Daily Archives: August 24, 2011

Short video on Masada

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority has prepared a short video on Masada. The narrator presents a brief history of the fortress of Masada while beautiful scenes of the site are shown.

Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) provides a link to the video with an article about Masada here. (A direct link to the video on You Tube is here.) Elad Benari, author of the article, describes Masada in these words:

The top level had four bedrooms and a semicircular balcony, from which there was a spectacular view of the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, and the Moab Mountains. A sophisticated and hidden staircase led to a middle level in which a large hall was built, surrounded by a veranda whose poles were placed at the edge of the cliff. The staircase went down to the bottom level, in which a large hall surrounded by vestibules was established. The walls of the hall were decorated with spectacular frescoes. A private bathhouse was built adjacent to the hall for the occupants of the northern palace.

At the peak were 29 large warehouses, each one 27 meters long. Excavations of the site found hundreds of pottery vessels in which huge amounts of food were stored. Thus, using a rare combination of natural conditions and human endeavors, Masada became a cliff that was almost impossible to conquer.

The great halls of the palaces were unsuitable for housing families, and thus became headquarters and public buildings.

The building near the north wall, which served as a stable in the days of Herod, was later turned into a synagogue. This is one of the Jewish people’s most ancient synagogues, known to be in use during the period of the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, an unusual occurrence as synagogues became the accepted place to pray only after the destruction of the second Temple.

Our photo shows some of the large warehouses at the fortress. The Dead Sea and the mountains of Edom are visible in the left background.

Warehouses at Masada with the Dead Dea visible in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Warehouses at Masada with the Dead Sea visible in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It is possible that David visited the site of Masada long before it was turned into a fortress by King Herod. Gordon Franz has examined evidence for this suggestion at his Life and Land blog here.

One of the verses examined is Psalm 18:2 in which the term for fortress is the Hebrew metsudah (our English masada)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psa 18:1-2 ESV)

HT: Joseph I. Lauer