Uzziah/Azariah was not buried in the City of David because of his skin condition, according to 2 Chronicles 26:23, but 2 Kings 15:7 says he was.


See Hershel Shanks, “The Siloam Pool—Where Jesus Cured the Blind Man,BAR, 31:05.


See Hershel Shanks, “The Tombs of Silwan,BAR 20:03.



Ronny Reich, The City of David: Revisiting Early Excavations (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2004), pp. 7, 13.


The American Frederick J. Bliss, working for the British almost 20 years before Weill’s work, was actually the first archaeologist to attempt to locate and excavate the Davidic tombs in accordance with Clermont-Ganneau’s ideas. Bliss, however, due to a misunderstanding excavated south of the great loop and closer to the Siloam Pool. F.J. Bliss, “Fourteenth Report on the Excavations at Jerusalem,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 1897: 180, 264.


Reich, The City of David, pp. 66–67.


At the time of Weill’s excavation, Weill found a masonry wall, 1 foot high, on the front edge of the depression and a second masonry wall (which Weill calls a “bench”), 1 foot high, on the back edge of the depression. These walls, it appears from Weill’s description on page 68 (of the English translation), stretched the entire width of the cave, abutting the walls of the cave at a right angle. Thus, the cut depression, together with the two masonry walls, and the walls of the cave itself perpendicular to the masonry, all created a sort of “basin” 2 feet deep. This basin was found covered with a “blackish coating.” Weill suggested two stages to this find: (1) the depression itself, 1 foot deep; and (2) the masonry and the black coating. Weill identified the first stage as a sarcophagus, dating to the Iron Age. He identified the second stage as a 2-foot-deep bathing basin including the two masonry walls. He tentatively dated this second stage to the Second Temple period. Nothing remains of the masonry or of the black coating. All that can be seen today is the cut depression, i.e., Weill’s first stage. I thank Yonatan Adler for his assistance in parsing Weill’s description.


Josephus, Jewish War 5.4.1


David Ussishkin, a leading authority on First Temple tombs in Jerusalem (David Ussishkin, The Village of Silwan: The Necropolis from the Period of the Judean Kingdom [Jerusalem, 1993]) has also concluded that Weill’s T1 andT2 are most likely tombs. Strangely, however, he refuses to take the next step—that they are likely the Davidic tombs referred to in the Bible: “In my view these caves may well have been tombs ruined by the later quarries, but I doubt if they were royal tombs.” (David Ussishkin, On Biblical Jerusalem, Megiddo, Jezreel and Lachish [Hong Kong, 2011], p. 31) As we have seen, the major objection to the conclusion that T1 and T2 are the royal necropolis is that T1 and T2 are not tombs. But if they are tombs, almost all the objections to the conclusion that they are the royal necropolis fade. What else could they be? The entire City of David is but 12 acres. The Bible itself indicates that this area is just where the royal necropolis was located. So if they are tombs, as Ussishkin recognizes, they should be the royal necropolis.


Marrying a foreign princess (2 Samuel 3:3), employing foreign mercenaries (2 Samuel 8:18, 15:18–22), securing the help of the Canaanite/Phoenician Hiram of Tyre to assist in the construction of a palace (2 Samuel 5:11–12), the use of corvée labor (2 Samuel 20:24), the prominence given his Jerusalem-born son Solomon, the turning over of members of Saul’s family for execution to the non-Israelite Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21:1–9), are additional marks that David intended to portray himself as a legitimate Canaanite-style ruler.


An earlier scholarly treatment of this topic may be found in Jeffrey R. Zorn, “The Burials of the Judean Kings: Sociohistorical Considerations and Suggestions” in A.M. Maier and P. Miroschedji, eds., “I Will Speak the Riddle of Ancient Times”: Archaeological and Historical Studies in Honor of Amihai Mazar on the Occasion of His Sixtieth Birthday (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006), pp. 801–820.