September 7, 2008
The September/October, 2008 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has a very interesting article entitled “Sound Proof” by Hershel Shanks. It examines the subject of how the tunnelers of King Hezekiah of ancient Judah were able to tunnel a distance of 1,700 feet (almost a third of a mile!) underground as they constructed the famous watercourse which brought water from the Spring of Gihon to the Siloam pool in Jerusalem. This watercourse is a testimony to the remarkable skill of the ancient engineers of the Kingdom of Judah who insured a source of water for Jerusalem’s people to withstand a siege by the Assyrians.
II Kings 20:20 and II Chronicles 32:2-4, 30 record that King Hezekiah’s men engineered this watercourse near the end of the 8th century AD. These biblical references were preserved and recorded in biblical manuscripts and translations for millennia even though human knowledge of the whereabouts of the watercourse had been forgotten. As the BAR article notes, “…Hezekiah’s tunnel was discovered in the mid-19th century…” It was not until the mid-19th century that human knowledge “caught up to the Bible” and physically confirmed the accuracy of the biblical accounts about this watercourse’s construction. In 1880, a famous inscription was found at the site where the two teams of tunnelers finally met each other to connect either end of Hezekiah’s underground watercourse.
The BAR article offers a very plausible explanation that the Jewish engineers were able to accomplish this remarkable construction feat by guiding the two teams of tunnelers with acoustic resonance messages from the surface. I recommend this article to you for reading! The link is below, but if the link expires, you can also very likely read the “hard-copy” in a nearby library. I also acknowledge that I am a subscriber to the magazine.
The books of I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles and II Chronicles are most definitely not the “official” annals of the ancient Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The vainglorious kings of Israel and Judah would ever have allowed their sins and misdeeds to be cited so prominently (compare for example the boastful “propaganda” in the records of the Assyrian kings). The fact that such sins are recorded honestly in the Bible confirms that the Spirit of God inspired these biblical books to give readers in future generations an accurate accounting of this historical period for our learning and instruction. The finding of Hezekiah’s tunnel was one more piece of evidence which confirmed the accuracy of the Bible’s narratives about the events of ancient history.
The Bible can be read, understood and believed literally. It has been affirmed over and over again to be an accurate record of history as mankind learns more about past millennia. As readers of my books know, the biblical accounts and prophecies about the tribes of Israel can be confirmed via secular evidence to be true in all historical periods. However, it is only when one discards the very-flawed “minimalist” viewpoints of the Bible that one can see its literal truths and fulfillments in their true “maximalist” applications.