Hebrew: salim, peace
Ancient city in Palestine, the religious and political center of the Israelites, situated 15 miles west of the Jordan on the crest of a chain of mountains which traverses Palestine from north to south. It was originally called Salem, and was the capital of King Melchisedech (Genesis 14) in 2100 B.C. First mentioned in the Bible in Josue, chapters 10, 15, the inhabitants are called Jebusites. In the division of the Promised Land, Jerusalem was assigned to the tribe of Benjamin. Its most famous rulers were David, who brought the Ark of the Covenant into the city, and his son Solomon, who built the Temple, and during whose reign Jerusalem attained the height of its glory and grandeur. Its downfall came (10 AD) after a siege of 143 days, in which it is said 600,000 Jews perished, when it was conquered and destroyed by the Romans under Titus. The house which was the scene of Pentecost and the Last Supper was spared, and became the first Christian church, the Cenacle. Jerusalem, because it was the scene of the Passion and Death of Our Lord, is the destination of pilrims from allover the world.