There is one who asserts Jerusalem to stand on seven hills; but whether upon a reason more light, or more obscure, is not easy to say. |The whale showed Jonah (saith he) the Temple of the Lord, as it is said, 'I went down to the bottom of the mountains': whence we learn that Jerusalem was seated upon seven mountains.| One may sooner almost prove the thing itself, than approve of his argument. Let him enjoy his argument to himself; we must fetch the situation elsewhere.
|The city itself (saith Josephus) was built upon two hills, divided with a valley between, whereby, in an opposite aspect, it viewed itself; in which valley the buildings, meeting, ended.|
|Of these hills, that, which contained the Upper City was by far the higher, and more stretched out in length: and because it was very well fortified, it was called by king David The Castle: but by us it is called 'the Upper Town.'|
|But the other, which was called Acra, bearing on it the lower town, was steep on both sides.|
|Against this was a third hill [Moriah], lower than Acra, and disjoined from it by a broad valley. But when the Asmoneans reigned, they filled up the valley, desiring that the Temple might touch the city; and they took the top of Acra lower, that the Temple might overlook it.|
Bezetha and Ophel were other hills also: of which in their place, when we shall first have taken a view of these two, Sion and Acra, and the situation of each.
It is an old dispute, and lasts to this day, whether Sion or Jerusalem lay on the north part of the city. We place Sion on the north, convinced by these reasons: --
I. Psalm 48:2: |The joy of the whole earth is mount Sion, on the north side.| Where Aben Ezra hath this note; |Mount Sion is on the north side of Jerusalem|: and Lyranus, |Mount Sion is in the north part of Jerusalem.| The Seventy, |The mountains of Sion on the sides of the north.|
Sion's fair hills stand on cold Boreas' coast. Apollinar. [Metaphr. Ps.]
II. When the prophet Ezekiel takes a prospect of the new Jerusalem in a vision, -- he saith, that he stood upon |a very high mountain, near which was, as it were, the building of a city on the south,| Ezekiel 40:2. On which place Kimchi thus; |He placed me upon a very lofty mountain. That mountain was the Mount of the Temple: for the Temple was to be built in a mountain, as before. And the city Jerusalem is near it on the south.| And Lyranus again, after the reciting the explication of some upon that verse, and his rejecting it; |And therefore (saith he) the Hebrews say, and better, as it seems, that the prophet saw two things, -- namely, the city and the Temple, -- and that the Temple was in the north part, -- but the city in the south part.|
Behold! reader, Zion on the north part in the Psalmist, and the city on the south part in the prophet!
The things which make for this in Josephus are various, and plain enough; which nevertheless we cannot frame into arguments, before the buildings of better note in Sion, or in the Upper City, be viewed: -- of which the reader must be mindful; namely, that the name of Sion, after the return out of Babylon, was grown into disuse, -- but the more vulgar was, the Upper Town.