Monthly Archives: November 2011

Approaching Gennesaret

The Sea of Galilee is called the “lake of Gennesaret” (Luke 5:1), and the “Sea of Tiberias” (John 6:1; 21:1). This indicates that both Tiberias, where Herod Antipas had built his capital in the mid-20s of the first century, and Gennesaret were significant places. When one traveled from Nazareth, Cana, or others places west of the Sea of Galilee, he would pass by Mount Arbel into the plain or land of Gennesaret.

This photo, taken on an unusually clear day, shows a small ship about to anchor at Nof Ginosaur (= Gennesaret). To the west we see Mount Arbel and the pass below allowing travel and commerce between lower Galilee and the towns around the Sea of Galilee.

Boat approaches the land of Genessaret. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Boat approaching the land of Gennesaret. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo nicely illustrates the text of Mark 6.

When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured. (Mark 6:53-56 NAU. cf. Matthew 14:34-36)

The first disciples of Jesus were called by the lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1).

The Patriarchs lived in the Negev

English Bibles translate the Hebrew word negev in a variety of ways.

  • South — KJV; NKJV
  • “the South [country]” is the Translator’s Note in the NET Bible. A study note says, “Negev is the name for the southern desert region in the land of Canaan.”
  • Negeb — ESV
  • Negev — most modern English versions.
  • eremos — the word for desert or wilderness is used in the LXX. This word does not describe the Negev precisely enough.

I am away from home and most of my resources, but I recall hearing the late Anson Rainey describe the Negev like the figure 8. Turn the 8 horizontal with Beersheba in the center. The area is one that is often subject to drought and famine.

The Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob spent much time in the Negev (Genesis 12:9; 13:1,3; 20:1; 24:62).

The Israelite spies were sent by Moses from the Sinai to investigate Canaan. The text makes it clear that they had to go through the Negev to get to the hill country and Hebron. Hebron is only about 25 miles north of Beersheba. Once we head south from Hebron we begin to notice a change from the hill country to a more dry clime.

When Moses sent them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, and then go up into the hill country (Numbers 13:17 NET)

When they went up through the Negev, they came to Hebron… (Numbers 13:22 NET)

The Canaanite king of Arad lived in the Negev (Numbers 21:1). Arad is located east of Beersheba as the land slopes down to the Dead Sea.

Our photo today was made a few miles north of Beersheba. I think it illustrates the typical dryness of the region.

Sheep in the Negev. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sheep in the Negev. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Keep your lamps burning

Light is necessary for life and growth. We are introduced to light in the biblical account of creation.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.  (Genesis 1:3-5 ESV)

Of Jesus, the Gospel of John says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4 ESV).

David spoke of meditating on God during the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6). He watched his sheep by night, but most work was not done in the night prior to the introduction of electric power. We used one Aladdin lamp and a few kerosene lamps in our home in the rural South until I was about 8 or 10 years old. Then we began to use a single electric bulb in a room when we needed to be in the room.

Jesus said,

We must work the works of of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:4-5 ESV).

Herodian period lamp burning. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Herodian period lamp from the time of Jesus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo above is one of the Herodian period lamps I have purchased in the Bible lands over the past 44 years. Two or three times I have used some olive oil (or Wesson oil, or a small piece of a candle) to show how much light the lamp gives.

In the parable of the watchful slaves Jesus said,

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,  and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. (Luke 12:35-36 ESV)

The Apostle Paul commanded the saints at Philippi to shine as lights in the world.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning,  that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:14-15 ESV)

Finally got the photo uploaded

I was unable to upload one of the photos about goats in the Sinai peninsula earlier. Finally got it uploaded. If you missed seeing the photo of the nanny goat caring for the newborn kid, please take a look now.

Goats in the Bible world

Travel in the Middle East provides many illustration similar to life in Bible times. We are more likely to see these illustrations where we have less modernization. The photos I wish to share today come from the Sinai peninsula. Last January we stopped at a Bedouin settlement on the way from the Suez Canal to Mount Sinai. Our timing was good. A goat had just given birth to a kid. While the nanny was keeping the kid moving around, two of the Bedouin boys were standing by keeping watch. Remembering my own childhood on a farm, I am sure the boys could hardly contain themselves from helping the kid. They had probably been told many times that it would be a big mistake to do so.

Bedouin boys keeping watch over a goat and newborn kid. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Bedouin boys keeping watch over a goat and newborn kid. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The earliest biblical reference to the goat is in Genesis 15:9, the account of Abraham’s sacrifice after the giving of the land covenant. A three year old female goat was among the animals offered. The LORD later commanded Israel to offer goats in their sacrifices.

This photo shows the nanny’s care for the still-wet newborn.

Mother goat cares for newborn kid in the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Mother goat cares for newborn kid in the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Goats were used for food. In Rachel’s attempt to have Isaac bless Jacob she prepared “delicious food” for Isaac.

Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies. (Genesis 27:8-10 ESV)

Goats’ hair and goatskins were used In the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:4-5 et al.).

The goat was among the clean animals that could be eaten (Deuteronomy 14:4).

One of the wise sayings of Solomon mentions goats’ milk for food.

There will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls. (Proverbs 27:27 ESV).

Photos that are worth 1000 words each

Photos can be used effectively to illustrate Bible lands and customs. Otherwise dull presentations can come to life with the use and explanation of appropriate photos.

Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. We have suggested frequently that every Bible teacher needs access to Todd Bolen’s Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. Todd publishes a Newsletter every few months in which he gives away a few excellent photos already in PowerPoint format. If you don’t receive the Newsletter I suggest you download the November issue here. It contains several panoramic photos that give you the opportunity to see and understand a lot at once. And while you are there you should sign up to receive the Newsletter when it is published. Also take a look at the BiblePlaces Blog and the BiblePlaces.com web site. See also LifeintheHolyLand.com. BiblePaces is now availabe in French at BibleLieux.com and Spanish at LugaresBiblicos.com.

Holy Land Photos. Carl G. Rasmussen, author of the revised Zondervan Atlas of the Bible, is now posting the photos used in the Atlas at his Holy Land Photos site. Begin here. You will find thousands of useful photos at this site. These photos will be especially helpful to those seeking to teach Bible geography or to incorporate geographical information into lessons. These photos are in PowerPoint format. You also need the have and study the Atlas. Also check the HolyLandPhotosBlog for more recent photos and updates.

Order the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible from Amazon (currently $26.12).

David Padfield has a large number of photos of Bible lands available for free download here. Thanks to these men who have devoted much time and money to acquiring the photos and preparing them for others to use. I have used the work of all three in my presentations in recent years.

New religious finds from Khirbet Qeiyafa

Luke Chandler shares some photos sent to him by Prof. Yossi Garfinkel. Luke says,

Yossi Garfinkel recently presented finds from a cultic room unearthed at Khirbet Qeiyafa in 2010. He sent me some photos for this blog just before his presentation in Jerusalem. They are shown here with his permission.

Luke gives his own summary of what is currently known of Khirbet Qeiyafa.

It was a planned fortress city constructed around the beginning of the 10th century B.C. – the time of David’s monarchy in the Bible. It sits at the border of ancient Judah and Philistia along the Elah Valley, where David fought Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.

Chandler then enumerates a summary of six reasons why the site should be considered part of Judah.

Read Luke Chandler’s Blog and see Prof. Garfinkel’s photos here.

View SE over Valley of Elah toward Socoh from Kh. Qeiyafa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View SE over Valley of Elah toward Socoh from Kh. Qeiyafa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I prepared the above material Saturday evening with the intention of posting it on Sunday morning. It was a bit surprising this morning to note that Joseph Lauer calls attention to Luke’s blog. He does so as a foreword to an article in the Huffington Post here by Douglas Knight and Amy-Jill Levine. If you have wondered how liberal scholars deal with biblical history, this is your opportunity to see.