The City of David
This morning we went to the City of David. We had a lovely Jewish girl named Ruth as our tour guide. Born in Israel, her English was impeccable because her mother was American. She spoke dramatically about her topic. The tour started with a movie showing an artists conception of David’s city and palace (click on the link to watch an excerpt from that video).
Our guide then took us up on top of the site where we could see the topography of the area around us. In Psalm 125:2, which was possibly written by David, it says, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” From David’s City you are indeed surrounded by mountains on three sides. To the west is what has been erroneously named Mt. Zion. To the east is the Mount of Olives. To the South is what is now called the Mount of Evil Intent. And to the north is the Temple Mount (the actual Mt. Zion). The view from on top of David’s palace would have been marvellous. I could imagine this anointed King standing there and rejoicing in the land, the people and the goodness of God.
As David gained power he searched for a city where he could set up his capital. Jerusalem was highly defendable because it was set on a mountain top with deep valleys around it. The Jebusites who lived there (4000 years ago!) had already built a substantial wall to defend it. The water source was from the Gihon Spring which was outside the wall. So the Jebusites built a fortress around that spring and carved out a water tunnel through solid rock to bring that fresh water into the city. David knew that storming the wall would be a costly and lengthy process. The story is found in 2 Samuel 5:6-10;
The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion —which is the City of David.
On that day David had said, “Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those ‘lame and blind’ who are David’s enemies.” That is why they say, “The ‘blind and lame’ will not enter the palace.” David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.
A king needs a nice place to live. Once David was firmly established he decided to build his palace. There was really no one in Israel who had the skill and resources to build a palace. They were all shepherds and farmers. So David looked to the north, to what is now modern day Lebanon. The story continues in 2 Samuel 5:11,12;
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
Archeology has revealed that the ruins we saw in the City of David were very possibly the palace that David built. They found pottery dating to David’s time. They found substantially large foundational walls and a large stone capital, carved in the photo-ionic style typical of royal palaces at that time. According to our guide, they found in those ruins a knife. On the handle of the knife was a very particular design. The only other place they have found this design is in the archeological materiel gathered from the northern Phoenician city of Tyre, the realm of King Hiram, who built the palace for King David!
God was establishing a kingdom through his servant David. The bible teaches that the Messiah would come in the line of David and that he will reign forever (2Sam. 7:11-13).
Out of these ancient stones the story of God’s work among His people speaks to our modern world, affirming the truth of God’s Word.
Click the photos below to view them full-size…