Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 20, 2008

1. Mystery of Tsinnur



Looking north over the present-day City of David—the oldest part of Jerusalem extending south from the Temple Mount.

It’s long been a mystery how King David captured Jerusalem. Its inhabitants, the Jebusites, thinking David could never conquer them, taunted him by bragging that even the blind and lame could fight him off.
(2 Samuel 5:6)

This is like a football team today trash-talking that they can defend their goal line with grandmothers in wheelchairs!

Piecing together Scriptural hints, it seems that Joab slipped in through a hidden water shaft, opening the way for David’s men. David rewarded Joab for this feat by appointing him general of his army.
(2 Samuel 5:5-9; 1 Chron 11:3-8)

It’s a mystery because we’re not sure what the Hebrew word tsinnur means. It’s used only in 2 Samuel 5:8 where it’s translated water tunnel or water shaft and in Psalm 42:7 where it’s translated waterspouts or waterfalls. This is probably accurate, but no one was sure till archaeological discoveries confirmed the likelihood of this translation.

In 1867 British military engineer Charles Warren (1840–1927) found a chimney-like shaft ascending 52 feet from the Gihon spring water supply into Jerusalem.

Warren's Water Shaft

Diagram of Warren’s Water Shaft

Is this the very shaft Joab climbed? Many think so. Others dispute the claim that this is Joab’s shaft.

In 1910 British officers ascended the vertical shaft without ladders, thereby proving that Joab could have entered Jerusalem this way.

Climbing Warren's Shaft

Climbing Warren’s Shaft

Climbing Warren's Shaft

3 men at top of Warren’s Shaft

How did David find the shaft? That remains a mystery which may never be solved.

If you had BAR you could read the full story and follow the lively debate. Do you know what BAR is? Read the sequel to find out.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This begins a series on Biblical Archaeology.
Read the sequel:
2. Copper Country

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Sunday January 20, 2008 A.D.

Read my January 2008 Bible-Science newspaper column:
Stem Cells.

Now the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, and they said to David, “You shall not come in here, but the blind and lame shall turn you away”; thinking, “David cannot enter here.” Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David. (2 Samuel 5:6-7)


  1. Cool stuff. I need to ask my mom for her old copies of BAR. It’s not for kids, but it is exciting. Reality matches God’s testimony everywhere it’s tried!


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