Warren's Shaft

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LXX: with their dagger, Tzinor, Tsinor, Sinnor, Joab’s gutter, The gutter, Warren’s shaft, NASB: Water tunnel 2Sam 5:6-8; 1Chron 11:4-6; waterspouts heb tzinor Ps 42:7

Biblical geography is didactic, and if there was any location to demonstrate this it has to be the tzinor.  The commonly told sunday-school story of Joab creeping up the gutter to overcome the forces of Jerusalem is a dramatic and engaging tale; imagine the quietness within the dark space with Joab waiting for the women to lower a bucket or to ambush him on his emergence from the dark. The suspense is riveting, the finality of conquest astonishing and the distinct morals of the story underlined. But the story has even more to it. The Tsinor is the very conduit or method through which God will deliver or save all men, and as such is a pinnacle of demonstrating the escape from the problems of life.

The word tzinor is understood by archeologists to simply mean a pipe (2)  The Tsinor is considered to be the shaft discovered by Charles Warren in 1867. The shaft is comprised of a lower pool, a steeped passage, diagonal shaft and an upright shaft of around 40 feet. It appears from recent findings in 1998 and previous radiometric datings (7) that the shaft is a widening of a naturally comprised karstic fissure or sinkhole. (4) The tank at the foot of the shaft has been dated to middle bronze age II by Reich. (3) That the gutter was within the walls of the ancient Canaanite city was not established until the work of Kathleen Kenyon 1961-7 (6)

Whereas some writers, (including Herzog et al (1)) indicate the finding of the gutter was the shrewdness of the king, it has been suggested that the location of the gutter may have been offered to David by local knowledge. An example could have been Araunah the Jebusite, a local incorporated into the forces of Israel, who we see later in the record 2Sam 24:18. Whether this is the case, it is an interesting conjecture.

Jerusalem was under the control of the Jebusites. Jebus was an ancient name for Jerusalem and identified together a number of times: Josh 15:63; 18:28; Judges 19:10; 1Chron 11:4.  Jebus means to tread down (under foot) and is the manner of the inhabitants to dismiss the value of deity in both Jerusalem literally, and within people individually. This treading down of Jerusalem will continue until all things are put under the feet of him who has real dominion Luke 21:24; Zech 14: 21; 1Cor 15:27,28; Heb 2:8f; Rev 11:2. A small foretaste of this was demonstrated in taking of the city by Joshua from Adoni-zedek Josh 10 That the Jebusites were again in control indicates the failure of Israel to establish their control of the city. An indication of this is seen in Judges 19ff. But this was to change under David, again another foretaste of complete dominion under “my servant David, the king over them” Ezekiel 37:24.

The spiritual parable within the tzinor is remarkable. The Tsinor was the method of overcoming or “smiting” (spiritual) blindness and lameness 2Sam 5:6,7,8 the opposition hated by (David) the beloved. 5:8 These obstacles to spiritual overcoming are inperception and inactivity. That is not seeing deity at work  in personal experiences. “The blind and lame say that he comes not into the house” 5:8 YLit This was the same oppression as outlined in Psalm 42,43: “where is thy Elohim?”.

These thoughts become the essence of psalms 42,43.  The psalm (42,3) is a psalm for the feast of tabernacles. The word multitude 42:2 is only used 1x and means to cover or hedge in, or join. Ylit translates it as pass into booth. and is a figure used of the wings of the cherubim over the mercy-seat Ex 25:30; 37:9; Ezek 28:14,16 and is a picture of Yahweh who covers the head in the day of battle Ps 110:7; and of his everlasting presence 140:7 (9) The psalm highlights the victory of obtaining the perfect rest in the time of the millennium. The psalm answers the following questions:

  1. Is and How is God involved in personal experience?: Key Ps 42:2 my soul thirsteth for Elohim for the living El when shall I come and appear before Elohim? It is a psalm of continuing divine experiences: day and night 42:842:3,10 It is a psalm of close personal feelings, note the word soul 42:1,2,4,5,6,11; 43:5 and exceeding joy 43:4 It is a psalm of personal intimate feelings; with them 42:4; in, within me 42:5,6 over me 42:7 say with me 42:8 within me 42:11. It is a call in fear of separation 42:3,9; 43:2;  it is a call for the confidence of the presence of God in life’s events 42:5,11; 43:5 and noy just anyone’s Elohim, but mine! 42:6,11,5 the El of my life 42:8 and the living El 42:2 and the Elohim of my strength 43:2
  2. What separates from God? The taunting nature of where is thy Elohim? that Elohim is not involved. 42:3,10 This is the greatest enemy 42:10 which is only an issue when it affects our minds, and when doubt questions the very involvement in personal experience of God within me 42:5,11; 43:5 cf Col 1:21.
  3. So what overcomes the challenges of others, and self-doubt? Remembering in the place pf sanctuary (Hermon) at a time of small beginnings, God is willing to work, it only needs us to accept his power, he commands it!. This needs to be a recurrent decision, so his presence in our mind and actions (not blindness and lameness) will become His song and My prayer! The process is called the noise of God’s tzinor 42:7. The tzinor is called His waves, His billows that go over me!  So the most difficult things in life are not the worst at all! They are an expression of the care of deity in developing us to trust Him, and to value his presence. The worst things in life can in fact be the commanding of God’s mercies! 42:8.
  4. What is the result of going through the tzinor? The health of my countenance 42:5,11; 43:5 [commanding deliverance 44:4] Health heb Yeshua = gk Jesus! Yeshua, the salvation of the faces! = the tower of salvation for his king 2Sam 22:51. Exceeding joy 43:4 contentment in experience, a good conscience, but also the satisfaction of immortality in perfect access to the altar 43:4.
  5. What is the result of not going through the tzinor? Mourning, and ultimately forgotten by God, 42:9; 43:2.

Christ was the epitome of the tsinor. He was touched in every experience with the presence and objectives of deity: He was touched by sickness and infirmity Matt 8:15,16 he learnt from the things he suffered Heb 2:14 and the pinnacle of his feelings in the tzinor was when he was crucified 2Sam 23:7; Heb 4:15; Isa 53:5.

Incidentally, note the difference between the records of Samuel and 1Chronicles. Within the Samuel record David is recorded with taking the city whereas the Chronicles record has Joab within the action. It is apparent then that Joab was acting as a representative of David himself within the Chronicles account. But why not continue the Samuel approach? Ezra was using the co-operation of Joab with his leader as an example how delegated authority was given. This was of particular interest to the readers of Chronicles as the Samaritans were claiming their authority within the establishment of the kingdom. The book clearly demonstrates the divinely ordained king, religious structure, delegation of authority and position of divine interest in Jerusalem to counter these objections.

  1. Chiam Herzog: Battles of the bible pg 101
  2. Tzaddik’s guide to Jerusalem pg 33
  3. Avraham Negev: Archeological encyclopaedia of the holy land pg 263
  4. A feature of limestone country with fissure, sinkholes and other natural erosions by water
  5. The holy land, an Oxford archeological guide, J Murphy-OConnor pg 110f
  6. Dave Winter: Israel and the Palestinian territories pg 177; Tushingham et al: Excavations in Jerusalem, 1961-7: the settlement in the Bronze and Iron ages pg 1989; K Kenyon Jerusalem  pg 19-22
  7. Palestine exploration quarterly vol 131 pg 193 the crust on the walls was radiometrically dated to be more than 40,000 yrs old
  8. Bullinger: Companion bible pg 100,101note the excellent map of Jerusalem on page 100
  9. see Edersheim: The temple; its ministry and service pg 176f
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