This article was in Saturday’s news telling about a 3,700 year old wall found inside the City of David….near the old city of East Jerusalem on a slope of the Silwan Valley. The article states the wall is believed to have been built by the Canaanites, an ancient pagan people who the Bible says inhabited Jerusalem and other parts of the Middle East before the advent of monotheism.
Wait……wasn’t Jerusalem a Hebrew city….always inhabited by the Jews?
No, no it wasn’t.
Archeological evidence indicates the oldest part of Jerusalem dates back to the Copper Age, and evidence for permanent settlement dates back to between 3,000 to 2,800 BC.
The earliest inhabitants of the area are not just mentioned in the Bible but are mentioned in the Execration texts…..these are also referred to as the Proscription Lists. These are ancient Egyptian texts that basically served as a list of enemies or troublesome folks in the area. Scholars believe that the city referred to as Roshlamem or Rosh-ramen is Jerusalem.
The Amarna Letters, a record of correspondence between Egyptian leaders and representatives of Canaan and Amurru, also mention the city.
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary states, in the Pentateuch, the city of Jerusalem is not directly mentioned. Moriah…. Genesis 22:2; associated with the site of Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 3:1…and Salem…. Genesis 14:18; associated with Zion in Psalm Psalm 76:2….apparently refer to the same site and establish a link between the city and the patriarch Abraham.
Jewish tradition holds that city was originally founded by Shem and Eber…..ancestors of Abraham. In fact, Genesis 10 mentions the Jebusites through the lines of Ham and Canaan. A Jewish encyclopedia though contends many scholars are uncertain if Melchizedek was actually a Jebusite himself, but could have been a member of another group in charge of the city. The argument stems from the fact that the town is referred to as Salem rather than Jebus in the passages mentioning Melchizedek.
Judges 19:10-11 refers to the city as Jebus and was captured in Joshua’s time…. Judges 1:8…but the Jebusites were not driven out … Joshua 15:63; Judges 1:21
You can find out more regarding the archeology of Jerusalem here.