No other city in history has had so many names and honorary titles as the Holy City of Jerusalem. Even that fact alone reflects the importance of Jerusalem in biblical history, in different cultures, and across the generations. This series introduces the biblical Hebrew names of the City of David. Unfortunately, the meanings of the Hebrew titles often fade in the translations. The names of Jerusalem also illuminate why the biblical city is so controversial. Here we take a deep dive into another one of these 70 names…
וּשְׁמוֹתָן אָהֳלָה הַגְּדוֹלָה וְאָהֳלִיבָה אֲחוֹתָהּ וַתִּהְיֶינָה לִי וַתֵּלַדְנָה בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת וּשְׁמוֹתָן שֹׁמְרוֹן אָהֳלָה וִירוּשָׁלִַם אָהֳלִיבָה
“The older was named Ohola, and her sister was Ohaliva. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Ohola is Samaria, and Ohaliva is Jerusalem.” (Ezekiel 23:4)
Ezekiel gives a divine prophecy in which Jerusalem and Samaria are personified and evaluated based on two women’s names. Samaria represents the northern kingdom of Israel, Jerusalem the southern kingdom of Judah.
In Hebrew there is a word play in these names. The names of the sisters Ohola and Ohaliva (in some transliterations Oholiba) come from the Hebrew word Ohel...
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