Ancient History

Last week, I was privileged to visit Williamsburg, Virginia, and had a glimpse of what life was like in America in the early 1600’s, over 400 years ago.  When you get to visit Jerusalem, you are encountering a place that has been lived in over 4,000 years ago.  It gives one a sobering perspective, a grasp of the scale of the human history, of which we are a part.  It is a cause for hope.  There might be despair in this life, and in the holy land, but let us remember the long view.  Let us remember hope.

The place was called Jebus and the people who lived there were called Jebusites.  There is evidence of their life at that spot from around the year 2,600 BC.  It must have been a well-fortified village because it seemed to be safe and secure until David was able to conquer it by finding a way up the water shaft around the year 1003 BC.

Here’s brief overview of who inhabited and controlled Jerusalem down through history –

2600 BC            Jebusites / Canaanites settlements found near present day Jerusalem

1250 BC            Israelites enter the Promised Land

1100 BC            Saul made king and monarchy begins.   David makes plans for the Temple to be built on the larger mountain just north of the City of David, and begins to extend his city.

970 BC            Solomon begins building the Temple, which will remain as the very center of Jewish life and identity for 400 years.

587 BC            Babylonians capture Judah, raze Jerusalem and destroy the Temple

515 BC            Jews allowed to return to Jerusalem and set about to rebuild the Temple.

322 BC            Alexander conquers Palestine, dies 9 years later and his empire is divided between three of his generals, who clash over the control of Judea, which eventually goes to the Syria based Seleucids.

164 BC            Prompted by the outrageous actions of the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Jews take control of Judea as a consequence of the Jewish Maccabean revolt. They rule for 100 years

63 BC                  Romans legions under Pompey conquer Jerusalem

614            Jerusalem captured by Persian army

628                        Persian forces driven off by Byzantine forces

638            Arabs regain control. Six years after Muhammed’s death, his successor, caliph Omar, defeated the Byzantines at the Yarmuk River in modern day Syria. Arabs occupy Jerusalem and the rubble in the Temple area is cleared away for the construction of the Dome of the Rock (691) and El-Asqa (705)

1071            Jerusalem fell to the Seljuk Turks, who forbade Christians to enter the Holy City

1074 & 1095            “Pleas from the Byzantine Emperors, now threatened by the Seljuks. In 1074, Emperor Michael VII to Pope Gregory VII and in 1095, from Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to Pope Urban II who blessed Christian armies who fought to reclaim lands lost to Muslim invaders in previous centuries.

1095 -1291            The Crusades

1099            15 July – Crusaders enter the city of Jerusalem. Kingdom of Jerusalem created, a Crusader state

1147 – 1149             Second Crusade

1187            Saladin captures Jerusalem October 2 – Byzantines make alliance with Saladin.

1516            Mameluke control of the Holy City ended with their defeat at the hands of the Ottomans.  Ottoman Empire is in control of Jerusalem until the end of WWI.

1917       British Mandate

1948       British withdraw.  Jerusalem is controlled by Jordan.  Ongoing conflict between Jews and Arabs.jebusites

Published by: wismered

an Episcopalian priest living in Houston, Texas. My wife and I have 4 kids thriving in college! Day job is pastoring 850+ students, 18 months to 8th grade at St Francis Episcopal Day School.

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