Monthly Archives: December 2009

Video of high waves at Caesarea Maritima

December 13th I wrote about the high waves at the Herodian harbor of Caesarea Maritima here.  While in Israel I tried to post a short video I made, but it did not play smoothly and I gave up. Back home, I note that it plays correctly on my home computer. See if you get a good play.

If you have trouble playing the video, try the direct link here.

Blogging at 36,000 feet

Delta wants all Internet users to try their gogo wireless service while in flight. Since this will likely be my last Delta flight of the year I thought I would try to service. After logging in with the promotional code I see that the service is fast.

While in Israel my friend and I shared an Air Card we rented. Several times I checked Email while we were out on the road. We actually located the field road to get to Ziklag with the use of Google Earth while driving in the area. I don’t think I will ever leave home without it.

My, how things have changed.

On USA soil

If being in the Atlanta airport qualifies, I am on USA soil. The flight from Israel was scheduled for 13 1/2 hours (longer than I mentioned in the previous blog), but we had a good wind and made it in 13 hours. From touchdown it took a full hour and a half to make it through passport control, customs, luggage collection, Atlanta security to enter the airport, etc. In Israel we arrived at the airport and started through the security process about three hours ahead of departure. That makes a total of 17 1/2 hours, and I still have a flight home (about 2 hours counting collecting luggage). Add in the wait here and that makes another 2 1/2 hours. Total time is now at 20 hours. Don’t forget getting to/from the airport. Travel is fun! But I have time to blog.

Israeli security has a deserved reputation as being the best in the world, but I did not have to remove my shoes.

We flew Delta for this trip. I think every seat was full on the return. Flights were departing Tel Aviv for Philadelphia and New York about the same time last night. This is not the most popular time for travel to Israel. We saw a few American groups, but there were several Asian and Indian groups.

The comments left on the blog, and Emails from friends are appreciated. I did note, however, that almost every friend who wrote also made a request. Sorry I did not have time to answer. Don’t expect one tomorrow, either! I will do my best. Several Emails came from folks who were unaware that I was in Israel. That is a sure giveaway that they do not follow the blog. Shame! Shame!

Yesterday we went to Nabi Samwil (or Nebi Samwil), the traditional burial place of Samuel the prophet. According to the Bible Samuel was buried at Ramah, a short distance from Nebi Samwil.

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. (1 Samuel 28:3 ESV)

We know from the Old Testament that Samuel anointed both Saul and David as kings of Israel. Both Old and New Testaments acknowledge the importance of Samuel as a prophet.

And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD. (1 Samuel 3:20-21 ESV)

And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. (Acts 3:24 ESV)

Traditional Burial Place of Samuel at Nabi Samwil. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

Traditional Burial Place of the prophet Samuel at Nabi Samwil. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

Headed for home

We are now at the Ben Gurion International Airport awaiting our non-stop flight from Tel Aviv to Atlanta. It takes about 11 -/+ hours on the westbound flight. The flight does not leave Tel Aviv until about 11:30 p.m. Hopefully this will give a good opportunity for some sleep on the way home.

Leon and I consider that our trip has been a success. We have had fairly good weather most of the time. We were able to visit a number of places that we had not previously visited. Some were fairly easy to reach, and others were difficult. I don’t know the total number of photos each of us made, but it was a lot. Perhaps in the months to come you will see some of these photos in presentations we make, in journals, and online.

We have missed our families while engaging in what we believe is important in our work as preachers and teachers of the Word. We look forward to seeing them tomorrow.

Thanks for following our travels. Please continue to check the blog from time to time. I usually post something at least 4 or 5 times a week; sometimes more often. The posts over the past two weeks have only touched the hem of the garment of the places we have visited. Use the search box to find posts about biblical places in which you may be interested.

The Herodian Family Tomb

In the morning we visited Nabi Samwil, the traditional tomb of the prophet Samuel. Some scholars think this may be the biblical Mizpah. Others believe that Mizpah should be identified by Tell en-Nahbeh.

Now Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah. (1 Samuel 10:17 ESV)

The site at Nabi Samwil provides a great view of the biblical territory of Benjamin.

Later we went to the traditional family tomb of Herod the Great (37 – 4 B.C.) which is located on the west side of the Old City, and behind the famous King David Hotel. We know from Josephus that Herod buried certain family members in Jerusalem (Wars 1:581). Herod was buried at the Herodium near Bethlehem.

This first photo shows the general area of the tomb which is cut from solid rock.

Herodian Family Tomb in Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

Herodian Family Tomb in Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

The photo below shows the rolling stone. In more recent time a door has been places at the opening of the tomb. Murphy-O’Connor says the tomb was found empty because robbers got there before the archaeologists (The Holy Land).

Herodian Family Tomb in Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

Herodian Family Tomb Rolling Stone. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

We also visited the Skirball Museum at the Hebrew Union College. Some artifacts from Gezer and Dan have been displayed at this small museum. Today we learned that the museum is closed. The lady at the reception desk said she did not know when or if it would be opened. She allowed us to look at a few items displayed in cases along a corridor among the offices. This was a disappointment. One item of interest that is in the poorly lit cases is a replica of the inscription from Dan that mentions the “god” who is in Dan.

The site of Kiriath-jearim is now Abu Ghosh

Conditions for photography today were about the best I have seen. We had a busy day but have run out of time to write very much. We have one more day before this wonderful study and research opportunity comes to an end.

This morning we stopped in the Judean Hills, about nine miles west of Jerusalem, at the Arab town of Abu Ghosh. This is the biblical site of Kiriath-jearim (or Kiriath Jearim).

Kiriath-jearim’s highest honor is in the association with the ark of the covenant. The Israelites took the ark from the tabernacle at Shiloh to the battle field at Ebenezer when they were fighting with the Philistines (1 Samuel 4). The ark was captured by the Philistines and taken to Ashdod, then to Gath, and finally to Ekron before they decided to get rid of it. The ark was returned to Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 4-6).

The men of Beth-shemesh sent messengers to the residents of Kiriath-jearim asking them to come and take the ark to their town. The ark was brought into the house of Abinadad on the hill. His son, Eleazar, was consecrated by the men of the city to keep the ark of the LORD. The ark remained there for many years until David had it brought to Jerusalem (1 Samuel 6:21-7:2; 2 Samuel 6).

The town of Abu Ghosh, site of biblical Kiriath-jearim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The town of Abu Ghosh, site of biblical Kiriath-jearim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our photograph shows the hill of Kiriath-jearim. Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church was built in 1911 on the ruins of a fifth century Byzantine church.

Museums and Tels

It was cloudy this morning, so we decided to visit the Eretz Israel Museum on our way from the coastal plain to Jerusalem. The Eretz Israel Museum on the campus of Tel Aviv University is built around Tel Qasile, a Philistine city established in the mid-12th century B.C. A sign at the site calls this the port city of the period of the kings and judges of Israel.

The excavation of Tel Qasile, Israel’s first archaeological dig, began in 1949 under Prof. Benjamin Mazar and uncovered three stages in the city’s history (strata XII-X). During the 10th cent. B.C.E. conquest of the region by King David, the city was destroyed by fire. Later rebuilt. It became part of the kingdom of David and Solomon (strata IX-VIII). Lebanese cedars, used to build the temple in Jerusalem, may have been transported via Tel Qasile.

Abandoned during the divided kingdom period, Tel Qasile was settled during the time of King Josiah (stratum VII) and from the Persian period to the Middle Ages (strata VI-I).

The Bible indicates that the Cedar was brought by sea to Joppa, but perhaps Tel Qasile was close enough to Joppa to have been used. It is near the Yarkon River. King Hiram is quoted as saying,

And we will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you in rafts by sea to Joppa, so that you may take it up to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 2:16 ESV; cf. Ezra 3:7)

The museum is composed of several buildings. One has a good section on copper mining at Timna, north of Eilat. There are buildings devoted to glass, coins and stamps. Several examples of winepresses are located on the grounds. The glass museum has the finest collection of first century glass that I have seen.

Free-blown perfume bottles from 1st century A.D. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

Free-blown perfume bottles from 1st century A.D. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

On the way to Jerusalem we stopped by Gezer. The tel is visible from a good highway, but it is difficult to reach. It is another of those tels that can not be reached without taking dirt roads through fields. Gezer was  discovered by Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. It was first excavated by R.A.S. Macalister between 1902 and 1905. A major excavation was carried out from 1964-1974. The most recent excavation began in 2007.

This photo shows what is often called the Solomonic Gate. It is a six-chambered gate similar to those discovered at Hazor and Megiddo. You may click on the photo for a larger image suitable for use in teaching presentations.

"Solomon's Gate" at Gezer. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

"Solomon's Gate" at Gezer. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2009.

And this is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon drafted to build the house of the LORD and his own house and the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer. (1 Kings 9:15 ESV)

The mountains of Judea are visible in the distance. Photograhically, it was a good day.