Where in Nach (or in the Torah??) are Bnei Israel referred to as Zion? I realize it's mostly used to refer to the place, i.e. Jerusalem/Har Zion/Temple Mount ... and am not interested in references to the place.

I saw the reference once in the Artscroll Talmud, but don't remember where.

Thanks ahead for your help.

p.s. I think there's an allusion in Tehillim, "G' bZion Gadol v'Ram Hu al kol ha'amim" - it compares Zion to ha'amim, implying Zion is a people, too. The b' in "bZion" would thus mean "amongst" i.e. bekerev Zion. But of course it's not an incontrovertible allusion and could still be interpreted as referring to the city. I'd love a clear/explicit reference to Zion meaning the Jewish people.

  • The phrase from Tehillim sounds familiar, as I believe that it is part of the davening, but I don't recall where. If you can locate that verse, please add a link in the question.
    – DanF
    Aug 11, 2015 at 14:57
  • Tehillim 99:2 בְּצִיּוֹן גָּדוֹל וְרָם הוּא עַל כָּל הָעַמִּים
    – rosends
    Aug 11, 2015 at 16:05
  • We read it Friday nights as part of Kabbalat Shabbat :).
    – gabrielg
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


The Palestinian Talmud (Taanis 21a) states that there is only verse in which the Jewish people are referred to as Zion. The verse is in Isaiah 51, 16:

וָאָשִׂים דְּבָרַי בְּפִיךָ וּבְצֵל יָדִי כִּסִּיתִיךָ לִנְטֹעַ שָׁמַיִם וְלִיסֹד אָרֶץ וְלֵאמֹר לְצִיּוֹן עַמִּי אָתָּה

Here is the quote from the Talmud:

א"ר חיננא בר פפא חוזרני על כל המקרא ולא מצאנו שנקראו ישראל ציון אלא זה ולאמר לציון עמי אתה

Rabbi Chin'na said: I reviewed all of Tanach, and we don't find that [the Nation of] Israel is called "Zion" except for this [verse]: "ולאמר לציון עמי אתה."

(free translation)

  • +1, great find! I hope you don't mind that I edited your question; notably, I changed the citation because I couldn't find Megillah 26 online. As far as I could tell, Taanis 21 is identical. I also added a translation. If you disagree with anything I did, by all means edit your post! If you want to remove everything I changed, you can rollback the edit here.
    – MTL
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:13
  • +1 for the find and the Talmud source. If I could, I would roll back the votes I got for my answer, as well. Best I can do is delete it, as I've been proven wrong! Chazak Ubaruch
    – DanF
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:54

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