The Times of Israel reports that two earthquakes were felt in and around Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee last night. The report describes a “wave of earthquakes” that have hit the area in the past week.
The Great Rift, which we wrote about recently in a series of post on the Arabah here, runs all the way from northern Syria through Lebanon, Israel, the Arabah, and into eastern Africa. In Israel the area is called the Jordan Valley or the Dead Sea Rift, It is not surprising that earthquakes are mentioned frequently in the Bible. The prophet Amos dates his visions to “two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). The earthquake he makes reference to must have been so memorable that everyone would know what he was talking about. Zechariah (14:5) also calls attention to this earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Jesus, in predicting the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, said, “and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes” (Matthew 24:7; see Luke 21:11).
We have a wonderful example of the power of an earthquake in the Jordan Valley at the site of Bethshan [Bet-she’an, Beth-shean], about 25 miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 749. This photo shows the evidence brought to light during recent archaeological excavations in the city.
Below we have a closeup of some of damage remaining from A.D. 749.
If you would like to see more material about earthquakes in the Middle East just put the word earthquake in the search box.
Speaking of A.D. 749 — when touring Hippus, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, with my 5 year old son, we saw fallen columns and I explained to him that these were from the earthquake of A.D. 749. About five minutes later he looked up at me and asked, “dad, do earthquakes still happen?”