Photo Credit: Eliyahu Yanai / City of David
Remains of the tools shattered in the earthquake.
Amos 1:1 “The words of Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa, who prophesied concerning Israel in the reigns of Kings Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake.”

Archaeological excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the City of David National Park revealed a layer of destruction, including a row of shattered vessels, including bowls, lamps, cooking utensils, and storage jars, which were smashed as the building’s walls collapsed.

According to the researchers, since no signs of fire were found, this was not a deliberate event and the reason for the collapse of the building is the earthquake that occurred in Israel in the eighth century BCE, in the Kingdom of Judah.

(R-L) Drs. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf from the Israel Antiquities Authority. / Yani Berman / Israel Antiquities Authority

Dr. Joe Uziel and Ortal Chalaf, excavation directors on behalf of the IAA, recalled: “When we excavated the structure and uncovered an 8th century BCE layer of destruction, we were very surprised because we know that Jerusalem continued to exist in succession until the Babylonian destruction—about 200 years later. We asked ourselves, what could have caused that dramatic layer of destruction we uncovered.”

“Examining the excavation findings, we tried to check if there’s a reference to it in the biblical text. Interestingly, the earthquake that appears in the Bible in the books of Amos and Zechariah, took place at the time when the building we excavated in the City of David collapsed. The combination of the finds in the field together with the Biblical description led us to the conclusion that the earthquake that struck the Land of Israel during the reign of King Uzziah of Judah also hit the capital Jerusalem,” they added.

Zechariah 14:5 “And the Valley in the Hills shall be stopped up, for the Valley of the Hills shall reach only to Azal; it shall be stopped up as it was stopped up as a result of the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah.—And the LORD my God, with all the holy beings, will come to you.”
The excavation area in the City of David. / Ortal Chalaf / Israel Antiquities Authority

According to the researchers, “the earthquake, in the middle of the 8th century BCE, was probably one of the strongest and most damaging in ancient times, and evidence of its occurrence have been discovered in the past in excavations at a variety of sites throughout Israel, including Hazor, Gezer, Tel Agol, and Tell es-Safi/Gath.

The latest excavations in the City of David now indicate that the same earthquake hit Jerusalem as well.


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