quarries in the Bible

Solomon’s Quarries

“Solomon’s Quarries” and the “Royal Quarries” are not names found in Scripture. They are names given to the vast caverns stretching far underneath the northern hill on which Jerusalem is built. This site is also called Zedekiah’s Cave. These quarries are about 5 acres in size (20,000 square meters), laying under 5 city blocks of Jerusalem, close to the Damascus Gate.

Underground site of Zedekiah’s Cave, Solmon’s Quarries

Out of these mammoth caverns, stones—a hard limestone—were quarried in ancient times for the city’s buildings, including the Temples of Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod.

Huge blocks of stone are still found in these caves bearing the marks of pick and chisel. The general appearance of the whole suggests to visitors the feeling that the Phoenician quarrymen sent by King Hiram have just suspended their work.

The supposition that the polished blocks of stone for Solomon’s temple were sent by Hiram from Lebanon or Tyre is not supported by any evidence (compare 1 Kings 5:8). Hiram sent masons and stone-squarers to Jerusalem to assist Solomon’s workmen in their great undertaking, but did not send stones to Jerusalem, where, indeed, they were not needed, as these royal quarries abundantly testify.

Gilgal quarries

The “quarries” (Hebrew: pesilim) by Gilgal (Judges 3:19), from which Ehud turned back for the purpose of carrying out his design to put Eglon king of Moab to death, were probably the “graven images” (as the word is rendered by the Septuagint and the Vulgate and in the marginal note King James Version and Revised King James Version), or the idol temples the Moabites had erected at Gilgal, where the children of Israel first encamped after crossing the Jordan River.

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Article Version: June 19, 2024