Updated Report: Turkey will NOT return Hezekiah’s Tunnel inscription to Israel

(See update at bottom)

A report today states that Turkey has agreed to return the famous inscription from Hezekiah’s tunnel back to Jerusalem. The inscription, etched on stone near the western end of the 8th BC water tunnel, describes how workers began the project at the two ends and met in the middle. The inscription, discovered in the 19th century during the Ottoman Period, was taken to Istanbul after its removal from the tunnel wall.

A replica of the Siloam Inscription at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The original is in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. (יעל י CC BY-SA Wikimedia Commons)

You may enjoy taking a minute to read a news article announcing this agreement.

If this report is true, Israel is gaining one of the most important biblical inscriptions ever found. The repatriation of such an important find may reflect warming ties between the two governments.

The Bible mentions King Hezekiah created a tunnel to secure the city’s water supply before the arrival of Assyrian king Sennacherib. Water flows through the tunnel today, as it did in biblical times, and a walk through the system is a favorite experience for visitors today. A replica of the inscription sits where the original was found inside the tunnel.

UPDATE: Turkey has responded that the Siloam incsription will not be returning to Jerusalem after all. Maybe someone just got excited too early, or perhaps a higher-up nixed the proposal. In any case, this is not the first time the attempt was made. Nor, undoubtedly, will it be the last.

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 popular study tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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