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Epigrapher Gershon Galil and archaeologist Eli Shukron recently announced that they have reconstructed the name of King Hezekiah on a limestone fragment discovered near the Gihon Spring. The fragment, which was discovered in 2007, measures 5.5 x 4 x 2 inches (14 x 10 x 5 cm). It contains two lines of four letters each, which Galil and Shukron believe reveal part of Hezekiah’s name (the first and last letters of Hezekiah’s name are missing) and a reference to a pool (again the first letter is missing). They believe this fragment to be part of a monumental royal inscription by Hezekiah in honor of his water system referenced in 2 Kings 20:20 (“The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?” [ESV]). Galil and Shukron further linked this fragment with another inscription, discovered by Yigal Shiloh in 1978 some 130 meters southwest of the Hezekiah inscription's findspot. The 1978 inscription has similar lettering and includes a reference to “seventeen”/”seventeenth,” which Galil and Shukron suggest indicates that Hezekiah may have erected his monument for the water system in his seventeenth year. However, in a Facebook post, Galil admitted that the two inscriptions are found on different types of stone and that the panels are different in thickness. While the Hezekiah inscription has been announced as a new discovery, epigrapher Peter van der Veen pointed out that he wrote a German article in 2009 proposing that this fragment contained the name Hezekiah, although it should be noted that he did not link the fragment to the pool or the other inscription. Still, if this interpretation is correct, this fragment would be the first royal inscription by a Judahite king yet discovered.


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