Tag Archives: Lebanon

Acts 20–21 — Paul’s Travel Itinerary with Photo Illustrations

The precision and chronological exactitude with which this journey is recounted is amazing. F. F. Bruce says,

The description of this critical journey of Paul and his disciples to Jerusalem is given in considerable detail; some have compared the detailed description in the Third Gospel of Jesus’ critical journey to Jerusalem with His disciples. But the kind of details is different; the chronological exactitude of this second “we” narrative of acts is due mainly to the fact that Luke was one of the party and kept a log-book. (The Book of Acts in the NICNT, 407).

Acts 20:6    —    Paul left Philippi “after the days of Unleavened Bread”(Passover). He was hurrying to be in Jerusalem “on the day of Pentecost” (20:16). This would be 50 days after Passover. He had been in Ephesus on Pentecost one year earlier (1 Cor. 16:8).
Acts 20:6    —    Paul came to Troas within 5 days. Tarried 7 days. A “door” had been opened for Paul at Troas less than a year earlier, but he was not able to enter it (2 Cor. 2:12).
Acts 20:7    —    On the first day of week — gathered together with the disciples to break bread.
Acts 20:11    —    Monday (or ? Sunday) — Paul departed. This depends on whether they followed the Jewish practice of sundown beginning the new day, or the Roman practice of mid-night to mid-night.
Acts 20:13-14    —    Assos. Paul’s companions went by boat from Troas to Assos. Paul traveled overland.
Acts 20:14    —    Mitylene (on the island of Lesbos).
Acts 20:15    —    Following day — opposite Chios.
Acts 20:15    —    Next day — Samos.

The photo below was made from a ship after it passed from north to south through the narrow strait between Samos (on the left) and the Turkish coast (on the right).  The ancient site of Trogyllium is located on the small peninsula extending into the Aegean Sea.

Samos-Turkey Strait. View North. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

View north of the Samos-Turkey Strait. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Acts 20:15    —    Tarried at Trogyllium. (Appears in Western and Byzantine texts and in the KJV and NKJV.) The omission of the name in most manuscripts is explained by Bruce M. Metzger:

“Chiefly because of superior external attestation, a majority of the Committee preferred the shorter text” (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 478).

Ramsay points out that the information is,

“in itself highly probable, for the promontory of Trogyllian or Trogylia projects far out between Samos and Miletus, and the little coasting vessel would naturally touch there, perhaps becalmed, or for some other reason” (The Church in the Roman Empire, 155).

Acts 20:15    —    The day following — Miletus.

This photo shows some standing water in the Lion Harbor of Miletus.

Ruins of the Lion Harbor at Miletus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ruins of the Lion Harbor at Miletus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Acts 20:16    —    Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus — to be in Jerusalem on Pentecost (fifty days after leaving Philippi).

From Miletus Paul sent for the Ephesian elders. Consider the distance. How long would it take the courier to go to them and for them to come to him at Miletus? The distance was 63 miles by land or 38 if they went across the gulf of Latmos. This gulf is now silted up, leaving only a small inland lake.

The photo shows the site of the Gulf of Latmos which is now silted up. Turkish farmers grow rice in the area. The Meander River flows to the left of this photograph.

Site of Lake Latmos, now silted up, within two miles of Miletus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Site of the Gulf of Latmos, now silted up, within 2 miles of Miletus. Photo: F. Jenkins.

Acts 21:1    —    Set sail on a straight course to Cos.

  •  Next day to Rhodes. Tradition identifies this stop at St. Paul’s Bay at Lindos.
  • Patara.
  • Patara to Tyre. According to Chrysostom this trip took five days (Homily XLV.2; cf. Bruce, The Book of Acts in NICNT  421). They were always at the mercy of the wind. When they came within sight of Cyprus they sailed past to the south of the island as they headed to Syria (21:3).

Acts 21:4    —    Tyre — Paul tarried 7 days (note 20:6-7).
Acts 21:7    —    Ptolemais [modern Acre in Israel] — stayed one day.
Acts 21:8    —    Caesarea. They arrived the next day. The text does not say whether they went by boat or land. At Caesarea they stayed with Philip for “many days” (21:10).

Acts 21:15-17    —    Up to Jerusalem of Judea (cf. 21:10).

Acts 21:18    —    The following day Paul and the others visited James and the elders.

If our study of the Book or Acts, or any book of the Bible, is only a cursory one without attention to details, we miss much of what was intended for us.

Note: Use the Search Box to locate posts about Philippi, Assos and Mitylene, Ephesus, Miletus, Rhodes, Tyre, Ptolemais, and Caesarea.

Thomson’s “The Land and the Book” on Logos community pricing

William Thomson’s 3-volume set, The Land and the Book, is now on community pricing at Logos.


Thomson - The Land and the Book

The Land and the Book

This set of books was published by Harper & Brothers between 1880 and 1886.

Thomson spend many years living in Beirut and traveling throughout the region. This is one of the excellent books telling of travel in those days, and of the then-current understanding of the location of various sites.

I am delighted that this book is now on community pricing for $18. If enough people place a bid the price could be lower. Place your bid today.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Acco, Achziv, and Rosh Hanikra in the Plain of Acco

The Plain of Acco runs along the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Rosh Hanikra and the Ladder of Tyre. The northern portion of the plain is visible in our photo today.

On the right side of the photo you will see the Crusader wall at Acco (Akko, Acre, Ptolemais). Continue along the coast to the north for about 6 miles and you will see a populated area known as Nahariya. Immediately north of Nahariya is the location of Tel Achziv (Achzib, Joshua 19:29; Judges 1:31).

On the left of the photo you see a mountain ridge with a white tip protruding into the sea. That is the Ladder of Tyre and the site of Rosh Hanikra. The Israel/Lebanon border runs along the mountain ridge (West-East).

Click on the photo for a larger image that will allow you to see the features of the plain more clearly.

Aerial View of Plain of Acco (north): from Acco to Achziv to Rosh Hanikra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Plain of Acco (north): from Acco to Achziv to Rosh Hanikra. Photo by F. Jenkins.

In ancient times a major international road ran along this coast.

See our previous post about Achziv (here) and the links there to earlier posts about the Plain of Acco.

The 2012 Exploratory Excavation at Tel Achziv “aims to lay the foundation for the understanding of the maritime activity in the site, concentrating on three foci of excavation:”

  1. Excavation of a Roman monumental structure on the coast, connected with an elaborate fish pond (piscina), possibly the remains of a Villa Maritima
  2. An exploration of the possible harbor area, in the vicinity of an artificial rock-cut channel, looking for additional harbor installations
  3. Excavation of the Middle Bronze Age rampart.

Details about the excavation directed by Dr. Gwyn Davies of Florida International University and Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa is available here.

Monday meandering — August 29

Looking for a beautiful photo of the Cedars of Lebanon. Try one of these by Mark Connolly, posted by Carl Rasmussen on the HolyLandPhotos’Blog here. I understand that the oldest of the cedars are located at an elevation of about 6,500 feet above sea level at the village of Bchareé  in Mount Lebanon. The cedars are beautiful at any time of the year, but these snow photos are especially beautiful. I have seen them twice, but only with a little bit of snow. Note just two of the significant references to the cedars in the Bible.

  • Hiram of Tyre floated cedar from Lebanon to Joppa for Solomon’s Temple (966 B.C.; 2 Chronicles 2:16).
  • Cedars were floated to Joppa for the rebuilding of the temple (520-516 B.C.; Ezra 3:7).

Gordon Franz sent me an advance notice of an article you may read on his Life and Land blog. He is coining a new phrase be included in his Cracked Pot Archaeology category. It is a sub discipline of pseudo-archaeology called “Apostolic” Archaeology.

The practitioners of this discipline are usually adventurers, sometimes treasure hunters, and generally with neither field training in archaeological methodology nor academic credentials in Near East archaeology, but perhaps a superficial knowledge of the Bible. They claim to have discovered objects or places of great Biblical importance and declare it to be whatever they want it to be. They usually try to justify their pronouncements with a Bible verse. Their declarations are made as if they were speaking ex cathedra (i.e., with authority).

Read more here. We will be on the alert for more of Gordon’s exposés.

Dr. Claude Mariottini writes about what it is like to go back to teaching after the summer break. He comments on the plague of Email here.

In addition, with the advent of computers, we also had the birth of emails, that modern plague that invades one’s life day and night.  With the growth of technology, now one can check emails at the office or at home.  In addition, email follows you on your iPad and on your smart phone.  Emails are everywhere.

Last month my wife and I went on a vacation.  When I returned to the office, I had to process hundreds of emails.  I have an email at school, one at home, and another for the blog.  Just to process all the emails that had accumulated over a two-week period, it took me almost two days.  Maybe, some of us are luddites at heart, yearning for the good old days that never existed.

There is more good stuff there. I suggest you read it.

Which reminds me. I get more questions by Email, comments, and messages on FB, than I am able to answer. I want to answer most of them, but it is difficult to get to them. Hope you understand.

Mount Hermon from the Damascus Road

Mount Hermon is the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. The mountain is about 20 miles long and has three peaks. At 9,232 feet above sea level it is the highest mountain of Canaan, or Roman Syria, named in the Bible. The mountain now is shared by the countries of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. The photo below shows mount Hermon from the east, a few miles south of Damascus toward Quneitra. This is roughly the route of the famous Damascus Road taken by Paul as he went from Jerusalem to Damascus. This photo was made the middle of May, 2002. There was more snow on the west side of the mountain in Lebanon than you see here.

View of Mount Hermon from the East. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2002.

View of Mount Hermon from the East. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins 2002.

The first biblical reference to Mount Hermon is found in Moses’ account of the Israelite conquest of transjordan (Deuteronomy 3:8). He says that Israel took the land from the hand of two Amorite kings “from the valley of Arnon to Mount Hermon.” The Sidonians, of ancient Phoenicia, called the mountain Sirion, and the Amorites called it Senir (Deuteronomy 3:9). The half-tribe of Manasseh lived in the area of Bashan which is south of Mount Hermon (1 Chronicles 5:23). The Mountain of Bashan is probably a reference to Mount Hermon (Psalm 68:15). Hermon is mentioned in four references in the poetic books of the Old Testament (Psalm 42:6; 89:12; 133:3; Song of Solomon 4:8).

The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. (Psalm 89:11-12 ESV)

This post is a slightly revised post from 2009, but the photo is a new one digitized from a slide made in 2002.

The plain of Acco: Acco, Aczib, Ladder of Tyre

The coastal cities of Acco and Aczib (Achzib) were allotted to the tribe of Asher in the days of Joshua (Joshua 19:24-31). According to this text the territory reached from (Mount) Carmel on the south to Great Sidon on the north. Israel was not able to control all of the territory

Geographers describe the coastal portion of Asher as the plain of Acco.

Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. (Judges 1:31 NAU)

The map below, intended to show the location of Aczib, shows the coastal area from Mount Carmel (where Haifa is located) to the Ladder of Tyre. The Ladder of Tyre is a natural formation that has served as a border between Israel and Lebanon during many historical periods. Within this territory you see Acco and Aczib.

Aczib, plain of Acco in Asher. BibleMapper.org.

Map showing Plain of Acco in tribe of Asher. BibleMapper.org.

In the aerial photo below you will see the view north from Acco, including the Crusader city, to the ladder of Tyre. The total distance is about 20 miles.

Aerial view north from Acco to the Ladder of Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial view north from Acco to the Ladder of Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In New Testament times the city of Acco was know as Ptolemais. The only biblical reference to the city is in the account of Paul’s return from his third journey. From Tyre to Ptolemais is a distance of about 45 miles. Paul and his companions stayed stayed seven days at Tyre, but only one day at Ptolemais.

When we had finished the voyage from Tyre, we arrived at Ptolemais, and after greeting the brethren, we stayed with them for a day. On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him. (Acts 21:7-8 NAU)

In a subsequent post we plan to show you the Plain of Acco between Mount Carmel (Haifa) and Acco.

The flea river: Nahr Bareighit or Nahal Iyon

The least known of the sources of the Jordan River is the Nahr Bareighit (flea river) or Nahal Iyon (the name used in Israel). Like the Senir (Hasbani), this river begins in the Beka Valley of Lebanon. It is often overlooked when the sources of the Jordan are named.

Nelson Glueck, The River Jordan, describes the Nahr Bareighit.

The westernmost source of the Jordan is the small mountain stream, Nahr Bareighit. Through a rude gorge, it tumbles down southward from the hilly meadowland of Merj ‘Ayun, which retains in clear part its ancient Biblical name of Ijon (1 Kings 15:20), to add its waters to the formation of the fateful [Jordan] river. The Nahr Bareighit joins the Nahr Hasbani about three quarters of a mile above the point where the Hasbani joins the junction of the Leddan and Banias streams. These last two alone were anciently considered as the sole sources of the Jordan. All found help to form it, and lose their identity in it, as the Jordan starts it flow under its own name.

“Roll, Jordan, roll;
I want to go to heaven when I die
To hear sweet Jordan roll.”

Deni Baly, The Geography of the Bible, devotes a single sentence to this little stream.

The basin of Marj ‘Ayoun to the west is drained by the smaller Bareighit, which leaps over the threshold in a series of charming waterfalls near Metullah and postpones its junction with the Jordan until just before the Huleh marshes. (193)

The photo below shows the Iyon Mill Falls. It is one of the beautiful photos of several falls on the river from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. Check BiblePlaces.com to purchase the complete set or the DVD of Galilee and the North.

Nahal Iyon Mill Falls. Photo: BiblePlaces.com.

Nahal Iyon Mill Falls. Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.

The Senir, a source of the Jordan River

The longest source of the Jordan is the 24-mile-long Nahr Hasbani which begins in the Beka Valley of Lebanon and flows south to join the Jordan. Israel has replaced many of the Arabic names that were commonly used in earlier decades with Hebrew names. The Old Testament says that the Sidonians “call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir” (Deuteronomy 3:9). The river is now designated Senir in Israel.

At the Senir (Hasbani) on Israel Highway 99. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

At the Senir (Hasbani) on Israel Highway 99. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Other passages identifying Mount Hermon as Senir are 1 Chronicles 5:23, Song of Solomon 4:8, and Ezekiel 27:5. Nelson Glueck, The River Jordan, calls attention to Psalm 42:6, translating it this way:

O my God, my soul is cast down within me: Therefore am I mindful of thee from the land of the Jordan, and the Hermons” (Psalm 42:6)

The plural of the Hebrew word chermonim is bought out in the English translations by phrases like “peaks of Hermon” or “heights of Hermon.”

Israel Highway 99 runs north east from Kiryat Shmona to the Golan Heights past Tel Dan and Banias (Caesarea Philippi) and two other sources of the Jordan (the River Dan and the River Banias). Because this river begins in the vicinity near Mount Hermon, it is called the Senir.

The photo below is the view north from Highway 99.

The Senir River (Hasbani) view north from HWY 99.

The Senir River (Hasbani) view north from HWY 99. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I think the slide on the west side of the river is used to launch kayaks into the river.

Extreme weather in the Middle East

Most parts of the United States have severely cold weather tonight. Even here in Florida we are expecting record cold tonight and tomorrow night. One of the cruise ships was unable to enter the Tampa port today due to strong winds.

All of that reminded me about the extreme weather in the eastern Mediterranean and various parts of the Middle East. The network news showed conditions on the cruise ship that was unable to enter the harbor at Alexandria. The photo below show the breakwater at the entrance to the Alexandria harbor. The flat looking building to the right on the shore is the famous new library of Alexandria.

Breakwater at entrance to Alexandria harbor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Breakwater at entrance to Alexandria harbor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

RFIenglish has the following summary:

Twenty-six ships were barred from entering the Suez Canal and 29 vessels delayed for three hours. The waterway was hit by poor visibility and winds of up to 40 knots an hour, said an official at the canal, which is Egypt’s third-largest source of foreign revenue after tourism and remittances from expatriate workers.

Red Sea and Mediterranean ports were closed for a second day on Sunday, while an Italian container ship, Jolly Amaranto, was stranded off the north-western coast after its engines broke down.

Visibility at Cairo airport was reduced to 300 metres.

As a long drought that affected the region came to an end, temperatures plummeted and storms hit Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel:

* In Lebanon seaside roads and ports have been closed after a 45-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree hitting her car – the year’s first snowstorm hit the country’s mountains;
* Off Israel a Moldovan freighter went down near the port of Ashdod but its crew of 11 Ukrainians was rescued.
* Syria’s capital Damascus was hit by snowstorms;
* Jordan suffered sandstorms and was braced for heavy rain and snow, which could lead to flooding.

Forecasters expect the bad weather to continue on Monday and have advised people to stay indoors due to a sandstorm that has blanketed the Egyptian capital.

Read also the BBC report here, or the Breitbart coverage which Todd Bolen mentioned here.

The Israel National News reports on snow in the Jerusalem area. Haaretz says the precipitation is a boon to the Sea of Galilee which has been extremely low in recent months.

Fascinating article on “Tyre and the Poets”

Joseph P. Duggan writes a fascinating article on “Tyre and the Poets” in The American Spectator. Notice a few excepts. I have added some of the pertinent Scripture references within the article in brackets.

For $50 a family can take a safe, radio-call taxi from the congested heart of Beirut to the uncluttered ancient waterfront of Tyre, a few miles north of the border with Israel. Lush banana plantations line the coastal route.…

The Western literary imagination is attracted to Tyre because it swirls amid the turbulent confluence of Biblical history and prophecy, Homeric and Virgilian epic, Ovidian mythology, and imperial extravagances of luxury and vindictive warfare. Tyre is the birthplace of real or fabulous personages including Cadmus, Europa, and Dido, the latter of whom colonized Carthage as others were to plant the Tyrian standard in Mediterranean ports as far west as Cádiz. The men who sailed with Columbus and colonized the Americas were descendants of long-ago colonists from Tyre.

With its expensive purple dye made from a local mollusk, the murex, Tyre was the center for the Versaces and Givenchys of the ancient world. Paris took Helen of Troy here on a shopping expedition to drape in sumptuous fabric the frame and face that launched a thousand ships.

King Hiram of Tyre was an ally and trading partner of Jerusalem’s King Solomon. Hiram sold Solomon the cedar timber for the great Temple. [1 Kings 9:11]

The Jerusalem-Tyre relationship was rocky then as now. The old Hebrew prophets inveighed against the wealthy city and its neighbor, Sidon, as hotbeds of heathenism and vice. Jezebel, a Tyrian princess (and Dido’s great-aunt) who married Israel’s King Ahab, came to an unhappy end. [Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. 1 Kings 16:31]

Egypt’s pharaohs many times made war against Tyre. Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar battered Tyre in the 6th century B.C. [Ezekiel 26:7; 29:18] Some 250 years later, Alexander the Great already had established effective mastery over the entire Levant when he demanded to offer sacrifice at Tyre to its principal god, Melqart. Alexander maintained that he himself was divine because, he said, he was a descendant of divine Herakles, of whom Melqart was only an avatar. The Tyrians didn’t cotton to that.

When diplomacy failed, Alexander mounted a costly siege whose success resulted in the slaughter of thousands of Tyrians, deportation into slavery for the survivors, and ruin of the splendid city. Modern historians say there was no strategic rationale for Alexander’s destruction of Tyre and its people. The impulse for the genocide was something like the rage of a deranged, spurned lover. Is “education” the answer to war and the world’s other problems? Consider that the Macedonian sociopath had for his personal tutor the serene and rational Stagirite who wrote the Nicomachean Ethics.

When Jesus walked up the short road from Galilee to Tyre, [Matthew 15:21] preaching to the people and driving a demon out of a local woman’s daughter, [Mark 7:26] he saw what Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander had done to the place, fulfilling the prophecies of, inter alia, Amos, Ezekiel [26-28], Zechariah and Jeremiah. He instructed his disciples to say to Galilean towns that rejected them and their preaching: “It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for thee.” [Matthew 11:21-22]

The entire article may be read here.

Our photo was made in the harbor of the island city of Tyre in 2002.

Fisherman working with nets at Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Fisherman working with nets at Tyre. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I will make you a bare rock. You shall be a place for the spreading of nets. You shall never be rebuilt, for I am the LORD; I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 26:14 ESV)

HT: PaleoJudaica