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).
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 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.
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.
There are two photos blended into one this time. This is an aerial photo of the Jezreel Valley.
Larry Haverstock took the photo of me making photos of the Jezreel Valley, but the beautiful valley was unavoidably washed out. I took one of my photos of the valley and replaced that part of the image. Photo by Larry Haverstock and Ferrell Jenkins.
Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East came together, and they crossed the Jordan and encamped in the Valley of Jezreel. (Judges 6:33 ESV)
In December 2009 I took my first photographic flight over Jerusalem. With the photos I made I can find almost any of the significant historical buildings. I really liked the view I am showing today. In it you can see the Temple Mount, the site believed to be the Mount Moriah of the Bible, the location of the Temple of Solomon and the location of the Temple built by Herod the Great. The area underwent a number of changes after the destruction of the temple by the Romans in A.D. 70
Since the late 7th century A.D. the site has been occupied by Moslem shrines, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa Mosque.
But this photo has more. Just above the middle of the photo is the Ophel which was originally built by King Jotham (2 Chronicles 27:3). In the bottom half of the picture is the City of David. It is bounded on the right (East) by the Kidron Valley, and on the left (West) by a road. It is shaped somewhat like a vase or bottle.
Aerial view of the Temple Mount, the Ophel, and the City of David. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
To make this clear I am including the same photo with the areas I mentioned identified. The Mount of Olives is in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
Aerial photo of the Temple Mount, the Ophel, and the City of David with identification. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
It was an exciting day when I captured all of that in the same photo. You may be able to use it in your study and teaching. For more info see here.