The fascinating story behind King David’s conquest of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been the capital city of the Jewish People for over 3000 years. It is located at the center of the Land of Israel, at the intersection of a number of ancient commerce routes. In Jerusalem, the North-South hilltop route intersects the main trade routes running from east to west. The path of the patriarchs crosses right through Jerusalem, connecting the cities of Shilo and Bet El in the Shomron to the North of Jerusalem with Bethlehem, Hebron and Beer Sheba to the South of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem was chosen by King David to be the capital mainly because the city, although part of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin, had not yet been conquered by the Israelites, and was not tied specifically to any of the twelve tribes.

Faced against heavily fortified city walls, King David had a plan to conquer the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites. He knew that conventional tactics would not be successful. The Bible records that King David selected a soldier, Yoav to take on a very dangerous solo mission to enable the Israelite army to attack. The city walls were high. Defenses were nearly impenetrable. Yet this crucial step helped start the Davidic reign over Jerusalem, capital city of Israel. How did one man get in? How did he enable the rest of the army to get in? Is there any modern archaeological evidence? The amazing story is right here.

For centuries it was a mystery, until 1867, thanks to Captain Charles Warren.

Charles Warren in Jerusalem

Captain Charles Warren was a British archeologist and treasure hunter. In 1867 he uncovered a secret access tunnel that led from the city deep into the mountain, meeting a 13-meter shaft descending to the Gihon Spring, below the city of Jerusalem. Warren claimed this shaft was the place of the Biblical “pipe” used in King David’s capture of the city, and was used by the ancient Jerusalemites to draw their water from the Gihon Spring. This Ancient water system has been called the “Warren’s Shaft System” ever since.

Recent excavations have revealed that while Warren succeeded in uncovering a significant portion of the secret system, unbeknownst to him the secret tunnel continued another ten meters through what appeared to be a solid rock wall, leading to the massive Spring House and the true water compound of the time. This in fact may have been what King David was referring to when he challenged Joab Ben Zuriah “and David said…he who conquers the Jebusites, grabs the pipe…” (Samuel II 5:8)

Warren’s Shaft in City of David site today
Published: January 30, 2018
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