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Reference: Siloam, The Pool Of


Shelach in Ne 3:15, KJV "Siloah," "Shiloah" (Isa 8:16), Siloam (Joh 9:7,11). Now Silwan. Every other pool has lost its Bible designation. Siloam, a small suburban tank, alone retains it. It is a regularly built pool or tank (bereekah) near the fountain gate, the stairs that go down from the city of David (S. of the temple mountain), the wall above the house of David, the water gate, and the king's garden (compare Ne 12:37 with Ne 3:15). Josephus (B. J. 5:9, section 4; 4, section 1; 6, section 1; 12, section 2) places it at the end of the valley of Tyropeon, outside the city wall where the old wall took a bend eastward, and facing the hill on which was the rock Peristereon to the E. The adjoining village Kefr Silwan on the other side of Kedron also retains the name Siloam.

Silwan stands at the southern extremity of the temple mountain, known as "the Ophel." It is partly hewn out of the rock, partly built with masonry, measuring 53 ft. long, 18 wide, 19 deep. A flight of steps descends to the bottom. Columns extend along the side walls from top to bottom. The water passes hence by a channel cut in the rock, and covered for a short way, into the gardens below which occupy the site of "the lower pool" or "the king's pool" (Ne 2:14). The fountain of the Virgin above is connected by a zigzag conduit, 1,750 ft. long cut through the rock, with a reservoir, an oblong basin, decreasing. in size as it proceeds from 15 to three feet, in a cave entered by a small rock hewn archway. From this artificial cave at the west end of Siloam an open channel in the rock conveys the water into Siloam. The Virgin's fountain (where the lamp here figured was found), 15 ft. long by six wide at the bottom, is on the opposite side of the valley from the Jewish burying ground where Kedron turns W. It is near the beginning of the projection of the temple hill called "Ophel."

It is named now also "the fountain of the mother of steps" ('Ayin 'um 'ed durag), because it is reached by two flights of 26 descending steps cut in the rock. It is a natural syphon, so that at times it is quite dry and in a short time rises beyond its ordinary limits. The term kolumbeethra in Joh 9:7 implies "a pond for swimming." R. Ishmael says of its source, the Virgin's fountain, that there the high priest used to plunge. It was to Siloam that a Levite was sent with the golden pitcher on "the last and great day of the feast" of tabernacles. From Siloam he brought the water to be poured over the sacrifice in memory of the water at Rephidim. To it Jesus alluded when standing in the temple He cried, "if any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink," etc. (Joh 7:37-39).

He "sent" the blind man to wash the clay off his eyes in Siloam, which means "sent," and he returned seeing. Messiah "the sent One" (Lu 4:18; Joh 10:36) answers to the type Siloam the sent water (Job 5:10; Eze 31:4) that healed; He flows gently, softly, and healing, like Siloam fertilising and beautifying, not turbid as the winter torrent Kedron, nor sweeping destructively all before it as Euphrates (symbol of Assyria), but gliding on in its silent mission of beneficence (Isa 8:6; 42:1-4; 40:11; 2Co 10:1). Siloam was called so from sending its waters to refresh the gardens below, still the greenest spot about Jerusalem, and abounding in olives, figs, and pomegranates. The water for the ashes of the red heifer also was taken from Siloam (Dach Talm. Babyl. 380). Into Siloam probably Hezekiah led by a subterranean aqueduct down the Tyropoeon valley the waters on the other side of the city when "he stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon and brought it straight down to the W. side of the city of David" (2Ch 32:30).

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