Possible Monumental Inscription with Hezekiah’s Name

A large limestone fragment discoverd in a Jerusalem excavation may show the name of biblical king Hezekiah, according to archaeologist Eli Shukron and epigrapher Gershom Galil. The broken slab measures around 5.5″ x 4″ x 2″ and was found near the Gihon Spring back in 2007. Scholars published the large fragment a year after its discovery but just recently concluded the letters may show a portion of Hezekiah’s name and refer to a “pool.”

Epigrapher Gershon Galil’s drawing of the inscription fragment. (Courtesy of Gershon Galil)
Eli Shukron showing an image of the inscripton fragment on Israeli television’s Channel 14. (Screen grab)

These scholars propose the large inscribed fragment was associated with Hezekiah’s water system, described in 2 Kings 20:20. They link this stone to another limestone fragment of similar style, discovered in the same general area back in 1978. The second fragment mentions the “seventeenth” which could refer to a regnal year, such as the seventeenth year of a king’s reign. Together, these two fragments may have been part of the same dedicatory inscription for a water collection pool completed in Hezekiah’s seventeenth year.

A fragment of similar size and style, discovered by Yigal Shiloh back in 1978. Shukron and Galil believe this and the proposed “Hezekiah” fragment may have been part of the same monumental inscription. Together, the fragments could refer to a water pool constructed by Hezekiah in the 17th year of his reign.

The beginning and ending characters of the proposed Hezekiah name are missing, so this proposed interpretation is based on a reconstruction. This is another example of some unwritten rules with biblical inscriptions. 1) The inscription will usually be damaged. 2) The damage will affect the key word(s) relating to the Bible. It can’t be too easy, right?

You may read a fuller description of the announcement here.

Hezekiah’s name has already been found on clay seals (bullae) and in ancient foreign records. If the new interpretation is correct, this fragment would be the first evidence of a monumental inscription erected by a King of Judah.


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 archaeologists, Biblical Archaeology, Inscriptions and Manuscripts, Jerusalem, New Discoveries and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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