Category Archives: Archaeology

“Jerusalem” 2,000 Year-Old Stone Inscription Uncovered During Dig

An inscription dating from the time of the Second Temple (the time of Herod the Great and the ministry of Jesus, up to A.D. 70) has been uncovered in a salvage excavation by The Israel Antiquities Authority. According to an IAA news release the stone inscription is the first inscription discovered “mentioning Jerusalem written in Hebrew letters, and using the spelling as we know it today.”

The release says,

The inscription was found this last winter near Binyanei Ha’Uma [International Convention Center], during an excavation directed by the IAA’s Danit Levy, prior to the construction of a new road, undertaken and funded by Moriah – the Jerusalem Development Company and the Jerusalem Development Authority. During the excavations, the foundations of a Roman structure were exposed, which were supported by columns. The most important discovery was a stone column drum, reused in the Roman structure, upon which the Aramaic inscription appears, written in Hebrew letters typical of the Second Temple Period, around the time of Herod the Great’s reign. The inscription reads:

Hananiah son of
Dodalos
of Jerusalem

Danit Levy, Director of the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, beside the inscription as found in the field. Photo: Yoli Shwartz, IAA

Danit Levy, Director of the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, beside the inscription as found in the field. Photo: Yoli Shwartz, IAA.

Among other reasons, I find this stone interesting because it reminds me of the post on a side street just inside Jaffa Gate. There is no indication that this was ever a column; it was just a post with an inscription mentioning the Tenth Roman Legion.

Close-up of Roman column mentioning 10th Roman legion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Close-up of Roman column mentioning 10th Roman legion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Murphy-O’Connor (The Holy Land) says the post honors the Legate of the emperor Septimius Severus, and was erected about A.D. 200. He gives the following reading of the inscription:

M(arco) Iunio Maximo leg(ato) Aug(ustorum) Leg(ionis) X Fr(etensis) — Antoninianae — C. Dom(itius) Serg(ius) str(ator) eius.

The tenth legion participated in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and remained in the city for about 200 years.

The recently discovered inscription is now on display in the Israel Museum. If you have visited the Israel Museum you will notice that the inscription has been placed beside the stone jars and others items from the so-called Herodian Mansion (Wohl Museum) in the Old City.

More details about this discovery may be found in the IAA Press Release here.

The unique inscription from Jerusalem, as displayed at the Israel Museum. Photo: Laura Lachman, Courtesy of the Israel Museum.

The unique inscription from Jerusalem, as displayed at the Israel Museum. Photo: Laura Lachman, Courtesy of the Israel Museum.

Check our index on the Index of articles on the Romans and the Ministry of Jesus here.

HT: Joseph Lauer and the various Israeli newspapers.

The Cedars of Lebanon

The Bible records that King David provided materials for a proposed temple in Jerusalem before his death.

…and cedar timbers without number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David. (1 Chronicles 22:4 ESV; see verses 1-5)

  • The cedars were floated from Lebanon to Joppa for Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 2:16).
  • Hiram, king of Tyre, built a cedar house for David (2 Samuel 5:11; 7:2).
  • Solomon requested that Hiram have cedars of Lebanon cut for him (1 Chronicles 22:7).
  • Cedars from Lebanon again were floated to Joppa for the rebuilding of the temple (520-516 B.C.; Ezra 3:7).

Only a few of the fabled cedars remain in Lebanon. One cluster of trees grow at Besharre in the north of Lebanon at an elevation of about 5000 feet or more above sea level. Our photo below was made in May, 2002, when there was some snow still on the surrounding mountains.

A view of the clump of cedars at Besharre, Lebanon. FerrellJenkins.blog.

A view of the clump of cedars at Besharre, Lebanon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The cedars in Lebanon are now protected and may be cut for the wood only when a tree has fallen.

A fallen cedar at Besharre in northern Lebanon. FerrellJenkins.blog.

A fallen cedar at Besharre in northern Lebanon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Cedrus libani is described in Fauna and Flora of the Bible.

The enthusiasm with which the OT writings praise the cedar of Lebanon is understandable. It is a majestic tree of great beauty, reaching 27 m [88 ft.] in height and 12 m [39 ft.] in girth. Its long branches spread out horizontally from the trunk, and the leaves are dark and evergreen, glittering like silver in the sun. The cones take three years to mature. The fragrant wood is much sought after for building purposes, as it does not easily rot. Its great value as timber is often mentioned, especially in the history of King Solomon. (p. 108)

Small twigs and cones from the cedars of Lebanon. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Small potted plants and cones from the cedars of Lebanon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next photo illustrates how the branches “spread out horizontally from the trunk.” This tree is different from the cedars so many of us have enjoyed for Christmas trees.

A few of the Cedars of Lebanon at Besherre. ferrelljenkin.blog.

A few of the Cedars of Lebanon at Besherre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Not so many of the cedars remain because various nations have used them in buildings projects.

We have an example in a temple from the Late Bronze Age, a period of Egyptian control at Lachish. The description of the temple by David Ussishkin is fascinating, but I must concentrate on two things. Several charred beams were found on the floor of the building. Ussishkin says,

The roof was spanned by long wooden beams laid parallel to one another across the main hall. Their charred remains, identified as cedar of Lebanon, were found lying on the floor; altogether, remains of about ten beams could be detected along the southern part of the hall… (Ussishkin, David. “Excavations at Tel Lachish – 1973-1977.” Tel Aviv 5:1-2 (1978): 1-97: 13.

This temple is also designated as the Acropolis Temple. Information about it, including a plan and reconstruction drawings are found in Ussishkin, Biblical Lachish, pp. 140-164.

In our photo below that I made in 1980 only one piece of wood remains (in the center of our photo).

Charred beam made of Cedar of Lebanon in the Egyptian-period temple at Lachish. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 1980.

Charred beam made of Cedar of Lebanon in the Egyptian-period temple at Lachish. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 1980.

Notice the column base. Two of these were found in the temple. The scholars who analyzed the carbonized beams with a diameter of about 30 cm [12 inches]. Cedar trunks of that diameter could have been 14 metres [45 feet] or longer, and thus easily capable of spanning the ceiling across the main hall without additional support (Usshishkin, Excavations).

Ancient nations used the cedar of Lebanon for their boats and buildings. Several panels are displayed in the Louvre showing boats transporting logs of cedars of Lebanon for use in the palace of Sargon. Our photo shows a small portion of one panel.

Assyrians transporting cedar of Lebanon for their buildings. Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Assyrians transporting cedar of Lebanon for their buildings. Period of Sargon II (721-705 BC). Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dr. Jack P. Lewis — 1919 – 2018

We note the death of Dr. Jack Pearl Lewis earlier this week on July 24th. The name Jack Pearl Lewis will be unknown to many readers of this blog. Others will recognize his name and his work. I write here because he was an outstanding biblical scholar who played a part in my travel experiences.

Lewis was a founding faculty member at the Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, now known as Harding School of Theology. At the time of his retirement he was named Professor Emeritus. Among several good teachers that I had, Lewis was unique. He held two earned doctorates, a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Hebrew Union. He was the most demanding teacher I had, and one of a few from whom I learned the most.

After the high school years at Athens Bible School, and four years of Bible at Florida Christian College (now Florida College), with teachers such as Homer Hailey and Franklin T. Puckett, I had a good general knowledge of the Bible. I think I had about 60 hours of Bible at FCC. I had added about seven years in full-time preaching before attending the Graduate School. The graduate work was not too difficult, it was just on a more demanding advanced level. Dr. Lewis was always available to talk with if you could locate him among all of the books in his office.

It was part of the graduate program generally, but Lewis taught the importance of using primary sources where possible and the importance of thorough preparation. He entered the class room, called the roll, and began lecturing. As a student I made notes the best I could, then spent hours after each class verifying the names, dates, and facts presented. Different from the students I had in college, we would never imagine asking “How do you spell that?” He taught us the importance of using up-to-date sources in our research.

Jack Lewis was my first teacher who had spent a considerable amount of time studying the land of the Bible. He had worked in the archaeological excavation at Arad, and had spent a year as a fellow at the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (now the Albright Institute).

In one of the classes with Dr. Lewis I did a paper on “Authentic First Century Remains in Palestine.” Soon afterward I began to prepare for my own visit to the Bible lands. I might have gone anyway, but I must credit Dr. Lewis, and his unique insight into the land of the Bible, for spurring my interest in traveling to this part of the world. The last time I visited with him was March 6, 2008, at Faulkner University where he made a couple of presentations and was honored for his work. As we visited, he said something like this: “There is nothing as valuable as seeing the places you study about.” So, now you know one of the major motivations in my travels to Bible lands over all these years since the first trip in 1967. I still learn on every trip, and in the preparation for the trip.

Dr. Lewis was a prolific writer. His many books included The History of the English Bible from the KJV to the NIV, The Interpretation of Noah and the Flood in Jewish and Christian Literature, Historical Backgrounds to Bible People, and a two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. There are also books on the prophets and other areas of biblical studies.

One of the lectures given by Dr. Lewis at Faulkner University was on “The Battle for the Integrity of the Bible.” In his typical rapid-fire manner, he surveyed the battles that have been won in demonstrating the integrity of the Bible. It was just a survey, but he seemed as sharp as in those classes on The History of the English Bible and on Archaeology and the Bible from which I profited so much.

Dr. Jack P. Lewis and Ferrell Jenkins. FerrellJenkins.blog.

This photo was made March 6, 2008, after the lecture on “The Battle for the Integrity of the Bible” at Faulkner University. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

If you would like to learn a little about the background of this unique man we suggest his 2012 autobiography, As I Remember It.

I wrote some of this material back in 2008 after the visit with Dr. Lewis. When our mutual friend, Don Meredith, the librarian at HST, saw it he printed it for Dr. Lewis. Here is the response I received from Dr.Lewis:

I appreciate very much the kind things you had to say.  I am trying to get finished the work on the twelve prophets I started more than twenty years ago.  I am a great one at starting, but less successful in finishing. I will look forward to seeing you in Boston in November  [at the annual professional meetings].  Sincerely, Jack P. Lewis.

The Shema Seal from Megiddo

Perhaps you have seen a drawing or a photo of a replica of the Shema Seal. Professors Israel Finkelstine and David Ussishkin, directors of the most recent major excavation at Megiddo, tell us about the discovery.

The first excavation of the site was undertaken between 1903 and 1905 on behalf of the German Society for the Study of Palestine by Gotlieb Schumacher, an engineer who lived in the German community of Haifa. Schumacher cut a 65-foot-wide trench across the mound from north to south and a number of smaller trenches in other parts of the site, identifying six building levels. His most famous find is a jasper seal portraying a roaring lion and inscribed “(belonging) to Shema, servant of Jeroboam.” Shema was apparently a high official of the king of the northern kingdom, either Jeroboam I (end of tenth century B.C.E.) or Jeroboam II (eighth century B.C.E.). This striking emblem of a powerful lion was sent by Schumacher to the Turkish Sultan in Constantinople, who kept it there in his royal collection. It is not clear what happened to it later, but today its whereabouts are unknown. (“Back to Megiddo.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan/Feb 1994).

McKinny dates the reign of Israelite king Jeroboam II from 793 to 753 B.C. He says there was a sole reign of 29 years and a joint reign of 12 years with Jehoash (Regnal Chronology of the Kings of Judah and Israel: An Illustrated Guide, 21). The biblical reference says,

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. (2 Kings 14:23 ESV)

On one of my earliest tours, either 1967 or shortly thereafter, I purchased a metal desktop paper weight replica of the Shema seal. It may have been at the shop at Megiddo or at the Rockefeller Museum. It is certainly larger than the original jasper seal. The photo which I recently made of my “seal” is slightly different in detail from the one included in Ussishkin’s study in Coogan, et al., Scripture and Other Artifacts, 410-428. (See also Pritchard, The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, 75.)

This is a replica that I bought during one of my earliest trips, perhaps in 1967. I think it may have been at Megiddo or at the Rockerfeller Archaeological Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This is a replica that I bought during one of my earliest trips, perhaps in 1967. I think it may have been at Megiddo or at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ussishkin describes the original seal:

The seal of Shema is an unpierced scaraboid of jasper measuring 37 by 27 by 17 mm; it portrays a roaring lion and contains the inscription … “(belonging) to Shema, servant of Jeroboam.” (419)

I thought this photo might be useful to teachers who like to have good images to use in their classes.

Earthquakes felt in Galilee

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.

Earthquake damage at Beth-shean in the Jordan Valley. FerrellJenkins.blog.

Earthquake damage at Beth-shean in the Jordan Valley from A.D. 749. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Below we have a closeup of some of damage remaining from A.D. 749.

Closeup of the earthquake damage at Bethshean in A.D. 749. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Closeup of the earthquake damage at Bethshean in A.D. 749. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

If you would like to see more material about earthquakes in the Middle East just put the word earthquake in the search box.

2000 in the bag

It is not an earth-shattering achievement, but I am pleased to have been blessed to visit most of the Bible World over the past 50 years. The only major country that eluded me is Iran. At one time I knew a couple working for an American corporation in Iran. The wife was visiting family near me and brought me eight historical and travel books about the country which are still on a top shelf in my study. She encouraged me to bring a group to the country. Not long afterwards there were many political changes in Iran and the tour never materialized.

But I have been greatly blessed to travel and to share my experiences with many others. In 2007 I began a little blog on WordPress to keep family and friends of those on my tour updated to our activities. This is now the 2000th post on ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com and ferrelljenkins.blog. The last 100 or so have been slow in coming, but finally we have reached that milestone.

Post number 2000 for ferrelljenkins.blog.

Post number 2000 for ferrelljenkins.blog. This photo, without the 2000, was made at Avedat in the Negev of Israel.

Some of our blog posts have been tour reports, others have been more significant, and hopefully helpful, posts for all Bible students. A few posts have been repeats with updated information or photos.

Almost every post has included one or more photographs. The greater number of them have been photos from my collection. Over the years I have learned a lot about preparing the photos for publication (in print and on the web). We now have nearly 2700 followers who receive every post we write. According to WordPress we have reached two and a half million hits. I thank each of you for your interest. I still have former students and church friends to ask me what I have written lately! And some who see one photo and a few lines from a post mentioned on social media never click through to read the entire post. Sigh…

My hope is that you think of this blog as a sort of (incomplete) Bible Lands and Customs Dictionary. Use our indexes and the search box to locate places and customs you may be studying.

I wanted to share a few beautiful photos as a sort of celebration of the 2000th post.

Spring flowers among the ruins at Pergamum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Spring flowers among the ruins at Pergamum, site of one of the seven churches of the book of Revelation (2:12-17). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In addition to my 50 years of tours in the Bible World and other parts of the world, I have made numerous extended trips with just another person, or up to three others. On these excursions we have been able to visit some places not easily accessible to a group with a bus. Beginning in about 1980 I have made these excursion with Melvin Curry, Phil Roberts, Harold Tabor, Jim Hodges, Raymond Harris, Curtis and Kyle Pope, David Padfield, Gene Taylor, Lowell Sallee, David McClister, Larry Haverstock, Dan Kingsley, and my lovely wife Elizabeth. Leon Mauldin has joined me on more of these personal trips than anyone else; no less than ten. Just as soon as I publish I will surely think of someone else.

One way I sometimes describe my travels, and these are included on the blog, is by a biblical timeline – from Ararat to Patmos (or Genesis to Revelation). We have discussed the possibility other sites for the biblical account of Noah and the Flood, but here is one photo of Greater Ararat in northeast Turkey.

Greater Mount Ararat, in the land of Ararat, near the Iranian border. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Greater Mount Ararat, in the land of Ararat, near the Iranian border. This is the traditional site of the landing of Noah’s ark. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

And here is a photo of the little Greek island where John was exiled in the later years of the first century A.D.

A view of the harbor on the island of Patmos, the place where the apostle John received, and possibly wrote the Book of Revelation. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A view of the harbor on the island of Patmos, the place where the apostle John received, and possibly wrote the Book of Revelation. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This next photo was made May 13, 1970 long before we started this blog. I wanted to use this and another photo to further illustrate the extent of our travels. These photos cover the earliest period of biblical history to the close of the New Testament epistles and the Apocalypse. I only made one tour to Iraq, but we traveled from Ur, the traditional home of Abraham, to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrians. Our scanned photo shows a reconstructed ziggurat. I always described the ziggurats to my students as a staged, or stepped, temple tower. Steve Barabas describes this ziggurat,

The ziggurat at Ur was 200 feet (63 m.) long, 150 feet (47 m.) wide, and some 70 feet (22 m.) high. The inside was made of unbaked brick; the outside consisted of about 8 feet (2.5 m.) of baked brick set in bitumen. The Stele of Ur-Nammu is a contemporary record of the building of this ziggurat. The tower of Babel was a ziggurat (Gen 11:1–9). (Douglas, J. D., and Merrill Chapin Tenney. New International Bible Dictionary 1987 : 1088. Print.)

The ziggurat at Ur, Iraq. The remaining ruins can be seen above the reconstructed brick work. The reconstruction is about four stories high. Photo made by Ferrell Jenkins, May 13, 1970.

The ziggurat at Ur, Iraq. The remaining ruins can be seen above the reconstructed brick work. The reconstruction is about four stories high.
Photo made by Ferrell Jenkins, May 13, 1970.

If we follow the New Testament epistles to the west we come to Rome, the city where both Paul and Peter are said to have given their lives for the cause of Christ. The statue of Emperor Augustus reminds us of the power of Rome from the birth of Jesus to the close of the New Testament.

Replica of a statue of the Emperor Augustus in Rome. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Replica of a statue of the Emperor Augustus in Rome. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I have made numerous friends as a result of the blog. My first knowledge of Todd Bolen came through his Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, and we corresponded on a few items before we met. We first met in November, 2005, in Jerusalem. He frequently mentions my posts on his weekly roundup at BiblePlaces Blog. I am pleased that he now licenses my photos to publishers who wish to use them.

Other bloggers who have encouraged me include Carl Rasmussen (HolyLandPhotos blog), Charles Savelle, Wayne Stiles, and  Steve Wolfgang for his frequent re-blogging of my posts. Tom Powers has helped me correct or avoid a mistake more than once. And a host of friends who have encouraged me by letting me know they read and use our photos and learn from our comments. Without a count, I am confident that Joseph Lauer has more Hat Tips (HT) than anyone else. Many thanks for all the helpful updates he has provided.

I should add three of my former students and travelers who are now leading tours. Barry Britnell, Luke Chandler, and Leon Mauldin all have high recommendations from those who travel with them.

If you have enjoyed and profited by following this blog will you please tell at least one friend about it? Many thanks.

A drive through Wadi Shu’ayb in Jordan

Leaving Bethany Beyond the Jordan in the Jordan Valley we drove northeast on highway 437 toward Salt. We wanted to bypass Amman on our way to Jerash, the second largest city of the Decapolis after Damascus. This road took us through Wadi Shu’ayb.

Does Wadi Shu’ayb have anything to do with the Bible? Maybe so.

Shu’ayb is the Arabic name for Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses (Exodus 3:1). It you have traveled around the Sea of Galilee in Israel you have doubtless seen the Horns of Hattin. You can see our photo-filled post about it here. Below Hattin, on the edge of the Arbel Pass, there is a building believed by the Druze to be the burial site of Nebi Shu’ayb (or Shu’eib). The Druze gather at the site every spring for a festival.

Back to Jordan and the Wadi Shu’ayb or Valley of Jethro. The Moslem belief in the area is that Shu’ayb (or Jethro) is buried here. I have observed that it is not uncommon in the Moslem world to find multiple burial sites for various Old Testament greats. Our aim was to get to Jerash in time for the morning Roman Army and Chariot Experience so we only took time to make a few photos in the valley.

The first photo looks back toward the Jordan Valley. It is interesting to note the barrenness on the west side of the valley and the vegetation on the east side. I have read in a few sources that the water runs perpetually, but I don’t think that is the case now. I enlarged some of the original photos and found places where the stream bed is dry. There were some dark areas where I can not rule out a few pools of water. In many cases the water that once flowed in these streams is now diverted for use by the burgeoning population for their agriculture.

Wadi Shu'ayb, looking toward the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A view of Wadi Shu’ayb looking toward the Jordan Valley.
Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

As we continued to drive northeasterly we stopped for another photo of the hillsides with nice houses and orchards.

Wadi Shu'ayb. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Continuing in Wadi Shu’ayb we saw nice houses and orchards.
Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Is the legend about Jethro the only connection between Wadi Shu’ayb and the Bible? Definitely not.

Two sources that I have enjoyed studying in preparation for this post remind us that Jazer was one of the towns allotted to the Gaddites, and associated with the territory of Gilead. Burton MacDonald finds the site of Jazer, one of the Levitical cities, in this area.

Jazer (Num 21.32; 32.3, 35; Josh 13.25; 21.39; 2 Sam 24.5; 1 Chr 6.81; 26.31; Isa 16.8, 9; Jer 48.32; 1 Macc 5.8): According to Num 21.32, Jazer was a possession of the Amorites that the Israelites captured, while Num 32.3 identifies it as a place the Reubenites and Gadites desired. Jazer was among the towns that Moses is said to have allotted to the Gadites, who rebuilt it (Num 32.35). It is listed as Gadite territory (Josh 13.25) and as a Levitical city (Josh 21.39; 1 Chr 6.81); and it is cited as one of the
places where Joab took the census in Transjordan (2 Sam 24.5). David found men of great ability in Jazer in Gilead (1 Chr 26.31), thus associating the site with the district of Gilead (see Chapter 10). Jazer appears in the oracles of both Isaiah (16.8, 9) and Jeremiah (48.32) against Moab, and so it would appear to be a Moabite possession. Finally, Judas Maccabeus is said to have crossed the Jordan and taken Jazer and its villages (1 Macc 5.8). (“East of the Jordan,” p. 106)

MacDonald concludes,

Based on the available evidence, there seems to be little doubt that Khirbat Jazzir is the best candidate for the site of biblical Jazer. It matches the biblical and extra-biblical literary information, it is toponymically viable, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement during the Iron Age. (108).

David Z. Moster, in a 2017 Ph.D. Thesis at Bar-Illan University, discusses Wadi Shu’ayb as it relates to the land of Gilead. He thinks that the land of Gilead was divided so that we may think of the two “halves” of Gilead, something already mentioned by Moses in Deuteronomy 3:12-13, and Joshua 12:2, 5; 13:31. The two “halves” are divided along the Jabbok River (Joshua 12:2).

The northern portion roughly corresponds to what is today called the Ajloun (Arab. عجلون ) and the southern portion roughly corresponds to what is today called the Balqa (Arab. البلقاء ). There were two “lands” within this general territory that were not considered Gilead proper, namely the land of Jazer (Num 32:1; Josh 13:25; cf. 1 Chr 26:31), which was probably located along Wadi Shu’ayb until es-Salt (perhaps at Khirbet Jazzir), and the land of Ammon (e.g., Deut 3:16; Josh 12:2; 13:25; Judg 11:29), which was located along the Zarqa River until Ammon itself, contemporary Amman. (Moster, David Z. The Tribe of Manasseh and the Jordan River: Geography, Society, History, and Biblical Memory. Diss. Bar Illan U. 2017.) p. 169.

Traveling in the Bible lands and studying the geography of those lands provides the background for understanding what we read in the Bible. I trust that this little article will help you better understand this area when you read about it in the Bible.