Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Visualizing Isaiah 25: “on this mountain”

Isaiah continues the apocalyptic description of the judgment of the LORD and the return from captivity. The city that will be destroyed by the Babylonians will become a place of great feasting for all nations.

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.(Isaiah 25:6 ESV)

Early in the book Isaiah has informed us that “the mountain of the LORD” would become a place for blessing all men through the word which would go forth from Jerusalem.

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3 ESV)

Jerusalem is not directly on the top of the central mountain range that runs from the north to the south in the land of Canaan/Israel. It is situated on the eastern slope of the mountain ridge. Even then there are mountains that are higher. In the photo below you see the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Temple of Solomon once stood. But you see that Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives are higher than Jerusalem. In God’s plan Jerusalem would become the highest of all. We see the fulfillment of this in Acts 2.

Notice Jerusalem in the mountains. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Notice Jerusalem in the mountains. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo above was taken from the Haas Promenade south of Jerusalem. Click on the photo for a larger image and a better view of the city.

Viewing Jerusalem from Paul Emile Botta Street

The photo below shows a portion of the western wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. There are ruins here belonging to the time of John Hyrcanus (2nd century B.C.), but most of what we see belongs to the Turkish construction from the 16th century A.D. The large structure is known as the Citadel. Jaffa Gate is out of sight on the left side of the photo.

View of the Citadel and the Tower of David. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View of the Citadel and the Tower of David. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our photo was made from Paul Emile Botta Street near the King David Hotel. The French excavator Botta is known for his discovery of the palace of Sargon at Khorsabad in northern Iraq.

Places to look out over Jerusalem

The Times of Israel has a nice illustrated article today entitled “Five Glorious places from which to look out over Jerusalem.” Aviva and Shmuel Bar-Am show photographs from the following five places. Click here for the complete article.

  1. Haas-Sherover Promenade
  2. Confederation House Overlook
  3. Mount Zion Promenade and Overlooks
  4. Mount Scopus Observation Decks
  5. Gandhi Overlook (many will recall this as the lookout from the Mount of Olives)

Our photo below slows the modern view of Jerusalem from the Mount Scopus overlook.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount Scopus Overlook. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View of Jerusalem from the Mount Scopus Overlook. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

 

More on the Vandalization of the Protestant Cemetery in Jerusalem

This is a brief follow-up on our report here of the vandalization of the Protestant Cemetery. Trent Dutton, “Our man in Jerusalem”, reports that once AP released a story about the vandalism, several Middle East and American news outlets have come to the cemetery for photographs, and have re-posted the story.

Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/10/09/vandals-damage-graves-in-jerusalem-in-latest-attack-against-christians/?intcmp=latestnews

Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/9/jerusalem-grave-vandals-set-christians-edge/

Ma’an News (Jordanian) discusses this in the context of the general problem faced by some Arabs: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=634823

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GY6D02dksI

The aerial photo below shows the Church of the Dormitian, the Catholic, Armenian, and Greek cemeteries in the upper left portion. Along the bottom of the photo, overlooking the road along the south of the Old City where it joins with the Hebron Road, is the Jerusalem University College. The Protestant Cemetery can be seen among the trees just above our copyright notice. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Aerial photo of the Protestant Cemetery. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial photo of the Protestant Cemetery. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

You can probably see that it would be rather easy for one to enter the cemetery from the road below.

HT: Trent Dutton

Crusader period hospital building in Jerusalem

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced yesterday that a building from the Crusader period (1099–1291 A.D.) has been excavated. The building is in an area of the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem known as the Muristan (“a corruption of the Persian word for hospital”). Our first photo shows part of the Muristan near the old structure. You can see the tower of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. This is near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Muristan in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The tower of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is visible. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Muristan in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The tower of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is visible. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Between the Lutheran Church and the Armenian Quarter on Muristan Street stands a monument identifying the area where the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem was established. Click on the image if you wish to read the inscription.

Marker identifying the location of the hospital built by the "Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem." Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Marker identifying the location of the hospital built by the “Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem.” Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Press Release contains several bits of historical information that may be of interest to readers. Here is the full Press Release.

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The Israel Antiquities Authority conducted an excavation in the impressive Crusader building, which is similar in appearance to the Knights Halls in Akko and stands 6 meters high, prior to the construction of a restaurant by the Grand Bazaar Company

Part of an enormous structure dating to the Crusader period (1099–1291 CE), which was a busy hospital,  has currently been revealed to the public following excavations and research by the Israel Antiquities Authority there in cooperation with the Grand Bazaar Company of East Jerusalem. The building, owned by the Waqf, is situated in the heart of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, in a region known as “Muristan” (a corruption of the Persian word for hospital), near David Street, the main road in the Old City.

Until a decade or so ago the building served as a bustling and crowded fruit and vegetable market. Since then it stood there desolate. In the wake of the Grand Bazaar Company’s intention to renovate the market as a restaurant, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted archaeological soundings there.

The structure, only a small part of which was exposed in the excavation, seems to extend across an area of fifteen dunams! Its construction is characterized by massive pillars and ribbed vaults and it stands more than six meters high. The image we have is that of a great hall composed of pillars, rooms and smaller halls.

Ruins of the Crusader hospital built by the Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem. Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Ruins of the Crusader hospital built by the Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem. Photo by Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

According to Renee Forestany and Amit Re’em, the excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “We’ve learned about the hospital from contemporary historical documents, most of which are written in Latin.  These mention a sophisticated hospital that is as large and as organized as a modern hospital. The hospital was established and constructed by a Christian military order named the “Order of St. John of the Hospital in Jerusalem” and known by its Latin name the Hospitallers (from the word hospital). These righteous warriors took an oath to care for and watch over pilgrims, and when necessary they joined the ranks of the fighters as an elite unit.

The hospital was comprised of different wings and departments according to the nature of the illness and the condition of the patient – similar to a modern hospital. In an emergency situation the hospital could accept as many as 2,000 patients. The Hospitallers treated sick men and women of different religions. There is information about Crusaders who ensured their Jewish patients received kosher food. All that notwithstanding, they were completely ignorant in all aspects of medicine and sanitation: an eyewitness of the period reports that a Crusader doctor amputated the leg of a warrior just because he had a small infected wound – needless to say the patient died. The Muslim Arab population was instrumental in assisting the Crusaders in establishing the hospital and teaching them medicine. Arab culture has always held the medical profession in high regard and Arab physicians were famous far and wide.

In addition to the medical departments, the hospital also functioned as an orphanage where abandoned newborns were brought. Mothers who did not want their offspring would come there with covered heads and hand over their infants. In many instances when twins were born, one of them was given to the orphanage. The orphans were treated with great devotion and when they reached adulthood they served in the military order.

We can learn about the size of the hospital from contemporary documents. One of the documents recounts an incident about a staff member who was irresponsible in the performance of his work in the hospital. That person was marched alongside the building awhile, and the rest of the staff, with whips in hand, formed a line behind him and beat him. This spectacle was witnessed by all of the patients.

The Ayyubid ruler Saladin lived near the hospital following the defeat of the Crusaders, and he also renovated and maintained the structure. He permitted ten Crusader monks to continue to reside there and serve the population of Jerusalem.

The building collapsed in an earthquake that struck in 1457 CE and was buried beneath its ruins, which is how it remained until the Ottoman period. In the Middle Ages parts of the structure were used as a stable and the bones of horses and camels were found in excavations, alongside an enormous amount of metal that was used in shoeing the animals.

According to Monser Shwieki, the project manager, “The magnificent building will be integrated in a restaurant slated to be constructed there, and its patrons will be impressed by the enchanting atmosphere of the Middle Ages that prevails there”. According to Shwieki, “The place will be open to the public later this year”.

Click here to download high resolution pictures . Photograph credit: Yoli Shwartz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

Tenth century B.C. inscription found in Jerusalem

Hebrew University announces another significant archaeological discovery today. The entire press release is below.

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Jerusalem, July 10, 2013 — Working near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar has unearthed the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in the city.

Dr. Eilat Mazar with Canaanite inscription.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar displays a jar fragment unearthed near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount bearing an inscription in the Canaanite language. Dated to the tenth century BCE, it is the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in the city. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar; photographed by Oria Tadmor.)

The inscription is engraved on a large pithos, a neckless ceramic jar found with six others at the Ophel excavation site. According to Dr. Mazar, the inscription, in the Canaanite language, is the only one of its kind discovered in Jerusalem and an important addition to the city’s history.

Canaanite inscription excavated by Dr. Eilat Mazar.

This jar fragment bearing an inscription in the Canaanite language was unearthed near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount by Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. Dated to the tenth century BCE, it is the earliest alphabetical written text ever uncovered in the city. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar; photographed by Noga Cohen-Aloro.)

Dated to the tenth century BCE, the artifact predates by two hundred and fifty years the earliest known Hebrew inscription from Jerusalem, which is from the period of King Hezekiah at the end of the eighth century BCE.

A third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Mazar directs archaeological excavations on the summit of the City of David and at the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

The discovery will be announced in a paper by Dr. Mazar, Prof. Shmuel Ahituv of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Dr. David Ben-Shlomo of the Hebrew University, following their extensive research on the artifact. Prof. Ahituv studied the inscription and Dr. Ben-Shlomo studied the composition of the ceramic materials. The paper, “An Inscribed Pithos From the Ophel,” appears in the Israel Exploration Journal 63/1 (2013).

The inscription was engraved near the edge of the jar before it was fired, and only a fragment of it has been found, along with fragments of six large jars of the same type. The fragments were used to stabilize the earth fill under the second floor of the building they were discovered in, which dates to the Early Iron IIA period (10th century BCE).  An analysis of the jars’ clay composition indicates that they are all of a similar make, and probably originate in the central hill country near Jerusalem.

According to Prof. Ahituv, the inscription is not complete and probably wound around the jar’s shoulder, while the remaining portion is just the end of the inscription and one letter from the beginning. The inscription is engraved in a proto-Canaanite / early Canaanite script of the eleventh-to-tenth centuries BCE, which pre-dates the Israelite rule and the prevalence of Hebrew script.

Reading from left to right, the text contains a combination of letters approximately 2.5 cm tall, which translate to m, q, p, h, n, (possibly) l, and n. Since this combination of letters has no meaning in known west-Semitic languages, the inscription’s meaning is unknown.

The archaeologists suspect the inscription specifies the jar’s contents or the name of its owner. Because the inscription is not in Hebrew, it is likely to have been written by one of the non-Israeli residents of Jerusalem, perhaps Jebusites, who were part of the city population in the time of Kings David and Solomon.

Excavations at the site are conducted in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the East Jerusalem Development Company. The site is in the national park surrounding the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, near the southern wall of the Temple Mount compound. The Israel Antiquities Authority maintains the excavation site as a national park open to the public.

The excavations are made possible through a generous donation by Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman of New York. Participants in the dig include Israeli students and workers, along with students or alumni of Herbert W. Armstrong College sent to Jerusalem from Edmond, Oklahoma to participate in the excavation.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer

Roman road found in Jerusalem

A section of the Roman road that led from Joppa to Jerusalem has been found in the Beit Hanina community northeast of the Old City of Jerusalem. This road came to light during preparation for the installation of a drainage pipe.

The road is about 25 feet wide and is said to date back about 1800 years.

Roman road excavated in the Beit Hanina community. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Roman road excavated in the Beit Hanina community. Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The IAA press release, available here, gives attention the course of the road from Joppa (Yafo) and Jerusalem.

The road section discovered in the IAA excavations in Beit Hanina is part of the imperial network of roads that led to Jerusalem from the coastal plain. We know about these roads from both historical sources and archaeological excavations. Two main arteries led from Yafo to Jerusalem during the Roman period. One is the road that passes through Bet Horon and the other runs via Shaar HaGai. This particular segment belongs to the Bet Horon road. The road began in Yafo and passed through Lod where it split it two different directions: one to Shaar HaGai and the other by way of Modiin along the route of what is today Highway 443 to Bet Horon. From there the road continued eastward as far as Bir Nabala and turned south to Kefar Shmuel where it merged with the highlands road that led to the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Times of Israel includes a map here showing the location of the uncovered section of road.

HT: Joseph Lauer

Clarence Stanley Fisher — Armageddon

Clarence Stanley Fisher was trained as an architect at the University of Pennsylvania in his hometown of Philadelphia. He became involved in archaeology at Nippur, Iraq (the region of ancient Sumer). Later he worked with George Andrew Reisner at Giza, Egypt, and then at Samaria from 1908 to 1910. This expedition, sponsored by Harvard, was the first American excavation in Palestine. After a short time back at Giza, he excavated at Beth Shan (Beit She’an), a dig sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania.

Fisher received an invitation from the University of Chicago to work at Megiddo, a work funded by the Rockefeller family. This excavation continued from 1933 to 1939, but fisher stopped working at the site after two years because of bad health.

The Megiddo excavations were recounted by Fisher under the title The Excavation of Armageddon, a work published by the University of Chicago Press with a foreword written by James Henry Breasted. This work is available at Google Books.

From 1936 to the time of his unexpected death in 1941, Fisher served as Professor of Archaeology at the American Schools of Oriental Research in Jerusalem (now the Albright Institute).

Fisher is buried at the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

Grave marker for Clarence Stanley Fisher. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Grave marker for Clarence Stanley Fisher. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The brief information I have included here is summarized from a brief article by Milton C. Fisher in Bible and Spade 6:2 (Spring 1993). I get the impression that Milton is not related to Clarence. Milton Fisher cites two comments about C. S. Fisher that I wish to quote here.

W. F. Albright described Fisher as “an archaeological genius of no mean quality.”

Nelson Glueck wrote the following at the time of his death:

“The company of his friends misses him sorely. The host of those who loved him for his goodness of heart and humility of spirit will cherish the memory of this gentle man, whose last pilgrimage was to Nazareth, and whose final resting place is in Jerusalem.”

I find it fascinating to see so many well-known names associated with Fisher when Americans and American institutions were actively working in the Middle East.

Conrad Schick — architect, explorer, model builder

Conrad Schick was born in Switzerland and first came to Jerusalem with a group of men who planned to teach the local young people vocational trades. This group soon disintegrated, and Schick eventually married Friederike Dubler, a German missionary.

Schick became well known as an architect and city planner. He also became involved with some of the late 19th century explorers. He surveyed significant parts of the Old City, and built models of the temple mount and other structures in Jerusalem to use in teaching.

Schick and his wife are buried in the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion.

Grave marker for Conrad and Frederike Schick. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Grave marker for Conrad and Frederike Schick. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Epitaphs are often fascinating. This grave stone includes two Scriptures in German.

… for they have wholly followed the LORD (Numbers 32:12)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem … (Hebrews 12:22)

The short lane leading from Nablus Road to the Garden Tomb is named for Conrad Shick [Schick].

Conrad Schick Street leads to the Garden Tomb. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Conrad Shick Street leads to the Garden Tomb. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tom Powers has prepared an article about Conrad Schick, and I have made use of it in this post. The entire paper is fascinating. See here.

There is also a page devoted to Schick here.

Special Note: If you have any interest in the American Colony, and other people buried in this cemetery, please take a look at the comments by Tom Powers (Outremer) following the two earlier posts about the Spaffords.

David — the sweet psalmist of Israel

As a young man, David played the harp (lyre, Hebrew kinnor) for King Saul.

So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him. (1 Samuel16:23 NAU)

Later, David is called the “sweet psalmist of Israel.” We have many examples in the collections of Psalms.

Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, (2 Samuel 23:1 NAU)

On traditional Mount Zion, near the traditional Tomb of David there is a statue of King David playing the harp (lyre).

Statue of King David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Statue of King David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Our time in the Bible World has come to an end once more. It has been a profitable trip. I still learn something each time I come to this part of the world. Looking forward to next year in Jerusalem.

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