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Map of the fortress/town of Jebus, captured by King David and named Jerusalem, his capital city

Jebus, the tiny citadel captured by David (bottom right)

Jebus, the walled area in the lower right of the diagram, marks the original city of David. It sat on a small spur of land jutting out from the flat rock plateau to its north.

The city was in a strategic position, lying between two rival kingdoms: Israel in the north, ruled by Ishbaal the successor of Saul, and Judah in the south, ruled by David.

Seven and a half years after Saul died in battle, Ishbaal was murdered by a supporter of David. David carefully disassociated himself from the murder by executing the man who had done it, then he assumed the throne of Judah and became king.

He did not want to rule from the old capital, Hebron. He wanted a fresh start, a new base of power. He turned his eyes towards the fortress of Jebus - neutral territory without any associations for either of the two kingdoms he aimed to rule.

By today's standards the town/city was small, with an estimated population of only about two thousand people. It had a citadel, a palace of sorts, and houses for military and administrative personnel.

Wisely, David does not seem to have slaughtered the inhabitants when he captured the city. Instead, he used their expertise and knowledge of the country to guide him.

The wife who bore his successor, Solomon, seems to have been a Jebusite - her remarkable story is at Bathsheba of Jerusalem.

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