Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 158:630 (Apr 01) p. 232
By The Faculty And Library Staff Of Dallas Theological Seminary
Robert D. Ibach, Editor
“A Note on Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Siloam Inscription,” Avraham Faust, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 90 (2000): 3-11.
Bibliotheca Sacra’s first editor, Edward Robinson, discovered Hezekiah’s aqueduct in Jerusalem in 1838 and was the first person in modern times to make his way through the tunnel. He described the tunnel in the prototype volume of this journal (1843, sometimes referred to as “volume 0”). Since that discovery the tunnel has become one of the most interesting sights to be seen in Jerusalem, not only because it was a remarkable feat of engineering but also because its construction is mentioned in the Bible (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chron. 32:30). Over the years scholars have wrestled with numerous problems surrounding the tunnel, the Gihon spring, the Pool of Siloam, and the inscription found within the tunnel.
In this article Faust presents a new idea on the method by which the Israelites cut the tunnel. He suggests that the tunnel was cut primarily from the spring toward the pool, and only when the northern crew was nearing the current location of the Pool of Siloam was the southern crew able to begin excavating northward. The dramatic meeting of the two crews, then, took place at the point where the Siloam Inscription was later chisled into the wall (only about seven meters from the south end). After this “boring through” the workmen worked through the tunnel again to widen and smooth the walls. This work proceeded from both ends and accounts for the directional tool marks that are found near the center of the tunnel. Faust’s evidence for this theory includes the text of the inscription: it commemorates the boring through, not the entire project. Therefore it is appropriate that the inscription was placed where the two crews met. Also there were several other smooth panels in the tunnel that were apparently prepared for inscriptions, but these were never completed.
Faust’s suggestion has some appeal, but his arguments are not convincing. He does not emphasize the strongest argument, namely, that his proposed meeting place better explains how the tunnel was engineered. It is almost inconceivable that two excavation teams could meet in the middle of a mountain—with a remarkably consistent drop angle—even if they were following a crack or fissure in the rock. Furthermore the fact that the ceiling is quite high at the pool end of the tunnel indicates that the team working from that end did not know what level would be required for the...
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