Tag Archives: Megiddo

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.

The Oriental Institute

Yesterday I visited the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.  When I visit a museum such as this I am not only looking for items with a specific connection to a biblical account, such as the prism which mentions Hezekiah, but also for artifacts that might illustrate daily life in Bible times.

Cooking pots are mentioned several times in the Scripture. One such reference is a sort of proverb.

It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.  For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 7:5-6 ESV)

This cooking pot is from Iron IIc at Megiddo (732-600 B.C.).

Cooking pot from Megiddo. OIUC. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Cooking pot from Megiddo. OIUC. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Notice the interesting account from the days of the prophet Elisha.

When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” Then one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, for they did not know what they were. So they poured it out for the men to eat. And as they were eating of the stew, they cried out and said, “O man of God, there is death in the pot.” And they were unable to eat. But he said, “Now bring meal.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Pour it out for the people that they may eat.” Then there was no harm in the pot.  (2 Kings 4:38-41 NASB)

One wonders what might have been cooked in that now-broken pot from Megiddo.

The Valley of Jezreel from Murakah

Every Bible class teacher has probably learned to sketch the coastline of Canaan (Palestine, Israel). Be sure to make that little jut out into the Mediterranean Sea to represent Mount Carmel. But Mount Carmel is much more; it is a range. Consisting largely of limestone, the mountain is almost 15 miles long by 5 miles wide. The elevation is about 1500 feet above sea level. From the western promontory one can overlook the city and port of Haifa. The Roman general Vespasian, who later became emperor, offered sacrifices on Mount Carmel before the war against the Jews (A.D. 66-70) (Hoade, Guide to the Holy Land, 665).

The location of Mount Carmel made it practical for travelers going north or south to travel around the mountain through the Jezreel Valley (or Valley of Megiddo). To the Greeks it was the Valley of Esdraelon.

Carmel is best known as the place of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Elijah had king Ahab to call all Israel and the 450 prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:17-40). The traditional site for this event is shown at Muhrakah on the eastern end of Mount Carmel. Below the Carmelite monastery of St. Elijah can be seen the valley of Megiddo and the tell of Jokneam (Josh. 12:22). The brook Kishon, where the prophets of Baal were slain, is nearby (1 Kings 18:40).

The photo below of the Jezreel Valley was made from the roof of the monastery. The view is a little to the north, but mostly to the east. The tell in the center of the photo immediately below the mountain is Jokneam. The Bible mentions its “pasture lands” in Joshua 21:34. In the distant left you can see the mountains of lower Galilee, where Nazareth is located. Mediddo, not visible, is to the extreme right. The River Kishon is just a little to the left of this view.

View of the Valley of Megiddo from Muraka. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Valley of Megiddo was the scene of many significant historical battles and provides the background for the setting of Armageddon (or Har-Magedon) in Revelation 16.

The photo below is intended to remind travelers to wear a hat and sunscreen when visiting Israel. It is much brighter than most Americans are accustomed to in the spring of the year.

Ferrell Jenkins and the Statue of Elijah at Murakah.