City Of David
In 11 BCE, King David conquered the Jebusite city and named it “The City of David” as his capital (2 Samuel 5:6-10). The City of David is located south of the Temple Mount and east of the current location of Mount Zion. The City of David was oversaw by Ophel – an elevated area (2 Chr 33:14). It was the center of an important territory. David conquered this Jebusite city because of the advantages of the Gihon Spring, the strong defensive location, and its geographical setting. According to the Biblical Archaeology Review May/June 2016 issue, in King David’s time, about 5 hectares (12 Acres) were inhabited by 700 people at most.
Jerusalem Made Capital of the United Kingdom
2 Samuel 5:6-106 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, even the blind and the lame will turn you back”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” 7 Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David. 8 David had said on that day, “Whoever would strike down the Jebusites, let him get up the water shaft to attack the lame and the blind, those whom David hates.” Therefore it is said, “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.” 9 David occupied the stronghold, and named it the city of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward. 10 And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.
the stepped stone structure (Millo)
2 Samuel 5:7 “Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion, which is now the city of David.”
Archaeologists debate and some suggest that this structure is part of the foundation of the Canaanite-Jebusite Fortress of Zion conquered by King David. It is dated back to around the 11th century BCE. In 2 Samuel 5:9 “David occupied the stronghold, and named it the City of David. David built the city all around from the Millo inward.”
the large stone structure
At the excavation site, the remains of the “Large Stone Structure” were discovered. Archaeologists agree that this structure was approximately the early 10th century BCE and suggest that it was part of the palace of King David.
2 Samuel 5:11 “King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar trees, and carpenters and masons who built David a house.”
the house of Ahiel
This house is a typical “four-room house” style in the First Temple period. It is called “The House of Ahiel” because the name Ahiel appears on potsherds found in the ruins of this house. It consists of three rectangular rooms, an open courtyard where farm animals were kept (the fourth room), and the roof.
an ancient toilet
A rare find in the House of Ahiel is a toilet, as you can see at the right of the picture. It is a stone with a hole in the center. The archaeologists suggest that the discovery of a stone toilet reflects the fact that this house was in the elevated, residential district.
*Photo was contributed by Dr. Carl Rasmussen.
the model of the house of Ahiel
This model shows the reconstruction of the House of Ahiel, the First Temple Period residential structure.
the house of bullae
Jeremiah 32:14 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time.”
One bullae was found with the name of Jehucal who was mentioned in:
Jeremiah 37:3 “King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to the prophet Jeremiah saying, “Please pray for us to the Lord our God.”
Another bullae with the name of Gemariah was found nearby.
Jeremiah 36:10 “Then, in the hearing of all the people, Baruch read the words of Jeremiah from the scroll, in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah son of Shaphan the secretary, which was in the upper court, at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord’s house.”
the hasmonean tower
This wall was built by the Hasmonean rulers at about the end of the 2nd century BCE. It was built along the wall constructed by Nehemiah after the return of the exiles from Babylon around the middle of 5th century BCE.
Nehemiah 2:17 Then I (Nehemiah) said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace.”
an ancient crane
A model of an ancient crane is represented at the entrance to the City of David.
an illustration of an ancient crane
“Eventually, ingeniously-designed machines and tools were invented to move heavy materials to the construction sites, but the main challenge was in lifting. The buildings rose far higher than what men could reach, and with such heavy materials, they were fighting a losing battle with gravity. Gravity pulls objects down. They needed a solution that would reverse the force.
It began with just a plank on a support, and by pressing down on one side, the other side would rise, like a playground seesaw.
an ancient tomb lookout
Along the Kidron Valley, there is a village called Silwan. Approximately 50 burial caves are under that village, according to the archaeologists. These burial caves were part of the cemetery of Jerusalem during the First Temple period. This photo shows two burial caves (the circled ones) under the residential areas.