Tag Archives: Hezekiah

The Location of One of the Inscriptions Near the Gihon Spring

Recently, it was announced that Eli Shukron and Prof. Gerson Galil had discovered and deciphered “five monumental, new royal inscriptions of King Hezekiah of Judah, which together include dozens of lines and hundreds of letters.”

Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy,  “Proof of biblical kings of Israel, Judah deciphered on Jerusalem rock inscriptions.  The Jerusalem Post.  December 16, 2022.  Online article.

I thought it might be of interest to some of the readers of this blog to share a picture of where I think at least one of the inscriptions is/was located. One of them was located at the bottom of the Round Pool that Reich and Shukron excavated.

View looking down at the bottom of the pool that Reich and Shukron excavated.

The bottom of the pool is about 20 ft. below the point from which this picture was taken.  It is estimated that the pool measures 22 x 10 ft. [6.7 x 3 m.].

In the center of the image is a doorway.  This is Tunnel IV which leads to the famous “Hezekiah’s Tunnel.”  This may have been the original starting point for Hezekiah’s Tunnel!  To the right of the doorway is a carved frame that has a recently deciphered inscription!!

On the right side of the image, is a large “gash.”  This is where Tunnel III entered the pool, bringing water from the Gihon Spring.  Or more precisely, Channel II led to Tunnel III, and that in turn led to the “Round Pool” of the “Rock-cut Pool.”

Probably a wooden platform was built over the pool.  Those who had descended through the “diagonal tunnel” would have stood on the platform, lowering their sacks into the pool, drawing them up, and then walking back through the “diagonal tunnel” to the interior of the city of Jerusalem.

The excavators believe that this pool system was built during the Middle Bronze II Period (ca. 1800 B.C.) and that it continued in use for over 1,000 years.  Indeed it is possible Joab and his men gained access to “Jerusalem/Jebus” via this water system (2 Sam 5:6–10; 1 Chron 11:4–9).

Detail of the doorway that is the entrance to Tunnel IV that leads to the famous “Hezekiah’s Tunnel.” This may have been the original starting point for Hezekiah’s Tunnel!

To the right of the doorway is a carved frame of an inscription that Gershon Galil claims to have read and translated.

For additional pictures of this “system” see Here.

A representation of the Spring/Pool System. From a sign at the site.

In the above note the city wall and the corridor that leads to the spring and pool area. The spring is protected by the tower on the right and the pool is visible to the left of it.


*** See helpful cautionary comments by Todd Bolen and Luke Chandler.

For a popular presentation of the finds see Reich, Ronny, and Shukron, Eli.  “Light at the End of the Tunnel:  Warren’s Shaft Theory of David’s Conquests Shattered.”  Biblical Archaeology Review, vol. 25, no. 1 (January/February, 1999):22–33, 72.

And for recent interpretations see:

Shanks, Hershel. “Will King Hezekiah Be Dislodged from His Tunnel?”  Biblical Archaeology Review vol. 39, no. 3 (September/October, 2013): 52-61.

Siegel-Itzkovich, Judy,  “Proof of biblical kings of Israel, Judah deciphered on Jerusalem rock inscriptions.  The Jerusalem Post.  December 16, 2022.  Online article.

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Jerusalem: Recent Developments Near the Gihon Spring — With Pictures

2-3 minute read with unique, never-seen-before, pictures.

The Gihon Spring is the natural water source for ancient Jerusalem.  David’s general Joab is said to have gained access to conquer the city via part of this water system (2 Samuel 5:8 and 1 Chronicles 11:6) and Hezekiah built the well-known 1,750 ft. tunnel (2 Chronicles 32:30).

On a recent trip sponsored by the Biblical Archaeological Society and Tutku Tours, led by the expert guide Ofer Drori, we descended into the water system complex.  For years the area excavated by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron has been barely visible due to all the scaffolding in the area.

RoundChamber

View looking down into the “Rock-cut Pool” that dates to the 18th century B.C.
The opening just above center, where the upper blue light is located, is where Tunnel III brings water from Tunnel II to this large chamber
See the diagram in Shank’s article for details
Click on Image to Enlarge/Download

I was delighted to find that the area is now available to the public via sturdy walkways, stairs and lights (with blue lights; hmm).  Completely visible are the Rock-cut Pool, Tunnel III (that brought water from Tunnel II to the Rock-cut Pool) and Tunnel IV that leads to “Hezekiah’s Tunnel.”

RoundChamber-2

The large 18th century B.C. Rock-cut Pool
Tunnel III enters from the large cut in the center of the image bringing water to the Rock-cut Pool
Tunnel IV exits to the left bring water to “Hezekiah’s Tunnel”–note the door-like exit left of center
Click on Image to Enlarge/Download

RoundChamber-3

Artist’s reconstruction of the Gihon Spring, Rock-cut Pool, and associated defensive structures on the east side of the “Old Ancient Core” of Jerusalem — dated to the 18th century B.C.
On display above the Gihon Spring
Click on Image to Enlarge/Download

In the above artists reconstruction the tower on the right (north) was built over and guards the Gihon Spring.  The tower on the left (south) contains and guards the “Rock-cut Pool.”  Note the city wall and the defended pathways that lead to and from the towers.  All of this was evidently built in the 18th century B.C.!

For a complete description of this system see the article by Hershel Shanks, “Will King Hezekiah Be Dislodged from His Tunnel?”  Biblical Archaeology Review, (September/October 2013), pp. 52–61, 73.  In it he notes that Reich and Shukron now believe that what has been called “Hezekiah’s Tunnel” (Hezekiah r. 715–686 B.C.) now should be dated earlier—to the late 9th or early 8th century B.C.!