Volume. XXXiii, No. 46
Sunday, 12 May 2019

From the Pastor’s Heart: Jerusalem (2)

We saw that Josephus describes Jerusalem by distinguishing five distinct regions, and I wrote about three of them last week.  They are (1) The Upper City or Upper Market Place (The hill, Zion, or the City of David), (2) Akra [or Acra, which means “fortress”] and Lower City [this name is a bit confusing, because sometimes Lower City or Akra was used to include the City of David, too], and (3) The Temple Hill [Moriah, sometimes called “Ophel”; or it has been strongly suggested that the Temple Hill is also “threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite”].  The Septuagint [LXX] identifies the Akra with Millo (2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Kings 9:15–24; 2 Chronicles 32:5).  The Upper Market refers to the city of David, which is sometimes called “Zion.”  From the 4th century AD, this hill has also been known as “Zion,” and on it today is the so-called “Tower of David,” built on the foundations of two of Herod’s great towers.  Antiochus Epiphanes (168 BC), who was an enemy of the Jews, fortified the city after he had destroyed Jerusalem.  1 Maccabees 1:33-36 [New American Bible (Revised Edition)] reads as follows: “33 Then they built up the City of David with a high, strong wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel. 34 There they installed a sinful race, transgressors of the law, who fortified themselves inside it. 35 They stored up weapons and provisions, depositing there the plunder they had collected from Jerusalem, and they became a great snare. 36 The citadel became an ambush against the sanctuary, and a wicked adversary to Israel at all times.”  This formidable fortress became a constant menace to the Jews, until at length, in 142 BC, it was captured by Simon.  Having said all of these things, I must admit that there are scholarly disputes over exact locations attached to these names.  Josephus looks upon “City of David” and “Akra” as synonymous, and applies to both the name “Lower City.”  Today, I am going to begin with the fourth region of Jerusalem. 


(4) Bezetha

“It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to the old city with this wall (i.e. the third wall) which had been all naked before; for as the city grew more populous, it gradually crept beyond its old limits, and those parts of it that stood northward of the Temple, and joined that hill to the city, made it considerably larger, and occasioned that hill which is in number the fourth, and is called ‘Bezetha,’ to be inhabited also. It lies over against the tower Antonia, but is divided from it by a deep valley, which was dug on purpose. .... This new-built part of the city was called ‘Bezetha’ in our language, which, if interpreted in the Greek language, may be called the ‘New City’” (ISBE).  This is clearly the northeastern hill.  I wish to show you the map of old Jerusalem to give you a clear picture of the city.  However, unfortunately, all the good ones are copyrighted and also I cannot add more words to the maps to give some additional information.  You may want to go to BibleStudy.org and find an old Jerusalem map to understand what is written above.  I do not find any other biblical name for Bezetha. 


I would say that the City of David (Upper City, Zion) refers to the Jewish quarter today, and The Temple Mount (Moriah) refers to the place where the Dome of the Rock is situated.  Akra and Bezetha refer to the Muslim quarter, and a part of it is in the Armenian quarter.  The last region is the Northern Quarter of the city, which belongs to the Christian quarter today. 


(5) The Northern Quarter of the City

From the account of the walls given by Josephus, it is evident that the northern part of his “first wall” ran along the northern edge of the southwestern hill; the second wall enclosed the inhabited part of the northwestern hill.  Thus Josephus writes: “The second wall took its beginning from the gate which they called Gennath in the first wall, and enclosing, the northern quarter only reached to the Antonia.”  This particular region does not have any other name in both the Old and the New Testaments.  However, some parts of this region is also identified as Akra. 


Its History

It is clear that the citadel “Zion” of the Jebusites became the “City of David” (2 Samuel 5:7; 1 Chronicles 11:5) after its capture by the Hebrews.  The capture of the Jebusite city by means of the gutter is mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:8. Originally, “City of David” was only the name of the Jebusite fort, but later it became equivalent to the whole southeastern hill.  For the names Ophel and Ophlas see OPHEL.

  1. Jerusalem (Jebus – ancient name) was populated by the Jebusites (a Canaanite tribe). It is a city built on seven hills. A partial siege carried out by the tribe of Judah against the city (Judges 1:8) took place a short time after the death of Joshua.
  2. When David became king over the United Kingdom, one of his first acts was to battle the Jebusites to capture the city and made it his capital. It was probably around 1003 B.C.  David began to rule over Judah in 1010 B. C., and continued for seven and a half years.  Then he became the ruler over both Judah and Israel. 
  3. Solomon continued to rule in Jerusalem after his father David died.
  4. Solomon completed and dedicated the Temple to the Lord in Jerusalem around 958-9 B.C.
  5. After Israel was split into two, following Solomon’s death, there were two separate ruling dynasties. The southern kingdom of Judah, composed of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, was ruled by Rehoboam from Jerusalem.  It was around 930 B.C.
  6. The king of Egypt, Shishak, attacked the city in 925 B. C. (2 Chronicles 12:9, 1 Kings 14:25 - 26). He was the first Egyptian Pharaoh to capture and pillage the city.
  7. Many nations attacked the city around 850 B. C. (2 Chronicles 21:16).
  8. King Jehoash of Israel sacked Jerusalem, destroyed its walls and took King Amaziah of Judah prisoner in 792 B. C.
  9. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, attacked the city in 732-5 B. C. (2 Chronicles 28).
  10. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacked King Hezekiah in 701 B. C. (2 Chronicles 32).
  11. King Nebuchadnezzar captured and destroyed the city in 597 and 586 B. C.
  12. The rebuilding of the temple was completed during the reign of Persian King Darius I. in 516 B. C.
  13. The city surrendered to Alexander the Great in 332 B. C.
  14. Antiochus IV Epiphanes became King of the Seleucid Empire. He sacked Jerusalem and erected an altar to Zeus in the Second Temple in 175 B. C.
  15. The Maccabees, led by Mattathias' son Judas Maccabeus, captured Jerusalem and dedicated the temple in 164 B. C.
  16. The Roman Republic, led by Pompey, occupied Palestine in 63 B.C.
  17. Julius Caesar appointed Antipater I to be procurator of Judea in 47 B. C. Antipater was the founder of the Herodian ruling dynasty that would last until 92 A.D.
  18. Herod the Great was appointed King of Judea ("King of the Jews") by the Roman Senate. He was given an army and eventually conquered Judea and the city of Jerusalem.



Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Welcome to our pulpit: Pastor David Weng.
  • Wishing all mothers a Blessed Mother’s Day.
  • Special thanks to organisers & participants of Mother’s Day Picnic & fundraising for Sis Esther Kim.
  • Seniors’ Fellowship Lunch on Thurs, 16 May, 11:45am @ Watermark Glenelg. Please see Dn Boong or Sis Mariam Atijatuporn for details.
  • All worshippers are encouraged to attend Bible Study & fellowship groups.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: AFG. Next week: VFG.    


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • Mother’s Day Picnic
  • Journey mercies: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore); & others who have travelled.



  • Healing: Pastor Ki; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren;  & others in affliction.
  • Missions: Rev Sun Sokha & ministry, Rev Stephen Choi & ministry (PhnomPenh); Sis Esther Kim & ministry (Bandung).
  • Australian Federal Election next Saturday – God’s guidance & wisdom to elect the right party to govern this nation.
  • 33rd Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, 2 Jun.
  • Those away: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki (S’pore/Korea).
  • Journey mercies: Those who are travelling.






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