David displays Goliath's head

The Jewish Connection to Israel: Chapter Three – King David and Jerusalem (and the Temple too)

The connection between King David and Jerusalem inspired Jewish people throughout the times.
But how did the story begin?
Why did Jerusalem become so important to the Jewish people? 
Find out as our story continues!

When we left the story, the Israelites left Egypt and started their route to the promised land – the Land of Israel.
Since, the Israelites have conquered most of the Land of Israel, and have lived peacefully for several hundred years (from 1300 BC to 1000 BC).
At around 1000 BC, a new king is anointed to the people of Israel – King David.
King David has a humble beginning . He was merely a young shepherd, who came to center stage after, against all odds, he killed a Philistine giant named Goliath – with a single sling shot. Goliath was a strategic threat to Israel, sort of like a nuclear bomb of the time. So removing the threat with a single shot was pretty impressive stuff, wasn’t it? Well, a lot of people thought so too. Hence, young David’s enormous popularity and meteoric rise to becoming the king.

'David' by Michelangelo JBU0001
‘David’ by Michelangelo | Jörg Bittner Unna / CC BY

King David yearned to build a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. His struggle to conquer Jerusalem and his burning desire to build the temple there have been studied and personalized by the Jewish people throughout history. After cleverly conquering the city using a siege combined with a surprise assault, King David and Jerusalem take things to the next level, as King David makes Jerusalem the capital of Israel. That’s another win for team David!
The strong connection between King David and Jerusalem, the fact that he dedicated his life to make Jerusalem the center of his kingdom, and the fact that he is the most beloved, popular and successful king, created an unbreakable bond between Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. This bond held the Jews together in prayers, songs and thoughts for over 2000 years, even when things went tough. (How tough? You’ll find out soon enough…).
Jerusalem is also known as the City of David – for he was as important to the city as much as the city was important to him.

Unfortunately, King David did not accomplish his dream of building the Jewish temple. Since David shed too much blood in his life as a conqueror, God denies David the opportunity to build the temple and he dies (peacefully) without fulfilling his last dream. He is honored in the prophetic literature as an ideal king and the forefather of a future Messiah, and remains the most beloved Israeli king to this day. King David even influenced Christianity, as Jesus Christ is described as being descended from David in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

After King David’s death, his son Solomon became king. Solomon is known to be a fabulously wealthy and wise king of the United Kingdom of Israel, whose reign lasted from about 970BC to 931 BC.
And most importantly, he fulfills his father’s last dream and builds a glorious temple in Jerusalem.

Temple of Solomon
Temple of Solomon | Ancient-origins.net / CC BY-SA

The inner chamber – known as the Holy of Holies – was 30 feet (about 9 meters) in length, breadth, and height. The floor? Lined with cedar Of Lebanon, the most exquisite wood you can find. The walls? Overlaid with gold – about 20 metric tons of gold (or about 10 Mercedes-Benz S class cars, if you will)! It was the most marvelous, impressive, beautiful structure of the time. The inner chamber even housed the Ark of the Covenant – a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in the Book of Exodus as containing the two stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.
It really was the jewel of the crown jewel that is Jerusalem.

This temple – Solomon’s Temple – was the spiritual heart of the Israelites, the place where God was worshipped in all his glory, in the city that became holy as the epicenter of religious ceremonies. But it is also known as “The First Temple”,
That’s right. As always – the plot thickens, and continues on Chapter Four – The Exile to Babylon.