Nehemiah describes ancient Jerusalem
Now, today we will take a closer look at one of the books of the Bible that talks almost exclusively about Jerusalem, the vast ancient city that stretched for miles in interiors of Southern Africa. If you take the time to read this short book (actually only 14 chapters) it becomes apparent, and after only a couple of pages it will reveal, that the ancient city of Jerusalem was a large and far-stretching city. An agricultural dwelling place nothing short of spectacular to behold, spread across miles upon miles in the serene and naturally stunning settings of the Southern African landscapes. These African steppes are the worlds most perfect for raising cattle and producing food crops, supplying much of the modern world and its need for minerals and high quality foods - it is the land of milk and honey INDEED !
The above is a recent painting done by the cartographer, botanist and painter Cesar Carl Henkel (1839-1913). It shows Mthatha (where ancient Jerusalem lay pretty close) and Drakensbergs (Holy Mountains) in the background.
Now, the Beloved city and the amount of work that went into building the city gates at Jerusalem took a whole lot of manpower and make no mistake about it. A great deal of time went into gathering peoples from all over the southernmost tip of the Eastern Cape just to see its completion. And many Bantu saw the city being rebuilt on several occasions, as it will again in the future.., According to the Prophets and Immanuel, uMsindisi also known as the Saviour Manwele.
The city probably didn't look like this, I suspect allot more agricultural features, with water gardens incorporated, with the temple of worship being the focal and most central point of the area.
Anyways, people know how the word gets out and a rebuilding of one of the most spectacular cities (and its walls) would have been no different. I mean where do you think the Babylonians got their ideas of hanging gardens? Thats right, Jerusalem was agricultural eye-candy, criss-crossed with rivers and lush rural areas, encompassed in one big outstretched city, with its golden laid inner and delicate outer parts it must have been a sight to behold for all conquering warmongers. But also a place much sought after and thus, desired. And if you read about Jerusalem in Scripture you will find all kinds of descriptions of the place that is very much lacking in what is called Jerusalem today. You know, it being a a place of deserts and all...
Negev desert, a place where not much life can flourish.
`3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame.`
- Jeremiah 3,3
This is what So NiNi does for his people, this is the kind of blessings He gives. The purest water and the cleanest food.
Image is taken somewheres in Pondoland, along the wildcoast.
`For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.`
- Isaiah 44:3
Now then, without further ado we shall take a closer look at these descriptions, in Scripture first, then Josephus quotes. Lets Dive !
The Book of Nehemiah takes a look at the Wall of Jerusalem:
`11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. 12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. 13 And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire. 14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal under me to pass. 15 So I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work. 17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. 19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” 20 So I answered them, and said to them, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”
Nehemiah writes on the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem:
`3 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and built the Sheep Gate; they consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the Tower of the Hundred, and consecrated it, then as far as the Tower of Hananel.
2 Next to Eliashib the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built. 3 Also the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.
4 And next to them Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, made repairs. Next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabel, made repairs. Next to them Zadok the son of Baana made repairs. 5 Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord. 6 Moreover Jehoiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and bars. 7 And next to them Melatiah the Gibeonite, Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and Mizpah, repaired the residence of the governor of the region beyond the River.
8 Next to him Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Also next to him Hananiah, [g]one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they [h]fortified Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9 And next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, leader of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph made repairs in front of his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabniah made repairs.11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hashub the son of Pahath-Moab repaired another section, as well as the Tower of the Ovens. 12 And next to him was Shallum the son of Hallohesh, leader of half the district of Jerusalem; he and his daughters made repairs.13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They built it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall as far as the Refuse Gate.14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, leader of the district of Beth Haccerem, repaired the Refuse Gate; he built it and hung its doors with its bolts and bars.15 Shallun the son of Col-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he built it, covered it, hung its doors with its bolts and bars, and repaired the wall of the Pool of Shelah (Thyloa, Pool of Revalation) by the King’s Garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. 16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beth Zur, made repairs as far as the place in front of the tombs of David, to the man-made pool, and as far as the House of the Mighty.
17 After him the Levites, under Rehum the son of Bani, made repairs. Next to him Hashabiah, leader of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18 After him their brethren, under Bavai the son of Henadad, leader of the other half of the district of Keilah, made repairs. 19 And next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, the leader of Mizpah, repaired another section in front of the Ascent to the Armory at the buttress. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai carefully repaired the other section, from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz, repaired another section, from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 And after him the priests, the men of the plain, made repairs. 23 After him Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ananiah, made repairs by his house. 24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress, even as far as the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai made repairsopposite the buttress, and on the tower which projects from the king’s upper house that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh made repairs.
26 Moreover the Nethinim who dwelt in Ophel made repairs as far as the place in front of the Water Gate toward the east, and on the projecting tower. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another section, next to the great projecting tower, and as far as the wall of Ophel. 28 Beyond the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each in front of his own house. 29 After them Zadok the son of Immer made repairs in front of his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. 30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun, the sixth son of Zalaph, repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah made repairs in front of his dwelling. 31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the Nethinim and of the merchants, in front of the Miphkad Gate, and as far as the upper room at the corner. 32 And between the upper room at the corner, as far as the Sheep Gate, the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs."
Nehemiah writes on when the Jerusalem wall was defended against her many enemies:
4 But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?”3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.”4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! 5 Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.6 So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.7 Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the [a]gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, 8 and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. 9 Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.10 Then Judah said, “The strength of the labourers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”11 And our adversaries said, “They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.”12 So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, “From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.”13 Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and thatGod had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16 So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armour; and the leaders [b]were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. 18 Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.19 Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”21 So we laboured in the work, and half of [c]the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. 22 At the same time I also said to the people, “Let each man and his servant stay at night in Jerusalem, that they may be our guard by night and a working party by day.” 23 So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing."
These verses talks about the Captives who returned to Jerusalem:
4 Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. 5 Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:6 These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city.7 Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, [b]Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, [c]Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.The number of the men of the people of Israel: 8 the sons of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;9 the sons of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two;10 the sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two;11 the sons of Pahath-Moab, of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen;12 the sons of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;13 the sons of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five;14 the sons of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty;15 the sons of [d]Binnui, six hundred and forty-eight;16 the sons of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-eight;17 the sons of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two;18 the sons of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-seven;19 the sons of Bigvai, two thousand and sixty-seven;20 the sons of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five;21 the sons of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight;22 the sons of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight;23 the sons of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-four;24 the sons of [e]Hariph, one hundred and twelve;25 the sons of [f]Gibeon, ninety-five;26 the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred and eighty-eight;27 the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight;28 the men of [g]Beth Azmaveth, forty-two;29 the men of [h]Kirjath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three;30 the men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one;31 the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two;32 the men of Bethel and Ai, one hundred and twenty-three;33 the men of the other Nebo, fifty-two;34 the sons of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;35 the sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty;36 the sons of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five;37 the sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one;38 the sons of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.39 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three;40 the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two;41 the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven;42 the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.43 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, of Kadmiel,and of the sons of [i]Hodevah, seventy-four.44 The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and forty-eight.45 The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum,the sons of Ater,the sons of Talmon,the sons of Akkub,the sons of Hatita,the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-eight.46 The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha,the sons of Hasupha,the sons of Tabbaoth,47 the sons of Keros,the sons of [j]Sia,the sons of Padon,48 the sons of [k]Lebana,the sons of [l]Hagaba,the sons of [m]Salmai,49 the sons of Hanan,the sons of Giddel,the sons of Gahar, 50 the sons of Reaiah,the sons of Rezin,the sons of Nekoda,51 the sons of Gazzam,the sons of Uzza,the sons of Paseah, 52 the sons of Besai,the sons of Meunim,the sons of [n]Nephishesim, 53 the sons of Bakbuk,the sons of Hakupha,the sons of Harhur,54 the sons of [o]Bazlith,the sons of Mehida,the sons of Harsha,55 the sons of Barkos,the sons of Sisera,the sons of Tamah,56 the sons of Neziah,and the sons of Hatipha.57 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai,the sons of Sophereth,the sons of [p]Perida,58 the sons of Jaala,the sons of Darkon,the sons of Giddel,59 the sons of Shephatiah,the sons of Hattil,the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim,and the sons of [q]Amon.
60 All the Nethinim, and the sons of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred and ninety-two. 61 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, [r]Addon, and Immer, but they could not identify their father’s house nor their lineage, whether they were of Israel: 62 the sons of Delaiah,the sons of Tobiah,the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two;63 and of the priests: the sons of Habaiah,the sons of [s]Koz,the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name.64 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but it was not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. 65 And the [t]governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.66 Altogether the whole assembly was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 67 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred and forty-five men and women singers. 68 Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, 69 their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.70 And some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the work. The [u]governor gave to the treasury one thousand gold drachmas, fifty basins, and five hundred and thirty priestly garments. 71 Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the treasury of the work twenty thousand gold drachmas, and two thousand two hundred silver minas. 72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand gold drachmas, two thousand silver minas, and sixty-seven priestly garments.73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the Nethinim, and all Israel dwelt in their cities.Ezra Reads the LawWhen the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.`
More on the people (and types) dwelling in Jerusalem:
11 Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities. 2 And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.3 These are the heads of the province who dwelt in Jerusalem. (But in the cities of Judah everyone dwelt in his own possession in their cities—Israelites, priests, Levites, Nethinim, and descendants of Solomon’s servants.) 4 Also in Jerusalem dwelt some of the children of Judah and of the children of Benjamin.The children of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, the son of Zechariah, the son of Amariah, the son of Shephatiah, the son of Mahalalel, of the children of Perez; 5 and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, the son of Col-Hozeh, the son of Hazaiah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Joiarib, the son of Zechariah, the son of Shiloni. 6 All the sons of Perez who dwelt at Jerusalem were four hundred and sixty-eight valiant men.7 And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Joed, the son of Pedaiah, the son of Kolaiah, the son of Maaseiah, the son of Ithiel, the son of Jeshaiah; 8 and after him Gabbai and Sallai, nine hundred and twenty-eight. 9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer, and Judah the son of [a]Senuah wassecond over the city.10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, and Jachin; 11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, was the leader of the house of God. 12 Their brethren who did the work of the house were eight hundred and twenty-two; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pelaliah, the son of Amzi, the son of Zechariah, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malchijah, 13 and his brethren, heads of the fathers’ houses, were two hundred and forty-two; and Amashai the son of Azarel, the son of Ahzai, the son of Meshillemoth, the son of Immer, 14 and their brethren, mighty men of valor, wereone hundred and twenty-eight. Their overseer was Zabdiel [b]the son of one of the great men.15 Also of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Bunni; 16 Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the heads of the Levites, had the oversight of the business outside of the [c]house of God; 17 Mattaniah the son of [d]Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the leader who began the thanksgiving with prayer; Bakbukiah, the second among his brethren; and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun. 18 All the Levites in the holy city were two hundred and eighty-four.19 Moreover the gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon, and their brethren who kept the gates, were one hundred and seventy-two.20 And the rest of Israel, of the priests and Levites, were in all the cities of Judah, everyone in his inheritance. 21 But the Nethinim dwelt in Ophel. And Ziha and Gishpa were over the Nethinim.
22 Also the overseer of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha, of the sons of Asaph, the singers in charge of the [e]service of the [f]house of God. 23 For it was the king’s command concerning them that a [g]certain portion should be for the singers, a quota day by day. 24 Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was the[h] king’s deputy in all matters concerning the people.The People Dwelling Outside Jerusalem25 And as for the villages with their fields, some of the children of Judah dwelt in Kirjath Arba and its villages, Dibon and its villages, Jekabzeel and its villages; 26 in Jeshua, Moladah, Beth Pelet, 27 Hazar Shual, and Beersheba and its villages; 28 in Ziklag and Meconah and its villages; 29 in En Rimmon, Zorah, Jarmuth, 30 Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages; in Lachish and its fields; in Azekah and its villages. They dwelt from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom.31 Also the children of Benjamin from Geba dwelt in Michmash, Aija, and Bethel, and their villages; 32 in Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah; 33 in Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim; 34 in Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat; 35 in Lod, Ono, and the Valley of Craftsmen. 36 Some of the Judean divisions of Levites were in Benjamin.`
These are the main chapters and verses in Nehemiah, that talks about Jerusalem. And if you put them side by side to say Josephus works, you quickly will find that the descriptions is of a rather large place and also it name-drops quite the few people that where involved at some level. This place was without doubt much larger than the purposed Jerusalem in the Middle East. A corner of the earth that belongs to the infamous Philistines, a people who at one point stole the Arc of the Covenant. In the future there will be an in depth article on the Philistines and who they where historically and who they are today. Though much of this has already been revealed in other articles, though not in depth.
Here comes Josephus descriptions of Jerusalem, from the Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chapter 4 :
1. The city of Jerusalem was fortified with three walls, on such parts as were not encompassed with un-passable valleys; for in such places it had but one wall. The city was built upon two hills, which are opposite to one another, and have a valley to divide them asunder; at which valley the corresponding rows of houses on both hills end. Of these hills, that which contains the upper city is much higher, and in length more direct. Accordingly, it was called the "Citadel," by king David; he was the father of that Solomon who built this temple at the first; but it is by us called the "Upper Market-place." But the other hill, which was called "Acra," and sustains the lower city, is of the shape of a moon when she is horned; over against this there was a third hill, but naturally lower than Acra, and parted formerly from the other by a broad valley. However, in those times when the Asamoneans reigned, they filled up that valley with earth, and had a mind to join the city to the temple. They then took off part of the height of Acra, and reduced it to be of less elevation than it was before, that the temple might be superior to it. Now the Valley of the Cheesemongers, as it was called, and was that which we told you before distinguished the hill of the upper city from that of the lower, extended as far as Siloam; for that is the name of a fountain which hath sweet water in it, and this in great plenty also. But on the outsides, these hills are surrounded by deep valleys, and by reason of the precipices to them belonging on both sides they are every where un-passable.
2. Now, of these three walls, the old one was hard to be taken, both by reason of the valleys, and of that hill on which it was built, and which was above them. But besides that great advantage, as to the place where they were situated, it was also built very strong; because David and Solomon, and the following kings, were very zealous about this work. Now that wall began on the north, at the tower called "Hippicus," and extended as far as the "Xistus," a place so called, and then, joining to the council-house, ended at the west cloister of the temple. But if we go the other way westward, it began at the same place, and extended through a place called "Bethso," to the gate of the Essenes; and after that it went southward, having its bending above the fountain Siloam, where it also bends again towards the east at Solomon's pool, and reaches as far as a certain place which they called "Ophlas," where it was joined to the eastern cloister of the temple. The second wall took its beginning from that gate which they called "Gennath," which belonged to the first wall; it only encompassed the northern quarter of the city, and reached as far as the tower Antonia. The beginning of the third wall was at the tower Hippicus, whence it reached as far as the north quarter of the city, and the tower Psephinus, and then was so far extended till it came over against the monuments of Helena, which Helena was queen of Adiabene, the daughter of Izates; it then extended further to a great length, and passed by the sepulchral caverns of the kings, and bent again at the tower of the corner, at the monument which is called the "Monument of the Fuller," and joined to the old wall at the valley called the "Valley of Cedron." It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to the old city with this wall, which had been all naked before; for as the city grew more populous, it gradually crept beyond its old limits, and those parts of it that stood northward of the temple, and joined that hill to the city, made it considerably larger, and occasioned that hill, which is in number the fourth, and is called "Bezetha," to be inhabited also. It lies over against the tower Antonia, but is divided from it by a deep valley, which was dug on purpose, and that in order to hinder the foundations of the tower of Antonia from joining to this hill, and thereby affording an opportunity for getting to it with ease, and hindering the security that arose from its superior elevation; for which reason also that depth of the ditch made the elevation of the towers more remarkable. This new-built part of the city was called "Bezetha," in our language, which, if interpreted in the Grecian language, may be called "the New City." Since, therefore, its inhabitants stood in need of a covering, the father of the present king, and of the same name with him, Agrippa, began that wall we spoke of; but he left off building it when he had only laid the foundations, out of the fear he was in of Claudius Caesar, lest he should suspect that so strong a wall was built in order to make some innovation in public affairs; for the city could no way have been taken if that wall had been finished in the manner it was begun; as its parts were connected together by stones twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad, which could never have been either easily undermined by any iron tools, or shaken by any engines. The wall was, however, ten cubits wide, and it would probably have had a height greater than that, had not his zeal who began it been hindered from exerting itself. After this, it was erected with great diligence by the Jews, as high as twenty cubits, above which it had battlements of two cubits, and turrets of three cubits altitude, insomuch that the entire altitude extended as far as twenty-five cubits. 3. Now the towers that were upon it were twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height; they were square and solid, as was the wall itself, wherein the niceness of the joints, and the beauty of the stones, were no way inferior to those of the holy house itself. Above this solid altitude of the towers, which was twenty cubits, there were rooms of great magnificence, and over them upper rooms, and cisterns to receive rain-water. They were many in number, and the steps by which you ascended up to them were every one broad: of these towers then the third wall had ninety, and the spaces between them were each two hundred cubits; but in the middle wall were forty towers, and the old wall was parted into sixty, while the whole compass of the city was thirty-three furlongs. Now the third wall was all of it wonderful; yet was the tower Psephinus elevated above it at the north-west corner, and there Titus pitched his own tent; for being seventy cubits high it both afforded a prospect of Arabia at sun-rising, as well as it did of the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions at the sea westward. Moreover, it was an octagon, and over against it was the tower Hippicus, and hard by two others were erected by king Herod, in the old wall. These were for largeness, beauty, and strength beyond all that were in the habitable earth; for besides the magnanimity of his nature, and his magnificence towards the city on other occasions, he built these after such an extraordinary manner, to gratify his own private affections, and dedicated these towers to the memory of those three persons who had been the dearest to him, and from whom he named them. They were his brother, his friend, and his wife. This wife he had slain, out of his love [and jealousy], as we have already related; the other two he lost in war, as they were courageously fighting.
Hippicus, so named from his friend, was square; its length and breadth were each twenty-five cubits, and its height thirty, and it had no vacuity in it. Over this solid building, which was composed of great stones united together, there was a reservoir twenty cubits deep, over which there was a house of two stories, whose height was twenty-five cubits, and divided into several parts; over which were battlements of two cubits, and turrets all round of three cubits high, insomuch that the entire height added together amounted to fourscore cubits. The second tower, which he named from his brother Phasaelus, had its breadth and its height equal, each of them forty cubits; over which was its solid height of forty cubits; over which a cloister went round about, whose height was ten cubits, and it was covered from enemies by breast-works and bulwarks. There was also built over that cloister another tower, parted into magnificent rooms, and a place for bathing; so that this tower wanted nothing that might make it appear to be a royal palace. It was also adorned with battlements and turrets, more than was the foregoing, and the entire altitude was about ninety cubits; the appearance of it resembled the tower of Pharus, which exhibited a fire to such as sailed to Alexandria, but was much larger than it in compass. This was now converted to a house, wherein Simon exercised his tyrannical authority. The third tower was Mariamne, for that was his queen's name; it was solid as high as twenty cubits; its breadth and its length were twenty cubits, and were equal to each other; its upper buildings were more magnificent, and had greater variety, than the other towers had; for the king thought it most proper for him to adorn that which was denominated from his wife, better than those denominated from men, as those were built stronger than this that bore his wife's name. The entire height of this tower was fifty cubits. 4. Now as these towers were so very tall, they appeared much taller by the place on which they stood; for that very old wall wherein they were was built on a high hill, and was itself a kind of elevation that was still thirty cubits taller; over which were the towers situated, and thereby were made much higher to appearance. The largeness also of the stones was wonderful; for they were not made of common small stones, nor of such large ones only as men could carry, but they were of white marble, cut out of the rock; each stone was twenty cubits in length, and ten in breadth, and five in depth. They were so exactly united to one another, that each tower looked like one entire rock of stone, so growing naturally, and afterward cut by the hand of the artificers into their present shape and corners; so little, or not at all, did their joints or connexion appear. low as these towers were themselves on the north side of the wall, the king had a palace inwardly thereto adjoined, which exceeds all my ability to describe it; for it was so very curious as to want no cost nor skill in its construction, but was entirely walled about to the height of thirty cubits, and was adorned with towers at equal distances, and with large bed-chambers, that would contain beds for a hundred guests a-piece, in which the variety of the stones is not to be expressed; for a large quantity of those that were rare of that kind was collected together.
Their roofs were also wonderful, both for the length of the beams, and the splendor of their ornaments. The number of the rooms was also very great, and the variety of the figures that were about them was prodigious; their furniture was complete, and the greatest part of the vessels that were put in them was of silver and gold. There were besides many porticoes, one beyond another, round about, and in each of those porticoes curious pillars; yet were all the courts that were exposed to the air every where green. There were, moreover, several groves of trees, and long walks through them, with deep canals, and cisterns, that in several parts were filled with brazen statues, through which the water ran out. There were withal many dove-courts (11) of tame pigeons about the canals. But indeed it is not possible to give a complete description of these palaces; and the very remembrance of them is a torment to one, as putting one in mind what vastly rich buildings that fire which was kindled by the robbers hath consumed; for these were not burnt by the Romans, but by these internal plotters, as we have already related, in the beginning of their rebellion. That fire began at the tower of Antonia, and went on to the palaces, and consumed the upper parts of the three towers themselves.`
Make of the above what you will, any thinking man will understand that this city was something special and built in a special place. Nehemiah paints a good picture in regards to the amount of people living in the city and otherwise being involved with its ongoings. Josephus describes the valleys (which are un-passable, meaning steep hills) and mountains as they are clearly seen in the Transkei) and Ciskei, but also in ancient Namibia. Naturally wonderful formations and a plethora of special places... Handcrafted I suspect.
I posted Josephus descriptions on a history forum once, and started asking some questions - and I got ridiculed by pretty much everyone. I didn`t expect anything else, the sad part was they attacked my sources, as well, there are very few to begin with. They have either been hidden or never written down in the fist place, or they have been heavily misinterpreted, as with the Bible and everything else. But there is a good degree of great comfort in the thought that just one person might have read that thread and started thinking, what if much of what we think we know about history and the Bible is a sham? What if this here stuff is true? What else might we have missed ?
Let me end this little article by asking you this - Would the Creator of Heaven and Earth not prize and treasure His Beloved city - would the Creator of Kilimanjaro and The Himalayas - Creator of the Congo Basin and the Victoria Falls - would He not have built His city in the most lush and biologically diverse place on this earth? A place where water is plenty and cattle can roam, a place custom built for shepherds and agriculturalists? And would this wonderful city not have be found in Southern Africa where all life began? I mean, where else could it have been? In ancient Babylon, or even worse, the land of the Philistines? I dont think so. But more importantly, what about you? What do you think
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