Thursday, September 20, 2007

Archeology series 3: Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah's Tunnel

*Was constructed in 701 BCE

*Was designed by Hezekiah to act as an acqueduct to provide Jerusalem with water during an impending siege by the Assyrians, led by Sennacherib

*The tunnel was discovered by the American biblical archeologist Edward Robinson in 1838 and explored by Warren and others.

*Starts: Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley-This was ancient Jerusalem's main water supply
*Finsihes: Pool of Siloam in the Central Valley-another archeological marvel

*The Length is 533 m, direct length is 304.8 m

*It was carved in an 'S' shape, thus following the course of the softer rock

*The builders of the tunnel left their own description of the work engraved in the rock wall near the tunnel outlet into the Pool of Siloam. The inscription (called the Siloam Inscription) was found in 1880 and is now in Archaeological Museum, Istanbul, Turkey.

It reads:
"... the tunneling through. And this is the account of the tunneling through. While [the workmen raised] the pick each toward his fellow and while there [remained] to be tunneled [through, there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellow, for there was a split in the rock on the right hand and on [the left hand]. And on the day of the tunneling through the workmen stuck, each in the direction of his fellow, pick against pick. And the water started flowing from the source to the pool, twelve hundred cubits. And the height of the rock above the head of the workmen was a hundred cubits.".

*Here is the reference in 2 Chronicles:

2Ch 32:1 After these things, and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to win them for himself.
2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
3 he took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city; and they helped him.
4 So there was gathered much people together, and they stopped all the fountains, and the brook that flowed through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?

2Ch 32:30 This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon, and brought them straight down on the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

*Reference in 2 Kings

2Ki 20:20 Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made the pool, and the conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

*Sennacherib wrote his own account of his siege of Jerusalem on a 6 sided prism now called the 'Taylor prism' after its first owner :

"As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered [them] by means of well stamped [earth-]ramps and battering-rams brought [thus] near [to the walls] [combined with] the attack by foot soldiers, [using] mines, breeches as well as sapper work. I drove out [of them] 200,150 people, young and old, male and female, horses, mules, donkeys, camels, big and small cattle beyond counting, and considered [them] booty. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage."

Left: 'Sennacherib' or 'Taylor's Prism'

Hezekiah's tunnel

Left: The pool of Siloam

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