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Hezekiah's Tunnel

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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In anticipation of a siege by the Assyrian king Sennacherib, Judean king Hezekiah constructed a tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem from the Gihon Spring.

The Siloam Tunnel Inscription is an ancient graffiti in Hezekiah's Tunnel. Its translation is below.

siloam inscription hezekiah's tunnel istanbul archaeology museum
Siloam Inscription, Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Image by Clancy 2009/08/29.

"[...when] (the tunnel) was driven through. And this was the way in which it was cut through: While [...] (were) still [...] axe(s), each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellows, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the head(s) of the quarrymen was 100 cubits." Shanks>


Shanks, Hershel. 2008. Sound Proof: How Hezekiah’s Tunnelers Met. Biblical Archaeology Rreview 34:05, Sep/Oct 2008. link