The Gihon Spring and Solomon’s Wisdom

My previous post discussed the recently-completed excavations around Jerusalem’s Gihon spring. This spring was the water source for ancient Jerusalem.

The Gihon spring had one weakness. It lay at the bottom of the hill, but for defensive purposes the city was built along the top. How would residents access the water during a siege? The Canaanite solution was to build fortifications down the slope of the hill and around the spring. This blocked enemy access to the water. Underground tunnels to the spring provided city residents with secure access.

The Canaanite defenses around the Gihon appear to have been in use into the period of the Israelite monarchy. Solomon was coronated by the Gihon spring tower in 1 Kings 1. Any Jerusalem king, including Solomon, was fully aware of the Gihon fortifications’ vital role in the city’s protection. To lose the Gihon spring was to lose the city.

Perhaps Solomon was thinking of the Gihon fortifications when he wrote Proverbs 4:23.

Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

Do we notice the water reference here? We must protect the “springs” of our heart or we risk life itself. Solomon speaks in the context of obtaining wisdom, but he appears to illustrate the point using the Gihon fortifications down the slope from his window.

Did the Gihon spring tower seen below inspire Proverbs 4:23? It is certainly possible.

The Gihon spring tower that may have inspired Proverbs 4:23. (Courtesy of the Ir David foundation)

The Middle Bronze Canaanite tower that continued to protect the Gihon spring during the 10th century BC. This structure may have inspired Proverbs 4:23. (Courtesy of the Ir David foundation)

Bonus: Here is a short promo video of the tour experiences available at the Ir David location. The first portion shows the view of the eastern hill, the Mount of Olives, and the southern end of the Temple Mount as seen from the observation platform. There are also glimpses of the Large Stone Structure, some ruins around the Stepped Stone Structure, the Gihon spring and Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the Roman-era processional street, and bits from the 3D movie visitors get to see.



About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in Ancient Architecture, Bible comments, Biblical Archaeology, Israel, Jerusalem, Short videos and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Gihon Spring and Solomon’s Wisdom

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