Jerusalem is the most famous city in the world. It's located in the Judean Hills of Israel, with the Hinnom and Kidron valleys as part of its borders. Its elevation is 2600 feet above sea level.
Mentions of the city can be found in Egyptian texts dating back to the 19th century BC.
Jerusalem is first mentioned in the Bible as Salem, or Shalem, in Genesis 14:18, which describes a meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek.
Jerusalem became the seat of power for the land of Israel during the time of King David. David drove the Jebusites out of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:9) and named it the City of David. He reigned there as King of Israel for 33 years, after reigning his first 7 years in Hebron. After David, all of the kings of Judah reigned in Jerusalem. David's son, Solomon, built the Temple in Jerusalem, which was later destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again.
In 701 BC the Assyrians besieged Jerusalem. But, through the prayers of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, an Angel of the Lord saved the city (2 Kings, chapter 19).
In 586 BC the city was conquered and the Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army. After the Persians defeated Babylon, some of the Jews who had been taken as captives by the Babylonians were able to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple. Jerusalem again became the capital of the land of Israel during the Hasmonean period, until 63 BC when the Romans occupied the city.
Herod, a Roman vassal, rebuilt the city and reconstructed the Temple. Jesus visited and preached in the city, and was crucified outside its gates. After the death of Jesus, the city became holy to the Christians. The Romans destroyed the city and the Temple in AD 70.
Constantine the Great sent his mother Helena to Israel in AD 326, and she became associated with Constantine's building of the first great Christian churches. Many Archeologists since the 1800's excavated in and around Jerusalem. Today with 3 major religions centered in Jerusalem, it is the focal point of the world. But in the future the "New Jerusalem" will descend out of Heaven, and the world will live in eternal peace.
The original site of Jerusalem, as it was during the days of King David about 3000 years ago, is still sometimes called the City of David. It is south of the Temple Mount and is surrounded by hills, as reflected in Psalms 125:2, of which the NIV translation reads: "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore."
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