Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Jerusalem that David Knew

Alice C. Linsley

The Jerusalem that David knew is the oldest part of the city, a 12-acre ridge south of the Temple Mount, known as the "city of David" (II Samuel 5:9). It extended south of the Old City walls. This area was inhabited continuously for 2000 years before David. In David's time, there was a fortified citadel under control of the Jebusites. Jerusalem, which was called "Urusalim" in Akkadian, was an important shrine city in David's time, exhibiting typical characteristics of ancient shrine cities. It had flowing water from a perennial spring and was built on a precipice, as was the shrine city Nekhen at El-Kab on the eastern bank of the Nile in Sudan. The region around Amman in Jordan (Gen. 36:35) was likewise famed for its springs and high citadel.

The name Urusalim in Akkadian cuneiform

Excavations of the City of David have uncovered remains from the Early Bronze Age through the Muslim Period.  Bronze ancestor figurines (teraphim) were found which have perforations around the top of the head. Human hair from the dead ancestor was woven through these perforations. This was common practice and observed among extant biblical tribes.

Bust (Ife) showing perforations for hair

In Area E, the Iron Age rampart reused the Bronze Age city wall. In Area G, the Iron Age remains are on top of the stepped-stone structure. This is a system of foundation walls erected below the summit of the southeastern slope.  The system is comprised of boxes filled with stone and the construction protrudes beyond the natural contour, providing an additonal 2691 square feet. The yellow courses of stone are believed to have served as the base for the Jebusite citadel, and David would have been familiar with this area.

Dame Kathleen Kenyon's partial excavation of the southeastern hill uncovered a fragment of a pilaster capital with the palmette design typical of that which originated in ancient Egypt with subsequent development into various forms throughout Eurasia. 

Jerusalem's Importance in Abraham's Time

The first biblical evidence of the city's importance is Melchizedek.  He was the ruler-priest of Salem who came to Abraham after the battle of the kings (Gen. 14).  It was the custom among Abraham's Kushite people to make atonement for the shedding of blood after battle and likely this is the service that Melchizedek performed for Abraham. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, is called "the priest of the most high God" in Genesis 14:18. His name mean "righteous king."

Three centuries before David ruled in Jerusalem, the city was ruled by Abdi-hepa.  He received his training in Egypt, as was proper for sons of the ruling Kushite caste. The Egyptians regarded him as a warrior and Adbi-hepa claimed to rule by the authority of Pharaoh. The name hepa may be a variant of heqaib, a common name among men of the ruler-priest caste, according to the Egyptologist Labib Habachi. Another ancient water shrine was that of Prince Heqaib on the island of Elephantine. On that same island was found the biography of Pepi-nakht-Heqaib, an official and military commander under Pepi II (BC 2278-2184). As a ruler, Pepi-nakht-Heqaib was known for upholding the rights of firstborn sons.

David himself appears to have been kin to the Kushite rulers of Jerusalem which might explain why he is described as ruddy or red (1Samuel 17:42). This is the same Hebrew word used to describe Esau, one of David's ancestors. Kushite rulers had a red-brown skin color. The Sudanese Kushites were the first to domesticate wild sorghum and millet. These became staple grains in Egypt and were taken to Pakistan and India between 3000 and 1000 BC. David's kingdom, with its center in Jerusalem, would have been at the crossroads of such commerce and would have enjoyed the benefits of trade between Africa and Eurasia.

Had David's claim to the throne been accepted by his kinsmen in Jerusalem, which it apparently was, this would explain why there is no archaeological evidence of David's "conquest" involving destruction of property. Further support for the theory that David was related to the Jebusites is found in II Samuel 24, where we are told that David built a fire altar at the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite. David was of the ruler-priest caste and therefore qualified to offer sacrifice.  He was also a shepherd. All the Horite ruler-priests were shepherds.  These are very roles that characterize the Horite ruler-priests whose patrilineal lines intermarried, bringing us to the Joachim, Mary's father, a descendant of David's prophet Nathan. The Virgin Mary was Miriam Daughter of Joachim Son of Pntjr (Panther) Priests of Nathan of Beth Lehem. From the earliest predynastic times in Egypt, ntjr designated the king among the Kushites. The name Panther or p-ntjr meant "God is King."  It is certain that Mary was of the ruler-priest class because even those who hated her admit this. Sanhedrin 106a says: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.”

Jebusite Builders
The Jebusites were a Kushite people and the Kushites were known as great builders.  Nimrod, the son of Kush, is an example. He built cities in the Tigris River Valley, though his people originated in the Nile Valley.  From the Nile, the Jebusites migrated both east and west. The western boundary of the Jebu is marked by a 1000-year old rampart that is 70 feet high and 100 miles long. The British archaeologist Patrick Darling is credited with drawing world attention to the discovery of the Eredo system of walls. He reports, "We are not linking what we found to a city, but to a vast kingdom boundary rampart."

Eredo rampart

The Eredo walls and ditches are located to the south-west of the Jebu town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state in southwest Nigeria. This is the largest single pre-colonial monument in Africa. Local people link the Eredo boundary walls to Bilikisu Sungbo, another name for Sheba, according to Dr Patrick Darling. This discovery confirms the biblical genealogical data that links the clans of Jebu and Sheba (in ancient Yemen).

German archaeologists working in the Ethiopian highlands have identified the remains of settlements from the the time of David that reveal strong cultural and religious connections to biblical Sheba. The clans of Sheba were close relatives of the Jokanite clans of South Arabia. The territory of Sheba is referred to 24 times in the Hebrew Bible. Beersheba, Keturah's home, was at the northern end of the territory of Sheba. Keturah was Abraham's cousin wife.  See diagram below.

Related reading:  Who Were the Kushites?Edom and the Horites; The Jebusites Unveiled; Frank Moore Cross: Israel's God is the God of the Horites


Lon W. said...

The material in this post will allow hours of study opportunities. Have been putting together a timeline of my own design from ± 12,500 to 9,500 B.C. and your posts always "tie" in well with this current timeline. The timeline is growing complex and fun. Excellent stuff.

Anonymous said...

The people of Ife have kinky hair and natural locks are common. Here, it is considered an anomaly for a man to have braided hair. The only recent exception was with Sango (3rd or 4th Alaafin of Oyo) and his followers.

Alice C. Linsley said...


It is great that you are developing a detailed timeline. That will be very helpful. I hope that you will share it with your readers when it is completed.

Alice C. Linsley said...


Sango was regarded as a deified ruler. The hair-dressing practice that I mentioned appears to have been associated with deified rulers. See this:

Jesus Christ is the Divine Son, the only begotten Son of God. All others are imposters or archetypes that point to Him.

DDeden said...

Urusalim (Akkadian)? I wonder if it meant 'still waters'. "Ur" is Basque (euskara) for water, salim perhaps meant peaceful/still?

Gihon spring at Jerusalem may have been the point of entry for King David's troops. Might it have also been one of the rivers in the garden of Eden story?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Ur is a common Akkadian name. There are many place names using Ur from the Nile to India.

Gihon is derived from the verb (giah) meaning to burst forth. The Bible mentions two Gihons. The first Gihon is Eden's river paired with the Pishon, just as the Tigris is paired with the Euphrates. The Edenic Gihon flowed around the whole land of Kush.

The second Gihon was near Jerusalem and the place where Solomon was anointed king (1 Kings 34). Makes you wonder if the image of bursting forth wasn't meant to reinforce the grandeur of Solomon's reign? This Gihon was rerouted by king Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:30).