony as the ruler of Judea.
Although it took Herod until 37 BC to fight his way into Jerusalem and take possession of the throne, he loved the city and its architecture. The days of
Herod’s rule (the Herodian Age) began the greatest period of construction Jerusalem had ever seen. His projects in Jerusalem included paved streets with underground sewers, the palace complex in the citadel with luxury apartments in the towers called Phasael and Mariamne, fountains, baths, Fort Antonia, a Greek theater and the Hippodrome. He also continued work on the city walls. Herod greatly expanded the size of the Temple Mount and also remodeled the Temple itself.
Jerusalem at the time of Jesus was about 230 acres with a population of around 40,000. Notice the site of the crucifixion was outside the city walls in 30 AD. By 41 AD Herod Agrippa II had expanded the walls to the northwest.
It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days? - John 2:20
Do you see all these things? ...I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down. - Matthew 24:2
By the time of the first Jewish revolt in 66 AD and the Roman destruction of the city, Jerusalem had a population of 80,000 inside walls that enclosed approximately 450 acres.
The Christians who had fled Jerusalem in 66 AD when they saw the approaching Roman armies (as advised by Jesus in Luke 21:20-22) began returning to Jerusalem in 73 AD and honored the location of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
Between 70 and 130 AD the Jewish presence in the city of Jerusalem also grew and began to thrive again until they organized a second revolt against the Romans in 132 AD. In that year the Jews drove the Romans out of Jerusalem and began a temporarily successful attempt to rebuild the temple. Coins were minted by the Jews and struck with the image of the rebuilt temple. These coins are also inscribed with the dates of the first, second or third year of this second Jewish revolt (called the Bar-Kokhba Revolt). The Jewish rebels controlled Judea and even re-struck Roman coins, inscribing on them: “For the Freedom of Jerusalem.”
After a three-year war Emperor Hadrian defeated the Jews again in 135 AD. According to the Roman historian Cassius Dio, who wrote around 200 AD, the Jews lost 985 of their villages when they were burned out of existence. The loss and cost for the Romans was also severe. When Hadrian reported his victory over Jerusalem to the Roman Senate he did not greet them with the customary opening phrase, “I and the army are well,” because the army was not well. Romehad lost the entire Twenty-second Legion (Legio XXII Deiotariana). Here is Cassius Dio’s account of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt from the Roman point of view:
At first the Romans took no account of them. Soon, however, all Judea had been stirred up, and the Jews everywhere were showing signs of disturbance, were gathering together, and giving evidence of great hostility to the Romans, partly by secret and partly by overt acts; many outside nations, too, were joining them through eagerness for gain, and the whole earth, one might almost say, was being stirred up over the matter. Then, indeed, Hadrian sent against them his best generals. First of these was Julius Severus, who was dispatched from Britain, where he was governor, against the Jews. Severus did not venture to attack his opponents in the open at any one point, in view of their numbers and their desperation, but by intercepting small groups, thanks to the number of his soldiers and his under-officers, and by depriving them of food and shutting them up, he was able, rather slowly, to be sure, but with comparatively little danger, to crush, exhaust and exterminate them. Very few of them in fact survived. Fifty of their most important outposts and nine hundred and eighty-five of their most famous villages were razed to the ground. Five hundred and eighty thousand men were slain in the various raids and battles, and the number of those that perished by famine, disease and fire was past finding out. Thus nearly the whole of Judea was made desolate, a result of which the people had had forewarning before the war. For the tomb of Solomon, which the Jews regard as an object of veneration, fell to pieces of itself and collapsed, and many wolves and hyenas rushed howling into their cities. Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore Hadrian in writing to the senate did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors, "If you and our children are in health, it is well; I and the legions are in health." (Cassiius Dio, Roman History 69.13-69.14)
Hadrian renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina" after the Jew's second revolt against Rome in 130-135, and rebuilt it as a Roman city. Jews were forbidden entrance into the city except once a year to mourn their fallen Temple.
Hadrian’s projects in the city of Aelia Capitolina included building a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount right on top of the destroyed Jewish Temple. He hoped that the presence of a temple to a Roman god on the site would stamp out any Jewish hope of recovering and rebuilding their city. A statue of Hadrian was also placed on the Temple Mount. Hadrian’s successor, Antoninus Pius, placed a statue of himself there as well. A broken piece of this statue’s inscription can still be seen today in the southern Temple Mount wall above the Double Gate.
The location of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection was also covered up by Hadrian when he built a retaining wall over the site. He used fallen Herodian ashlar stones from the Jewish Temple Mount to build the wall, and filled in the area with soil to form a platform upon which he erected a statue to Jupiter and a temple to Venus.
Roman towns were laid out with two main roads crossing in the center. One road, called the decumanus, ran east to west and a second road, called the cardo, ran north to south. The place where they intersected would include the market. In Aelia Capitolina the decumanus ran from the Three Towers (Phasael, by today’s Jaffa Gate) straight to the Temple Mount where it turned north before it continued east out the Lions, or Stephen’s, Gate. The cardo, or the north-south road, ran from the main north gate (Damascus Gate today) to Mount Zion in the south. This cardo with its pavement, street, curb, sidewalk, pillars and storefronts can still be seen today.
The Roman Tenth Legion had been stationed in Jerusalem since 70 AD. They spent 65 years camped on the western hill near the Jaffa gate and the Citadel. A Roman pillar still stands in that area with an inscription left by the Tenth Legion. Archaeological evidence indicates that after the Bar Kokhba Revolt they may have moved to or extended their camp to include the Temple Mount.
In 313 Constantine declared Christianity a legal religion with the Edict of Milan. Then in 324, he united the eastern half of the Roman Empire with his western half, and Christianity became the dominant religion in Jerusalem until the Muslims conquered it in 638.
Constantine created a new capital for the Roman Empire, moving it from Rome to the city of Byzantium on the coast of northwest Asia Minor at the crossroads of Europe and the East. This newly united and Christianized Roman Empire, which ruled Jerusalem until the Muslim conquest in 638, is known today as the Byzantine Empire. Constantine called his new Roman capitol city Constantinople. Many of the treasures of Rome were moved to Constantinople, or modern day Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey.
Many churches were built in the city of Jerusalem at this time, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which commemorates the location of Jesus death on Calvary and his resurrection from the tomb in the nearby garden. Although the empire officially converted from paganism to Christianity, the Byzantine Empire maintained an anti-Jewish position and did not allow Jews to enter Jerusalem except on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (Tisha B’Av), the date for both the Babylonian (586 BC) and the Roman (70 AD) destructions of the Jewish Temple. The Temple Mount continued to be neglected and was left in ruins to fulfill Jesus words:
Your house is left to you desolate. - Matthew 23:38
This is Jerusalem from the time of the Bordeaux Pilgrim's visit from Gaul in 333 until the Muslim invasion of 638. The Bordeaux Pilgrim's written account of his visit is traced with the dotted line beginning on the east side, just outside the Temple Mount.
There also is the chamber in which he sat and wrote the (Book of) Wisdom; (This chamber was called Solomon’s Stables by the Crusaders and still is today.) this chamber is covered with a single stone. There are also large subterranean reservoirs for water and pools constructed with great labor. And in the building itself, where stood the temple which Solomon built, they say that the blood of Zacharias (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51) which was shed upon the stone pavement before the altar remains to this day. There are also to be seen the marks of the nails in the shoes of the soldiers who slew him, throughout the whole enclosure, so plain that you would think they were impressed upon wax. There are two statues of Hadrian, (One of Hadrian and the other of Antoninus Pius. The inscription stone of Antoninus’ statue can still be seen today in the Southern Temple Mount Wall above the Double Gate) and not far from the statues there is a perforated stone (This is the bedrock of Mt. Moriah where the Ark of the Covenant sat in the Most Holy Place in the Temple of Solomon. This perforation, or carved out and leveled depression, can be seen inside the Dome of the Rock and is the same size as the Ark of the Covenant.) to which the Jews come every year and anoint it, bewail themselves with groans, rend their garments, and so depart. There also is the house of Hezekiah King of Judah. Also as you come out of Jerusalem to go up Mount Sion, (i.e., after leaving the Temple Mount and heading south out of the city on the main road, the Cardo Maximus) on the left hand, below in the valley, beside the wall, is a pool which is called Siloe (Pool of Siloam, John 9:1-11) and has four porticoes;