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A History of Jerusalem

The New Testament mentions the name "Jerusalem" 139 times. Jesus visited Jerusalem and spent his last week there. But that only covers Jerusalem for about 30 years: what about the rest of Jerusalemís history? Well, here we go (and this is abbreviated!).

The earliest mention of Jerusalem is from the Bible. In Genesis 14:18, the king of Salem (probably Jerusalem) met Abraham; this occurred around 1950 BC. In the 1800s BC, the city of "Rusalimum" is mentioned in Egyptian Execration Texts. In the 1300s BC, the city of "Urusalim" is mentioned in letters to Egypt (Amarna Letters). Around 1000 BC, the Jewish King David attacked a city controlled by the Jebusites and made it his capital, this was Jerusalem (II Samuel 5:6,7). His son, Solomon, built the Temple in Jerusalem. After Solomon, the kingdom split with Jerusalem going to the southern kingdom. The Assyrians defeated the northern kingdom in 722 BC. The Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar, captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 586 BC. In 539 BC, Cyrus, the Persian King, defeated the Babylonians, and declared that Jews who had been taken captive by the Babylonians could return to Jerusalem. Many Jews returned and rebuilt the Temple. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great defeated the Persians and gained control of Jerusalem. Upon his death in 323 BC, Egyptians gained Jerusalem. In 198, Jerusalem switched over to the Syrian Seleucids. Around 169 BC, the Seleucid King, Antiochus IV, sought to destroy the Jewish faith and desecrated the Temple. The Jews revolted and re-established the Jewish kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital. The Jews were able to maintain control of Jerusalem until 63 BC when the Roman General Pompey captured Jerusalem. The Jews were allowed to remain in Jerusalem, but under Roman occupation. The Jews revolted against the Romans in AD 66 and regained Jerusalem and their kingdom. The Romans recaptured Jerusalem in AD 70 and destroyed the Temple (which has not been rebuilt). The Jews revolted again in AD 132 and regained Jerusalem and their kingdom. The Romans recaptured Jerusalem in AD 135 and forced the Jews to leave the city. Eventually Jews are allowed to return. In 614, the Persians gained control of Jerusalem. In 629 the Byzantines captured Jerusalem. In 638 (six years after Muhammadís death), the Muslim leader Omar entered Jerusalem, and the city became Muslim. In 1099, the Christian Crusaders from Europe captured Jerusalem. In 1187, the Muslim general Saladin captured Jerusalem. In 1192, Richard the Lion-Hearted attempted to capture Jerusalem, but failed. In 1275, Marco Polo stopped by on his way to China. In 1517, the Ottomans gained control of Jerusalem. In 1917, the British gained control of Jerusalem. In 1947, the United Nations recommended partitioning Israel between the Jews and the Palestinians Muslims. On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation. On May 14, 1948 (the same day), the surrounding Muslim nations attacked Israel; Israel gained additional territory. In April 1949 Israel and Transjordan agreed to divide Jerusalem. Jerusalem (or part of Jerusalem) became the official capital of Israel on Dec 13, 1949. On June 5, 1967, Jordan (former Transjordan) shelled the Jewish part of Jerusalem. On June 7, 1967, the Jews captured the Jordan part of Jerusalem. And the Jews have controlled Jerusalem ever since.

©2007 Mark Nickens

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