2 Samuel 5:4-8 - The Capture of Jerusalem

David reigned as king for a total of 40 years. When he first became king, he reigned in Hebron as King of Judah for 7 years and 6 months (2 Samuel 5:5) before reigning in Jerusalem. At that time, Jerusalem was controlled by the Jebusites, who considered it an impregnable fortress (2 Samuel 5:6-7). However, it appears that Jerusalem had a weakness. The Jebusites used the Gihon spring in the Kidron valley as a water source. Archaeologists have discovered a tunnel (or water shaft) used to channel water from this spring to the city so water could be drawn without leaving the city. The tunnel ploughs horizontally westward from the spring through the bedrock and leads to a vertical shaft. The vertical shaft rises 52 feet to another horizontal tunnel. This tunnel is over 60 feet long and runs under the ancient city wall to a stepped tunnel which rises close to the surface. This stepped tunnel leads to another vertical shaft which opens inside the city walls and a horizontal tunnel leading out to the edge of the hill. This series of tunnels and shafts appears to be the water shaft David was referring to in 2 Samuel 5:8. In order to gain entry and capture the city someone had to scale up the walls of the shaft. The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 11:4-6 records David offering a commission to the man who would lead the attack. Joab volunteered and was rewarded with the commission. Once again, archaeology shows the Bible is not a bunch of fairy tales, but an accurate record of real people, real places, real events and real history.

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