The Walls of Jerusalem, Discovered in Time for the Anniversary of Their Destruction

July 15, 2021 | Amanda Borschel-Dan
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In 586 BCE, after a protracted siege, the Babylonians broke through the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the city, along with the First Temple. Archaeologists recently announced the discovery of a portion of those walls, writes Amanda Borschel-Dan:

According to 2Kings 25:10, “The entire Chaldean [Babylonian] force that was with the chief of the guard tore down the walls around Jerusalem.” But this newly found extant section of the eastern city wall, connected to two previously excavated and documented sections, means that potentially the entire length of the eastern border was not in fact torn down by the conquering Babylonians.

With this discovery, archaeologists are now able to reconstruct the run of the wall that encircled the ancient kingdom of Judah’s capital on the eve of its destruction, which is commemorated by the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av on Sunday.

The new eastern section connects with two other previously discovered adjacent wall sections found in the 1960s by the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon and in the 1970s by Yigal Shiloh. By connecting the dots on the map, there is now an almost continuous 656-foot-long fortified wall on the eastern slope of the City of David facing the Kidron Valley.

The fortification wall was constructed in the late 8th century or early 7th BCE. . . Whether the fortifications were built before the earlier siege of the Assyrians in 701 BCE or later is still unclear.

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