Chapter 3:
The City of David/Jerusalem in the Persian,
Greek, and Hasmonean Periods

In the Persian period, the description of the city’s wall repairs in the book of Nehemiah

confirms the “broad wall” was the back of the temple, and its front was “the great tower that lieth

out” (in the Kidron Valley). This great tower was east of and adjacent to the “water gate” which

provided access to the Gihon Spring. The prison gate was a twin gate to the water gate and

provided access to the prison in the courts of David’s palace. All of these descriptions take place

in the City of David.

In the Greek period, the citadel described is south of the temple in the “lower city,”

meaning the City of David. Aristeas describes the temple from the vantage point of this citadel

and said the city was divided into “upper crossroads” and “lower crossroads,” while the temple

in the middle enclosed an abundant spring. There was no “upper city” north of the alleged

temple mount in the Greek period, so this description applies only to the southeastern hill.

In the Hasmonean period, about 142 B.C., Simon the Hasmonean king/priest razed the

citadel and its hill to the ground, creating the future “acra,” which was the former City of David.

This designation is important, because the sources describe “acra” as south of the temple. Simon

built a new palace and a new David’s “tomb” on the western hill, which later became falsely

identified as Mount Zion. John Hyrcanus (about 134 B.C.) built a new citadel, called the

“Baris,” in the area where the alleged temple mount now stands.