The previous article talked about Jerusalem (Al-Quds) in the days of Prophet Joshua, who saved the people of the city of Gibeon from five kings who attacked them, as he defeated and killed them all. During the days of that prophet, the Jebusites also lived with the children of Israel. In the days of the judges, we hear about King Adoni-bezek, the city of Jerusalem was taken and burnt with fire, and the Jebusites lived with the Benjamites, Prophet David placed the head and tools of mighty Goliath in it. During the reign of King David the Prophet, he set Jerusalem as his capital, where he built a house for himself and prepared to build the temple. His son, Prophet Solomon reigned over Jerusalem for forty years, and he built there the temple, the king’s house, and a wall around it: “Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall all around Jerusalem.” He also built a castle and closed the cracks in the City of David. Josephus, the Jewish historian, describes the wall that Solomon built as “the ancient wall.” Thus, the city of Jerusalem became one of the historical fortified cities. To Jerusalem, the Queen of Sheba came to see the greatness and wisdom of King Solomon and to ask him about some matters: “Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard!”
After the death of King and Prophet Solomon, his son Rehoboam, who was a young man then, succeeded him, and the kingdom was divided into two parts: Judea, which belonged to the tribe of Judah and to half of the tribe of Benjamin, and Israel, which belongs to the remaining nine tribes and the other half of Benjamin tribe. The reason behind that division after the death of King Solomon, was that some people led by Jeroboam, came to King Rehoboam, asking him to ease the burdens laid on the people. They said: “Your father made our yoke [a]heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” Rehoboam asked for three days to think about the matter, consulting the elders who were standing before his father Solomon, and they answered him: “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” Then he consulted the young men who had grown up with him, and they advised him: “Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’ ” (scourges have iron balls that severely tear the skin, poison and kill the body).” Rehoboam followed the advice of the young men, ignoring the advice of the wise elders. When Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, he answered them harshly and toughly, which led to the division of the kingdom: ow when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: “What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!” So Israel departed to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah.” Thus, Jerusalem was no longer a unified capital, as the one people was divided into two peoples. As for Israel (the nine tribes and half of Benjamin tribe), they followed Jeroboam, who led them astray from the worship of God and returned them to worshipping other gods, because he feared people would go up to Jerusalem where the temple was to worship and rebel against him. Jerusalem, which became the capital of Judea (the tribe of Judah and the other half of the Benjamin tribe), had the temple, and the worship of God continued there. Stories about Jerusalem are to be continued… and stories about beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center