How big was Jerusalem at the time of Jesus?

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893

Excerpt:


The first period that Geva considers in his study is from the 18th–11th centuries B.C.E. (Middle Bronze Age II to Iron Age I, in archaeological terms), the period before the arrival of the Israelites. Jerusalem was then confined to the small spur south of the Temple Mount known today as the City of David. As Geva reminds us, even then Jerusalem “was the center of an important territorial entity.”

From this period, the area includes a massive fortification system that has recently been excavated. Overall, however, the area comprises only about 11–12 acres. Geva estimates the population of the city during this period at between 500 and 700 “at most.” (Previously other prominent scholars had estimated Jerusalem’s population in this period as 880–1,100, 1,000, 2,500, 3,000; still this is hardly what we would consider a metropolis.)

jerusalem-landmarks
The shaded area reflects the current walled Old City of Jerusalem.
The next period Geva considers is the period of the United Monarchy, the time of King David and King Solomon and a couple centuries thereafter (1000 B.C.E. down to about the eighth century B.C.E.). In David’s time, the borders of the city did not change from the previous period.

However, King Solomon expanded the confines of the city northward to include the Temple Mount. This increased the size of the city to about 40 acres, but the increase in population was not proportionate since much of this expansion was taken up with the Temple and royal buildings. “It is likely that Jerusalem attracted new inhabitants of different social classes,” Geva tells us. “Some of these people came to reside in the city as a consequence of their official and religious capacities, while others came to seek a livelihood in its developing economy.” Geva estimates the population of the city at this time at about 2,000. (Previously, other scholars had estimated the number of people living in the city at this time as 2,000, 2,500 or 4,500–5,000.)

In the mid-eighth century B.C.E., the area usually referred to as the Western Hill was added to the city of Jerusalem. This area is well documented archaeologically. With this addition, more than a hundred acres were added to the city, and the population of the city increased proportionately. According to some scholars, this increase may have been at least in part due to the influx of refugees from the north after the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C.E.

By the end of the First Temple period (the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.), the walled city of Jerusalem covered 160 acres. By that time, settlement also extended northward outside the city walls, all of which expanded the city further. At its height, the population of Jerusalem at the end of the eighth century B.C.E., according to Geva, was 8,000.

As a result of the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib in 701 B.C.E., Jerusalem’s population declined to about 6,000, and so it remained until the Babylonians destroyed the city in 586 B.C.E. and forced much of its population into exile in Babylon.

Other population estimates of Jerusalem during the nearly 200 years before the Babylonian destruction vary widely—partially because they focus on different time periods. Geva’s estimate is carefully grounded in archaeological data.

After the Babylonian destruction, the few inhabitants who remained in the city (or who returned) lived primarily in the old area of the City of David. After the Persians wrested control of Jerusalem from the Babylonians and even after Jerusalem became the capital of the Persian province of Yehud, Jerusalem continued to be confined to the spur known as the City of David with an estimated population of about a thousand people on 40 acres. (Geva calls it “minute.” Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University puts the number even lower: 400 to 500.)

continued
 

theHawk

Registered Conservative
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
33,460
Reaction score
19,635
Points
1,905
Location
Arizona
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
 
OP
S

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
 

theHawk

Registered Conservative
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
33,460
Reaction score
19,635
Points
1,905
Location
Arizona
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
 
OP
S

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
 
OP
S

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893

norwegen

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
9,191
Reaction score
4,036
Points
390
Location
Ormond Beach, FL
Even today, Jerusalem is not that big geographically, but I suspect in the first century its population was more than a few hundred. The Great Revolt there claimed hundreds of thousand of lives. Tacitus estimated the casualties from this clash at 600,000 (Histories V, 13). Josephus estimated them at 1.1 million (Wars 6.9.3). Some current estimates determine the casualties to be at more than 1.3 million, an estimate that includes civilians such as moderate Jews visiting the city to celebrate Passover.

The casualties included Romans, too, but a couple hundred Jewish soldiers could not have killed a million Roman soldiers.
 

DudleySmith

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
719
Reaction score
383
Points
883
It was a major destination for travelers, both to pay taxes and pilgrimages, which means it was packed to the rafters inside as well as outside to maybe five times its permanent residents. ME cities always had much higher population densities than European ones. People s;ept om floors, benches, rooftops and stables, especially on holidays. Tents outside the city itself and villages within walking distance make for big crowds. 'A few hundred' is simply absurd.
 

DudleySmith

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2020
Messages
719
Reaction score
383
Points
883
The 70 A.D. revolt probably did kill over a million Jews, but I doubt they were all in Jerusalem. The 67 B.C. siege killed around 12,000 defenders, so I would guess maybe 40,000 to 60,000 would be able to cram themselves in, up to 150,000 if you count the suburbs. Battles around the city could easily involve hundreds of thousands, of course. As a market town, the daytime population would be far larger than the nighttime population after the gates closed for the night.
 
Last edited:

ding

Confront reality
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
78,707
Reaction score
7,052
Points
1,855
Location
Houston
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
Archaeologists don't deal in certainties. They deal in probabilities. So there will always be uncertainty in what they believe.
 

ding

Confront reality
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
78,707
Reaction score
7,052
Points
1,855
Location
Houston
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
So what exactly are you trying to get at?
 

Indeependent

Diamond Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
50,280
Reaction score
12,455
Points
2,180
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
Israel depends on God to provide the rain; it's explicitly in the Torah.
God gave the descendants of Ham the Nile because He had no interest in their prayers or devotion to God.
 
OP
S

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
So what exactly are you trying to get at?
I follow Israeli archaeologist pretty closely for the past 40 years.. I have been to Jordan and Palestine several times so it interests me .Everything in the OT is exaggerated...
 

Indeependent

Diamond Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
50,280
Reaction score
12,455
Points
2,180
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
So what exactly are you trying to get at?
I follow Israeli archaeologist pretty closely for the past 40 years.. I have been to Jordan and Palestine several times so it interests me .Everything in the OT is exaggerated...
Everything in the OT is exaggerated
Prove it.

By the way, have you read the last 2 chapters of Deuteronomy?
 
OP
S

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
Israel depends on God to provide the rain; it's explicitly in the Torah.
God gave the descendants of Ham the Nile because He had no interest in their prayers or devotion to God.
Ham is a fictional character.. Its a wonderful story of redemption, but its based on a tale about a king of Sumer and floods in the Euphrates River Basin.
 

Indeependent

Diamond Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
50,280
Reaction score
12,455
Points
2,180
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
Israel depends on God to provide the rain; it's explicitly in the Torah.
God gave the descendants of Ham the Nile because He had no interest in their prayers or devotion to God.
Ham is a fictional character.. Its a wonderful story of redemption, but its based on a tale about a king of Sumer and floods in the Euphrates River Basin.
Wow! For someone who tries so hard to appear to be mature, you really haven't thought this out too much.

If an event occurs, 1,000 publications and/or outlets will report it to attract their audience.

Genesis, Chapter 10...Shem and Yefes settled in the land known today as Israel and Ham settled in the Gaza and Egypt.
Each one of them had many families who didn't travel all that often.
Each family reported the version of the Flood that appealed to them.

It happens everyday.
 

fncceo

Platinum Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Messages
28,075
Reaction score
13,595
Points
1,100
(Geva calls it “minute.” Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University puts the number even lower: 400 to 500.)

continued
There were at least 6,000 Roman Soldiers stationed in Jerusalem in the 1st Century CE.

If the population of Israel's Capital was only a few hundred, I seriously doubt Rome would have stationed an entire legion there in 66CE.
 

ding

Confront reality
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
78,707
Reaction score
7,052
Points
1,855
Location
Houston
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
So what exactly are you trying to get at?
I follow Israeli archaeologist pretty closely for the past 40 years.. I have been to Jordan and Palestine several times so it interests me .Everything in the OT is exaggerated...
Yes, it probably is. So what?
 
OP
S

surada

Platinum Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
5,125
Reaction score
2,839
Points
893
Right, as if we’d have any idea or capability to determine a city’s population from 2,000 years ago within a few hundred people.
Archaeologist can tell a lot..
They don’t know a lot more than they claim to know. They look at fragments of a past culture. No one knows the real history.
Have you been to Jerusalem.. The old city is quite small. They didn't have enough water and the land is very stony.. The north around Galilee and the Decapolis was more prosperous.
So what exactly are you trying to get at?
I follow Israeli archaeologist pretty closely for the past 40 years.. I have been to Jordan and Palestine several times so it interests me .Everything in the OT is exaggerated...
Everything in the OT is exaggerated
Prove it.

By the way, have you read the last 2 chapters of Deuteronomy?
Of course. Why? Do you think Moses wrote the Pentateuch? There are a number of doublets in the stories because Israel and Judah had different accounts that were cobbled together about the time of King Omri... and the origins of those stories are older from Sumer and the north Coast Canaanites. It doesn't diminish the value or the truth of the stories. But, they aren't history.
 

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Forum List

Top