Monthly Archives: August 2010

Glo – the Bible for a Digital World

Rejoice Christian Software announces that the Glo Digital Bible is available for $45.00 for one week. They already sell it for the discounted price of $52, but when you click on “Buy Now” the price shows as $45.

Glo - The Digital Bible

Take a look at the RCS page advertising Glo here. You will see a link to a video explaining some features of the product. This is a great product at a good price.

The Biblical Studies and Technological Tools blog has two extended reviews of Glo. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

I have no financial interest in RCS, but I have found their prices and service to be as advertised.

Is this scary?

Google CEO Eric Schmidt issued some scary comments in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. The comments below are taken from an article by Murray Wardrop in the Telegraph. You may read the entire article here.

Eric Schmidt suggested that young people should be entitled to change their identity to escape their misspent youth, which is now recorded in excruciating detail on social networking sites such as Facebook.

“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,” Mr Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal.

In an interview Mr Schmidt said he believed that every young person will one day be allowed to change their name to distance themselves from embarrasssing photographs and material stored on their friends’ social media sites.

The 55-year-old also predicted that in the future, Google will know so much about its users that the search engine will be able to help them plan their lives.

Using profiles of it customers and tracking their locations through their smart phones, it will be able to provide live updates on their surroundings and inform them of tasks they need to do.

“We’re trying to figure out what the future of search is,” Mr Schmidt said. “One idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type.

There may be some bibliobloggers who will wish they had used more discretion in what they posted.

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1 NAU)

HT: Biblical Paths

Araunah’s threshing floor

After David’s sin in the the matter of taking a census of the people of Israel, and his acknowledgment of the sin, he was told by Gad to build an altar (2 Samuel 24:1-10). The instructions are specific.

And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, raise an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David went up at Gad’s word, as the LORD commanded. (2 Samuel 24:18-19 ESV)

Araunah was gracious in his offer to allow David to take any of his property needed — the oxen, the threshing sledge, and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. He said, “All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.”

David’s reply is one of those memorable statements of Scripture.

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. (2 Samuel 24:24 ESV)

Artist Balage Balogh has provided us a beautiful illustration of the threshing floor of Araunah on what we later know to be Mount Moriah. See more of his work at Archaeology Illustrated.

Araunah's Threshing Floor. Art by Balage, Archaeology Illustrated.

Araunah's Threshing Floor. Illustrated by Balage.

It is generally understood that this is the place where Abraham came to offer Isaac, in the mount of the LORD three days from Beersheba  (Genesis 22:4, 14). It is where Solomon began to build the temple in 966 B.C.

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. (2 Chronicles 3:1 ESV)

The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., but rebuilt under the leadership of Joshua and Zerubbabel after the return from Babylonian exile (520-516 B.C.). Herod the Great basically built a new temple during his reign.

The Romans destroyed Jerusalem, including the temple, in A.D. 70. Centuries later, between 687 and 691, the Qubbet es Sakhra, (Dome of the Rock) was built on the orders of the Ommayad caliph, Abd el Malik. The building has been restored numerous times, but “the monument has preserved its original majestic proportions and harmonious design” (The Middle East, Hachette, 1966).

Dome of the Rock. Original site of Solomon's Temple. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dome of the Rock. Original site of Solomon's Temple. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The association of this site with both Abraham and David ties together two of the great texts of the Old Testament (Genesis 12; 2 Samuel 7) and makes it especially significant for those who believe the Bible.

The chariot city of Megiddo

For years it has been pointed out that there is at least some evidence for stables at Megiddo. The biggest dispute has been over who built and used the stables.

On my last visit to Megiddo I noticed some new sculptures had been placed at the site. The view is to the north across the Jezreel Valley toward Lower Galilee. This sort of decoration has become common at parks in Israel.

Horse and chariot sculpture at Megiddo. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Chariot and horses sculpture at Megiddo. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

There are several reference in the Bible connecting Megiddo with chariots. Because Megiddo was located on the main trunk road between Egypt and the empires of the north (Hittites and Syria) and those of the east (Assyria, Babylon, and Persia), we should not find this surprising.

Solomon is said to have built the house of the LORD, his own house, the Millo and the Wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer (1 Kings 9:15). The same context makes reference to chariot cities built by Solomon:

and all the store cities that Solomon had, and the cities for his chariots, and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. (1 Kings 9:19 ESV)

The drawing below comes from 1,000 Bible Images (Logos) with this note:

The picture shows two chariots and some foot soldiers, each carrying a curved ax, made of ivory (from Megiddo).
Read a little about this publication here. I do not recall having seen this piece in any museum. Does any reader know where it may be? There is a similar piece in the Oriental Institute.
Chariots and foot soldiers made of ivory. From Megiddo.

Chariots and foot soldiers made of ivory. 1,000 Bible Images.

Shalmaneser III (858-859 B.C.) informs us that Ahab, the Israelite, provided 2,000 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers to the coalition that fought against the Assyrian king at Qarqar (Stone Monolith from Kurkh, now in the British Museum). Sounds as if Ahab had an impressive army.

3,500 or 35? Galilee bracelet in question

We included the announcement of the discovery of a 3,500 year old bronze bracelet discovered in northern Galilee in a post August 5 (here). We quoted the news release from the Israel Antiquities Authority and included a photo of the bracelet.

Yesterday afternoon a reader posted this comment:

Antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch has called this artifact a fake, suggesting it can be purchased anywhere in the Old City for $10 – $20. The excavator has resisted this accusation, but Deutsch is standing his ground.

Further communication brought to light a photo of a similar looking bracelet, said to be a “Bedouine brass bracelet, ca. 50-80 years old” on sale from an antiquities dealer for $10. See here, if interested. I also received a page from Treasures From An Ancient Land: The Art of Jordan, edited by Piotr Bienkowski, showing photos of similar bracelets dating to the late 19th and early 20th century (p. 164).

The link I posted to the IAA news release was broken last evening. This morning it leads to a different report.

As I browsed the news and various blogs I noted that Robert Deutsch had posted an article at The Bible and Interpretation here. His bottom line is:

The fact is the excavators found a modern 20thcentury Bedouin bracelet and not a Canaanite bracelet.

I will leave it there unless we learn something significant.

Be warned that the conclusions held at the end of one day, archaeological season, year, decade, or century, often are changed the next.

Thanks to our vigilant reader.

Friday variety

Israel Photos. J P vd Giessen has been posting photos from a trip to Israel over the past few weeks at his Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel [Notes on the Bible] blog. You will find photos of Megiddo, Caesarea Maritima, Capernaum, Gamla and other places. Start here. I know, the blog is in Dutch. I follow the blog regularly. When I see something that is of special interest I go to Google Translate and paste in the article for a translation. It is not ideal, but it helps.

Turkey Photos. Ben Witherington III is posting photos of a recent trip to Greece and Turkey at his Bible and Culture blog. You will find photos of Corinth (Acts 18), Sagalassos, Assos (Acts 20:13-14), Alexandria Troas (Acts 16:8), Patara (Acts 21:1), Myra in Lycia (Acts 27:5), Cappadocia (Acts 2:9; 1 Pet. 1:1), and others. The site is not very user friendly, but you may find something of interest. Start here and then use the search box.

Tell es-Safi/Gath. Prof. Aren Maeir has posted several aerial photos of Tell es-Safi/Gath made at the end of the 2010 archaeological excavation season. If you look soon you may just scroll back through the photos here.

Our photo was made just below Tell es-Safi/Gath just after crossing the Elah brook. This shows the beginning of the coastal plain.

Sheep and goats at Tell es-Safi/Gath. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sheep and goats at Tell es-Safi/Gath. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Greek, anyone? Rod Decker, a professor of Greek and New Testament, calls attention to some classic essays on using Greek in ministry. Perhaps some readers might find this helpful. Click here.

Ptolemaic gold coin found at Tel Kedesh

Announcement was made today that the excavation at Tel Kedesh has uncovered a gold coin dating to 191 B.C. The coin was minted in Alexandria by Ptolemy V and bears the name of the wife of Ptolemy II, Arsinoë Philadelphus (II).

According to Dr. Donald T. Ariel, head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “This is an amazing numismatic find. The coin is beautiful and in excellent preservation. It is the heaviest gold coin with the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel. The coin weighs almost one ounce (27.71 grams), while most ancient gold coins weighed 4.5 grams. In Ariel’s words, “This extraordinary coin was apparently not in popular or commercial use, but had a symbolic function. The coin may have had a ceremonial function related to a festival in honor of Queen Arsinoë, who was deified in her lifetime. The denomination is called a mnaieion, meaning a one-mina coin, and is equivalent to 100 silver drachms, or a mina of silver.

The obverse (‘head’) of the coin depicts Arsinoë II Philadelphus. The reverse (‘tail’) depicts two overlapping cornucopias (horns-of-plenty) decorated with fillets. The meaning of the word Philadelphus is brotherly love. Arsinoë II, daughter of Ptolemy I Soter, was married at age 15 to one of Alexander the Great’s generals, Lysimachus, king of Thrace. After Lysimachus’ death she married her brother, Ptolemy II, who established a cult in her honor. This mnaieion from Tel Kedesh attests to the staying power of the cult, since the coin was minted a full 80 years after the queen’s death.

The Israel Antiquities Authority press release is currently available here.

Gold coin of Arsinoë Philadephus (II). Discovered at Tel Kedesh.

Gold coin of Arsinoë Philadelphus (II) discovered at Tel Kedesh. Photo by Sue Webb, courtesy IAA.

The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago displays a statue base with the same name as that on the coin. The top of the statue has the name incised in hieroglyphs and the front shows the name in Greek.

Statue base showing name of Arsinoë Philadelphus. OIUC.

Statue base showing the name of Arsinoë Philadelphus. OIUC. Photo: Ferrell Jenkins.

Tel Kedesh, in Upper Galilee, is near the Lebanon border. This Kedesh was located in the territory of the Israelite tribe of Naphtali (Joshua 19:37). It is probably best known as one of the six cities of refuge assigned to the tribe of Levi (Joshua 20:7; 21:32).

So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. (Joshua 20:7 ESV)

Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh, where he called out the men of Zebulun and Naphtali to go with him to fight Jabin’s army (Judges 4). The Assyrians captured Kedesh about 732 B.C. (2 Kings 15:29).

The excavations at Tel Kedesh are being conducted by the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. Some miscellaneous information about the excavation is available at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Dig Diaries here.

Tel Kedesh in northern Galilee. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View to the NE of Tel Kedesh in northern Galilee. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer