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Thursday, July 7 2011
The Walls Of Jerusalem
Ancient cities were usually built like a fortress (a walled city's greatest strength), surrounded by agricultural lands, and often the city's primary water supply (a walled city's greatest weakness). In the case of water, it was sometimes a security trade-off between building the city on high ground, which was more defensible, or at a lower elevation where water could be more easily accessed.
The Hebrew word that is translated as "city," pronounced aw-yawr, means a guarded place, referring to the perimeter wall that protects the inhabitants from invaders, or in the case of the first-recorded city builder, Cain, those who sought revenge against him. Cain named his city after his son, Enoch, the walls of which to the fearful and tormented murderer must have been more like a prison - Cain did his "life sentence" behind those walls.
"4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 4:14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
The next specific mention of cities in the Holy Scriptures came after the Flood (see The Floods Brought By Christ). As evident from the definition of "city," they were built by a great military man, in "Babylon" (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?).
"10:8 And Cush [see also The Family Of Ham] begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10:10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
"So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David"
Jerusalem (earlier known as Jebus, after the people who lived there i.e. Judges 19:10) existed long before the Israelites took it in the time of, and personally by, King David after the Israelite Civil War (see The Civil War Kings). The people of the city boasted that their walls could not be penetrated, but David found a way because the Way was with him.
"5:1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron [see also A View Of Heaven And Hell From Hebron], and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 5:2 Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.
As explained above, a city was a strong enclosure, but it was rarely self-sufficient. The two greatest falls of Jerusalem happened after a long siege that cut off the city's supply lines. In the case of Jerusalem's fall to Babylon, it came after an 18-month siege when "the famine prevailed in the city."
"25:1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [see Ancient Empires - Babylon] came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it: and they built forts against it round about. 25:2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 25:3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land. 25:4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden: now the Chaldees were against the city round about: and the king went the way toward the plain. 25:5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him. 25:6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him. 25:7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah [see Zedekiah Of Judah], and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
Fact Finder: The walls of Jerusalem that were destroyed by the Babylonians were rebuilt in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the people of Judah returned from their 70-years exile in Babylon (see also Jeremiah's Field). They lasted for about 5 centuries until another siege of Jerusalem, by the Romans, destroyed much of the walls of Jerusalem again. What did Jesus Christ say, and warn, about that?
This Day In History, July 7
1307: King Edward I of England died on his way north to subdue a rebellion in Scotland; he was succeeded by Edward II.
1534: The first recorded encounter of Europeans and native people of the Gulf of St. Lawrence area occurred, in what is today the Canadian Province of New Brunswick.
1543: France invaded Luxembourg.
1575: The Raid of the Redeswire; the last major battle between England and Scotland.
1668: Isaac Newton received his MA from Trinity College, Cambridge.
1798: Napoleon Bonaparte's army began its march towards Cairo, Egypt, from Alexandria.
1807: The first of the Treaties of Tilsit was signed, during which France, under Napoleon Bonaparte, and Russia, under Czar Alexander, became allies and divided Europe between them.
1846: During the Mexican-American war (a geographically-inaccurate term, since all people of the continents of North and South America, from the northern tip of Canada to the southern tip of Argentina, are "Americans"), the U.S. annexed California from Mexico. By the end of the war in 1848, Mexico lost the territories of what is today California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, plus parts of Colorado and New Mexico. As well, Texas broke away from Mexico and later joined the U.S.
1865: Lewis Paine, David Herold, George Atzerodt and Mary Surratt were executed by public hanging in Washington's Old Penitentiary. They had been convicted of "treasonable conspiracy" in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
1898: U.S. President William McKinley declared the Newlands Resolution to annex Hawaii as a territory of the U.S.
1928: The Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri introduced a new product to the market - pre-sliced bread.
1930: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, English author and creator of "Sherlock Holmes," died.
1937: Following the establishment of a commission to investigate the mandate in Palestine, the Peel Report was published in Britain (listen to our Sermons The Balfour Declaration and The Ottoman Empire).
1937: Japan invaded China.
1959: The planet Venus (the pagan name that scientists have given to the planet) occulted (blocked from view) the star Regulus. The event is used to calculate the diameter of Venus.
1967: Civil war began in Biafra.
1978: The Solomon Islands were granted independence from Britain.
1980: Sharia was instituted in Iran.
2005: Terrorist explosions in London's transport system killed 56 people (including the four suicide bombers) and injured over 700.