Start Radiometric dating of the siloam tunnel jerusalem

Radiometric dating of the siloam tunnel jerusalem

While systematically strengthening the religious purity and resolve of his people, and the physical fortresses and defenses of the kingdom in which they lived, Hezekiah’s feat of staving off an Assyrian onslaught remain detailed in several descriptions encompassing the likes of biblical texts, epigraphic sources, Assyrian accounts, and various archeological and material remains.[8] Foreseeing the urgent need to refortify the defenses of Jerusalem in advance of a potential invasion, Hezekiah’s primary anxiety rested with the securing and maintaining of a source of water located outside the walled-in city called the Gihon Spring.

Titus’ objective was threefold—to prevent the Jews from fleeing, to encourage their surrender, and to starve the inhabitants into submission.

According to Flavius Josephus, a first-century historian, once the decision to build this palisade was made, the various legions and lesser divisions of the Roman army competed with one another to see which could complete its assigned section of the siege wall first.

Simultaneously ensuring a constant and adequate amount of water for the inhabitants of the City of David, the construction of Hezekiah’s tunnel and the sealing off of the cave from which the waters of the Gihon Spring originated, safeguarded the water supply from potential use or corruption by the enemy outside the walls.

This crucial tunnel enabled Hezekiah and his population to live under siege for an extended duration and arguably comprised the reason for Jerusalem’s successful standoff against the Assyrian attackers as portrayed in the biblical account: “After all that Hezekiah had so faithfully done, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah.

In the 19th century, just such a tunnel was discovered.

It became known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, or the Siloam Tunnel.

A decade ago, however, some suggested that the tunnel was built about 500 years later.

In 2003, a team of Israeli scientists published the results of their research aimed at fixing a reliable date for the tunnel.

The rather specific and detail-oriented measurements and emotional enthusiasm over the completion of the tunnel also embody the knowledge base of an engineer’s expertise with regards to trying to establish the author of the text.[5] Eventually weighing the possibility of an engineer in Judah writing the inscription himself or hiring a scribe unaffiliated with the monarchy, Davies contends, “Therefore, I propose that the engineer(s) of the Shiloah Tunnel project hired a professional scribe to write an inscription.”[6] While an analysis of the paleography of the Siloam Inscription suggests that it was written under the command of a chief engineer and not King Hezekiah, radiometric dating, the biblical account, and archeological evidence of the buildup of defenses encompassing the reign of Hezekiah, all verify the same explanation that King Hezekiah may not have ordered the scribing of the Siloam Inscription, but he did indeed demand the digging of the Siloam Tunnel which housed the inscription.[7] Ascending the throne as king of Judah in 716 BCE, Hezekiah’s initial policies and reforms established various strategies, programs, and improvements to deter and defend Judah from a likely Assyrian offensive that would eventually come to fruition circa 701 BCE.

Ever mindful to avoid rousing Assyrian suspicions of his intent to revolt, Hezekiah’s religious reforms and internal improvements set the stage for Judah to rebel against Sennacherib, leader of the Assyrians.

With the ancient Hebrew text heavily obscured by lime and the difficulty on the part of the decipherer to discriminate between cracks in the rock and actual letters, the first attempt at translating the inscription proved fruitless.