Containing The Interval Of Forty Years.
From The Death Of Saul To The Death Of David.
How David Laid Siege To Jerusalem; And When He Had Taken The City, He Cast The Canaanites Out Of It, And Brought In The Jews To Inhabit Therein.
1. NOW the Jebusites, who were the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and were by extraction Canaanites, shut their gates, and placed the blind, and the lame, and all their maimed persons, upon the wall, in way of derision of the king, and said that the very lame themselves would hinder his entrance into it. This they did out of contempt of his power, and as depending on the strength of their walls. David was hereby enraged, and began the siege of Jerusalem, and employed his utmost diligence and alacrity therein, as intending by the taking of this place to demonstrate his power, and to intimidate all others that might be of the like [evil] disposition towards him. So he took the lower city by force, but the citadel held out still; (4) whence it was that the king, knowing that the proposal of dignities and rewards would encourage the soldiers to greater actions, promised that he who should first go over the ditches that were beneath the citadel, and should ascend to the citadel itself and take it, should have the command of the entire people conferred upon him. So they all were ambitious to ascend, and thought no pains too great in order to ascend thither, out of their desire of the chief command. However, Joab, the son of Zeruiah, prevented the rest; and as soon as he was got up to the citadel, cried out to the king, and claimed the chief command.
2. When David had cast the Jebusites out of the citadel, he also rebuilt Jerusalem, and named it The City of David, and abode there all the time of his reign; but for the time that he reigned over the tribe of Judah only in Hebron, it was seven years and six months. Now when he had chosen Jerusalem to be his royal city, his affairs did more and more prosper, by the providence of God, who took care that they should improve and be augmented. Hiram also, the king of the Tyrians, sent ambassadors to him, and made a league of mutual friendship and assistance with him. He also sent him presents, cedar-trees, and mechanics, and men skillful in building and architecture, that they might build him a royal palace at Jerusalem.
Now David made buildings round about the lower city: he also joined the citadel to it, and made it one body; and when he had encompassed all with walls, he appointed Joab to take care of them. It was David, therefore, who first cast the Jebusites out of Jerusalem, and called it by his own name, The City of David: for under our forefather Abraham it was called (Salem, or) Solyma; (5) but after that time, some say that Homer mentions it by that name of Solyma, [for he named the temple Solyma, according to the Hebrew language, which denotes security.] Now the whole time from the warfare under Joshua our general against the Canaanites, and from that war in which he overcame them, and distributed the land among the Hebrews, (nor could the Israelites ever cast the Canaanites out of Jerusalem until this time, when David took it by siege,) this whole time was five hundred and fifteen years.
3. I shall now make mention of Araunah, who was a wealthy man among the Jebusites, but was not slain by David in the siege of Jerusalem, because of the good-will he bore to the Hebrews, and a particular benignity and affection which he had to the king himself; which I shall take a more seasonable opportunity to speak of a little afterwards. Now David married other wives over and above those which he had before: he had also concubines. The sons whom he had were in number eleven, whose names were Amnon, Emnos, Eban, Nathan, Solomon, Jeban, Elien, Phalna, Ennaphen, Jenae, Eliphale; and a daughter, Tamar. Nine of these were born of legitimate wives, but the two last-named of concubines; and Tamar had the same mother with Absalom.
(4) What our other copies say of Mount Sion, as alone properly called the city of David, 2 Samuel 5:6-9, and of this its siege and conquest now by David, Josephus applies to the whole city Jerusalem, though including the citadel also; by what authority we do not now know perhaps, after David had united them together, or joined the citadel to the lower city, as Sect. 2, Josephus esteemed them as one city. However, this notion seems to be confirmed by what the same Josephus says concerning David's and many other kings of Judah's sepulchers, which as the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles say were in the city of David, so does Josephus still say they were in Jerusalem. The sepulcher of David seems to have been also a known place in the several days of Hyrcanus, of Herod, and of St. Peter, Antiq. B. XIII. Ch. 8. Sect. 4, B. XVI. Ch. 8. Sect. 1; Acts 2:29.
Now no such royal sepulchers have been found about Mount Sion, but are found close by the north wall of Jerusalem, which I suspect, therefore, to be these very sepulchers. See the note on Ch. 15. Sect. 3. In the meantime, Josephus's explication of the lame, and the blind, and the maimed, as set to keep this city or citadel, seems to be the truth, and gives the best light to that history in our Bible. Mr. Ottius truly observes, (up. Hayercamp, p. 305,) that Josephus never mentions Mount Sion by that name, as taking it for an appellative, as I suppose, and not for a proper name; he still either styles it The Citadel, or The Upper City; nor do I see any reason for Mr. Ottius's evil suspicions about this procedure of Josephus.
(5) Some copies of Josephus have here Solyma, or Salem; and others Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem. The latter best agree to what Josephus says elsewhere, (Of the War, B. VI. Ch. 10) that this city was called Solyma, or Salem, before the days of Melchisedec, but was by him called Hierosolyma, or Jerusalem. I rather suppose it to have been so called after Abraham had received that oracle Jehovah Jireh,
"The Lord will see, or provide," (Genesis 22:14).
The latter word, Jireh, with a little alteration, prefixed to the old name Salem, Peace, will be Jerusalem; and since that expression, "God will see," or rather,
"God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering," (ver. 8, 14)
is there said to have been proverbial till the days of Moses, this seems to me the most probable derivation of that name, which will then denote that God would provide peace by that
"Lamb of God which was to take away the sins of the world."
However, that which is put into brackets can hardly be supposed the genuine words of Josephus, as Dr. Hudson well judges.