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Blue Helmets to Jerusalem - page 37 / 95

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Jerusalem unto this day." (Joshua 15:63 KJV) "Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. ...And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day." (Judges 1:8, 21 KJV) The Jebusites continued to live there along side the Israelites throughout the centuries of the Judges until the time of King David.

Through his prophet, God told David that he wanted his temple, which was then merely a portable tent or tabernacle, to reside in Jerusalem. The chief obstacle was the Jebusite fortress on a hill named Zion in the midst of the city. David defeated the Jebusites, and captured their "stronghold of Zion," which came to be known from then on as "the city of David." (2 Samuel 5:7 Jewish Publication Society) He had been ruling Israel from the town of Hebron, but now he moved into the city and made it his capital. "In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah." (2 Samuel 5:5 KJV) Some time later he also brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city, so that the tabernacle of worship resided in Jerusalem as well.

Later, David gave to his son Solomon the architectural plans for a more real temple of God to be built there in Jerusalem: "Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things." (1 Chron. 28:11-12 NIV) Some time after David's death, Solomon built that temple.

So, Jerusalem became the permanent center for Jewish worship of the one true God.

The Temple Mount was a separate hill, close by Mount Zion, but came to be called by the same name. In fact, the term Zion came to be applied poetically to the Holy City as a whole.

"Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel

forty years." (1 Kings 11:42 NIV) However, as he grew older, Solomon began catering to the desires of his many foreign wives to establish the gods of their native lands. He married "many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter -- Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, 'You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.'" (1 Kings 11:1-2 NIV)

Solomon's unfaithfulness went so far that "He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. ... On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods." (1 Kings 11:5-8 NIV) As a result, God announced that he would rip most of the kingdom away from Solomon.

Jeroboam son of Nebat of the Israelite tribe of Ephraim began a rebellion against Solomon and, after the king died and his son Rehoboam began to rule in his place, Jeroboam succeeded in getting most of the twelve tribes to break away and make him king over them. So, while Solomon's son Rehoboam and his successors ruled over the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, Jeroboam and his successors ruled over a northern kingdom of Israel from the city of Samaria.

The two kingdoms warred against each other most of the time, Jews fighting Jews in bitter rivalry. The Bible books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings relate the parallel histories of the two Jewish realms.

Eventually the empire of Assyria invaded the northern kingdom, and carried off its Jewish population as captives. But kings in the lineage of David continued to rule in Jerusalem over the tiny kingdom of Judah.

However, the Jews in the southern kingdom followed the pattern of the northern kingdom and repeatedly broke God's covenant. There were "things used to worship Baal, Asherah, and the stars" in the temple at Jerusalem, and "men that the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices to Baal and to the sun, moon, and stars," as well as a "sacred pole for

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