53. THE SIEGES OF JERUSALEM.
The first occurrence of the name "Jerusalem", as a city (*1), is in Judg. 1:8, and confirms the fact that the first occurrence contains an epitome of its subsequent history.
The history of the city has been a record of its sieges. No fewer than twenty-seven go to complete the list.
This number is striking in the light of Appendix No. 10; being composed of 3 x 9, the factors being those of Divine completeness (3), and judgment (9) respectively ( = 33).
A cycle of ordinal completeness is marked by the 10th and 20th (2 x 10) sieges. These were the two characterized by the destruction of the Temple by fire, which is accord with the number 10, being that of ordinal perfection. (See Ap. 10.) Both also were foretold : the former by Jer. and Ezek.; the latter by our Lord.
Seven is the number of spiritual perfection, and it is worthy of note that the 7th, 14th (2 x 7), and the 21st (3 x 7) sieges were each the subject of Divine prophecy. Further, a 28th (4 x 7) siege, yet future, is foretold in Zech. 14, &c.
While 14 (2 x 7) of the sieges are recorded in Holy Scripture, 13 are recorded in profane history.
The following is a complete list of the sieges :
1. By the tribe of Judah against the Jebusites, about 1443 B.C. This was some 700 years before Rome was founded. It was only partial, for in David's reign we still find the Jebusites occupying the citadel (the future Zion). The solemn words in Judg. 1:8, describing this first siege, vividly portray the after history of the city.
2. By David against the Jebusites (2Sam. 5:6-10; 1Chron. 11:4-7), about 960 B.C.
3. By Shishak king of Egypt, against Rehoboam (1Kings 14:25, 26. 2Chron. 12:2-12), about 875 B.C. To this there was only a feeble resistance; and the Temple was plundered.
4. By the Philistines, Arabians, and Ethiopians, against Jehoram (2Chron. 21:16, 17), about 794 B.C. In this siege the royal palace was sacked, and the Temple again plundered.
5. By Jehoash king of Israel, against Amaziah king of Judah (2Kings 14:13, 14), about 739 B.C. The wall was partially broken down, and the city and Temple pillaged.
6. By Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, against Ahaz (2Chron. 28), about 630 B.C. The city held out, but Ahaz sought the aid of Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, for whom he stripped the Temple.
7. By Sennacherib king of Assyria, against Hezekiah (2Kings 24:10-16), about 603 B.C. In this case the siege was raised by a Divine interposition, as foretold by Isaiah the prophet.
8. By Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, against Jehoiakim (2Chron. 36:6-7), about 496 B.C., when the Temple was partly pillaged.
9. By Nebuchadnezzar again, against Jehoiachin (2Chron. 36:10), about 489 B.C., when the pillage of the Temple was carried further, and 10,000 people carried away.
10. By Nebuchadnezzar, against Zedekiah (2Chron. 36:17-20), 478-477 B.C. In this case the Temple was burnt with fire, and the city and the Temple lay desolate for fifty years.
11. By Ptolemy Soter king of Egypt, against the Jews, 320 B.C. More that 100,000 captives were taken to Egypt.
12. By Antiochus the Great, about 203 B.C.
13. By Scopus, a general of Alexander, about 199 B.C., who left a garrison.
14. By Antiochus IV, surnamed Epiphanes, 168 B.C. This was the worst siege since the 10th. The whole city was pillaged; 10,000 captives taken; the walls destroyed; the altar defiled; ancient manuscripts perished; the finest buildings were burned; and the Jews were forbidden to worship there. Foretold Dan. 11.
15. By Antiochus V, surnamed Eupator, against Judas Maccabaeus, about 162 B.C. This time honorable terms were made, and certain privileges were secured.
16. By Antiochus VII, surnamed Sidetes king of Syria, against John Hyrcanus, about 135 B.C.
17. By Hyrcanus (son of Alex. Jannaeus) and the priest Aristobulus. The siege was raised by Scaurus, one of Pompey's lieutenants, about 65 B.C.
18. By Pompey against Aristobulus, about 63 B.C. The machines were moved on the Sabbath, when the Jews made no resistance. Only thus was it then reduced; 12,000 Jews were slain. [Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, with a Parthian army, took the city in 40 B.C.; but there was no siege, the city was taken by a sudden surprise.]
19. Herod with a Roman army besieged the city in 39 B.C. for five months.
20. By Titus, A.D. 69 (See Ap. 50. VI, p. 61). The second Temple (Herod's) was burnt, and for fifty years the city disappeared from history, as after the 10th siege (Jer. 20:5).
21. The Romans had again to besiege the city in A.D. 135 against the false Messiah, Bar-Cochebas, who had acquired possession of the ruins. The city was obliterated, and renamed AElia Capitolina, and a temple was erected to Jupiter. For 200 years the city passed out of history, no Jews being permitted to approach it. This siege was foretold in Luke 19:43, 44; 21:20-24.
22. After 400 years of so-called Christian colonization, through the country; thousands were massacred, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed. The Emperor Heraclius afterwards defeated him, and restored the city and the church.
23. The Caliph Omar, in A.D. 636-7, besieged the city against Heralius. It was followed by capitulation on favorable terms, and the city passed into the hands of the Turks, in whose hands it remains to the present day.
24. Afdal, the Vizier of the Caliph of Egypt, besieged the two rival factions of Moslems, and pillaged the city in 1098.
25. In 1099 it was besieged by the army of the first Crusade.
26. In 1187 it was besieged by Saladin for seven weeks.
27. The wild Kharezmian Tartar hordes, in 1244, captured and plundered the city, slaughtering the monks and priests.
There will be a 28th according to
Zech. 14, which will be raised by Messiah, even as the 7th was by Jehovah.
(*1) The king of Jerusalem had been mentioned in Josh. 10:1, &c. but not the city as such.