Last evening I learned that Peter J. Williams’ new book, Can We Trust the Gospels?, will be available in Amazon Kindle format from today to May 4 for $3.99. The paperback book is about $14.00.
Williams is Principal of Tyndale House, Cambridge. Many of our readers will be familiar with Tyndale House and their work. For those who are not familiar here is a description:
Tyndale House is a dynamic academic hub that specialises in the languages, history and cultural context of the Bible. We bring together outstanding Christian researchers from around the world with the aim of developing Bible literacy in the Church and beyond. We want to enable all those who read the Bible to understand and appreciate it more.
Just a few days ago I received a copy of William’s book in Logos format. Already knowing of Williams work in this field, I am impressed with the book.
Williams is Principal of Tyndale House, Cambridge.
Your young people need a copy of this book, too.
Today’s foto has not been a favorite very long. Just this afternoon at the close of a wonderful day along the Dead Sea and the Jordan River. The story below.
Ewe and lamb grazing along the side of Route 1 from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This area is just a few miles east of Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
I have been traveling privately on what I call a personal study tour. I have invited numerous people to join me from time to time. They are always knowledgeable, having traveled at least a few times before. This year I invited Luke Chandler to join me. Luke made his first trip to Israel on one of my tours. He is now an accomplished leader, and he has brought people to participate in excavations at various sites. We are neighbors. We both have a genuine interest in Israel as it pertains to the Bible. Luke left for home last Friday and I plan to leave Wednesday.
Now here is the story behind today’s photograph.
I spent much of the day traveling and stopping for fotos along the Dead Sea today. I visited the ancient synagogue at En Gedi, and then went to Kasser Al-Yahud, the traditional place where John baptized Jesus (Matthew 3). If we were in Jordan, and we were only yards away, we would call it Bethany Beyond the Jordan (John 1:28).
On my way back to Jerusalem I noticed sheep along the STEEP hillside on the north side of Highway 1 that runs from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I was surprised to see a wide lane along the highway for cars with problems to park. There were long periods between groups of cars. I pulled over and made this photo from the car. Then I got out and made more of the flock.
So this foto is a favorite because of the subject and because of the unusual situation. Yes, the side of the road is close to a 90 degree angle.
I thought about parents and children. The lamb seems to have no fear of being on the hillside. The lesson we can learn is that children often learn fear or calmness from what they see in their parents.
Riblah served as a base of operation for the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho and the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The city is located on a broad plain about 50 miles south of Hamath (modern Hama in Syria), on the main road between Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Orontes River flows past the site on the west side. On a modern map you will locate Riblah in Syria immediately north of the border with Lebanon.
There is little more than a “country store” at the village today, but the name Riblah is preserved as Ribleh, Syria.
- Pharaoh Necho imprisoned Jehoahaz, king of Judah, at Riblah. He later took him to Egypt where he died. The date was about 609 B.C. (2 Kings 23:31-34).
- Zedekiah, puppet king of Judah, tried to escape capture by the Babylonians. He fled Jerusalem but was captured on the plains of Jericho and brought to Riblah. There Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. His sons were slaughtered in his sight and he was bound with brass fetters and taken to Babylon. The date was 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:5-7; see also Jeremiah 39:5-6; 52:9-10).
- The officials of Zedekiah were taken to Riblah where they were put to death (2 Kings 25:19-21; see also Jeremiah 52:26-27).
In 2002 David McClister, a colleague at Florida College, and I spent several days visiting sites in Syria. Riblah was the most difficult to locate. Most folks, after seeing the site, would probably say, “What’s the big deal?” Even though Riblah is mentioned only these few times in the Old Testament, it’s location makes it important in all movement between the south (Egypt and Israel) and Mesopotamia.
The ancient mount of Riblah, once headquarters of Babyonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Slide scan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in 2002.
This post is a repeat, but I thought the favorite photo needed more explanation than most of the images I am using.
The island of Malta is mentioned in the book of Acts as the place where Paul was shipwrecked during the voyage to Rome.
After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. (Acts 28:1 ESV)
Saint Paul’s Bay and Island in Malta. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
There are several natural bays and harbors at Malta that have been suggested as the place of the shipwreck described in Acts 27-28. Saint Paul’s Bay is thought by some scholars to be the place where two sea met (Acts 27:41). Several English versions follow this reading (for example: NAS, NAU, NKJ, KJV)
The new Photo Companion to theBible: Acts contains photos of all of the places where the shipwreck could have occurred.
The Dead Sea is called the Salt Sea in the Bible (Gen. 14:3; Num. 34:3,12). The four kings of the east “joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea)” to fight against the five kings of the local region (Genesis 14:3 ESV).
Salt deposits on rocks along the shore of the Dead Sea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
There is an extraordinary evaporation in the sea. After evaporation, the remaining water contains about 25% of solid substances with chloride of sodium (common salt) contributing 7%. It has a bitter and nauseous taste, due to the chloride of magnesium. The chloride of calcium makes it smooth and oily to the touch.
Josephus knew the Dead Sea as Lake Asphaltites in Roman times (Ant. 1.174; 15:168).
In April, 1986, arrangements were made for my travel group to leave Israel from Eilat and travel to Mount Sinai for an overnight stay. Opportunity was given for those who wished to climb the traditional mountain where Moses was given the Law (Exodus 20-24). Only four of the group chose to do so.
The peak known as Jebel Musa (Mount Moses) is thought by many to be the Mount Sinai of the Bible. Beginning at Saint Catherine’s monastery it takes about two hours and thirty minutes to climb to the top where the elevation is more than 7,500 feet. We began at 3:05 a.m. and made it to the top in time to see the sunrise. After thirty minutes of rest and meditation we made it back to the monastery in about two hours.
Three tour members who climbed the traditional Mount Sinai with me April 10, 1986. Tour members left to right: Mark Dunagan (Oregon), Lillian Price (Indiana), Gloria Spurgeon [Land] (Texas). Samir Kamel (in gray behind Gloria) is the Egyptian escort for the Nawas Travel Company who came from Cairo to meet us, climbed the mountain with us.He was later appointed the general manager of the Cairo office. Slide photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The chapel in the background is identified here
On the summit is an Orthodox Chapel of the Holy Trinity, built in 1934 on ruins of a 4th-century Byzantine church. It is said to have been built over the rock from which God took the tablets of stone and its interior is decorated with frescoes of the life of Moses.
For more information about Mount Sinai see our Index: Route of the Exodus and the Location of Mount Sinai here.
This may be the least attractive photo I have published in this series. Why post it, you may think? It is a picture of Inscription No. 124 found at Corinth in 1898. Lacking one letter we have a reference to a MACELLV [macellum]. I knew of this inscription from my earliest tours and always showed it to my group when we visited the museum at ancient Corinth. But one year I went to the place where the inscription had been displayed and it was not there. The metal hooks which held it to the wall were still there, but not the inscription. Afterwards for several tours I asked my guide to inquire of the inscription which she also recalled seeing. At first we were told they did not know where the artifact was. On my visit in 2012 I was told that the inscription was in storage and they could not show it to me. That is the last I have heard of it. Perhaps by now it is again on display.
Macellum Inscription – Corinth, No. 124. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in 1971.
Perhaps you wonder if I am losing my mind. In fact, Henry J. Cadbury wrote about “The Macellum of Corinth” in the Journal of Biblical Literature in 1934. Putting aside 2 Timothy 4:13, which uses the word membranas (parchment), as a genuine Pauline reference, Cadbury says there are only two Latin words in Paul: praetorium (Philippians 1:18) and macellum (1 Corinthians 10:25).
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. (1 Cor. 10:25 ESV).
We also have an inscription from Corinth mentioning the meat market built by the family of the Cornelli and another mentioning Lucius butcher. All of these inscriptions date to the Roman period. Paul was describing things that really existed during his stay at Corinth.
Not the most beautiful photo, but I am fond of it because I happened to be at Corinth at an opportune time to capture this inscription on film.