The Siloam Tunnel, also known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, is an ancient waterway carved under Jerusalem some 2,700 years ago. The tunnel ran under the City of David, funnelling freshwater into Jerusalem from Gihon Spring, outside of the city’s walls. Mention of the tunnel is found in the Old Testament’s 2 Kings 20, where the Bible says the tunnel was constructed on the order of King Hezekiah.
According to scripture, the tunnel was carved into Jerusalem’s bedrock to ensure a supply of water during an impending siege by invading Assyrian forces
2 Kings 20:20 reads: “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?”
Tom Meyer, a professor in Bible and theology at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, believes the tunnel is an incredible testament of the Bible’s historicity.
Archaeology news: An expert believes an inscription in Siloam Tunnel proves the Bible right
Archaeology news: Siloam Tunnel is also known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel
In particular, an ancient Hebrew inscription found inside the tunnel sheds light on its construction.
Professor Meyer said: “Though the American historical geographer, Edward Robinson, was the first person to explore the tunnel in modern times – 1873 – it was a local boy named Jacob Spafford – the adopted son of the famous hymnist Horatio Spafford – who, while playing in the tunnel, stumbled upon one of the most important ancient Hebrew inscriptions ever found – 1880.
“The inscription is significant not only because it validates the Biblical account, but because it is the only inscription from ancient Israel that commemorates a public works program and is one of the oldest examples of Hebrew writing.”
The inscription was brought to the attention of local authorities but was irreparably damaged during its removal.
Hezekiah’s tunnel demonstrates once again the historical reliability of the Biblical account
However, Professor Meyer said the inscription contained a description of workers tunnelling under Jerusalem from two opposite ends.
Where the two groups finally connected, they left an inscription on the wall to commemorate their achievement.
The connection to King Hezekiah would place the tunnel’s construction at around the seventh century BC.
Professor Meyer said: “This amazing feat is mentioned numerous times in the Bible in connection with Hezekiah’s fortification preparations against Sennacherib of Assyria attacking Jerusalem.
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Archaeology news: The inscription describes workers carving out the tunnel
Archaeology news: Water is still carried into the the Pool of Siloam from Gihon Spring
“The Siloam Inscription is stored at the Istanbul Archeology Museum because it was discovered when Israel was under the dominion of the Ottoman Empire.
“Hezekiah’s tunnel, which still brings water into Jerusalem to this day, was an incredible feat of engineering; along with the epigraphical evidence – the accompanying Siloam Inscription – Hezekiah’s tunnel demonstrates once again the historical reliability of the Biblical account.”
Mention of the tunnel is also found in 2 Chronicles 32:1-4: “After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
“And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
“He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
“So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?”
The tunnel is also mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:30: “This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works
Another mention is found in Isaiah 22:11: “You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool.
“But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago.”