Biblical Archaeology Review 35:2, March/April 2009

A Tiny Piece of the Puzzle

Six-Letter Inscription Suggests Monumental Building of Hezekiah

By Hershel Shanks

Ancient Jerusalem sometimes reveals itself in little bits. In this case, it is a tiny inscription with only six letters preserved.

So little remains of ancient Israel in the City of David (the 12-acre ridge where the oldest inhabited part of Jerusalem is located) because later inhabitants continually destroyed evidence of earlier occupation. Over the millennia, the stones that made up the houses, temples and monuments of Iron Age Jerusalem were swept aside and scattered to make room for new settlements.

A few years ago, archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron discovered a huge water pool at the southern tip of the City of David that dates to the time of Jesus. This is entirely different from the tiny pool nearby that was long thought to be the Pool of Siloam. The new pool is undoubtedly the one to which the New Testament refers when it describes the man, blind from birth, who was miraculously cured by Jesus at “the Pool of Siloam” (John 9:1–11).a

The Pool of Siloam is at the outlet to another well-known monument in the City of David: Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This 1,750-foot-long tunnel begins at the Gihon Spring (ancient Jerusalem’s only flowing water source) and winds its way west and south until it debouches into the Pool of Siloam.

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