Boring philology: The meaning of zdh in the Siloam inscription

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The hapax legomenon זדה has been called the crux of the Shiloaḥ (Siloam) inscription. It is usually interpreted as ‘fissure, crack, void, cavity, etc’, but sixteen other interpretations have been proposed in the 140 years since the inscription’s discovery. This article argues on contextual and etymological grounds that the lexeme means ‘misalignment’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-52
Number of pages9
JournalPalestine Exploration Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © Palestine Exploration Fund 2020.


  • Hebrew lexicography
  • Jerusalem
  • Siloam inscription
  • excavation
  • karst
  • sin
  • tunnel
  • זדה


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