The Siloam Inscription and Its Journey Back to Israel

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

I would like to tell you about the story and journey of the Siloam Inscription, which is a very important historical artifact for Hebrew and Biblical history. The Siloam Inscription stands as evidence for the tunnel built by King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. Let’s have a look at the tale of The Siloam Inscription and Its Journey Back to Israel.

The Siloam Inscription
The Siloam Inscription

History of The Siloam Inscription

In the eighth century BC, the king of Jerusalem and Hebrews, Hezekiah, knew that the next target of the Assyrians, who spread aggressively in the Middle East, was to besiege Jerusalem. Knowing a long siege is imminent, he decided to move one of the city’s important water sources inside the protected walls. In order to save time, digging the tunnel that will carry the waters to the Siloam pool inside the walls, he started at the same time from both ends of the tunnel. Two groups of workers would meet in the middle to complete the tunnel which would cut the working time in half if it all went well.

Siloam Water Tunnel in Jerusalem, Israel

As the excavation progressed, the workers, who hear the sound of digging from the back of the wall, inscribed an inscription on the wall of the tunnel to celebrate their success. The water eventually began to flow through the tunnel and started to fill Siloam Cistern in Jerusalem. The Assyrian army, on the other hand, caught the plague and could not reach Jerusalem.

Discovery The Siloam Inscription and Its journey to Istanbul

Nearly 2600 years later, in the period of Ottoman-ruled Jerusalem, in 1880, a 16-year-old teenager discovered the Hezekiya tunnel, while running his hand on the walls. He felt that the digging marks are reversed in the middle, and continued to touch the walls, discovering the inscription in the middle of the tunnel where the workers met 2600 years ago!

Siloam Inscription’s English Translation

Although later the writing was broken and stolen by a merchant in 1890, Osman Hamdi Bey, the founder of the Istanbul Archeology Museum, informed Jerusalem’s Ottoman governor Ibrahim Hakkı Pasha about the importance of the inscription, and an imminent search was initiated to find the relic. The inscription was found and it was sent to the Istanbul Archeology Museum in 1891, where it can be visited until today.

The Siloam Inscription Goes Back to Israel

Israeli governments through the years continued to demand the Siloam inscription from Turkey which is one of the most important works in Jewish history. The Times of Israel declared that Ankara had a positive view of the return of the artifact.

Erdogan and Herzog agreed on the return of the Siloam Inscription to Israel

President of the Republic of Turkey, Erdogan, agreed to hand over the 2,700-year-old Siloam Inscription, which was taken by the Ottomans and is still in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, to Israel. The inscription describes the Tunnel of Siloam in Jerusalem, an important piece of evidence for the Hebrews.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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