Category Archives: Bible Lands

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 34 – “I will make your enemies your footstool”

A monarch with his foot on the neck of a subdued enemy is a common motif in the ancient near east. An illustration such as this helps us visualize certain Biblical texts.

Here I wish to use an illustration from the Roman world shortly after New Testament times. In the statue below we see the Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) with his foot on the neck of a subdued enemy.

Roman Emperor Hadrian with foot on an enemy. Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian with his foot on an enemy. Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

This statue is displayed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. It is made of marble and is said to have come from Hierapitna, Crete.

The photo below is a closeup of the captive with the Emperor’s foot on his neck.

Closeup of an enemy with the foot of Hadrian on his back. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

The Roman Emperor Hadrian has his foot on the back of an enemy that has been subdued. Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

In the New Testament, Peter quotes Psalm 110:1 to show that Jesus is now seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God (Acts 2:35).

The apostle Paul understood this. He said of Jesus,

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:25 ESV)

The last enemy is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).

The illustrations here and in other posts are suitable for use in PowerPoint presentations for sermons and Bible classes. We only ask that you leave our credit line intact so others will know how to reach our material.

For examples from the Old Testament see here.

The six water jugs at Cana of Galilee

A friend recently sent me a small photo and a few questions about the water jugs at Cana of Galilee (John 2).

Attached is a photo of a reproduction of what I suppose is a wine jug. It is about 30” tall and 20” handle tip to tip. I bought it a couple of months ago at an estate sale. The seller told us tongue in cheek that it may be the very one from which Jesus turned water into wine. I told him that, in spite of how old I might look and the fact that I had not attended the wedding, I could assure him it was NOT the same one!

An old jug

Is this like the jugs that held water at Cana of Galilee?

“My questions for you, Ferrell, are…

  • Is this a similar appearance and size of those of the First Century?
  • Is this type of jug sold in Israel as a souvenir?
  • I paid $30 for the jug and, of course, had no shipping. Did I get a bargain? I’m going to use it as a feature in my garden.”

The Gospel text says,

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. (John 2:6 ESV)

The fact that the text says each jug would hold between twenty and thirty gallons indicate a larger jar than the one my friend bought. I have visited many museums, large and small, in Israel, as well as numerous antiquities shops, and do not recall seeing a jug like the one she bought.

Fortunately some of the jugs of the type mentioned in John 2 have been found in Jerusalem, Qumran, and other places. Notice the photo below from the Israel Museum. These are the jugs found in what we now call the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Replicas are displayed in the Wohl Archaeological Museum at the place called the Herodian Mansion where they were found.

Large jars for water of purification in the Israel Museum.

These stone jars, along with stone tables, now displayed in the Israel Museum come from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem from the Herodian Period. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A replica of one of these jars is displayed in the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. The sign explains the purpose of the jars and the way they were made.

Sign explaning the large stone jars used for purification. Hecht Museum.

This sign explains the type of jars we are showing here. Hecht Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Hecht Museum is a great teaching museum. In the model house shown below you will see several of the stone jars used for the water of purification. This model reminds me a bit of the Burnt House in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.

Model house from first century displayed at Hecht Museum, University of Haifa, Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The third question should have been asked prior to purchase. I have dealt with this question many times during my tours. Individuals come to me and say, “He is asking $___ for this item. Is that a good price?” I learned to say to tour members prior to visiting the first few shops that I will not be able to answer that question in the shop. If they purchased and then asked me if they got a good deal here is how I answered. If you like it and can afford it and are happy with it you got a good deal.

One other point should be made. The type of jar used for shipping and storing wine is known as an amphora. Imported jars such as this were also excavated in the Jewish Quarter.

An amphora fromthe Hellenistic Period. This one is displayed at the Hecht Museum, University of Haifa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

An amphora from the Hellenistic period displayed at the Hecht Museum, University of Haifa ,Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The pointed bottoms were placed in sand to hold them erect for filling and transportation. Many pictures and drawings of amphora can be found here.

Addendum: Leon Mauldin sent the photo below showing the author standing beside the model and a replica of one of the water jars.

Ferrell Jenkins at the Hecht Museum, Haifa, Israel.

Ferrell Jenkins standing beside the model and one of the water jar replicas. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Agreement of Book and Land: Have you heard of the Atad tree?

At Neot Kedumim most of the trees are identified by name and often with references to biblical events. I enjoyed seeing the Atad tree. The sign at the base of the tree explains an important biblical event which names the atad tree.

The atad tree in the parable of Jotham. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog

This sign explains the biblical reference to the atad tree in the parable of Jotham in Judges 9. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For ease of reading here is the first paragraph of the sign. Some of the spellings have been changed to make the information more easily understood by English readers.

A parable told by Jotham after the death of his father, Judge Gideon, criticizing his brother Abimelech’s rise to power after the latter brutally murdered all 70 of his other brothers “upon one stone” (Judges 9:5). The parable tells of the trees seeking to anoint a king. They ask the olive, fig, and grapevine who each refuse, wishing only to continue to bear their fruit. Eventually the Ziziphus spina-christi (atad), frequently – and misleadingly – mistranslated as a bramble, agrees to assume the role with devastating consequences: “let fire come forth from the atad” (Judges 9:15).

The Hebrew text uses the term atad for the plant. Common English translations include bramble, thronbush, and thorn bush. Some writers think of the atad as a tree, such as the one you see here.

The Atad tree at Neot Kedumim. Photo: ferrell jenkins..blog.

The Atad tree at Neot Kedumim. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For other references to the Ziziphus spina-christi see our photos and information here and here (note the last photo in that post).

The next photo shows some of the worthless fruit on the atad tree at Neot Kedumim. In contrast the fruit of the olive, the fig and the grape vine was very useful.

The fruit of the Atad tree of Joshua 9:14-15. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins at Neot Kedumim.

The fruit of the Atad tree of Joshua 9:14-15. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins at Neot Kedumim.

Todd Bolen tells the backstory of BiblePlaces Photos

This morning I was pleased to receive the BiblePlaces Newsletter (Vol 19, #1). In it Todd Bolen reminds us that “twenty years ago this month, BiblePlaces.com was born.” He provides us with a brief history of the development of his Photo Collections.

The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands – 18 volumes.

If you have ever used the images in The Pictorial Library of Bible Lands (now 18 volumes), The Photo Companion to the Bible, or one of the other resources developed under Bolen’s leadership, you know how valuable the material can be in teaching the Bible.

Bolen observes that he bought one of the set of 100 slides that used to be hawked by the guides on tours of Israel. My experience was much the same. Indeed, even if the photos were good but the quality of the duplication was not good.

I trust I have said enough to prompt you to read the current BiblePlaces Newletter here.

No free lunch, but a Free Powerpoint Presentation of Galilee: Then and Now is available (link at bottom of the Newsletter). Better than a lunch, I would say. I have traveled to Israel for the past 53 years and am aware of the numerous changes that have taken place in that time. In this slide presentation you will see changes back further with photos from the Historic Views of the Holy Land.

Thank you  Todd Bolen for this wonderful service you have provided to all teachers and preachers of the Bible.

Check our Index on Bethlehem & Birth of Jesus

We have a few indexes prepared of topics that have been covered widely on this blog. One is an Index of article on Bethlehem and the Birth of Jesus here. It also includes some articles about the origin of Santa Claus at Myra, Turkey. We encourage you to take a look at these articles.

Our photo was made from the Franciscian Shepherd’s field in Bethlehem and this is the first time we have used it. I call it Shepherd’s Field by Day.

 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:8 ESV)

Shepher's Field by Day. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

Shepherd’s Field by Day. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It is not possible to post as often at this time as I did in years past, but I want to encourage you to use this site often in your Bible study. Use the Search box to locate posts about Bible places, people and customs. I think will enhance your study of the Bible.

Thanks for telling others about the blog.

Three more Photo Companion volumes

The BiblePlaces Newsletter announces today the availability of three more volumes in the Photo Companion to the Bible series. Go there for detailed info on the volumes on Joshua, Judges, and Romans. A free chapter from each volume is available for download.

Photo Companion of Joshua

The Photo Companion volume of Joshua.

This is an impressive project and I am surprised at the speed with which these volumes are being produced. These make 11 books of the Bible already covered.

The Joshua volume has 3,100 slides with information about each of the slides. I believe there is at least one slide for each verse in the book.  Joshua sells for $99, Judges for $99, and Romans for $69. This weekend all three volumes are on sale for $99. Do you have any idea how much time and money it would cost you to visit the Bible World, make all of these photos, be able to write accurate information about each photo, put them into PowerPoint presentations – a total of  7,500 slides? Well, it did take years and years.

Don’t let this special pass you by. Order this weekend and save. You can take a look at a few samples before you order, and Todd Bolen and BiblePlaces always want you to be satisfied with your purchase.

One warning I have not seen in any of the reviews that I have read is that you should not think you will use all of these photos in your class. I would select those that best aid my presentation and discussion of the biblical text.

Complete information is available on the Bible Places Newsletter here.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 33 – Cave of Adullam

In 2011 Leon Mauldin and I make arrangements to visit Tel Adullam and the Cave of Adullam. I had gathered some information from Prof. Carl Rasmussen and Gordan Franz about locating the site. We secured the services of a guide from the small town of Aderet, a moshav on the north side of Adullam. She took us to the site in a four-wheel drive vehicle and explained what we were seeing.

Tel Adullam is near the Valley of Elah where David had met and defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17).

View from Tel Adullam. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

Daphna, our guide, and Leon look east from Tel Adullam. Notice the central mountain range in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Once we reached the forested mound we enjoyed a wonderful view to the east, and south. Our guide, Daphna, inquired first about our interest in the site. How did we even know about the site, she wondered. She is a Sabre, a native-born Israeli, who lives at Aderet.

There is a large cave at Adullam. Is it the cave where David stayed while fleeing from Saul? Can’t say, but if it was not this one it had to be another one near by. The next photo was made from inside the cave.

Inside the Cave of Adullam. Photo: ferrelljenkins.blog.

Inside the Cave of Adullam where David and his men stayed while fleeing from Saul. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Adullam is significant in several biblical accounts. Here are a few.

Judah stayed with an Adullamite man named Hirah. He married the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua.

At that time Judah left his brothers and stayed with an Adullamite man named Hirah. There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. Judah acquired her as a wife and had marital relations with her. (Genesis 38:1-2 NET)

The episode of Onan and his failure to fulfill his responsibility to bring up children to his deceased brother (the Levirate marriage; Genesis 38:3-10).

Joshua defeated the king of Adullam during the Conquest (Joshua 12:15), and became one of the Shephelah (lowland or hill country) cities of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:35).

The cave of Adullam is associated with David. When he left Gath he went to Adullam before sending his parents to Moab for safety.

So David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his father’s family learned about it, they went down there to him. (1 Samuel 22:1 NET)

In fact, David spent much time at Adullam. I suggest you read the entire account in 2 Samuel 23:13ff.

When the prophet Micah warned Judah about the coming Assyrian invasion he said,

…the leaders of Israel shall flee to Adullam (Micah 1:15 NET)

Just as David did about three centuries earlier.

One more point. Jesus was a descendant of David and Judah, both of whom had an association with Adullam (Revelation 5:5).

What a wonderful experience.

Note: if you wish to locate the Adullam cave on Google Earth Pro, search for Aderet, Israel, and then look for the cave. Or use these coordinates: 31°39’02.33 N, 35°00’08.53 E.

Which photo is today’s favorite? Take your pick.