Monthly Archives: May 2013

Wool and flax used in weaving

Proverbs 31 describes the Capable Wife as one who looks for the wool and the flax to use in weaving.

She obtains wool and flax, and she is pleased to work with her hands. (Proverbs 31:13 NET)

In the reconstructed house at Qatzrin (in Israel’s Golan Heights), wool and flax are waiting to be spun, and then made into clothing.

Wool and flax were used in the making of clothes in Bible times. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wool & flax were used in the making of clothes in Bible times. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The two other texts where wool and flax are mentioned together are in the prophet Hosea. Israel, in her unfaithfulness to the LORD, is described as getting here wool and flax, along with other household goods, from her lovers (Hosea 2:5). The LORD makes it clear that he is the source of her supplies.

Therefore, I will take back my grain during the harvest time and my new wine when it ripens; I will take away my wool and my flax which I had provided in order to clothe her. (Hosea 2:9 NET)

Jesus wore a tunic (Greek, chiton) that was woven in one piece (John 19:23). The chiton was a garment worn next to the skin by both men and women.

We have posted several articles about weaving at the following links:

The Bet Qama discovery

Numerous discoveries are made in Israel during the process of building a house, a road, or some other construction project. It becomes necessary to call the Israel Antiquities Authority so that an emergency excavation can be conducted.

Israel has a wonderful toll road (Highway 6) running from Galilee to the Negev. During preparatory work to extend the highway to the south, a settlement covering almost 1½ acres was uncovered in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama (Beit Kama) a few miles north of Beersheba. Shmuel Browns, Israel guide and blogger, attended a briefing by the IAA earlier in the week. He describes the discovery:

The site seems to have consisted of a large estate that included a tower, a church, residential buildings, presumably an inn for travelers, and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland. Also found was a stone with a Byzantine cross in secondary usage.

Browns think this would be a good candidate for a monastery. He has granted permission for us to share this photo that he made during the IAA briefing.

The IAA explains the Beit Qama discovery. Photo by Shmuel Browns.

The IAA reports on the Beit Qama discovery. Photo by Shmuel Browns.

Take a look at the blog post with a half dozen nice photos by Shmuel Browns here.

The Press Release by the IAA may be read here.

I see that Carl Rasmussen has posted a blog here about the 5th century synagogue that was discovered during construction work in 1993 at Sepphoris. This site is only 3½ miles north of Nazareth, the early home of Jesus.

There is still a lot to be uncovered in the Near East. See my post about “Know but mostly unknown” here.

Does “Abba” mean “Daddy”?

You have heard it many times. Many of the things a preacher reads or hears sound good. So, he repeats it the next time he is speaking on a related topic. Then the members of the congregation begin to repeat it to their friends.

Child holding hand of adult.

But, is it true that Abba means something like daddy or papa?

In a series of posts beginning with the word FactChecker, Glenn T. Stanton  tracks down the origin of this idea to the German Lutheran New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias in 1971. He also shows that several other reputable scholar responded in a scholarly way to the claim.

One of the sources he cites is a 1988 article by James Barr:

But in any case it was not a childish expression comparable with ‘Daddy’: it was a more solemn, responsible, adult address to a Father.

Ministers should read Stanton’s blog (here) before completing Sunday’s sermon.

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 ESV)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 ESV)

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 ESV)

HT: BibleX

The priest’s servant used a three-pronged fork

When the tabernacle (the temple of the LORD, 1 Samuel 1:9; the house of the LORD, 1 Samuel 1:24) was at Shiloh, the priests became corrupt. First Samuel 2 recounts the practices of the wicked sons of Eli.

The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.  (1 Samuel 2:13-14 ESV)

Three-pronged forks, like the one mentioned in this text have been found at a number of archaeological sites where sacrifices were offered by the Canaanites to their gods. The trident pictured here is from Akko (Acco), and is said to date to the 14th-13th century B.C. It appears to have had a wooden handle that would fit into it.

Trident and tongs from Akko (14th-13th Century B.C. Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Bronze trident and tongs from Akko (14th-13th Century B.C. Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For more information about Shiloh and the biblical events that took place there, see here.

The “wild goats” of the Old Testament

Wild goats (Hebrew ya’el) are mentioned in a few Old Testament passages (1 Samuel 24:2; Job 39:1; Psalm 104:18; Prov. 5:19). This animal is often identified with the Ibex.

The ibex, a type of wild goat, is still found in Southern Palestine, Sinai, Egypt and Arabia; it was known also in ancient times, as is evident from rock carvings. (Fauna and Flora of the Bible, 46).

The wild goats are associated with En Gedi on the shore of the Dead Sea.

Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. (1 Samuel 24:1-2 NAU)

The Ibex may also be seen at En (Ein) Avdat (Avedat) and Mitzpe Ramon in Israel. The photo below shows one of the young Ibex on the run at En Avdat

Young Ibex on the run at En Avdat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Young Ibex on the run at En Avdat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next photo illustrates how well the Ibex blend in with the terrain in which they live.

Ibex at Avdat in the Wilderness of Zin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ibex at En Avdat in the Wilderness of Zin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The last photo shows the sure-footed Ibex seeking out the high places.

Ibex in the wilderness of Zin near En Avdat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ibex in the wilderness of Zin near En Avdat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The reference to the hind or deer (Hebrew ayyalah) in Psalm 18:33 (Hebrew 18:34) indicates a different species, but the analogy is the same. Both Hebrew terms are used in Job 39;1.

He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me upon my high places. (Psalm 18:33 NAU)

He gives me the agility of a deer; he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain. (Psalm 18:33 NET)

If you would like to see another photo of the Ibex at En Gedi, click here.

Personal Note: A few friends who have missed the blog have contacted me to see if I had returned home and was doing o.k. The answer is yes, and yes. After being away for three weeks I needed some time to recoup, tend to personal matters, and get my photos organized. The subscription price remains the same. Thanks for your concern.

Rivers in the Desert – Wadi Zin

Rivers in the Desert is the title of Nelson Glueck’s 1959 history of the Negev. These rivers also may be seen in the Judean wilderness and in the Sinai. Thomas Levy followed up on some of Glueck’s research in a Biblical Archaeology Review article in 1990.

If one travels in the desert during the summer months he will see a dry, desolate bad land with only an isolated tamarisk tree or shrub where the last water of the winter rain flowed. In the winter it can be different. Israel has two dominant seasons: winter and summer. The summer is dry and the winter is wet. The early rains begin about mid-October and continue till the late rains of early April. See Deuteronomy 11:14 and Joel 2:23.

Levy reminds us that “Nahal, incidentally, is Hebrew for a dry river bed or valley that flows at most a few times a year. In Arabic, the word is wadi. The two words are used interchangeably in Israel today.” The wadi is similar to the arroyo of the American southwest.

While traveling south of Beersheba, yesterday and today, we crossed the Wadi Zin (Joshua 13:21ff.) at least three times in each direction we traveled.

Here is what the Wadi looks like when it is dry.

Wadi Zin near Avedat in the Negev of Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wadi Zin near Avedat in the Negev of Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

And this marker on the highway shows travelers the depth of the water when the wadi is flooded. The person in the photo is six feet tall. The marker goes to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet), and the pole is higher.

Marker to let travelers know the depth of the water in the Wadi Zin.

Marker to let travelers know the depth of the water in the Wadi Zin. Photo by Dan Kingsley.

For more pictures, including rivers in the desert during the rain season, see here.

Meet the Camel Family at Abel-meholah

This morning we drove south from Tiberias through the Jordan Valley. At Abel-meholah, possibly the home of Elisha the prophet (1 Kings 19:16), we saw about a dozen or more camels on the hillside. I was impressed with this group of seven that stayed together apart from the others.

Camels at Meholah in the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Camels at Abel-meholah in the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Camels are first mentioned in the Bible in the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:16).

Tonight we are at Mitzpe Ramon, a little town that overlooks the Maktesh Ramon. This Maktesh, the largest on the face of the earth, is located about 50 miles south of Beersheba in the Negev wilderness of Israel.