Hebrew: צִיּוֹן —transliteration: Tsiyyon, Tzion or Zion
Meaning: sunny; height
also known as: Sion
This is the name of a southwestern mountain (large hill) on which ancient Jerusalem was built.
Due to past major destructions of Jerusalem, its occupation by many different kings and conquerors, and massive recontouring of the earth that was Mt. Zion, there is confusion about its exact location.
Tourists are pointed to the high point that is labeled below on the Google satellite map as “Mount Zion.” However, there is increasing evidence that this is incorrect. So far, this is not being acknowledged by the Israeli government. We plan to supply more information about this later.
Nearby valleys of Mt. Zion are the Kidron and Hinnom. Mount Zion is part of the Judean mountain range.
In Hebrew, Mount Zion is written: הַר צִיוֹן —transliteration: Har Tzion.
Mount Zion is much larger than nearby Mount Moriah. Mount Zion is surrounded on all sides, except the north, by valleys, including a valley that Josephus called the “Tyropoeon Valley” that separates it from Mount Moriah (today referred to as the Temple Mount—although Moriah is not the most likely location of the Temple). It was the smaller southeastern hill of ancient Jerusalem.
Supposed “Mount Zion,” south of Jerusalem’s Old City wall, immediately south of the so-called Zion Gate—satellite view
When David took Zion from the Jebusites (Joshua 15:63; 2 Samuel 5:7) he built a citadel and a palace on it, and Zion became “the City of David” (1 Kings 8:1; 2 Kings 19:21, 31; 1 Chronicles 11:5).
In the later books of the Old Testament, this name was sometimes used (Psalms 87:2; 149:2; Isaiah 33:14; Joel 2:1) to denote Jerusalem in general, and sometimes God’s chosen Israel (Psalms 51:18; 87:5).
Destruction of Zion’s overlying structures
Through the years, the structures of Zion were destroyed many times, sometimes due to God’s judments on the evils of the people. Its most complete and utter destruction was by the Romans (by God’s will) in 70 AD, as prophecied by the Messiah at the incident of the Widow’s 2 mites.
So complete was the destruction of the City of David, that its location was lost, even to the Jews, until the late 1800s AD.
In the New Testament (see Sion), the name Zion is sometimes used to denote the Church of God (Hebrews 12:22), and sometimes the Heavenly city (Rev. 14:1).
Article Version: April 23, 2019