In the previous post we pointed out that Ephraim, where Jesus went a short time before His death (John 11:54), is identified with Taybeh on the edge of the wilderness.
Ephraim is included on the Madaba Map dating to about 560-565 A.D. Below is a photo of a portion of the Madaba Map. The large town with palm trees around it represents Jericho. Below Jericho the land color changes to black. The entry closest to Jericho, but a little to the right, is Ephraim.
According to the website dealing with The Madaba Map, provided by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum – Jerusalem, the two lines of white lettering read,
Ephron also Ephraia, where went the Lord
Portion of the Madaba Map mentioning Ephron. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Here is a larger cropped portion of the map identifying Ephron. If your Byzantine Greek is up to date, you can make out all of the words.
Closeup of the Ephron reference in Madaba Map. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The inscription is located close to the wilderness, but is too far south. Other similar mistakes are made on the map. One such example would be the location of Ebal and Gerizim (See Victor R. Gold. “The Mosaic Map of Madaba.” Biblical Archaeologist, Sept. 1958: 50-71).
Ruins of a Byzantine church remain at Taybeh. There are also Crusader ruins. The Madaba Map from Jordan reflects the traditions of the 6th century A.D. Add this to the biblical evidence we mentioned equating Ephron, Ophrah, and Ephraim, and we have strong evidence that Taybeh marks the site of Ephraim.
Barry Britnell pointed out that Google Maps spell the name of Taybeh as Taibe.
You may read more about the Madaba Map section on Ephron here. Click on Ancient Sources for quotations from Eusebius and Josephus. Also check the Discussion section for more explanation.
William F. Albright suggested, as early as 1924, that Ephraim was to be identified with En Samye (Ein Samiyeh), a few miles northeast of Taybeh. Well, that gives me another place to visit in the future.