Monthly Archives: September 2010

Uchisar in Cappadocia

This photo was made in Uchisar in the region of Cappadocia in Turkey.

Uchisar in Cappadocia, Turkey

A camel at Uchisar in the region of Cappadocia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Bible tells us that Jews of Cappadocia were present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:9). Peter wrote his epistles to saints scattered throughout Cappadocia and other places in Roman Asia Minor (modern Turkey).

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

Abel Beth Maacah — a mother in Israel

No sooner had King David put down the rebellion of his son Abaslom when a Benjamite by the name of Sheba led a rebellion against him. The men of Israel rebelled against David and followed Sheba, but the men of Judah remained loyal to the king.

Realizing that Sheba was a greater threat than Absalom had been, David called on Abishai to take servants (warriors) and capture Sheba. Joab’s men went out from Jerusalem to capture Sheba. This pursuit took Joab’s men all the way to the north of the Israelite territory, to a town named Abel-Beth-Maacah. Some English versions use Abel Beth Maacah, or a similar variant. In modern Israel this town is almost on the border with Lebanon between Kiryat Shmona and Metulla.

Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah. All the Berites came together and followed him. Joab’s troops came and besieged Sheba in Abel of Beth-maacah. They built an assault ramp against the outer wall of the city. While all the troops with Joab were battering the wall to make it collapse, a wise woman called out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come here and let me speak with him.” (2 Samuel 20:14-16 CSB)

Abel Beth Maacah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Abel Beth Maacah - a mother in Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our photo, looking east, shows the massive mound thought to be the site of Abel-Beth-Maacah. This photo was made in early May. The tell stands out distinctly from the surrounding apple orchards. The Beka Valley and the anti-Lebanon mountain range can be seen beyond the tel.

The wise woman reasons with Joab. She tells him that this town formerly was a place where people would ask for advice to end a dispute. She said,

I am a peaceful person, one of the faithful in Israel, but you’re trying to destroy a city that is like a mother in Israel. Why would you devour the LORD’s inheritance?” (2 Samuel 20:19 CSB)

Joab agreed that he would not destroy the city if she would hand over Sheba. She agreed to throw the head of Sheba over the wall. She did what she promised and the destruction was averted. Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.

Abel-beth-Maacah is mentioned in at least two other passages.

  1. The city was conquered by Ben-hadad, king of Aram [Syria] (1 Kings 15:20).
  2. The city was captured by Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, in the days of Pekah of Israel.

Note. This is a revision of a post from December 19, 2008 with a more recent photo.

A real Word Press

Monday I visited the Ulster-American Folk Park in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. This is a marvelous open-air museum with old houses, some of which have been moved from their original place to the Park for preservation. One of the houses belonged to Judge Thomas Mellon,  founder of the Pittsburgh banking dynasty.

One of the houses that caught my attention was the house of a common (poor) family of about 1790. I wrote about it in a different blog here.

The park traces the movement of immigrants from Ireland to America. Having been interested in printing since taking a course in letter press printing during my Junior year in high school, I found the print shop of interest.

There was an old Remington typewriter in the window of the print shop.

Typewriter at Ulster-American Folk Park

Typewriter at Ulster-American Folk Park. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The lady printer is operating a proof press. She actually printed a contract of passage for me to board a ship and sail for the New World.

Proof press at ulster-American Folk Park. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Proof press at Ulster-American Folk Park. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Now that’s a real Word Press.

Only today and tomorrow

Todd Bolen is offering the Picturesque Palestine 4-volume set of photos and engravings for only $20 with free shipping. That price is available only today and tomorrow.

He also tells you how to get his current Bible Places Newsletter, and I can tell you that it offers a great slide show on Samaria that you can download.

Get details here.

The ziggurat at Ur

The pyramids of Egypt are fairly well known to students in the Western world. Some study is made of them in the elementary grades. The ziggurats of Mesopotamia (mostly present day Iraq) are not as well known. In Egypt we have some pyramids, like the great pyramids of Giza, which are still standing to almost their original height. Having been made of stone, they have been fairly well preserved.

The ziggurats of Mesopotamia were made of baked bricks. Over the centuries they have tended to become piles of mud. The only one I saw during my only visit to Iraq in May, 1970, that had any semblance of a defined shape was the ziggurat at Ur. That was because it had been reconstructed up to about the fourth story.

The ziggurat was a staged temple tower. The temple at the top of the tower was considered the dwelling place of the particular god worshiped at a site. The kings of Ur are thought to have built the first ziggurat about the 27th century B.C., though some may have been erected on older structures going back to about 3100-2900 B.C. (The Middle East, Hachette World Guides, 1966). A model, like the one below from the Pergamum Museum in Berlin gives us a good impression of the original appearance of the ziggurats.

Ziggurat Model at the Pergamum Museum, Berlin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ziggurat Model at the Pergamum Museum, Berlin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Every now and then I search the Internet for photos of Iraq. Sometimes I locate a nice photo made by a soldier who has been stationed there. One day I came across a really great photo on Flickr made by Josh McFall. It took a while to track down Josh and ask his permission to use the photo on the web site. He enthusiastically grated permission, only asking that I comply with the attached Creative Commons license. That, I was pleased to do. The Creative Commons license on this photo requires Attribution, Non-commercial Use, and No Derivative works. Josh, I am sure many of my readers thank you.

The ziggurat at Ur is attributed to the third dynasty of Ur (2124-2015 B.C.).

Ziggurat at Ur in Iraq. Photo by Josh McFall.

Reconstructed Ziggurat at Ur in Iraq. Photo by Josh McFall.

Perhaps we should think of something like the ziggurats when we study the account of the building of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4 ESV)

And it might help with the understanding of what Jacob saw in his dream at Bethel.

And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! (Genesis 28:12 ESV)

When John calls attention to this scene he says the angels were ascending and descending on the “Son of Man” (John 1:51).

Both photos are available in presentation size for those who would like to use them. Just click on the image.

The Ostrich in Bible Times

The ostrich is listed among the unclean birds for the Israelites in Leviticus 11:16 and Deuteronomy 14:15. Job laments that he is “a companion of ostriches” (Job 30:29). The longest section of scripture mentioning the ostrich is in the the response by the LORD.

“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider. (Job 39:13-18 ESV)

Ostrich at the Hai Bar Nature Reserve. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ostriches at the Hai Bar Nature Reserve. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Archaeologists uncovered this ostrich egg pictured below from the MB II level (1750–1550 B.C.) at Lachish. The sign with the display at the British Museum says,

Ostriches were native to the Levant and their eggs, plain or decorated were often included in tomb deposits.

Ostrich Egg discovered at MB II Lachish. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ostrich Egg discovered at MB II Lachish. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

After the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Jeremiah lamented that “the daughter of my people has become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.” (Lamentations 4:3 ESV)

The potter’s right over the clay

In arguing that God has the right to do whatever He chooses, Paul uses the illustration of the potter and the clay.

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21 ESV)

Potter molding a vessel at Avanos in Anatolia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Potter molding a vessel at Avanos in Anatolia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our photo shows a potter molding a vessel, according to his own choosing, at Avanos in Turkey. Avanos, a town north of the region of Cappadocia, is famous for its potters. I am told that many homes have a potter’s wheel and the residents make some of the family income through pottery making.

The words of the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah are fitting:

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:5-6 ESV)

We have included an image suitable for presentations for those who wish to use it in teaching.

Cyrus Cylinder loaned to Iran

The Cyrus Cylinder came from ancient Persia. Now the British Museum, where it has been housed for many years, is loaning the artifact to the museum in Tehran, Iran.

Todd Bolen calls attention the the agreement, the historical significance of the Cyrus Cylinder, and the biblical reference (Ezra 1:1-4) to one of the events mentioned in the Cylinder.

The the account at the Bible Places Blog here, and be sure to follow the link to his list of the British Museum: Top 10, yeah 15.

If you plan to visit London, and you are interested in Bible study, be sure to download my short list of “Some Biblically Related Artifacts in the British Museum” here.

The Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Remembering 9/11

A few days ago we visited the Waterford Crystal Factory to see the various stages involved in the making special Waterford pieces.

Perhaps everyone remembers the famous ball dropped in Times Square on New Years’ Eve, and the special sports trophies made by Waterford. Another piece at the factory caught my attention. At this time I want to share this one special piece.

Waterford Crystal - Dedicated to 9-11 Rescue Workers

Waterford Crystal - Dedicated to 9-11 Rescue Workers

The plaque below this poignant piece says, “This piece was made in remembrance of Fr. Mychal Judge, who was one of the 343 FDNY, 37 PAPD & 23 NYPD Officers who lost their lives on September 11th 2001 while trying to save others.” The final line says,

This piece is dedicated to all the Rescue Workers.

The tragic events of 9/11 should never be forgotten by Americans or any other peace loving peoples. We remember all, whether rescue workers or not, who lost their lives on that day.

Have no fear of the authorities

While reading Romans 13 I came to Paul’s admonition to the saints at Rome, ” Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good.” My mind immediately turned to the mosaic which was discovered during the excavation of the Byzantine public area at Caesarea Maritima.

The context in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans reads this way.

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:3-4 ESV)

The sign at the site describes the building where the mosaic was found as a Tax Archive. The original is said to be on display at the Kibbutz Sdot Yam Museum. The edifice is identified as “Byzantine government offices where clerks recorded tax revenues.”

Mosaic at Caesarea Maritima. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Mosaic at Caesarea Maritima. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I suppose they did not understand that this is politically incorrect!