By another stream the waters of Siloam are derived into another pool, which is called the Lower Pool, Isaiah 22:9, and the King's Pool, Nehemiah 2:14; near the west wall of Sion.
We have the mention of it also in Nehemiah 3:15: the pool of Siloam by the king's garden. Where we may observe that it is here written Shelahh different from Shiloahh, Isaiah 8:6; by a difference hardly visible in Bibles not pointed: indeed, sometimes overlooked by myself, and so, as is evident, by others. For Shelahh is rendered in the very same sound with Shiloahh, in the Complutensian, Vulgar, English, and French Bibles. And, in St. John 9:7, where there is mention of the pool Siloam, some commentators refer you to that text in Nehemiah.
The Greek interpreters did, indeed, observe the difference, and thus render the words of Nehemiah, "The pool of skins by the king's wool." Nor doth the Italian overlook it; for that renders it thus: "The Fish-pond of Selac hard by the garden of the king."
It is observable in the Greek version, that whereas they render the word by the king's wool or hair, they may seem to have read a fleece of wool for a garden. And whereas they translate the pool of skins, they follow the signification of the word as it is frequently used amongst the Talmudists.
Now, therefore, here ariseth a question, whether that pool be the pool of Siloam or no: which as yet hath hardly been questioned by any, and, for some time, not by myself. But I am now apt to think that it was so distinguished betwixt the two pools, that the lower pool retaining its name of the 'Pool of Shelahh,' the upper pool obtained that of 'Siloahh.'
I. How otherwise should that distinction of the Greek version arise, but that the interpreters followed the common pronunciation of the word Shelahh, when they render it of skins.
II. Those words of St. John 9:7, "in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent," seem to intimate that there were two pools of a very near sound, whereof one signified Sent, the other not.
III. The Jerusalem Talmudists seem to say that the upper pool was called the 'Pool of Siloam' in these words: "He that is unclean by a dead body doth not enter into the mount of the Temple. It is said that they appear only in the court. Whence do you measure? from the wall, or from the houses? It is Samuel's tradition, from Siloam: now Siloam was in the midst of the city."
The question here propounded is, whether he that is unclean by a dead body may be permitted to enter the Temple: and the stating of it comes to this, that inquiry be made within what measure he is to be admitted; whether within the wall of the Temple, or at that distance where the houses next to the Temple end; especially where the houses of Siloam end.
Now, whereas they say that Siloam is in the midst of the city, it must by no means be understood of the fountain itself, for that was plainly without the city; nor yet of the lower pool Shelahh, for that also was without the city, or scarce within it. There is, therefore, no third, unless that this upper pool be called 'the pool of Siloam,' and that it give denomination to the adjacent part of the city, to wit, to the five porches and the buildings about it: which though they were not in the very centre of the city, yet they might properly enough be said to be in the middle of it, because they were situated a good way within the walls. Luke 13:4, "The tower of Siloam," was amongst these buildings.