zion in the bible

Zion in the Bible

The reference to Zion in the Bible appears 180 times and indicates the upper part of Jerusalem. The first quotation concerns a small portion of the promised land (Jos 19,19). Subsequently, it suggests the fortress that David conquers from the Jebusites, which becomes the “city of David” (2Sam 5,6-9; cf. 1 Cor 11,5).

After David brings the ark of the Covenant into it (2 Sam 6,12-19), Zion in the Bible is called “God’s dwelling.” When King Solomon builds the Temple there, which represents the presence of God amid his people (cf. 1 King 8.10-13. 30), the name Zion designates the Temple Mount. Later Zion in the Bible will indicate not only all of Jerusalem but also all of Israel (Ps 2,6; Is 52,1; 2Ki 19,31), and its inhabitants are defined as “Sons of Zion” (cf. Mic 4,10-13; Zep 3), 14-18; Zc 2,14; 9,9-10).
The people made a pilgrimage to Zion, making their ascent to meet the transcendent Lord who dwells in his holy Temple. The bond with Zion in the Bible frees him from the dispersion of the heights which provoked the idolatry denounced by the prophets (Jer 2, 20; 3, 23). Zion is «His holy mountain, an astonishing size, is the joy of the whole earth. Mount Zion, divine abode, is the city of the great sovereign “(Ps 48: 3). This is why Zion was a safe and unshakable refuge (cf. Jl 3, 5; Ps 125, 1).

Who is the daughter of Zion in the Bible?

The daughter of Zion, or also the virgin daughter of Zion as we read in 2 and 19:21. Or also the daughter of Jerusalem are synonymous and are personifications to indicate the city of Jerusalem. Zion in the Bible is a rock. Before the return of the Jews from Egypt, it was inhabited by the Jebusites. David conquered it and therefore became the city of David. It was the heart of Jerusalem. 

Daughter of Zion: according to the custom of speaking of the Semites. Regions, cities, and also countries are considered as the mothers of the inhabitants and these as their children: all the inhabitants together are also designated with the name of inhabitant or daughter. For which daughter of Zion in the Bible is the same as the inhabitants of Zion.

Furthermore, the custom of calling the city by the name of the daughter, virgin, or lady: and is our case. The daughter of Zion is the city of Jerusalem itself, so called from its most crucial part, Mount Zion, which dominated the other hills and on which the palace and the city of David were located.

mount zion in the bible

Representation of Mount Zion in the Bible

What does Zion represent?

Zion in the Bible is a name that, in pre-Christian times, designates the entire city of Jerusalem. Or the western and somewhat higher hill between the two hills on which the ancient city lies. There is no doubt, however, that the word initially designated the eastern hill instead, particularly its southern part on which stood the old installation of the Jebusei and the fortress of Sion. 

Conquered the fortress of S., it was called by its conqueror the “City of David,” whereby the two terms became equivalent. With the addition of the temple north of the hill, this part was also called S. they did on the western ridge, thus becoming practically synonymous with Jerusalem.

The definition of the temple of Zion is very suggestive: it is “Ohel mo’ed,” the “tent of encounter” between God and Israel and of the Israelites among them, gathered in the liturgical assembly. And it will be Isaiah in one of his memorable pages (2,1-5) to describes this mountain’s universalistic mission. Which, in His eyes, rises higher than any other mountain, not for topographical reasons but for its symbolic value. Wrapped in light, it becomes a point of reference for all the peoples of the Earth.

Primary Takeaways

  • Mount Zion, in the rabbinic religious tradition, is identified with Mount Moria, where Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac and where he experienced the paternal face of God who loves life and saves it from death (Gen 22). The fathers of the Church will identify Mount Moria with the place of the Skull, Calvary (cf. Mk 15:22; Jn 19:17), where Jesus sacrificed his life, but the Father resurrected him on the third day.
  • Luke the Evangelist greets Mary as the Daughter of Zion, the ideal personification of faithful Israel of the end times. This can be deduced from the account of the Annunciation, which is described with the words and images of the prophecies addressed to the daughter of Zion in the Bible (cf. Zep 3,14-17; Gio 2,21-27; Zec 2, 14-15 and 9, 9-10).
  • Mount Hermon is once called Zion in the Bible. But the word in the original language is different; it is the name given by other nations.


Zion in the Bible is almost a synonym for Jerusalem, especially the city of David. Zion is also the original southeastern part of the city. The Old Testament uses it mainly in the Psalms and the Prophets. It is a poetic term representing the prophetic hope of a new kingdom of David. The books of the Maccabees refer to the mountain on which Jerusalem was built. (1Macc 4: 37,60; 5:54; 6: 48,62; 7:33; 10:11; 14:26). 

For the prophet Isaiah, Zion, in the Bible, is a symbolic place of peace. And universality because people will flock to it at the end of time after having abandoned their weapons of war: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (Is 2: 2f). On this mountain, the Lord will prepare a lavish banquet for the scattered. Whom He will have gathered and for foreigners (cf. Is 25, 6-10; 27, 13; 66, 20; 56, 7). 

Zechariah prophesies in the famous Septuagint that Jerusalem will rise quietly and safely even if the country is transformed into a plain. And everyone will always have to go up there every year to worship the king, the Lord (14, 10; 14, 16). In the New Testament, especially in the Apocalypse, Zion in the Bible is the heavenly Jerusalem. At the end of time, the Lamb, Jesus, who died and rose, stands on Mount Zion (14, 1). Which is no longer where the earthly city is built (cf. Ez 40, 2). But the seat where the holy Jerusalem descends from heaven is contemplated (Rev 21, 10).