Capital of Judah and the site of the Temple.

Jerusalem is located in central Palestine. Until the time of David it was a Canaanite village known as Jebus. David selected the city to be his capital because the northern and southern tribes had engaged in civil war after the death of Saul. Jerusalem was centrally located and had previously belonged to neither side. David's soldiers captured the city by climbing a water shaft and mounting a surprise attack (2 Sam 5:6-10). Jerusalem became the kingdom's religious center when David brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city and Solomon built the first Temple. When the kingdom divided in 922 B.C., Jerusalem remained the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. The Assyrians besieged Jerusalem in the late eighth century B.C., but the city did not fall. In 587 B.C. the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, destroyed its Temple, and exiled many of its citizens. The exiles who returned after 538 B.C. began the work of rebuilding the Temple, the city, and its walls.
Wailing Wall

Western wall of Temple platform
built by Herod the Great
1st cent. B.C.

In New Testament times, Jesus is said to have visited Jerusalem as a child (Luke 2). According to John's gospel, Jesus came to Jerusalem a number of times, teaching and working miracles. The other gospels suggest that he made only one trip to Jerusalem during his ministry. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem and appeared to his disciples there after his resurrection (Luke 24; John 20). Acts relates that the disciples received the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem after Jesus' ascension. The disciples taught, worked miracles, and engaged in controversy in Jerusalem (Acts 2-5). Stephen was martyred there (Acts 6-7). At a conference in Jerusalem it was agreed that Gentile converts to Christianity did not need to be circumcised (Acts 15). At the end of his ministry Paul was arrested in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17-22:30), imprisoned in Caesarea, and finally sent to Rome. The Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 in the Jewish revolt against Rome.

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