Category Archives: Culture

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.

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 # 29 – the Siq and Treasury at Petra

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.

 

 

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 28 – Moses as Shepherd

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.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 27 – Living in Tents

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.

Sheperd's tent near Heshbon, Jordan. ferrelljenkins.blog.

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.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto # 26 – Shepherds by Night

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.

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.

Ferrell’s Favorite Foto #25

Recently @BiblePlaces has been posting some pictures of winnowing and threshing on Twitter. I realized that one of my old slides was a favorite foto of the practice of winnowing. John the Baptist used this illustration to describe the work of Jesus.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12 ESV)

The Psalmist describes the wicked as being “like chaff that the wind drives away” (Psalm 1:4).

Winnowing grain at ancient Shechem. ferrelljenkins.blog.

This photo of winnowing grain was made at biblical Shechem (within modern Nablus). Scanned slide by Ferrell Jenkins.

This photo shows a threshing sledge between the adults and the children. While the adults are throwing grain into the air so the chaff can be blown away by the wind the children are enjoying playing in the grain. You can see the effect of the wind on the grain being thrown into the air by the man.

This should make a nice photo for your next lesson mentioning winnowing of grain. Click on the photo for an image sized for PowerPoint.