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 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).
The new Photo Companion to the Bible, produced by Todd Bolen and BiblePlaces.com, is a wonderful resource for those who teach the Bible. The first set in this series of material was on the book of Ruth. Next came the Gospels. And now we have the book of Acts.
There are more than 4000 images in this set on Acts. The images for each of the 28 chapters are included in a PowerPoint presentation with annotations explaining the image selection and background.
I could say much more about the value of this collection of material, but I suggest you go immediately to the detailed information here. You will see samples of the work and ordering information. For a limited time you can get this material at a special sale price.
Posted in Archaeology, Bible Lands, Bible Places, Bible Study, Book of Acts, Book Review, Israel, Jordan, New Testament, Photography, Travel, Turkey
This view of Jerusalem is a favorite of many pilgrims and travelers. It is made from Mount Olivet with a view to the west across the Kidron Valley (John 18:1). It shows the full length of the eastern wall of the Old City. The area where you see the gold Dome of the Rock, now a Muslim shrine, is where the temples of Solomon and Herod once stood from about 966 B.C. to A.D. 70.
A view of Jerusalem from Mount Olivet. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The Israeli city of Jerusalem is partially visible beyond the Old City. One thing that makes this morning photo beautiful is that the sun is shining from the east on the Old City. In the background the heavy clouds float in from the Mediterranean to bring the early and later rains at the appropriate season (Deuteronomy 11:14; James 5:7). Click on the photo for a larger image suitable for use in teaching.
The traditional Garden of Gethsemane on the western slope of Mount Olivet.
This is the traditional Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed to the Father prior to his arrest, trials, and crucifixion. The Temple Mount is visible from this location. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. (Mark 14:32-35 ESV)
If Jesus was not at this specific spot, it could not have been far away.
For the full account read Mark 14:32-46 and Matthew 26:36-46.
Some of my friends are producing exciting videos to help Christians and other students of the Bible World to a fuller and more rewarding understanding of the region.
Barry Britnell and Jeremy Dehut, along with the crew at Appian Media are producing some nice videos in Israel. These videos can be helpful to the person preparing for a trip, or for those who will never be able to go but want a deeper understanding of the Bible.
Their first series was Following the Messiah, and now they are releasing Searching for a King (the period of the United Kingdom). I suggest you take a look at the new release here.
Wayne Stiles’ Survey
If you have traveled with me over the past 50+ years (I am not the only one still alive from the first tour!), you might like to help Wayne Stiles with his survey on how best to prepare and make the most of your tour.
My friend, Wayne Stiles, has been helping people learn about the Bible World for a long time. He has a helpful blog – Wayne Stiles: Connecting the Bible and its Lands to Life. Several years back Wayne wrote a doctoral dissertation on the benefits of understanding and experiencing the historical geography of Israel. I found it most helpful in my own travels and the preparation of my travelers. He has also written some helpful books. On several occasions he has helped me with information I needed. Wayne is now making personal trips to Israel and producing videos year round. You can learn about his material at Walking the Bible Lands.
Wayne is putting together a video series to help pilgrims better prepare for a Holy Land tour. If you have been to Israel before, will you give your advice by answering a few quick questions? Thanks in advance for your help! Click here: http://bit.ly/israel-tour-questions.
And, if you promise to look at both of these sites (Appian Media and Walking the Bible Lands) I will give you one of my favorite photographs.
A breakfast honey comb at the Ron Beach Hotel on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
We have had the opportunity to see numerous fishermen demonstrate casting a net in the Sea of Galilee, but this was the best. Looking at this photo it is easy to recall Jesus’ selection of Peter and Andrew to become “fishers of men.”
This fisherman on one of the tourist boats is demonstrating casting a net near the warm waters near the Church of the Primacy on Galilee’s northern shore. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:16-18 ESV)
For more information about fishing and fishermen on the Sea of Galilee see these links: the ports; the fish; Tabgha (Heptapegon); and fishing the Sea of Galilee.