Category Archives: Bible Lands

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos #3

It was quite a thrill when I first found and walked on this nice stretch of Roman Road near the Turkish village of Saglikli about 12 miles north of Tarsus of Cilicia. Tarsus served as one of the great crossroads of history. It was the home of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul who described it as “no insignificant city” (Acts 21:39; 9:11; 22:3).

Roman road north of Tarsus in Cilicia. ferrelljenkins.blog.

Roman Road near the Turkish village of Saglikli, about 12 miles north of Tarsus in Cilicia. Home of Saul of Tarsus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This road that was constructed about A.D. 200 during the reign of the Emperor Septimius Severus. Did Paul and Silas follow this same route on an earlier road during the second journey?

Ferrell’s Favorite Fotos #2

Hasankef in southeastern Turkey is an old town to be flooded by the Tigris River. Hasankef is located about 37 km. [23 miles] south of Batman, Turkey, and about 300 km. [187 miles] north of Mosul, Iraq, site of ancient Nineveh. National Geographic, Nov. 2018, describes what is happening here in an article entitled “Flooding History.”

The northern portion of the two photos. The citizens can be relocated, but the history will be flooded. FerrellJenkins.blog.

The northern portion of the two photos. The citizens of Hasankef, Turkey, can be relocated, but the history will be flooded. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

It takes two photos to make this a favorite.

The Tigris River at Hasankef, Turkey. FerrellJenkins.blog.

The southern portion of Hasankef, Turkey. This town will be flooded by the Tigris River as a result of the building of dams on the river. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Tigris River is mention only twice in the Bible.

  • Named as the third river flowing out of Eden (Genesis 2:14). Raises interesting questions about the location of Eden.
  • Associated with a vision seen by Daniel further south in ancient Babylon (Daniel 10:4).

New Resource on Persia from BiblePlaces.com

Persia is the only major country in the Bible Lands that I have not been able to visit. I was delighted when I learned that Todd Bolen, of BiblePlaces.com, had made such a trip.

In his usual thorough way, Bolen has included all the sites one might need in teaching about Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, the return from Exile, and more!

There are 1600 high-resolution images of historical sites and scenery in modern Iran.

BiblePlaces.com

Persia – Volume 19 – in the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.

BiblePlaces.com is offering this Volume 19 of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands for the introductory price of $25.00. You will have immediate download and also receive the DVD. In addition to ordering a copy for yourself, this is a wonderful gift to consider for some minister or Bible teacher. Even if they already have the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, this is a new volume.

Time is running out on this introductory price of $25.00. Go here for secure ordering info.

I suggest you subscribe to the BiblePlaces Newsletter. Here is a link to the most recent issue which also includes more of the Persia photos. At the bottom of the page you will learn how to subscribe.

Dibon and the Moabite (or Mesha) Stone

Dibon is mentioned in the account of the defeat of King Sihon (Numbers 21:30), and was later built by the sons of Gad (Numbers 32:34). It is located in the “plain of Medeba [Madaba]” (Joshua 13:9), and is associated with Heshbon (Joshua 13:17). Upon the return from Babylon some of the sons of Judah lived in Dibon (Nehemiah 11:25). Both Isaiah (15:2) and Jeremiah (48:18,22) speak of the judgment that is coming, or has come, upon Dibon.

The green hill in the foreground is the ancient site of Dibon. The view is to the east. The modern town of Dhiban, Jordan, is in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The green hill just above the center of the photo is the ancient site of Dibon. The view to the east shows the modern town of Dhiban, Jordan, in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dibon is known today at Dhiban in Jordan. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham (Gen. 19:37). They settled east of the southern portion of the Jordan River and the northern half of the Dead Sea. There were battles between Israel and Moab during the reigns of Saul and David, but David defeated Moab “and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute” (2 Samuel 8:2). This payment of tribute evidently continued until after the death of Ahab; the Bible records at that time “the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel” (2 Kings 3:4ff.).

This photo shows some of the ruins on the summit of ancient Dibon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This photo shows some of the ruins on the summit of ancient Dibon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In about 835 BC Mesha, king of Moab, set up a stone to the Moabite god Chemosh (Kemosh) to commemorate his deliverance from the Israelite bondage. This stone, the only Moabite inscription of any significance, was found about 13 miles east of the Dead Sea at Dibon.  It was first discovered by Anglican missionary F. A. Klein in 1868. Klein copied a few words and sought to buy the stone for the Berlin museum for about $400. When the French scholar Clermont-Ganneau learned of the stone he sent an Arab to take a squeeze (a facsimile impression) and offered the natives more than $1,800 for it. The Arabs became suspicious and heated the stone and then poured cold water over it causing it to break into pieces. The natives then distributed the fragments among themselves as amulets and charms. At a later time Clermont-Ganneau was able to recover most of the broken pieces. The original stone of bluish black basalt, two feet wide and nearly four feet high, is now in the Louvre in Paris. Here are a few of the many resources reporting this information: Price, Sellers and Carlson, The Monuments and the Old Testament, 241; The Context of Scripture, Vol. II: 137-138; Jack P. Lewis, Early Explorers of Bible Lands, ch. 7 on Charles Clermont-Ganneau.

The inscription itself mentions David*, Omri, and his son (Ahab, or his grandson Jehoram). Finegan lists 14 places mentioned in the Moabite Stone which are also named in the Bible (Finegan, LAE, 189). The portion of the inscription which tells about the rebellion mentioned in 2 Kings 3:4ff. reads as follows:

Omri was the king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab for many days, for Kemosh was angry with his land. And his son7 succeeded him, and he said — he too — “I will oppress Moab!” In my days did he say [so], but I looked down on him and on his house, and Israel has gone to ruin, yes, it has gone to ruin for ever! (K. A. D. Smelik in Context of Scripture, Vol. II: 137-138)

*André Lemaire argues, based on the recently cleaned squeeze of the Mesha Stela, that line 5 mentions the “house of Israel” and line 31 mentions the “house of David.” Both of these kingdoms are also mentioned in the stela discovered by Avraham Biran at Tel Dan. (“House of David” Restored in the Moabite Inscription, BAR 20:03 (May/June 1994). Lemaire’s translation of the inscription is included with the article.

The Mesha or Moabite Stone displayed in the Louvre, Paris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Mesha or Moabite Stone displayed in the Louvre, Paris. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Visiting Ctesiphon in Iraq

Ctesiphon was a favorite camping ground of the Parthian kings during the last centuries before Christ. The surviving building probably dates from about the 3rd century A.D. This great Sassanian hall is the widest single-span vault of unreinforced brickwork in the world. The width is over 80 feet and the height from the pavement is 118 feet.

The ruins are located on the East bank of the Tigris River a few miles south of Baghdad, Iraq.

Here is a photo of my 1970 Bible Land group at Ctesiphon. In the event that any publisher should wish a photo of the structure I have one of the same view without people.

Ctesiphon, Iraq. Ferrell Jenkins tour group. 1970.

Ferrell Jenkins Bible Land Group at Ctesiphon, near Baghdad, Iraq, May 15, 1970. There were 16 in the group. I made the photo. Three of our group are totally hidden. My son, Ferrell Jr., is in the foreground. The man over his left shoulder was our guide, an Iraqi named George. Several of these tour members are now deceased. This photo was made before I learned how to line up a group for a photo.

The Parthians are mentioned only once in the Bible. In the account of the events of the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus we are informed that Parthians were among those present in Jerusalem.

Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia,… (Acts 2:9a ESV)

The Parthians were the dreaded enemy of Rome in the east. They lived east of the Euphrates. Some prominent scholars on the book of Revelation see a reference to the Parthians in Revelation 9:13-14.

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” (Revelation 9:13-14 ESV)

Beale says, “In John’s time the Parthian threat from beyond the Euphrates was identified with the OT tradition…” (The Book of Revelation in the NIGTC, p. 507). In such an event, Asia Minor, including the seven churches, would be caught in the middle and suffer from this invasion.

A ceramic plaque of a mounted archer from Parthia. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A ceramic plaque of a mounted archer from Parthia. British Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Earlier this week I received a note via the Agade list about a conference on Ctesiphon. Here is the complete notice:

Washington D.C. – Conference
Ctesiphon: An Ancient Royal Capital in Context

Saturday, September 15, 2018, 2 pm
Freer, Meyer Auditorium; Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Smithsonian

Located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River near present-day Baghdad, Iraq, the city of Ctesiphon served as a royal capital of the Persian Empire in the Parthian and Sasanian eras for over eight hundred years. The city’s most iconic structure was the Taq Kasra (Arch of Khosrow) palace, one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Built by the Sasanian ruler Khosrow I (reigned 531–79), the palace’s vaulted brick throne room measures eighty-four feet across, making it the largest of its kind.

To celebrate this exceptional monument, Touraj Daryaee, Matthew Canepa, Katharyn Hanson, and Richard Kurin discuss the site’s importance and recent preservation efforts. Then, watch the first documentary on this unique monument, Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture, directed by Pejman Akbarzadeh, produced by Persian Dutch Network, and funded by the Soudavar Memorial and Toos Foundations. Watch the trailer.

This event was organized with support from the Tina and Hamid Moghadam Endowment for Iran and the Ancient Near East and the Ancient Near East Fund.

Free and open to the public.
Independence Avenue at 12th Street SW Washington, DC

HT: Antonietta Catanzariti  via Agade

Transporting cedars for the temple

The cedars grew in the high mountains of the Lebanon range, the north-south range along the Mediterranean coast.

Cedars also grow in the Amanus mountains north of Antakya, Turkey (Antioch of Syria in Acts 11 and 13). I have seen a small number of cedars still growing in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey. In Lebanon, the most famous of the trees are growing in the high mountains about 100 miles north of Beirut near the town of Besharre, but there are also some growing southeast of Beirut at Barouk.

(A geographical note for those who may not know. If we go east we have the Bekah Valley and then the Anti-Lebanon range of mountains. The Lebanon range continues south and becomes the mountains of upper and lower Galilee, and the mountains of Samaria and Judea. The Bekah Valley continues south to become the Hula Valley, passing through the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan Valley, passing through the Dead Sea, the Arabah, etc. The Anti-Lebanon mountain range continues south through the Golan Heights, the Mountains of Gilead, and the trans-Jordan plateau or highlands.)

Browsing in Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Texts, I noted numerous reference to ancient rulers cutting cedars and transporting them to built projects in their home country.

Gudea of Lagash (2141-2122 B.C.) calls the Amanus Mountains “the Cedar Mountain.” He says “he formed into rafts cedar logs 60 cubits long, cedar logs 50 cubits long (and) KU-wood logs 25 cubits long and brought them (thus) out of the mountain.”

Tiglath-Pileser I, King of Assyria (1114-1076 B.C.), says he went to the Lebanon mountains and cut cedar beams for a temple.

Ashurnasirpal II, King of Assyria (883-859 B.C.),  says, “I ascended the mountains of the Amamus … and cut down (there) logs of cedars” and other trees.

Shalmaneser III, King of Assyria (858-824 B.C.), claims that he ascended the mountain Amanus and cut cedar and pine timber.

Esarhaddon, king of Assyria (680-649 B.C.), claims he made 22 kings of the Hatti transport material for his palace: “big logs, long beams (and) thin boards from cedar and pine trees, products of the Sirara and Lebanon (La-na-na) mountains which had grown for a long time into tall and strong timber….” Sirara was one of the towns of southern Mesopotamia. Esarhaddon left his image and an inscription on the cliffs above Dog River in Lebanon.

Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon (605-562 B.C.), refers to the Lebanon as the “[Cedar] Mountain, the luxurious forest of Marduk, the smell of which is sweet.” He says no other god has desired and no other king has felled the trees. He says Marduk desired the cedars “as a fitting adornment for the palace of the ruler of heaven and earth.”

The Neo-Babylonian king claims to have rid the country (Lebanon) of a foreign enemy and returned scattered inhabitants to their settlements. In order to transport cedars to Babylon, he explains some of his projects.

What no former king had done (I achieved): I cut through steep mountains, I split rocks, opened passages and (thus) I constructed a straight road for the (transport of the) cedars. I made the Arahtu flo[at] (down) and carry to Marduk, my king, mighty cedars, high and strong, of precious beauty and of excellent dark quality, the abundant yield of the Lebanon, as (if they be) reed stalks (carried by) the river. Within Babylon [I stored] mulberry wood. I made the inhabitants of the Lebanon live in safety together and let nobody disturb them. In order that nobody might do any harm [to them] I ere[cted there] a stela (showing) me (as) everlasting king (of this region) and built … I, myself, … established.…

The Arahtu was a canal built by Nebuchadnezzar near Babylon that was used in the transportation of the cedars. Some of the kings speak of building roads for the transportation of the cedars.

In 1971 I was able to make a photo of the inscription left by Nebuchadnezzar at Dog River north of Beirut. Some more recent travelers have found this covered by vines. Click on the photo for a larger image and you will get a better view of some of the cuneiform writing.

Nebuchadnezzar's inscription made on the right bank of Dog River in Lebanon. FerrellJenkins.blog.

Nebuchadnezzar’s inscription made on the right bank of Dog River in Lebanon. On the left bank on the rock cliffs there are reliefs and inscriptions by Ramses II of Egypt, and Assyrian kings Shalmaneser III (?) and Esarhaddon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Hiram, king of Tyre, promised Solomon that he would transport cedars by sea to Joppa.

And we will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you in rafts by sea to Joppa, so that you may take it up to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 2:16 ESV)

The parallel text in 1 Kings 5:9 says,

My servants shall bring it down to the sea from Lebanon, and I will make it into rafts to go by sea to the place you direct. And I will have them broken up there, and you shall receive it. And you shall meet my wishes by providing food for my household.” (1 Kings 5:9 ESV)

The comment in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament explains:

Transport of the logs along the Palestinian coast south would have involved either tying them together into rafts, which required staying very close to shore for fear of storms breaking them up, or loading them on ships. Assyrian reliefs show Phoenician ships both loaded with logs and towing them.

This photograph illustrates the comment above, but the biblical text indicates that the logs cut for Solomon were made into rafts.

Sargon transporting cedar logs from Lebanon by sea. Displayed in the Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sargon transporting cedar logs from Lebanon by sea. Displayed in the Louvre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Lebanon had two famous rivers, both of which had their source in the Bekah valley. The Orontes River flowed north past Kadesh, Hamath, and other cities and then turned west to flow past Antioch into the Mediterranean at Seleucia.

The Leontes River (also known as the Letani), flowed through the Lebanon mountains and into the Mediterranean a few miles north of Tyre. Since we know of other rulers floating the timbers on rivers, I have thought that perhaps some of those going to Jerusalem may have been moved from the southern forests by means of the Leontes, then tied into rafts near the coast for the trip to Joppa.

The Litani river a few miles north of Tyre, Lebanon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Leontes (= Litani) river a few miles north of Tyre, Lebanon. Photo: Ferrell Jenkins.

The distance from the mouth of the Leontes River to Joppa is about 95 miles (152 km). Our photos below is an aerial view of Joppa and its modern harbor.

Aerial view of Joppa, showing the modern harbor. ferrelljenkins.blog.

The modern harbor at Joppa. We know that the tel (a green mound with some paths on it) you see in the left bottom quarter of the photo was inhabited by Egyptians as early as the 15th century B.C. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (1990) says,

Some scholars believe that the port referred to is that of Tell Qasile, east of Jaffa.

If that is so, the logs would be floated up the Yarkon River a short distance to Tell Qasile which is a little northeast of Joppa, close enough to be considered Joppa.

From Joppa the logs were transported by Solomon’s men across the plain of Sharon and up into the mountains of Judea. Quite a project without trucks or trains. In addition to the temple, the Bible records that Solomon built “the House of the Forest of Lebanon” (I Kings 7:2).

Our final photograph shows some stone anchors displayed at Tel Qasile which is located on the grounds of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. I notice that these are larger than anchors found at the Sea of Galilee. These would be more suitable for use on a river such as the Yarkon.

Stone anchors displayed at Tel Qasile at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. FerrellJenkins.blog.

Stone anchors displayed at Tel Qasile at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. 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.