Jerusalem 3000 — A Capital Idea? -- By: Gary A. Byers

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 08:4 (Autumn 1995)
Article: Jerusalem 3000 — A Capital Idea?
Author: Gary A. Byers

Jerusalem 3000 — A Capital Idea?

Gary A. Byers

The fall of 1995 brings a very special celebration — Jerusalem 3000 — the 3,000th anniversary of King David’s capture of ancient Jerusalem. Beginning in 1990, during the administration of former mayor Teddy Kollek, the modern city of Jerusalem has been planning to celebrate the ancient city.

Of course, this celebration is not without its detractors. In fact, in international circles, it is not “politically correct” to even participate. Because Jerusalem has been a divided city in modern times, unified under Israeli control only since 1967, the Jewish-oriented celebration is rejected by most Palestinians, as well as the surrounding Arab and Moslem states. Many European nations are also boycotting the party, out of sympathy for Moslem/Arab concerns.

An additional problem for the organizers of Jerusalem 3000 is the date. By virtually no one’s calculations is this the 3,000th anniversary of David’s capture of Jerusalem (2 Sm 5:6–9; 1 Chr 11:4–8). Most scholars, Israeli and others, date the capture of Jerusalem to 996–1000 BC. Apparently some political or advertising type saw the 996 BC date and thought AD 1996 would be a great time for a major public relations event.

Unfortunately, AD 1996 is not 3, 000 years after 996 BC. Due to the nature of our calendar, going from BC to AD and no year zero, 3, 000 years from 996 BC is AD 2003! Exactly how the mayor’s office came up with its calculations has remained unstated. In addition, according to their calculations, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel say the 3,000th anniversary will not happen until AD 2132. But, the party is on, anyway!

The mayor’s office in Jerusalem notes that the 15 month celebration will be full of operas, sound-and-light shows and gala symphonies. They point out there is no real Jewish content. Unfortunately, this satisfies no-one. Palestinians are not impressed and ultra-Orthodox Jews are not pleased with all the secular activity.

Of course, by the very nature of this event, archaeology will play a special part. The Israeli Antiquities Authority, which oversees all archaeological activity in the country, has already cleaned up a number of significant archaeological sites around the city in expectation of coming visitors.

For over 100 years archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the ancient site. They found that the earliest city was not built within the present walled city, as previously assumed, but outside the walls on the lower hill south of the ancient Temple Mount.

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