Tag Archives: Isaiah

Egyptian culture evident in discovery near Tel Halif

TTel Halif is located between Hebron and Beersheba in the Negev (Negeb, Negev region, South land or South country).

Abram continually journeyed by stages down to the Negev. (Genesis 12:9 NET)

Now Isaac had returned from Beer-lahai-roi and was dwelling in the Negeb. (Genesis 24:62 ESV)

Tel Halif (= Arabic, Tell el-Khuweifeh). In an article about the Biblical identity of Tel Halif, Oded Borowski points out that this was territory allotted “to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:1-9) and later to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:20-32).” He discusses various efforts to equate the site with a site named in the Bible. Borowski narrows his discussion to four main candidates: Sharuhen, Hormah, Ziklag, and Rimmon. He think Rimmon (= En-Rimmon) is the correct choice (Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 51, Issue 1). Rimmon is mentioned five times in the Bible (Joshua 19:7; 1 Chronicles 4:32; Joshua 15:32; Nehemiah 11:29; Zechariah 14:10). I am not in a position to venture even a guess.

The photo below shows the terrain near Tel Halif, north of Beersheba.

Sheep in the Negev near Tel Halif. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sheep in the Negev near Tel Halif. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced today the discovery of artifacts excavated from a cave near Tel Halif, in the region of Kibbutz Lahav, in the south of Israel.

The artifacts included “seals, seal rings, figurines and amulets in the image of gods sacred to the Egyptian culture.” The archaeologists say,

The collection indicates “the presence of an administrative center that existed in the region.”

Other artifacts discovered included seal rings made of faience and a wealth of figurines and amulets in the image of gods sacred to the Egyptian culture.

A collection of artifacts with characteristics of the Egyptian culture, which were discovered in the excavation. Photographic credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

A collection of artifacts with characteristics of the Egyptian culture, which were discovered in the excavation. Photographic credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Items dating as late as the Iron Age were also found during the excavation conducted by the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery of the IAA. The excavation followed the discovery that the cave had been plundered.

An oil lamp and a ceramic jar that date to the Iron Age, which were discovered in the cave. Photographic credit: the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

An oil lamp and a ceramic jar that date to the Iron Age, which were discovered in the cave. Photographic credit: the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

According to Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, curator of Egyptian archaeology at the Israel Museum,

“Most of the scarab seals found in the excavation date to the fifteenth–fourteenth centuries BCE. During this period Canaan was ruled by Egypt”. Dr. Ben-Tor adds, “The names of kings appeared on some of the seals. Among other things, we can identify a sphinx lying opposite the name of the pharaoh Thutmose who reigned from about 1504–1450 BCE. Another scarab seal bears the name of Amenhotep who reigned from about 1386–1349 BCE. Still another scarab depicts Ptah, the principal god of the city of Memphis.”

The Biblical record indicates Egyptian influence in Israel as late as the Iron Age.

 (Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer. He burned it and killed the Canaanites who lived in the city. He gave it as a wedding present to his daughter, who had married Solomon.) (1 Kings 9:16 NET)

The prophet Isaiah warned about reliance on Egypt in the 8th century B.C. (Isaiah 30:1-5).

HT: Joseph Lauer

 

 

 

 

Regarding the Visualizing Isaiah series

The response to the Visualizing Isaiah series has been good by my estimation. Numerous readers have written that they enjoyed/profited by the series. Several bloggers have linked to the series and a few have re-blogged almost all of them to their readers.

This was an ambitious project. First, there was the responsibility to understand Isaiah well enough to make appropriate comments. Second, the selection of good photos was quite a task. I often looked through photos from various Bible sites and/or several museums with Ancient Near Eastern collections to locate what I thought was the right image. Some chapters offered numerous possibilities; others were a bit more difficult.

Hopefully I will be able to continue the series later. At this time I must take a break because I will be traveling in the Bible world most of May. I do plan to post something most days to indicate where I am traveling.

I trust that the Isaiah series has illustrated how you can enhance your study and teaching with visuals. You may say, “but I haven’t been to all of those places.” But you can search this blog for illustrations. Some time back we provided illustrations for the entire book of Acts. You can go to your Pictorial Library of Bible Lands collection and find the photos you need. Or, search the Bible Places Blog, or the Holy Land Photos’ Blog, or the vast collection at Holy Land Photos, or David Padfield’s collection here.

For my next series, I plan to select a shorter book such as Philemon or Jude.

Just in case some of you are looking ahead to Isaiah 41, I will include an image to help with verses 15-16.

Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the LORD; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.  (Isaiah 41:15-16 ESV)

Winnowing at Shechem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Winnowing at Shechem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Visualizing Isaiah 40: He will tend His flock like a shepherd

The LORD comforts His people. Isaiah 40 is a beautiful chapter showing the care the LORD has for His people, even when they go astray.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11 ESV)

The photo below is just one of hundreds that I have made of shepherds with their sheep. Notice that there are two separate flocks and two shepherds.

Shepherds tending their flocks at Socoh. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Shepherds tending their flocks at Socoh. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Socoh is identified with the tel on the left of the photo. It is located on the south side of the Elah valley. Socoh was a city of Judah where the Philistines gathered to fight with Saul and the men of Israel (1 Samuel 17).

Shepherds frequently take the lambs in their arms. The Photo below was made near Heshbon in Jordan.

A shepherd and a lamb. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A shepherd and a lamb. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Visualizing Isaiah 39: Hezekiah showed all his treasures

It seems to be a common human failing to reveal too much about ourselves, even to people we do not know very well. This is a mistake made by King Hezekiah when he was visited by Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon.

And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. (2 Chronicles 32:27-29 ESV)

I would think that Hezekiah would have shown the Babylonian monarch his gold and silver treasures, but he may have shown him some of the storehouses where various significant goods were stored. We know that Lachish was a place for the storage of wheat and oil.

Three contiguous storehouse units to the right of the gate were excavated by archaeologists under the direction of Prof. Yohanan Aharoni at Beersheba. Aharoni says,

At Beer-sheba one found many storage vessels in every one of the two side chambers of each storehouse and also a Hebrew ostracon recording the shipment of quantities of a certain commodity (wine?) from two places near Beersheba, (El)tolad and (Beth-)Jamam (Joshua 15:26, 30; 19:4; 1 Chron. 4:29. (The Archaeology of the Land of Israel, p. 223)

These storehouses are dated to the 8th century B.C., the time of Isaiah and Hezekiah.

Storehouses at Beersheba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Storehouses at Beersheba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Visualizing Isaiah 38: a cake of figs for medication

King Hezekiah was at the point of death, but the LORD heard his prayer and extended his life by 15 years. There are several visual illustrations in this chapter. I have selected the one in verse 21.

Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?” (Isaiah 38:21-22 ESV)

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament offers this comment on the use of fig cakes at 2 Kings 20:7:

Fig cakes may have been used as condiments and for medicinal purposes at Ugarit. Both later rabbinical Jewish and classical sources (e.g., Pliny the Elder) shared the belief that dried figs had medicinal value. Poultices were sometimes used for diagnosis rather than for medication. A day or two after the poultice was applied, it would be checked for either the skin’s reaction to the poultice or the poultice’s reaction to the skin. One medical text from Emar prescribes the use of figs and raisins for such a process. They helped determine how the patient should be treated and whether or not he would recover.

The photo below shows a freshly cut fig from Shechem.

A fresh fall fig from Shechem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A fresh fall fig from Shechem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next photo shows dried figs from Jericho.

Dried figs from Jericho. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dried figs from Jericho. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

 

Visualizing Isaiah 37: Sennacherib’s assassins escape to the land of Ararat

After the LORD struck down 185,000 of the Assyrians who were camped outside Jerusalem, Sennacherib returned home and lived at Nineveh. In the final verse of this chapter we are told that his sons killed him and fled to the land of Ararat.

Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of Ararat, Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place. (Isaiah 37:37-38 ESV; see also 2 Kings 19:37)

The Biblical land of Ararat (Urartu) is located in modern eastern Turkey. We might think of the land of Urartu being centered in Lake Van. From Nineveh to Van is an air distance of about 150 miles. The map below is from the Wikipedia entry on the Urartu-Assyria War. Click the map to enlarge. Lake Van is 5737 feet above sea level.

Wikimedia Commons.

Map of the Urartu-Assyrian war in 743 B.C. Wikimedia Commons.

The entirety of the land of Urartu is mountainous. Our photo below shows the region between Van and Batman in Turkey. Note the snow-covered slopes in the distance.

A house in Turkey between Van and Batman. In ancient times the area was known as Urartu (Biblical Ararat). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A house in Turkey between Van and Batman. In ancient times the area was known as Urartu (Biblical Ararat). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Use our search box to look for more entries dealing with Urartu. Remember that the ark built by Noah came to rest on the “mountains of Ararat” (Genesis 8:4).

The photo below was taken in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara, Turkey. It shows (the metal legs of) some Urartian furniture. In the left bottom corner you should see some of the ivory pieces that decorated walls and furniture.

Urartian furniture displayed in the Anatolian Civilization Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Urartian furniture displayed in the Anatolian Civilization Museum. Photo: F. Jenkins.

 

 

Visualizing Isaiah 36: Hezekiah and Sennacherib

Two significant historical characters are mentioned together in Isaiah 36. Sennacherib, the king of Assyria from 704–681 B.C., claims to have taken 46 cities of Judah in the days of Hezekiah. The biblical account says,

In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. (2 Kings 18:13 ESV)

There are three known clay prisms in which Sennacherib mentions Hezekiah, king of Judah.

  1. The Taylor Prism, in the British Museum
  2. The Oriental Institute Prism in Chicago
  3. The Jerusalem Prism, in the Israel Museum

Sennacherib admits in the prism-account that Hezekiah did not submit to his yoke, but was “shut up in Jerusalem” like a caged bird.

The Jerusalem Prism, now displayed in the Israel Museum, is perhaps the least well-known of the three documents. Our photo shows that document displayed under the replica of the relief of the siege of Lachish.

The Jerusalem Prism mentioning Hezekiah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Jerusalem Prism mentioning Hezekiah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The account in Isaiah 36 is rooted in history.