), originally the name of a particular fortress or hill of Jerusalem, but often in the poetical and prophetic books extended to the whole city, especially to the temple, for a reason which will presently be obvious. Sion proper has been always assumed by later writers to be the SW. hill of Jerusalem, and this has been taken for granted in the article on Jerusalem [JERUSALEM
The counter hypothesis of a later writer, however, maintained with great learning, demands some notice under this head. Mr. Thrupp (Antient Jerusalem,
1855) admits the original identity of Sion and the city of David, but believes both to have been distinct from the upper city of Josephus, which latter he identifies with the modern Sion,
in agreement with other writers.
The transference of the name and. position of Sion he dates as far back as the return from the Babylonish captivity, believing that the Jews had lost the tradition of its identity with the city of David; so that, while they correctly placed the latter, they erroneously fixed the former where it is still found, viz., at the SW. of the Temple Mount, which mount was in fact the proper “Sion,” identical with “the city of David;” for it is admitted that the modern Sion is identical not only with that recognised by the Christian (he might have added the Jewish) inhabitants of Jerusalem, and by all Christian (and Jewish) pilgrims and travellers from the days of Constantine, but with the Sion of the later Jewish days, and with that of the Maccabees.
The elaborate argument by which it is attempted to remove this error of more than 2000 years' standing from the topography of Jerusalem, cannot here be stated, much less discussed; but two considerations may be briefly mentioned, Which will serve to vindicate for the SW. hill of the city the designation which it has enjoyed, as is granted, since the time of the Baby-lonish captivity. One³ is grounded on the language of Holy Scripture, the other on Josephus. Of the identity of the original Sion with the city of David, there can be no doubt. Mr. Thrupp (pp. 12, 13) has adduced in proof of it three conclusive passages from Holy Scripture (2 Sam.
5.7; 1 Kings,
8.1; 1 Chron.
It is singular that he did not see that the second of these passages is utterly irreconcilable with the identity of the city of David with the Temple Mount; and that his own attempt to reconcile it with his theory, is wholly inadequate.
According to that theory Mount Sion, or the city of David, extended from the NW. angle of the present Haram, to the south of the same enclosure; and the tombs of David, which were certainly in the city of David, he thinks might yet be discovered beneath the south-western part of the Haram (p. 161).
That the temple lay on this same mount, between these two points, is not disputed by any one. Now, not to insist upon the difficulty of supposing that the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite, where the temple was undoubtedly founded (2 Chron.
3.1), lay in the very heart of the city of David, from which David had expelled the Jebusites, it is demonstrable, from the contents of the second passage above referred to, that the temple was in no sense in the city of David; for, after the completion of the temple, it is said in that and the parallel passage (2 Chron.
5.2, 5, 7) that Solomon and the assembled Israelites brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Sion, into the temple which he had prepared for it on what Scripture calls Mount Moriah (2 Chron.
3.1). Again, in 2 Samuel, 5.6--9, we have the account of David's wresting “the stronghold of Sion, the same is the city of David,” out of the hands of the Jebusites; after which “David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David.” Josephus, in recording the same events, states that David “laid siege to Jerusalem, and took the lower city by assault, while the citadel still held out.” (Ant.
This citadel is clearly identified with the upper city, both in this passage and in his more detailed description of the city, where he says “that the hill upon which the upper city was built was by far the highest, and on account of its strength was called by King David the fortress” (φρούριον
). (Bell. Jud.
5.4.1.) We are thus led to a conclusion directly opposite to that arrived at by Mr. Thrupp, who says that “the accounts in the books of Samuel and Chronicles represent David an taking the stronghold of Sion first [p. 2.1010]
and the Jebusite city afterwards; Josephus represents him as taking the lower city first, and afterwards the citadel.
There can be no doubt, therefore, that in Josephus's view, Sion was the lower city, and the Jebusite city the citadel;” for a comparison of the 7th with the 9th verse in 2 Sam.
v., and of the 5th with the 7th verse in 1 Chron.
xi. can leave no doubt that the intermediate verses in both passages relate to the particulars of occupation of Sion, which particulars are narrated by Josephus of the occupation of the upper city, here called by him by the identical name used by the sacred writer, of the “castle in which David dwelt; therefore they called it the city of David;” and this φρούριον
of Josephus is admitted by Mr. Thrupp to be the upper city (p. 56, note 2).
That the name Sion was subsequently used in a much wider acceptation, and applied particularly to the sanctuary, is certain; and the fact is easily explained.
The tent or tabernacle erected by David for the reception of the ark was certainly on Mount Sion, and in the city of David (2 Sam.
6.12; 1 Chron.
15.1, 29), and therefore in all the language of his own divine compositions, and of the other Psalmists of the conclusion of his and the commencement of Solomon's reign, Sion was properly identified with the sanctuary. What could be more natural than that, when the ark was transferred to the newly-consecrated temple on the contiguous hill, which was actually united to its former resting-place by an artificial embankment, the signification of the name should be extended so as to comprehend the Temple Mount, and continue the propriety and applicability of the received phraseology of David's and Asaph's Psalms to the new and permanent abode of the most sacred emblem of the Hebrew worship?
But to attempt to found a topographical argument on the figurative and frequently elliptical expressions of Psalms or prophecies is surely to build on a foundation of sand.
It was no doubt in order not to perplex the topography of Jerusalem by the use of ecclesiastical and devotional terminology that Josephus has wholly abstained from the use of the name Sion.