JERUSALEM, Israel - A water tunnel under excavation at the City of David may be the one referred to by King David during the conquest of Jerusalem.
"The new discoveries in the excavations in the City of David illuminate the ancient history of Jerusalem and the reality described in the Bible," said Dr. Eilat Mazar, director of the City of David excavations.
Mazar believes that the water tunnel is the one referred to as the tsinor (gutter) in 2 Samuel 5: 6-8, which was used to purify David's soldiers, including his commander, Joab (Yoav in Hebrew), after they conquered the city.
"And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, 'You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,' thinking, 'David cannot come in here.' Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David).
Now David said on that day, 'Whoever climbs up by way of the water shaft and defeats the Jebusites (the lame and the blind, who are hated by David's soul), he shall be chief and captain.' Therefore they say, "The blind and the lame shall not come into the house."
2 Samuel 5:6-8
According to Mazar, David's troops would have needed ritual cleansing after fighting against the "blind and the lame," which would have rendered them impure.
The use of the Hebrew root word, naga, meaning touch, in relation to the tsinor - a word usually used in matters relating to purification - is evidence that the tunnel being excavated is the one referred to in 2 Samuel 5:6-8 (see 1 Chronicles 11:4-6).
Since the channel's discovery last winter, archaeologists have excavated about 50 meters (yards) so far.
Mazar believes the 3,000-year-old tunnel was later used by King David to bring water to a pool near his palace.
Largely intact oil lamps from the First Temple era have been found on the floor of the tunnel.
Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post