Monthly Archives: January 2011

Traveling in the land of Goshen

We spent the entire day traveling in Egypt’s eastern delta region, known in the Bible as the land of Goshen. The photo below shows a typical scene of flat, fertile, black land with lush vegetation, cattle, some sheep, and canals.

Typical scene in the land of Goshen.

Typical scene in the land of Goshen. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins

This is the land where Joseph placed his family when they came to Egypt for food.

You will live in the land of Goshen, and you will be near me– you, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everything you have. I will provide you with food there because there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise you would become poor– you, your household, and everyone who belongs to you.”‘ (Genesis 45:10-11 NET)

Measuring the river and your taxes

We have often heard the adaptation of Herodotus’ statement that Egypt is the gift of the Nile. The flooding of the Nile in ancient times was the key to the prosperity of the Nile Valley.

All along the Nile there are still examples of the Nile-o-meters that were used to measure the flooding. The higher the flood water, the more taxes that would be paid into the temple coffers.

In the photo below we see the meter on the Nile at Elephantine Island at Aswan. At a later time I will try to put together a short presentation of a few of the approximately 80 photos I made here yesterday.

Nile-o-meter on Elephantine-Island from the Nile

Nile-o-meter on Elephantine-Island from the Nile. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Free book about the James ossuary trial

Herschel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, reminds us that the trial brought by the Israel Antiquities Authority against Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch is about to come to an end.

If you are interested in this subject you should click here and sign up for the book entitled James, Brother of Jesus: Forged Antiquities and the Trial of Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch.

The book is described this way.

After five years, the “forgery trial of the century” has concluded in a Jerusalem courtroom. Defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch await the judge’s verdict, and so does the rest of the world. Even if the verdict is “not guilty,” the question of authenticity of several ancient artifacts will still remain. In this free e-book, Hershel Shanks explains why he believes the now-famous “James Ossuary” inscription is authentic. Plus, he provides behind-the-scenes analysis of the trial and its key players.

Herschel also promises an English translation of the trial verdict as soon as it is released.

Understand that this is likely a book to be downloaded, and that in signing up for it you indicate that you wish to receive the BAR Companion newsletter. Not a bad trade-off in my judgment.

The one with the fringe on the top

One of our stops today along the Nile River was the site of Edfu. There is a large ancient temple from the period of the Ptolemies about 200 B.C.
From the cruise boat to the temple we took the local carriages. The carriage parking lot looked like our shopping mall parking lots on the day after Thanksgiving.

Horses and carriages at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Horses and carriages in the crowded parking lot at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I would like to be posting more info on some of the sites we are visiting, but time and conditions for working on the photos and using the Internet is not permitting. More soon, hopefully. Thanks for stopping by.

No photographs in the Valley of the Kings

On the west bank of the Nile River across from Luxor and Karnak lies the Valley of the Kings where the Pharaoh’s of the New Kingdom Period of Egyptian history are buried. There are no pyramids during this periods, but at least sixty four tombs are known in the Valley of the Kings. Our group visited two or three.

Some archaeological work is being done in the West Bank of the Nile, but mostly we observed restoration work by local Egyptians.

One disappointment was that photographs were not allowed in the Valley of the Kings. Two years ago when we were here photography was allowed in the Valley, but not in the tombs. Some of our tour members were fined for using their cameras and cell phones. This year one is not even allowed to enter through the security check with a camera. My older photos from the Valley of the Kings have just become more valuable!

One thing I have learned in traveling to Egypt repeatedly since 1967 is that the rules change frequently. The traveler to foreign countries must always remember that it may be different on a second visit, or from the way a friend told you, or the way the book said.

We were allowed to make photographs in the Valley of the Queens. Here is a photo of the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut.

Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Some conservative scholars identify Hatshepsut with the young daughter of  Pharaoh who drew baby Moses from the Nile. Notice these words from Dr. Bryant Wood:

Moses and the Rulers of Egypt
In order to avoid the death decree. Moses’ mother placed the infant Moses in a watertight basket and “put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile” (Ex 2:3). Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the three-month-old baby when she “went down to the Nile to bathe” (Ex 2:5). It is possible that this was the later-to-be-famous queen Hatshepsut (see front cover; Hansen 2003). According lo the Bible, then, the Egyptian royal family maintained a residence in Rameses, close to the Nile River, at the time of Moses’ birth in the carry  [sic; early? c. 1504-1483] 18th Dynasty.
After Moses was nursed by his mother (Ex 2:7–9), Pharaoh’s daughter look him into the royal palace and gave him the name Moses, “because I drew him out of the water” (Bible and Spade (2008) Volume 21 (Ephrata, PA: Associates for Biblical Research, 2008). vnp.21.1.20).

From the temple one has a magnificent view to the east across the Nile Valley. That’s it. The Nile Valley, the fertile land on each side of the Nile River is a narrow strip.

The Nile Valley from the Temple of Queen Hatsheput. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Nile Valley from the Temple of Queen Hatsheput. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

P.S. If you would like to see some photos from the Valley of the Kings, check this earlier post here.

Luxor and the Valley of the Kings

Update. The image did not enlarge. Check it again. I note that the Internet service is better early in the morning (now Tuesday here in Luxor).

This morning we left Cairo early on a flight to Luxor, where we begin a Nile cruise. Lot of good photos today. We visited the Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple. Perhaps in a day or two I will be able to begin to share a few new photos. Meanwhile, your patience is appreciated.

Here is the group photo that I had wanted to upload yesterday. If you know some of the folks in the group you may want to click on the image for a larger copy.

Egyptian Adventure Tour led by Ferrell Jenkins

Egyptian Adventure Tour at the great Pyramids of Giza.

Group photo at the Pyramids

The first day of a tour is always a bit tiring. Travelers are getting over jet lag. In spite of that we had a good day with a visit to the Egyptian Museum and the great pyramids of Giza. The weather today was cool, but in the afternoon the sky cleared and provided a nice view. You can even detect the eastern ridge of the Nile Valley in the background.

At the moment I am having difficulty uploading the photo, and I am running out of time on my $28 investment. The entire Dashboard of WordPress is different from anything I have seen before.

Tomorrow we rise early and take a flight to Luxor. I will try to upload the photo from another place. Sorry.


Safe arrival in Cairo, Egypt

Our group arrived safely in Cairo this afternoon. We were actually about 50 minutes early. You may know that here, as in several other countries, the planes park a distance from the terminal and the passengers are bussed to the terminal.

The members of our group are certainly tired, but everyone seems in good condition. Perhaps tomorrow night we will be able to post a new photo or two.

Traveling to Egypt

The first biblical reference to Egypt is in Genesis 12:10.

There was a famine in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to stay for a while because the famine was severe. (Genesis 12:10 NET)

Untold multitudes of people have traveled to Egypt before and after the time of Abram, and for a variety of reasons — to find food, to find refuge, to conquer, to search for treasures, to study history, to make photographs, naming just a few. Our purpose in going to Egypt is not only to enjoy the culture of Egypt, but to study the history at it relates to biblical history. In the next couple of weeks we will try to highlight some of these things. We hope you will travel with us through this blog.

We may not be able to post every day, and due to the time change, it may be at an unusual time of the day. Our non-stop flight is scheduled to depart from New York in less than two hours. The flight takes about 11 hours.

Biblical Studies Info Page

Biblical Studies Information Page. For the past ten years I have maintained the Biblical Studies Info Page here. The site was established under another name about four years earlier, then transferred to my own domain. While there are some articles posted there, the site is mostly a series of links to material that I consider worthwhile, especially for the person who has a limited number of sources available in his/her own library. I have fewer hits now than I did several years ago. I think one major reason is that people use search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Let me suggest that there is still a value to using the Biblical Studies Info Page. The material is divided into several categories which are noted on the left side of the home page. The Links page is of primary interest to readers associated with churches of Christ. The Bible Places category can be very helpful if one is looking for information on biblical sites. (Incidentally, to my knowledge this page was online a few months prior to the highly popular

Biblical Studies Info Page

Front page of the Biblical Studies Info Page.

Probably the most important category is marked Scholarly. This page is not scholarly in the sense of doctoral dissertation’s are scholarly (or should be!). I envisioned it as a page of material that a “lay” person could read and be able to have some confidence in. Sometimes there are two links to differing views on a subject. I intend for people to think, examine, and draw their own conclusions. The categories within the page are important: Apologetics, Culture; Archaeology & the Bible; Bible Study Software & Tools; Bibles Available Online; Biblical Backgrounds; Biblical Criticism: Manuscripts & Translations; Blogs and News Pertaining to Biblical Studies; Books; Church History; Documenting Your Online Research; Evangelism; Greek Studies; Judaism; Maps of Bible Lands; Museums and Traveling Exhibits; New Testament Background; Old Testament Materials; Patristics; Periodicals: Scholarly Journals; Photos and Art; Resource Indices; Restoration Movement (history); Study Materials: Online; Theology.

A Video Surprise

By surprise one day I received an Email from Tony Eldridge, a young author and book marketing expert. Tony writes a blog filled with good tips for people who have books to promote. Begin with his home page here, and move on to the blog.

What surprised me was that Tony had prepared a short video explaining the value of the Biblical Studies Info Page for members of the church where he is a member. You might enjoy his introductory video here. He also reviews other web sites that he considers helpful to Bible students.

Our thanks to Tony.