How hard can it be to find out about Jerusalem’s walls in Nehemiah’s day?!

Posted 18 Sep 2018

I had this little idea… “I know”, I thought to myself, “I’ll read Nehemiah chp 3 (the Bible, Old Testament) and draw all the gates, towers and walls mentioned there. The description of all the Hebrew people who helped in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls [1] is fairly easy to follow – no problem”… or so I thought!

It turns out that trying to find a good set of photographs, illustrations, or maps of the old city of Jerusalem (aka the City of David) is REALLY hard to find! There are plenty of modern day photo’s of the sprawling city as it is now, but I want to know what the original City of David may have looked like. That is proving harder to find out!

It is also hard to find any aerial photos, maps, illustrations, etc which REALLY inform the viewer of what the underlying topography [2] of Jerusalem is like. That’s important (to me, at least!) because Jerusalem isn’t built on a flat plain. The original City of David was built on the side of a sloping hillside, with valleys on three sides, and surrounded by other hills all around. The problem with looking at modern photo’s is that there are so many buildings that it is really difficult to see the underlying landforms. If I’m going to draw the walls, towers and gates of the original City of David with any topographical accuracy, then I REALLY need to know what the shape and nature of the land underneath the city was/is like.

After a whole morning spent on this project I have now managed to find a few pictures and descriptions of the land on which Jerusalem is built, so I think I’ll be able to start drawing soon. I think there will be quite a few Bible Cartoons to draw, as there are 10 gates mentioned in Nehemiah chp 3, and a whole series of other towers, walls and people’s houses as well… this “little” project may well grow into a much larger one very quickly!

I am quite motivated to draw all these many gates, walls, etc since my single Bible Cartoon entitled “Nehemiah 03 – Rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls” has sold 22 times since I drew it in June 2010. Yes, it’s taken me 8 years to get around to adding any new pictures to that lonely little scene I drew all those years ago!

So what might I be drawing in the near future? Here’s a list of the 10 gates of the City of David, and another with some interesting names that are just begging to be drawn!

The 10 gates in the walls of the City of David
Apparently there were 10 gates in the walls of the city of David, starting in the North East and rotating round anti-clockwise from above they are:

01) The Sheep Gate (verse 1, and 32)
02) The Fish Gate (verse 3)
03) The Jeshanah (or Old) Gate (verse 6)
04) The Valley Gate (verse 13)
05) The Dung Gate (verse 14)
06) The Fountain Gate (verse 15)
07) The Water Gate (verse 26)
08) The Horse Gate (verse 28)
09) The East Gate (verse 29)
10) The Inspection Gate (verse 31)

Other interesting places or sections of the walls of the City of David
The Tower of the Hundred (verse 1)
The Tower of Hananel (verse 1)
The Broad Wall (verse 8)
The Tower of the Ovens (or furnaces) (verse 11)
The Pool of Siloam (verse 15)
The King’s Garden (verse 15)
The steps going down from the City of David (verse 15)
The tomb(s) of David (Royal Cemetery) (verse 16)
The artificial pool (not sure what this is, water reservoir?) (verse 16)
The House of the Heroes (or Warriors) (verse 16)
The Armoury (verse 19)
The angle (buttress) (verse 19, 20)
The tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard (verse 25)
The hill of Ophel (verse 26)
The great projecting tower (verse 26, 27)
The house of the Temple servants and merchants (verse 31)
The room above the corner (verse 31, 32)

As you can see from the above lists, there’s plenty for me have a go at. I’m thinking of drawing the various wall sections and gates in the same order as listed by Nehemiah (anti-clockwise, from the Sheep Gate) and ranging from the piles of rubble left by the Babylonians/Chaldeans, through various states of repair, to the finished Gates and wall sections, at the end of Nehemiah and the Hebrew people’s efforts.

The walls of Jerusalem were pulled down deliberately by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonians/Chaldeans, when he laid siege to the city, before carting off lots of the Hebrew people to Babylon in 605 BC. 70 years later (after the Persians had replaced the Babylonians/Chaldeans) King Cyrus allowed the Hebrew exiles to return to Israel and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Topography is a graphic representation of the surface features of a place or region on a map, indicating their relative positions and elevations. The study of the shape and features of the surface of the Earth.


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