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In ancient times, the wall with its towers and gates, which enclosed a city, was important for safety and protection. Defining the wall of Jerusalem is difficult because through time it was destroyed and rebuilt, especially during the centuries of Gentile rule, Luke 21:24, after the Roman destruction of the city in AD 70. For about 200 years after this destruction, Jerusalem was without a protective wall. A new wall was erected about 300. When a powerful earthquake in 1033 destroyed much of the wall, the wall was rebuilt by the Fatimid caliphs, except for the entire southernmost part. Then in 1250, the Muslim caliph dismantled the entire wall, which was later rebuilt in the late 1530s, by Sultan Suleiman. Today, visitors to Jerusalem are told the city is one of the most often razed cities in the world. So much rubble has accumulated that the stones people walk on are in many places twenty feet above the ones Jesus walked on. The present wall and gates do not indicate what the original wall might have been. But it is known that the original ancient fortress city of Jerusalem, known as Jebus, Judges 19:10-11, was in the southeastern mountain ridge area, reaching from near the Gihon Springs to near the Pool of Siloam. When David besieged the walled city, he challenged anyone to climb up by way of the water shaft to access the city, II Samuel 5:8. This is likely near the Gihon Springs. Upon taking the city, David lived in the stronghold, which was called the “City of David,” I Chronicles 11:4-5. David and later Solomon built the city around it, I Chronicles 11:7-8, I Kings 3:1. Presently the “City of David” includes the neighborhood of Silwan, Arabic for “Siloam.” Within this city would have been the temple Solomon built, I Kings 6:1. This wall of Jerusalem remained the same throughout the history of Judah even though Jehoash, the king of Israel broke down about 200 yards of the wall, II Kings 14:13. Later Hezekiah rebuilt broken sections and added an outside wall to strengthen it, II Chronicles 32:5, 33:14. Seventy years after Babylon broke down the wall, II Chronicles 36:19, Nehemiah repaired the same recognizable wall, Nehemiah 1:3, 2:17, and it remained much the same through the time of Christ until AD 70, when Rome destroyed the city (and the temple), Matthew 24:1-2. The purpose of the wall of Jerusalem was to protect the people as long as they obeyed God. When they disobeyed, God determined to destroy the wall, Lamentations 2:8. Due to the immense population and situation, the present city is unwalled, but God promises to be the protective wall of fire around her, Zechariah 2:4-5. Yet in the future, God will bring from heaven a dazzling city, the New Jerusalem, with a wall of beautiful gems and gates of pearls, Isaiah 54:11-12, Revelation 21:18-21. The wall will not be needed for protection, but will symbolize peace, safety, security and salvation, Isaiah 26:1, 60:18.
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