Monthly Archives: January 2014

Children in the Marketplaces

To those dissatisfied with both Jesus and John the Baptist, Jesus used a simple illustration that must have happened many times in each city of ancient Israel.

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:16-19 ESV; see also Luke 7:31-34) Some English versions use market places).

Keener, in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, explains:

Spoiled children who pretend to have weddings and funerals (one later game was called “bury the grasshopper”) stand for Jesus’ and John’s dissatisfied opponents; dissatisfied with other children who will not play either game, they are sad no matter what. The term for “mourn” here is “beat the breast,” a standard mourning custom in Jewish Palestine. Custom mandated that bystanders join in any bridal or funeral processions.

This photograph made at Nazareth Village helps to illustrate the Biblical text.

Children at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Children at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Archaeological Conferences in Houston

The Dunham Bible Museum at Houston Baptist University will host an Archaeological Conference devoted to Khirbet el-Maqatir, proposed site for Biblical Ai, Saturday, February 8, 2014. Speakers include Dr. Bryant Wood, Dr. Eugene Merrill, Dr. Scott Stripling, and Dr. Leen Ritmeyer.

Information about the conference and registration details may be found here.

From January 21 – December 19, 2014, the Dunham Bible Museum will display a special exhibit, Khirbet el-Maqatir – History of a Biblical Site. This is in cooperation with the Associates for Biblical Research. Details here.

A scene in the eastern Sinai wilderness. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A scene in the eastern Sinai wilderness. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Lanier Theological Library announces a lecture by James Hoffmeier and Stephen Moshier dealing with the exodus and the location of Mount Sinai. The titles for the January 18th lecture are,

  • Moses Did Not Sleep Here!
  • A Critical Look at Some Sensational Exodus and Mt. Sinai Theories

Registration information is here. (HT: Bible Places Blog).

The lectures by Hoffmeier and Moshier are the climax of a two day Consultation on the Historicity and Authenticity of the Exodus and Wilderness Traditions in a Post Modern Age. Details here.

Speakers include Richard Hess, Steven Ortiz, Alan Millard, Richard Averbeck, Lawson Youngers, Jr., and others.

Hiking Abraham’s footsteps

The full title of this Haaretz article is “Hiking in Abraham’s footsteps, from Turkey to the Holy Land.” Sounds incredible at the moment. To hike this complete trail from Haran (Genesis 12:4) to Beersheba (Genesis 21:31) (not to mention the trip to Egypt) requires travel in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority (West Bank).

Among the leaders back of the concept is David Landis and his wife Anna Dintaman, developers of the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee. Their book, Hiking the Jesus Trail and Other Biblical Walks in the Galilee, is worthwhile even for those who do not plan to walk the trail.

Larry Haverstock walked the Jesus Trail in 2011. I see that Larry’s posts about the experience is still available on his blog. See the 3rd Journey. You will find some fascinating stories along with beautiful photos you may never see from a bus or car.

Larry Haverstock in the Zippori Forest north of Nazareth.

Larry Haverstock in the Zippori Forest north of Nazareth.

The link to the Haaretz article may be accessed here. In order to read the full article you must register for free access to 10 articles a month.

Don’t expect to walk the Abraham Path from Haran (in Turkey) to Beersheva [Beersheba], but you might be able to walk small portions of the trail everywhere except the part going through Syria.

There are many hiking trails in Israel, but most of these avoid contact with the Palestinian Authority. The new plan seeks to involve the local people in the development of facilities useful to hikers.

If you like hiking, or if you appreciate the geography of the Bible lands you will probably enjoy the article. Abraham Path has a nice web site with maps and photos here.

I don’t know what, if any, relationship there is between the Abraham  Path and the Patriarchs Way, a trail that is said to run from Beersheba to Nazareth. The defacing of the sign to eradicate the Arabic indicates one of the problems either trail might face. One often sees this sort of thing on signs pointing to Christian sites.

Sign pointing to Patriarchs Way off Hebron Road (Hwy. 60) south of Bethlehem . Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign pointing to Patriarchs Way off Hebron Road (Hwy. 60) south of Bethlehem . Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Walk the Land : A Journey on Foot through Israel, by Judith Galblum Pex, is a fascinating account of a couple who walked the Israel Trail from Eilat to Dan.

Purple fabric dyed from Murex found in Judean desert

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced last week the discovery of two pieces of fabrics found at Wadi Murabba’at on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

Thousands of fabrics dating to the Roman period have been discovered in the Judean Desert and regions of the Negev and the ‘Arava. So far only two were colored with dye extracted from the murex snail. Now, within the framework of a study conducted by Dr. Na‘ama Sukenik of the Israel Antiquities Authority, three other rare fabrics belonging to pieces of prestigious textiles were exposed that might have been used as clothing in the Roman period. …

These prestigious textiles, from the Wadi Murabba‘at caves located south of Qumran, were revealed in a study that analysis the dye of 180 textiles specimens from the Judean Desert caves. Among the many textiles, most of which were dyed using substances derived from plants, were two purple-bordeaux colored textiles – parts of tunics that were double dyed utilizing two of the most expensive materials in antiquity: Murex trunculus (Hexaplex trunculus) and American Cochineal insect.

Purple fabric discovered at Wadi Murabba'at at caves south of Qumran. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Purple fabric discovered at Wadi Murabba’at at caves south of Qumran. Photograph: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The valuation of the Murex purple in the ancient world is explained.

Of all of the dyes that were in use, purple is considered the most prestigious color of the earlier periods; however it seems the public’s fondness for this reached its peak in the Hellenistic-Roman period. The purple dyed fabrics attested to the prestige of the garment and the social status of its owner. There were times when the masses were forbidden from dressing in purple clothing, which was reserved for only the emperor and his family. These measures only served to increase the popularity of that color, the price of which soared and was equal to that of gold.

The photo below shows two Murex shells that I collected at the ruins of the ancient Phoenician site of Tyre.

Murex shells from Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Murex shells from Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Purple is mentioned in several New Testament texts. Notice these:

  • A rich man who habitually dressed in purple and fine linen (Luke 16:19).
  • Jesus was dressed in a purple garment to make him look like a king (Mark 15:17).
  • Purple was one of the products commonly traded and transported in the Roman Empire (Revelation 18:12).

If you are interested in more information about the Murex and the color Purple put the word Murex in the search box. You should locate six posts on this topic.

For the purple made from the madder root sold by Lydia (Acts 16:14), see here.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Photo of the year 2013 – Gethsemane

As we approached the end of the year 2013 I began to think of the wonderful places I visited and the photos I made. What photo stands out as the “photo of the year”? I have some unique photos, and I have other photos from places I have photographed many times. I won’t say that this is the best photo I made during the year, but it is one with great meaning to multitudes of Christians.

This photo that I wish to share with you is of the traditional Garden of Gethsemane. One thing is for sure. If the “place” mentioned in the New Testament is not here, it could not have been very far away.

Gethsemane is a place well known in the minds of Christians, for according to the Gospels it was there that Jesus prayed alone to the Father before his arrest and trial. The word Gethsemane means oil-press. It is the name of an olive orchard on the Mount of Olives. Not many olive trees remain on the mountain originally named for them. This photo was made in the modern Garden at the Church of All Nations.

As a gift to our faithful readers I want to share a hi-res image suitable for teaching and preaching presentations. Click here for the larger image.

A place called Gethsemane. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 2013.
A place called Gethsemane. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 2013.

Mark’s account of Jesus’ visit to Gethsemane begins this way:

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. (Mark 14:32-35 ESV)

Read the following verses for the complete story.

I visited several places in 2013 that I have not yet written about. Hopefully I will be able to get to some of these in the following months.