The Jebusites (1 Chronicles 11)

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Illustration: A model of Jerusalem in 2000-1000 BC while occupied by the Jebusites

The Jebusites were a Canaanite people (Genesis 10:15-16), many of whom lived in the hills in the vicinity of their city, Jebus, better known as Jerusalem. Jerusalem is mentioned in the Egyptian Execration Texts (as Uru-shalim), the Amarna correspondence (as Urusalim) and Assyrian texts (as Urusillimmu). We know the names of two of the city kings: The Amarna texts mention Abdi-Hepa, and 2 Samuel 24:18 speaks of Araunah.

The Jebusites led the southern confederation of city-states within the region against Joshua and the Israelites (Joshua 9:1-2) and also participated in the northern confederation of city-states under Jabin, king of Hazor (Joshua 11:1-5). Jerusalem fell between the tribal allotments of Judah and Benjamin. Although Judah set the citadel on fire, Jebusites continued to inhabit Jerusalem into the period of the judges, since neither tribe succeeded in driving them out (Judges 1:8, 21). David was able to wrest the city from Jebusite control and use it as his religious and political capital. However, some Jebusites remained there until the days of Solomon, who conscripted them to forced labour along with other Canaanites (1 Kings 9:20-21). They were eventually absorbed into the Israelite population.

Some excavated remains from Jerusalem are attributable to the Jebusite period. These include a fortification wall, bastions, gates and a water tunnel from the Gihon spring with a deep cistern to collect the water.


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