Section C Old Testament

Chapter 24 - The Broad Wall (721 BC, Assyrian Destruction of north Israel)

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A section of the Broad Wall built by Hezekiah around 721 BC to the west of the Temple Mount and the City of David. This wall was built over the Central Valley and up onto the Western Hill to enclose homes in the part of the city that expanded when the Assyrians invaded Israel to the north. Many people from the northern kingdom of Israel fled their country and moved into Judah and Jerusalem in order to escape the Assyrian invasion. Hezekiah protected them with this wall. The remains of the wall in this photo measure 22 feet wide and 213 feet long.

The Broad Wall was built during Hezekiah’s expansion of the city. Jews from the northern tribes of Israel, who had been overrun by the Assyrians in 721 BC, migrated down to Judah and the city of Jerusalem for protection at this time. They settled outside the city walls to the west on the Western Hill. To protect them and their residences Hezekiah fortified the western part of this newly expanded city around 721 BC with a wall. The uncovered remains of this wall are 23 feet wide and 213 feet long. This portion of the wall ran west from the Temple Mount toward the western corner of the southwestern hill (which would be the Citadel today). Evidence uncovered during excavation seems to indicate that Hezekiah had to destroy some homes in order to build it. Isaiah addresses this very issue in his book, in chapter 22:

And you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest (King Solomon’s Palace of the Forest of Lebanon); you saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses; you stored up water in the Lower Pool (from Hezekiah’s Tunnel). You counted the buildings in Jerusalem (new expansion to the west) and tore down houses to strengthen the wall (this is what we see here, a broad wall built through houses that had to be removed to build it). You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.- Isaiah 22:8-11

The book of Nehemiah places the Broad Wall near the Temple Mount wall when, during the dedication of the new wall, one group of priests walked in procession on the wall, past the remains of this Broad Wall:

The second choir proceeded in the opposite direction. I followed them on top of the wall, together with half the people – past the Tower of the Ovens to the Broad Wall, over the Gate of Ephraim... -Nehemiah 12:38

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Another view of the same portion of the remains of the 2,700 year old Broad Wall, which today sits below street level in the Jewish Quarter. It was uncovered in 1970 during the excavations that took place in the Old City after the Six-Day War won by Israel in 1967.

This diagram shows where the 213 foot section of the excavated Broad Wall would have been in the wall that Hezekaih built to protect the western portion of his growing city.

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