Biblical Geography and History

By Charles Foster Kent | Go to book overview

VIII
THE TWO CAPITALS: JERUSALEM AND SAMARIA

Importance of Jerusalem and Samaria . Two cities of ancient Palestine, Jerusalem and Samaria, towered above all others, both in size and in importance. Each was for a long period the capital of an important kingdom. Each represented a distinct type of civilization and religion. Their topography throws much light upon their development and history.

Site of Jerusalem . At first glance the site of Jerusalem seems one of the most unpromising places in all the land of Palestine for a great city. It lies on two or three low hills, projecting from the irregular plateau, which extends southward from the watershed of central Judah. It is overshadowed by higher hills near by and has no lofty, commanding acropolis. The Wilderness of Judea bounds it on the east and the hills and valleys about are rocky and comparatively barren. The reason why a city originally sprang up on this forbidding site was the presence of a spring, now known as the Virgin's Spring, on the side of the Kidron Valley (54) to the southeast of the present Jerusalem. It is the one perennial spring in this region and fixes at once the site of the old pre-Israelite town. (Cf. map op. p. 203.)

The Kidron Valley . The Kidron is a characteristic Palestinian wady. It runs almost due north past the city and then gradually bends to the west. It is about two hundred yards in width and is flanked by hills, which rise four to six hundred feet on either side. During the winter and spring rains a brook rushes down this ravine, but in the summer it is water-

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