Mount Sion did not thrust itself so far eastward as mount Acra: and hence it is, that mount Moriah is said, by Josephus, to be "situate over-against Acra," rather than over-against the Upper City: for, describing Acra thus, which we produced before, "There is another hill, called Acra, which bears the Lower City upon it, steep on both sides": in the next words he subjoins this, "Over-against this was a third hill," speaking of Moriah.
The same author thus describes the burning of the Lower City: "Then they fired the Archivum and Acra, and the council-house, and Ophla: and the fire destroyed unto the palaces of Helen, which were in the middle of Acra."
I. The Archivum. Whether he means the magistrates' court, or the repository of the ancient records, according to the different signification of the word, we do not determine. There were certainly sacred records in the Temple, and civil records no doubt in the city, where writings and memorials of sales, contracts, donations, and public acts, &c. were laid up. I should more readily understand this of their repository, than of the magistrates' court, because, presently after, the council-house is distinctly named.
II. Acra: that is, either the buildings, which were upon the very head and top of the mount, or some garrison or castle in the mount. In which sense that word doth not seldom occur in the history of the Maccabees, and in Josephus.
III. The Council-house. He mentions elsewhere the council, and that, as it seems, in the Upper City. For he saith, that "the outmost wall on the north began at the Hippic tower, and went forward to the Xystus; and thence, touching upon the council" (or the court), "it went onward opposite against the west walk of the Temple." The council in the Upper City you may not improperly interpret the 'Court of the King': the council-house in the Lower City, the council of the Sanhedrim, whither it went, when it departed from the Tabernae.
IV. Ophla. Ophel, Nehemiah 3:26.
There was also a fourth hill, saith the same Josephus, "which was called Bezetha, situate over-against Antonia, and divided from it with a deep ditch. Now Bezetha, if you would render it in Greek, one might call it 'The New City.'" And yet there is a place where he seems to distinguish between Bezetha and the New City: for he saith concerning Cestius, "But Cestius, passing over, set fire upon Bezetha, so called, and the New City."
Bezetha was seated on the north part of Antonia, and that and Caenopolis (or the New City) filled up that space, where Sion ended on the east, and was not stretched out so far as Acra was. "(The city), abounding with people, crept, by little and little, out of the walls: and on the north side of the Temple, at the hill, making a city, went onward not a little; and a fourth hill is inhabited, which is called Bezetha," &c.
Interpreters differ about Millo. There is one, who supposes it to be a large place, appointed for public meetings and assemblies. Another interprets it of heaps of earth, thrown up against the wall within, whence they might more easily get up upon the wall: and when David is said to build Millo, that he erected towers upon these heaps, and banks. Some others there are, who understand it of the valley or street that runs between Jerusalem and Sion; and so it is commonly marked out in the maps,--when, in truth, Millo was a part of Sion, or some hillock cast up against it on the west side.
Let that be observed, 2 Chronicles 32:5; "And he restored, or fortified, Millo, of the city of David": or, as our English reads, "in the city of David." The Seventy read, "the fortification of the city of David." When, therefore, David is said to build "Millo, and more inwards," it is all one as if he had said, 'he built on the uttermost part of Sion, which was called Millo, more inwardly to his own castle.' And Joab repaired the rest, 1 Chronicles 11:8.
The street or valley, running between Sion and Acra, was called, as if one should say, The valley or street of cheesemongers. There was also, The market of beams, which Josephus joins with Bezetha, and the New City. "Cestius (saith he) wasted Bezetha and Caenopolis, and that which is called the beam-market, with flames."