It is an amazing experience to walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem. Now, a recent translation of inscriptions describing the works of King Hezekiah is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever in the Holy Land according to an ancient history professor in Israel.
The inscriptions took more than 10 years for two scientists to decipher after they began to examine a stone tablet that was discovered during excavations in the City of David National Park in 2007. The archaeological park is just that, the City of David, and includes King David’s palace, treasury and other sites dating to the earliest days of what would become Jerusalem.
Professor Gershon Galil of Haifa University’s Institute for Biblical Studies and Ancient History, along with Eli Shukron from the Bible and Ancient History research institute, found that the 8th Century BC inscriptions – on a stone no bigger than the palm of a hand – not only include Hezekiah’s name but also list his achievements from the first 17 years of his reign. Those include his commission to carve out the pool at Siloam and the tunnel to access the waters underneath the Gihon Spring. The action is believed to have helped save the city by denying sources of water to the Assyrian King Sennacherib when he attempted to take over the city, as described in the Bible.
Tours in Israel often include Hezekiah’s Tunnels, allowing guests to trek through the waterworks exiting at the Pool of Siloam. In 2015, my family walked the underground waterway with water up to our knees. Using headlamps, it took about an hour for us to exit back into daylight. It was a unique way to end our tour of the City of David Park and all of its archaeological treasures which include many discoveries like these inscriptions.
“These are the most complete royal inscriptions we have, and they are further evidence that the kings of Israel and Judah wrote royal inscriptions that indicated their name and deeds,” Galil said told a Jerusalem gathering of Christian media professionals, including Metro Voice, in December. “These are actually the earliest manuscripts of the Bible. They predate the Ketef Hinnom silver amulets by about 100 years and the Dead Sea Scrolls by hundreds of years. They also support the claim that scriptures in the Book of Kings are based on texts originating from chronicles and royal inscriptions and that the Bible reflects historical reality and not imagination.”
The professor is convinced the inscriptions show the exact date of the pool and tunnel projects’ completion, which would have been the second day of the month of Tamuz on the Jewish calendar, in the year 709 BC.
Israel recently made the decision to completely excavate the pools which currently partially sit underground and building structures.
–Dwight Widaman | MV