|zi'-on (monument; raised up; sepulcher, sunny; height, (tsahah) to be dry, (tsiwwah) to set up)
RELATED: David, Jebus, Jerusalem, Temple
Easton's Bible Dictionary
sunny; height, One of the eminences on which Jerusalem
was built. It was surrounded on all sides, except the north, by deep valleys,
that of the Tyropoeon (q.v.) separating it from Moriah (q.v.), which it surpasses
in height by 105 feet. It was the south-eastern hill of Jerusalem.
When David took it from the Jebusites ( Joshua
15:63 ; 2
Samuel. 5:7 ) he built on it a citadel and a palace, and it became "the city
of David" ( 1
Kings 8:1 ; 2
Kings 19:21 , 2
Kings 19:31 ; 1
Chronicles 11:5 ). In the later books of the Old Testament this name was sometimes
used ( Psalms
87:2 ; 149:2
Isaiah 33:14 ; Joel
2:1 ) to denote Jerusalem in general, and sometimes God's chosen Israel (
51:18 ; 87:5
In the New Testament (see SION) it is used sometimes to denote the Church of God
12:22 ), and sometimes the heavenly city ( Revelation
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
monument; raised up; sepulcher
Smith's Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
zi'-on (tsiyon; Sion):
1. Meaning of the Word:
A name applied to Jerusalem, or to certain parts of it, at least since the time
of David. Nothing certain is known of the meaning. Gesenius and others have derived
it from a Hebrew root tsahah, "to be dry"; Delitzsch from tsiwwah, "to set up"
and Wetzstein from tsin, "to protect." Gesenius finds a more hopeful suggestion
in the Arabic equivalent cihw, the Arabic cahwat signifying "ridge of a mountain"
or "citadel," which at any rate suitably applies to what we know to have been
the original Zion (compare Smith, HGHL, under the word).
Considerable confusion has been caused in the past by the want of clear understanding
regarding the different sites which have respectively been called "Zion" during
the centuries. It will make matters clearer if we take the application of the
name: in David's time; in the early Prophets, etc.; in late poetical writings
and in the Apocrypha; and in Christian times.
2. The Zion of the Jebusites:
Jerus (in the form Uru-sa-lim) is the oldest name we
know for this city; it goes back at least 400 years before David. In 2 Samuel
5:6 - 9, "The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites. .... Nevertheless
David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David .... And David
dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David." It is evident that
Zion was the name of the citadel of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. That this
citadel and incidentally then city of Jerusalem around it were on the long ridge
running South of the Temple (called the southeastern hill in the article JERUSALEM,
III, (3) (which see)) is now accepted by almost all modern scholars, mainly on
the following grounds:
|(1) The near proximity of the site to the only known spring,
now the "Virgin's Fount," once called GIHON (which see). From our knowledge of
other ancient sites all over Palestine, as well as on grounds of common-sense,
it is hardly possible to believe that the early inhabitants of this site with
such an abundant source at their very doors could have made any other spot their
(2) The suitability of the site for defense.--The sites suited for settlement
in early Canaanite times were all, if we may judge from a number of them now known,
of this nature--a rocky spur isolated on three sides by steep valleys, and, in
many sites, protected at the end where they join the main mountain ridge by either
a valley or a rocky spur.
(3) The size of the ridge, though very small to our modern ideas, is far more
in keeping with what we know of fortified towns of that period than such an area
as presented by the southwestern hill--the traditional site of Zion. Mr. Macalister
found by actual excavation that the great walls of Gezer, which must have been
contemporaneous with the Jebusite Jerusalem, measured approximately 4,500 feet
in circumference. G. A. Smith has calculated that a line of wall carried along
the known and inferred scarps around the edge of this southeastern hill would
have an approximate circumference of 4,250 feet. The suitability of the site to
a fortified city like Gezer, Megiddo, Soco, and other sites which have been excavated,
strikes anyone familiar with these places.
(4) The archaeological remains on these hills found by Warren and Professor Guthe,
and more particularly in the recent excavations of Captain Parker (see JERUSALEM),
show without doubt that this was the earliest settlement in pre-Israelite times.
Extensive curves and rock-cuttings, cave-dwellings and tombs, and enormous quantities
of early "Amorite" (what may be popularly called "Jebusite") pottery show that
the spot must have been inhabited many centuries before the time of David. The
reverse is equally true; on no other part of the Jerusalem site has any quantity
of such early pottery been found.
(5) The Bible evidence that Zion originally occupied this site is clear. It will
be found more in detail under the heading "City of David" in the article JERUSALEM,
IV, (5), but three points may be mentioned here:
|(a) The Ark of the Covenant was brought up out of the city
of David to the Temple (1 Kings 8:1 ; 2 Chronicles 5:2), and Pharaoh's daughter
"came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her"--adjacent
to the Temple (1 Kings 9:24). This expression "up" could not be used of any other
hill than of the lower-lying eastern ridge; to go from the southwestern hill (traditional
Zion) to the Temple is to go down.
(b) Hezekiah constructed the well-known Siloam tunnel from Gihon to the Pool of
Siloam. He is described (2 Chronicles 32:30) as bringing the waters of Gihon "straight
down on the west side of the city of David."
(c) Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:14) built "an outer wall to the city of David, on
the west side of Gihon, in the valley" (i.e. nachal--the name of the Kedron valley).
3. Zion of the Prophets:
Zion, renamed the City of David, then originally was on this eastern ridge. But
the name did not stay there. It would almost seem as if the name was extended
to the Temple site when the ark was carried there, for in the pre-exilic Prophets
the references to Zion all appear to have referred to the Temple Hill. To quote
a few examples: "And Yahweh will create over the whole habitation of mount Zion,
and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming
fire by night" (Isaiah 4:5); "Yahweh of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion" (Isaiah
8:18); "Let us go up to Zion unto Yahweh our God" (Jeremiah 31:6); "Yahweh will
reign over them in mount Zion" (Micah 4:7). All these, and numbers more, clearly
show that at that time Zion was the Temple Hill.
4. Zion in Later Poetical Writings and Apocrypha:
In many of the later writings, particularly poetical
references, Zion appears to be the equivalent of Jerusalem; either in parallelism
(Psalms 102:21 ; Amos 1:2 ; Micah 3:10 , 12 ; Zechariah 1:14 , 17 ; 8:3 ; 3:16)
or alone (Jeremiah 3:14 ; Lamentations 5:11); even here many of the references
will do equally well for the Temple Hill. The term "Daughter of zion" is applied
to the captive Jews (Lamentations 4:22), but in other references to the people
of Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:8 ; 52:2 ; Jeremiah 4:31 , etc.). When we come to the Apocrypha,
in 2 Esdras there are several references in which Zion is used for the captive
people of Judah (2 Esdras 2:40 ; 3:2 , 31 ; 10:20 , 39 , 44), but "Mount Zion"
in this and other books (e.g. 1 Macc 4:37 , 60 ; 5:54 ; 6:48 , 62 , etc.) is always
the Temple Hill.
5. Omission of Name by Some Writers:
It has been pointed out as a curious and unaccountable
exception that in Ezekiel as well as in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, there is
no mention of Zion, except the incidental reference to David's capture of the
Jebusite fort. The references in the other Prophets and the Psalms are so copious
that there must be some religious reason for this. The Chronicler (2 Chronicles
3:1), too, alone refers to the Temple as on Mount Moriah. It is also noticeable
that only in these books (2 Chronicles 27:3 ; 33:14 ; Nehemiah 3:26 ; 11:21) does
the name "Ophel" appear as a designation of a part of the southeastern hill, which
apparently might equally fitly have been termed Zion. See OPHEL. Josephus never
uses the name "Zion" nor does it occur in the New Testament, except in two quotations
(Hebrews 12:22 ; Revelation 14:1).
6. The Name "Zion" in Christian Times:
Among the earlier Christian writers who mention "Zion," Origen used it as equivalent
to the Temple Hill, but in the 4th century writers commence to localize it up
the southern part of the western hill. It was a period when Biblical topography
was settled in a very arbitrary manner, without any scientific or critical examination
of the evidence, and this tradition once established remained, like many such
traditions, undisputed until very recent years. To W. F. Birch belongs much of
the credit for the promulgation of the newer views which now receive the adherence
of almost every living authority on the topography of Jerusalem.
See especially chapter vi in Smith's Jerusalem; for a defense of the older view
see Kuemmel, Materialien z. Topog. des alt. Jerusalem.
E. W. G. Masterman
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