Tower of Siloam

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According to the Bible, the Tower of Siloam was an ancient tower in Siloam in south Jerusalem, which fell during the time of Jesus, killing 18 people.

Contents

Mentioned in the Bible

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus mentioned the tragedy when he was told about some Galilean insurgents who were killed by the Romans[1]. Those who told Jesus this may have expected him to say that their deaths were punishment for their rebellious and belligerent behavior. Yet, in mentioning the collapse of the tower of Siloam, Jesus taught that death can come upon anyone, regardless of how sinful they are. He went on to teach that the need for all people to repent is the true lesson from such tragedies[2].

Because of the lack of detailed information and singular nature of the Lucan account, it is likely the event had occurred not too long before Jesus mentioned it.

Identification

Bible commentator Matthew Henry erroneously identified the Pool of Siloam with the Pool of Bethesda and conjectured that the tower of Siloam may have been supporting one of the five porches of the Pool of Bethesda mentioned in the Gospel of John[3], and that the 18 victims were killed by the falling porch. This was discredited when the real Pool of Bethesda was discovered in north Jerusalem.

Other Bible commentators have speculated that the tower of Siloam may have been part of a Roman aqueduct connected to the Pool of Siloam. [4] At least two aqueducts are known to have carried water to the pool from the Gihon Spring, but these aqueducts were built into the ground, not on elevated viaducts requiring towers.

It has also been speculated that the tower was a fortress built to defend the city, similar to the Phasael tower.

Archaeology

Archaeological excavation has revealed what some Biblical scholars believe to be the ruins of the tower; archaeologists believe that the remains are[specify]. If so, it is likely the ruins belong to a second tower that was rebuilt after the first tower collapsed. The ruins are a circular foundation approximately 6 metres across.[5]

Notes

This article incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a publication now in the public domain.

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