Wikipedia says:

The city of Jerusalem has been surrounded by walls for its defense since ancient times. In the Middle Bronze Age, a period also known in biblical terms as the era of the Patriarchs, a city named Jebus was built on the southeastern hill of Jerusalem, relatively small (50,000 square meters) but well fortified. Remains of its walls are located above the Siloam Tunnel.

From my recollection, the first mention in Tanac"h that Jerusalem had a wall is in Melachim (Kings) I 3:1 where it says that Shlomo built the wall of Jerusalem. However, based on above, it seems that the city had a wall for a long period prior to that. Who built the first wall and when?

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    Doesn't your source clearly say it was Jebus (where the jebusites lived)?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 19:24
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    Wasnt the wall up already when Joshua conquered the land? מוקף חומה מימות יהושע בן נון
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 19:25
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    @DoubleAA I just saw a question on this site regarding that. Where did I see it? I think that's debatable. I know it has implications to Purim, and, I think Yerushalayim is an exception to that rule. I have to investigate that. And, yes, the source does indicate Yevus, but it's unclear that they were the ones who built the wall. They clearly were not the first ones living in that area. It used to be called Shalem. And, of course, Wikipedia may not be telling the full or correct story.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 20:10
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    What is the significance of when the wall was built?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 15:36

3 Answers 3


There are many parts to yerushalayim, the part today known as "ir david" was the city of yerushalayim as it was in the times of the yevusim (fortified with walls and towers etc.) and thats what david conquered. shlomo hamelech expanded the walls to include up to and including har hamoriah. the city continued to be expanded by diffrent kings: chizkiyahu, herod, aggripas etc.


Yigal Shiloh, who oversaw archeological digs in Yerushalayim between 1978 and 1985, dated the Middle Bronze Age wall to circa 1800 BCE (Qedem 19, pg. 12).

From around this time we have the Execration Texts, which are Egyptian texts written on bowls and statuettes designed to curse rebellious Canaanite kings.1 Some of the texts mention kings of Rushalimum which is identified with Yerushalayim (see here). The names are identified as West-Semitic, so most likely the population of the city was West Semitic as well (although it is entirely possible that the lineage that ruled over Yerushalayim was foreign in origins. Right now there's no way to tell for certain). In other words, the people who built the wall were likely West Semities, like the Canaanites, which is what the Yevusim were. Whether already in the 19th-18th centuries BCE the people of the city were really Canaanites or not - we can't really tell, for lack of explicit textual records from the city.

1 The bowls and statuettes featured the names of the kings and their cities, and in Voodoo doll-manner, were then broken to unleash the curse.


Yoab יוֹאָב Ben Zeruiah (9th Century BCE) restored the city wall of Zion originally built by the "Jebusites" (Yoshbei Yebus יֹשְׁבֵי יְבוּס) as stated in [1 Chronicles 11:5-8]

David was told by the inhabitants of Jebus, “You will never get in here!” But David captured the stronghold of Zion; it is now the City of David. (וַיֹּ֨אמְר֜וּ יֹשְׁבֵ֤י יְבוּס֙ לְדָוִ֔יד לֹ֥א תָב֖וֹא הֵ֑נָּה וַיִּלְכֹּ֤ד דָּוִיד֙ אֶת־מְצֻדַ֣ת צִיּ֔וֹן הִ֖יא עִ֥יר דָּוִֽיד)

We learn King David occupied the stronghold; therefore it was renamed the City of David, but the actual reconstruction of Zion's wall was done by Yoab יוֹאָב - as stated by Rashi [1] in the commentary of [Divrei Hayamim I - Chapter 11.8] וְיוֹאָב יְחַיֶּה אֶת־שְׁאָר הָעִיר

[1] https://www.sefaria.org/I_Chronicles.11.8?ven=Tanakh:_The_Holy_Scriptures,_published_by_JPS&vhe=Miqra_according_to_the_Masorah&with=Rashi&lang=bi

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