Monthly Archives: January 2011

Looting of Museums in Egypt

Dr. Zawi Hawass, the head man over antiquities in Egypt, has posted a statement on his web site. He had to fax it to someone in Italy so they could post it on his web site in London. The Internet is down in Egypt.

If you are interested, read here.

HT: Bible Places Blog.

A rainy Sunday in Galilee

Sunday was a rainy day with periods of sunshine in Galilee. Sunday morning we went to Nazareth to meet with the Church of Christ there. Even though Nazareth is only a short distance from Tiberias, it was considerably cooler there. During the service we could hear rain falling on the roof.

On the outskirts of Nazareth I stopped to make a photo of the city. The dome of the Church of the Annunciation is visible in the left of the photo. The older part of the city, from the time of Jesus, is located there. The ridge slightly visible in the far distance is the eastern end of Mount Carmel.

View of Nazareth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View of Nazareth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In the afternoon we drove north toward the border with Lebanon in hopes that the sky might clear there to give us a good view of Mount Hermon. We were not successful, but we did enjoy the drive as far as Dan and Caesarea Philippi. During the day we saw many beautiful rainbows. At one point over the fertile Hula Valley there was a complete rainbow visible at times. Here is a photo I made looking east toward the Golan Heights.

Rainbow over Hula Valley. View to Golan Heights. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Rainbow over Hula Valley. View to Golan Heights. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

On the return to Tiberias we turned east to drive past Chorazin and get a view of the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee. Those who have seen this view before will be impressed with how low the water level is.

Northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We enjoyed the day, and thankful to visit the areas where Jesus did so much of His work, even when it rained.

Jesus went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23 NET)

Almond trees in blossom

Friday evening we stayed in Beersheba. Friday night and Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath) is a time when many Jewish families stay in a hotel. I think we were the only Goyim (non-Jews) in the hotel. Beersheba does not attract many tour groups for overnight stays.

We made a side trip into the Shephelah with brief stops here and there. Near the Valley of Elah, on the east side of Azekah we saw a few almond trees in full blossom.

Almond tree in bloom near Azekah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Almond tree in bloom near Azekah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jacob ordered his sons to take some of the best products of the land of Canaan, including almonds, to the man in Egypt (Joseph).

Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. (Genesis 43:11 NAU)

The blooms of the almond are beautiful.

Almond blossoms near Azekah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Almond blossoms near Azekah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The lampstand for the tabernacle was to have cups shaped like almond flowers.

On the lampstand there were four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms, (Exodus 37:20 NET)

The LORD demonstrated his choice of Aaron as high priest in this way:

On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony– and the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted, and brought forth buds, and produced blossoms, and yielded almonds! (Numbers 17:8 NET)

Pyramids closed to tourists

The only TV news source I have at my hotel in Tiberias is the British SkyNews. One of the reports on Egypt mentioned that the Great Pyramids of Giza were closed to tourists. Not surprising. Various governments, like Britain and the USA, are encouraging their citizens not to travel to Egypt. This will be a tremendous blow to many Egyptian companies.

The Pyramid of Chephren. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The Pyramid of Chephren. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In Beersheba we enjoyed Fox News. At Eilat we had CNN international which is much different from the CNN in the USA.

SkyNews showed a few photos of damage to cases and artifacts in the Egyptian Museum. Todd Bolen has more info on this at the Bible Places Blog.

Life in the wilderness of Zin

Yesterday we drove north from Eilat to Beersheba (Be’er Sheva). Beersheba, the ancient home of the patriarch Abraham, is the heart of the Negev (the Southland in some English versions).

In the wilderness of Zin, where the ancient Israelites wandered (Numbers 33:36), we saw two female shepherds bringing their large flock of sheep and goats across the main highway 40. This photo shows them after they had crossed the highway on their way to their community of Bedouin. We saw the tents in the distance a little further south.

If you can not see the photo click here.

Sheep in the Wilderness of Zin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sheep in the Wilderness of Zin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The wilderness of Zin included Kadesh Barnea and was the southern boundary for the tribe of Judah.

The land allotted to the tribe of Judah by its clans reached to the border of Edom, to the Wilderness of Zin in the Negev far to the south. (Joshus 15:1 NET)

We enjoyed a Big Mac at the McDonald’s at Avdat, an important town along the Nabatean spice route between Petra and Gaza.

We continued along the way north to Makhtesh Ramon Crater. This crater, about fifty miles south of Beersheba, is said to be the largest crater in the world. We went to the observation point to take a look at the crater. Several people were preparing to rappel the cliff. The most interesting one was a little girl who was not quite six years old. After watching her be instructed in how to handle the rope, we saw her begin down the cliff. We went down to a lower point to see her. By the time we got there she was almost at the bottom and was being helped by (possibly) her mother who had come down before her.

(I am having a little problem uploading photos. If the photo below does not show, click here link to see it.)

Young girl gets ready to rappel at Makhtesh Ramon Crater. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Young girl gets ready to rappel at Makhktesh Ramon Crater. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Personal note about unrest in Egypt

A few friends have asked about the safety of our group in relation to the unrest in Egypt. Most of our group returned to the USA from Egypt Monday evening. They are safely at home. Three other tour members went with us to Sinai. Two of them went home Wednesday evening. They were diverted from JFK due to the bad weather, but arrived home safely. One tour member went to Abu Simbel Thursday. He is in Heliopolis at the hotel across from the airport now.

I just spoke to my guide/friend in Egypt who told me that last evening his kids were out and having a good time. They went to McDonald’s and a movie. He said the demonstrations were limited to downtown Cairo and in Suez city (the town at the southern end of the Suez Canal).

Elizabeth and I leave Eilat shortly to drive through the Wilderness of Zin. We plan to be at Beersheba in the evening.

Egyptian miners had a temple at Timna

Timna is located about 20 miles north of Eilat in Israel. The Rothenberg Expedition discovered a cultic temple used by Egyptian miners at a time when the Egyptians were actively mining copper in the region.

One of the main deities worshiped at the site was Hathor. Having recently seen numerous images of Hathor in Egypt, I thought this was an appropriate follow up.

Cultic temple at Timna devoted to Hathor, et al. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Cultic Temple at Timna devoted to Hathor, et al. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Those who have visited Petra will notice a similarity in the color of the rocks and soil.

The sign at the site gives a brief summary of the excavation and the items discovered.

Timna Hathor Temple Sign

Sign at Cultic Temple in Timna. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The LORD promised the Israelites that they would dwell in a land that included copper and iron. It is impossible to say whether this is one of those places.

… a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. (Deuteronomy 8:9 ESV)

Traveling across the Sinai Peninsula

Over the past two days my wife and I have traveled through the Sinai Peninsula. We left Cairo Tuesday morning and traveled somewhat along the traditional route of the Israelites in the wilderness to Jebel Musa (Mount Sinai/Horeb).

Tuesday night we stayed at the Morganland Hotel near Saint Catherine’s Monastery. This photo was made Wednesday morning from the hotel grounds.

View of the granite mountains of Sinai. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I am reminded of the stanza in Deborah’s song:

The mountains trembled before the LORD, the God of Sinai; before the LORD God of Israel. (Judges 5:5 NET)

After visiting Saint Catherine’s Monastery, we continued east to the Gulf of Aqaba/Eilat to Tabah, Egypt. Then, moving north, we crossed into Israel at Eilat. We were traveling in a van. The trip from Sinai to Tabah took more than 2 and 1/2 hours, but by the time we cleared all of the customs things in Egypt and Israel it took a total of 4 hours.

We enjoyed the two weeks in Egypt, but delighted to be in Israel again.

Sunset on the Suez Canal and Lake Timsah

Our photo today was made from the Asia side of the Suez Canal. The view is west toward Africa. At this point the Suez Canal cuts through Lake Timsah.

Sunset over Lake Timsah and the Suez Canal. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sunset over Lake Timsah and the Suez Canal. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Some scholars have suggested that the crossing by the Israelites as they left Egypt may have been in the area around Lake Timsah (through, south or north of it). Other suggestions include a site in the vicinity of Lake Ballah or the Great Bitter Lake for the crossing.

Read the biblical account in Exodus 13.

The Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara

Yesterday afternoon our group visited Memphis and Saqqara. Saqqara is significant because it is the location of of the oldest freestanding stone building in the world. The architect of this structure was the vizier and physician Imhotep. Zoser reigned about 2600 B.C.

Hachette World Guide on Cairo, Alexandria and Environs, describes the pyramid in these terms:

The Step Pyramid is formed of six unequal sections and is not, in the strict sense, a pyramid tat all. The plan is not square, but oblong in the S-W sense, and the summit is formed by a terrace (also oblong) and not by a Pyramidion. The dimensions of the base are approximately 397 feet by 357 feet. The present height of the Pyramid is 193 feet. It would originally have been some 196 feet. The verticle slope of the steps is on an average of some 16°, the horizontal [slope is] 22°.

Many of the structures of ancient Egypt are in need of repair, and many are being repaired. I noticed scaffolding on all sides of the pyramid.

Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This pyramid, as well as the great pyramids of Giza, was built long before the time of the  biblical characters who visited Egypt — Abraham, Joseph, Jacob, et al.