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)
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.
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.
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.
When I began this series I stated that there was no significance to the order of the photos. Of all the photos I have made and of those recently published I suspect this one would be very near the top. What most tourists see at Petra has little to do with anything in the Bible. The carvings we see there were made mostly by the Nabateans.
The Nabateans have been described as “one of the most gifted and vigorous peoples in the Near East of Jesus’ time” (Wright, Biblical Archaeology 229). They exacted high tolls from the caravans which passed their way. The greatest king of the Nabateans was Aretas IV (9 B.C. to A.D. 40). His rule extended as far north as Damascus during the last part of his reign; this was at the time Paul escaped from Damascus (2 Corinthians 11:32).
I recall the impression walking through the Siq and then the first glimpse of the Treasury carved into the stone. That first trip was 1967, and I have been back several times, the most recent in 2018. I hope you will enjoy this photo made in 2006.
Traveling through the siq at Petra and the first glance of the Treasury. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2006.
Shepherds were highly significant in the ancient near eastern culture. It is no wonder that many of the outstanding characters of the Old Testament are called shepherds.
The LORD frequently chose shepherds to be the leaders of His people. Consider David (Psalm 78:70-72) and Moses (Exodus 3:1) as examples. Moses understood that there should be someone to lead Israel after his death. He made a recommendation to the LORD, saying,
Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” (Numbers 27:16-17 ESV)
The LORD chose Joshua the son of Nun to fill that role.
Previously I have mentioned that Leon Mauldin and I spent a week visiting biblical and other historical sites in Jordan in 2018. One day as we were returning to our hotel from our travel we went past Mount Nebo, a site we had visited a day or two earlier. A short distance from Mount Nebo, the place from which Moses viewed the promised land, we came upon an impressive scene. There was a shepherd standing near the road while his sheep were eating whatever available grass there was on the rocky hillside. Leon was driving. I said, “Slow down; there’s Moses.” Obviously I knew better but you can have a look for yourself.
A shepherd watches his sheep near Mount Nebo in Jordan. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
One nice thing about traveling in the Middle East today is that most photos do not have to be staged. You are welcome to use this image in your teaching if you wish. It is sized to fit a PowerPoint presentation.
When I see tents in the Middle East I do not think of going camping. I think of the biblical patriarchs who moved about from place to place taking their tents with them.
A shepherd’s tent near Heshbon, Jordan, at dusk. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The book of Genesis recounts the movement of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as they traveled in Mesopotamia and the Levant. Notice these references:
From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. (Genesis 12:8-9 ESV)
The Book of Hebrews recounts events in the life of those who lived by faith.
By faith he [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:9-10 ESV)
Our photo above was made at dusk when the shepherds were gathering their sheep into the sheepfold. I noticed this nicely decorated tent nearby. I see the lady of the tent sitting on the ground. There is a little child dressed in red partially visible in the tent. Notice to the right of the woman there is a screen covering for the bed. Luxury accommodations compared to some.
While viewing this photo read Genesis 18, the account of the announcement that Sarah would have a child, and see if it doesn’t become more real to you.
Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus mentions the shepherds “out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:7-8 ESV)
I have made many photos of shepherds and sheep over the years, but not many at night. However, in 2006 I visited with some shepherds at Heshbon, Jordan, one afternoon. I inquired about what they did with the sheep at night and decided to return about sundown to make some photos. The photo shown here has been lightened some to allow you to see the sheep in the sheepfold.
A shepherd watches his flock by night at Heshbon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Just to the right of the center of the photo you should be able to see one of the shepherds with his back to the sheepfold. Click on the photo for a larger image suitable for use in teaching.