We have had two busy days. Yesterday we made arrangements to visit the so-called Solomon’s Pools south of Jerusalem, and a few other places in the Bethlehem area. The last time I was at the site was probably in the 70s. This is the sort of place that it would not be advisable to take a large tour group in a bus. Later I plan to show you some of the photos that I made and explain about the sites.
In the late afternoon we went down into the Shephelah to visit Khirbet Qeiyafa, the fortress overlooking the Elah Valley. I did not see many changes since my last visit in 2012.
This morning we visited the Israel Museum. I was just there last week, but enjoyed the time making some additional photos that I had overlooked before. Dan also visited the Herod the Great exhibit.
In the afternoon we drove north to Shiloh, the place where the tabernacle rested after the children of Israel entered the promised land (Joshua 18). A new viewing tower has been built, but is not yet ready for visitors. A young lady at the ticket booth/shop said they hope to have it open this month.
I thought the 27 NIS (about $8) was high for the condition of the site. A few of the older signs are visible, but no new ones. A small brochure was the only help the visitor has. Maybe this will improve with time.
We also visited Taybeh, a possible candidate for the site of Ephraim. This is the place to which Jesus retired prior to his crucifixion (John 11:54).
Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. (John 11:54 ESV)
From Taybeh on the edge of the wilderness we continued to the Jordan Valley, then back up to Jerusalem.
The weather. Those who were with me last Sunday in Jerusalem, when it was chilly and rainy, will find it difficult to believe that it was 99 degrees here today with bright sunshine. Last week I had the heat on in the room. Tonight I have on the air.
One of the main finds at Khirbet Qeiyafa last summer was a 25-meter wall from the site’s 11/10th century building/fortress at the summit. It’s in the central part of the city and has a doorway facing the southern gate. If you got any photos of that area, we could meet up in the next few weeks and identify features.
In my work area, we found a columned building at a meeting point of the outer wall’s construction. It’s along the NW area of the site. There were 3 layers of paved floors from (probably) the Iron Age period up to the late-Persian/early-Hellenistic period. One goal for the coming season is to clarify the phases and purpose(s) of this structure.
Look forward to seeing more photos from the weekend!
I am glad I found your blog! We did some study on this subject at university, but to read about you being there, showing photos, this is really interesting!