I'm trying to understand the use of the city name Jerusalem in the New Testament. In some places, it appears as a proper noun, singular, feminine (Strongs 2419), And then in other places, it appears with neuter plural declension (Strongs 2414).
For example, in Matthew 2:1, "In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem (Ἱεροσόλυμα)"
- Here, Jerusalem seems to be accusative, Neuter, Plural
- Appears elsewhere in forms: Ἱεροσόλυμα, Ἰεροσολύμων, Ἱεροσολύμοις which seems to cover all the plural neuter cases (accusative/nominative, genitive, dative respectively).
The plural neuter form appears 63 times while the proper feminine singular version appears 77 times.
A few observations:
- The two forms appear in both Matthew and Luke/Acts. Galatians also has both
- The proper noun is rare outside of luke/acts (64 of the 77 instances are in luke/acts)
- Acts uses both extensively
- Mark and John use the plural neuter version exclusively
In Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַם does have what sounds like the "dual" ending as if it referring to something of which there are two of. At the same time, that may just be the word shalem (שלם) in a compound term meaning city (יר) of shalem, or something like that.
Another thought: There is a kind of dual nature to the concept of Jerusalem in the narratives. There seems to be the idea of a Jerusalem above and the Jerusalem below or the visible Jerusalem and the invisible Jerusalem.
Is anyone aware of why the word is conjugated in neuter plural in certain places?