“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”(Matthew 23:37 ESV)
Jesus said these words upon his last week in Jerusalem prior to His death. It pretty much sums up the theme of Simon Sebag Montefiore‘s monumentual book, Jerusalem: The Biography. I finished listening to it as an audiobook from Audible.com not too long ago. At 25 hours and 26 minutes, it is a very long listen. But as I have been doing tedious work as part of an upstairs remodeling effort, it helps to have had a set of headphones to listen to this fascinating work of history while I try to cover up my tile grout mistakes. Montefiore traces the story of Jerusalem, starting back at its Canaanite origins thousands of years ago up through the present era, stopping at the end of the Six-Day War in 1967.
It has been taking me over a year to get through Jerusalem, having to take a break every now and then just to work through the emotional energy required to take in such a vast topic. Jerusalem’s name is often associated with being “The City of Peace”. But the long and tumultuous story is evidence that this sacred and holy place has been anything but peaceful.