Unique Sites of Israel Blog: Biblical Gezer

Tel Gezer looks like a barren hill, the walking trails seen in the picture are filled with wonderful examples of archeology as far as the eye can see.

Pharaoh, King of Egypt, had come up and conquered Gezer and burnt it in fire, and killed the Canaanite who lived in the city. He gave it as a wedding present to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, and Solomon then build up Gezer (1 King 9:16)”

Read More

The remains of a 4000-year-old, Canaanite Guard tower, one of 25 which guarded the city. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The remains of a 4000-year-old, Canaanite Guard tower, one of 25 which guarded the city. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Gezer’s importance was largely due to its location on an important trade route junction.

Read More

Although Tel Gezer looks like a barren hill, the walking trails seen in the picture are filled with wonderful examples of archeology as far as the eye can see. The panoramic views at this site, including the skyscrapers of faraway Tel Aviv, are pleasing to the senses! Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Although Tel Gezer looks like a barren hill, the walking trails seen in the picture are filled with wonderful examples of archeology as far as the eye can see. The panoramic views at this site, including the skyscrapers of faraway Tel Aviv, are pleasing to the senses! Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In Canaanite times, Gezer was a major city-state with its own King.

Read More

Gate built by King Solomon which served as the entrance to the city about 2850 years ago.

Gate built by King Solomon which served as the entrance to the city about 2850 years ago. Photo Credit: Mboesch – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Today we visit Tel Gezer, an exciting biblical site that tourists seldom visit.  From afar it seems to be a non-descriptive desolate hill, but those who choose to enter this historic wonder are immediately treated to an abundance of stunning Biblical archeology!

Read More

Monopoly-like board games were part of life in Goliath’s birthplace – study Tell es-Safi – also known as Gath – is prominently featured in the Bible in events taking place several centuries later, including as the city of origin of David’s giant foe, Goliath.

Ever play a game of ancient Monopoly? Well, people who lived in Israel thousands of years ago might not have been playing the famous Hasbro game, but recent studies show that Canaanites were playing board games and that they were a part of life at the time.

In an article in Palestine Exploration Quarterly, scholars Shira Albaz, from the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, and Haskel Greenfield, director of the Near Eastern and Biblical Archaeology Lab at the University of Manitoba, found evidence for gaming in the form of game boards and game pieces that were recovered in the excavations of the Early Bronze Age at Tell es-Safi in central Israel.

Located around 35 km. (22 miles) northwest of Hebron, between the Judean Foothills and the southern Coastal Plain, Tell es-Safi – also known as Gath – is prominently featured in the Bible in events taking place several centuries later, including as the city of origin of David’s giant foe, Goliath.

A previous study at the site found that 4,500 years ago, Canaanite residents of Gath ate figs, olives, wheat, barley, grapes and many other species that have been symbols of the Land of Israel from the time of the Bible to today.

Read More

From Tradition unto Truth Bud Chrysler – 2021

Part One – THE DIVINE DAYS OF EXODUS 20:11 AND 31:17
The Genesis account of creation reaches its climax in the Lord’s observance of the Sabbath:
Genesis 2:1-4 – Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Israel’s observance of the Sabbath thereafter is a remembrance and an affirmation of their faith in Him as they fulfill the fourth commandment:
Exodus 20:8-10 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

Read More

As far as his bathtubs were concerned, it is incorrect. Herod the Great’s royal tubs, one found decades ago in the Kypros fortress and one recently discovered in the palace of Herodium, both just south of Jerusalem, were made of stone quarried in Israel, not in Egypt.

Herod’s calcite-alabaster bathtub, found in Kypros fortress. Credit: Prof. Amos Frumkin / The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Analysis has demonstrated that they were his personal tubs, the team writes. Why did Herod have bathtubs, anyway? Because he sought to introduce Roman cultural norms to Judea, including Roman bathing culture, a habit recently demonstrated to have led the ancient Romans to share not only bathwater, but also parasites.

Anyway, asked when the local quarries that produced Herod’s tubs were operative, Amir explains that the one in Te’omim Cave operated from the Middle Bronze Age to the early Roman period.
Only the tubs? Not at all. “Additional things were checked that also turned out to be local,” Prof. Maeir confirmed – and the team will be in touch about it in due time.
In one of those twists, the researchers were given samples from the Temple Mount to check the source of the alabaster, but these turned out to be marble, Amir says. Yes, there are objects in ancient Israel that were made of alabaster imported from Egypt, she confirms.

It bears adding that all along, archaeologists have assumed that while fine alabaster projects were made of Egyptian stone, it was clearer that poorer quality vessels around the Levant were made of local gypsum. Herod would not have abided tacky materials in his great works, as Josephus says regarding the temple project: “…as esteeming it to be the most glorious of all his actions, as it really was, to bring it to perfection; and that this would be sufficient for an everlasting memorial of him,” which explains a great deal.

“Herod built in all sorts of places around Israel, and in Jordan. There are even historic sources saying he built in Turkey,” Prof. Maeir says. “He was a local king, but an important one. The Romans were his patrons, but he was an important client.”

Nor was Israel thought to have the beautiful white calcite alabaster from which Herod’s bathtubs and many other artifacts, from cups to pillars, were fashioned. Which leads to the latest revelation, published by Dr. Ayala Amir of Bar-Ilan University, with Prof. Aren Maeir, Prof. Boaz Zissu and Prof. Amis Frumkin of the Hebrew University in the Nature journal Scientific Reports Herod would, of course, have wished for the finest alabaster for the greater glory of God and/or himself. The assumption had been that he obtained calcite alabaster for his bath facilities from Egypt, a key source of this soft stone in antiquity. Supporting that contention, no calcite alabaster quarries had been found in Israel. Until they were, Amir explains.

Frescoes in Herod’s Masada palaceCredit: באדיבות משלחת החפ

“Until a few years ago, we knew of no alabaster quarries in Israel and in Egypt there’s a ton,” Amir says. “So there had been a clear understanding that anything made of alabaster calcite had to have been imported from Egypt.” In fact, this importation of alabaster from Egypt began all the way back in the Bronze Age, she says; and it influenced the local alabaster plaster industry.

Yet in recent years, two quarries for calcite alabaster have been found, one in Te’omim Cave and the other in Abud Cave, both in central Israel, not far from Beit Shemesh. Thus the question arose: was Herod importing alabaster from Egypt, or using the local stone? Was the local rock even fine enough for his discriminating taste? In short: Was the assumption that he imported it from Egypt correct?

Read More

Archaeologists Find Unexpected Source of Stone for King Herod’s Bathtubs The assumption had been that the alabaster for the royal hygienic furnishings and other artifacts in Second Temple-period Judea was Egypt. Not so, analysis at Bar-Ilan University finds

“And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work; that is to build of himself the temple of God.” – Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus, XV Chapter 11

King Herod, the vassal king appointed by the Romans in 40 B.C.E. to rule Judea on their behalf, famously had a mania for colossal construction projects. Most famously, he redid the temple in Jerusalem, creating the reportedly magnificent second Second Temple after apparently deciding that the first Second Temple wasn’t grand enough. He is credited with building the palatial fortress at Masada, the port of Caesarea Maritima, palaces for himself (and his bonsai collection?), and in fact entire cities during his reign in the second half of the first century B.C.E.

Herod’s edifices were accoutered magnificently, using the finest materials, such as marble shipped over from Italy. Having been a seabed many millions of years ago, Israel now has abundant chalkstones of various types such as cheapo gypsum, but not marble, certainly not of the quality the king wanted for his ports, palaces and the great temple itself.

Read More

Vilarinho da Furna

In 1971 Vilarinho da Furna was flooded, in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. The village was inhabited by about 300 people, who had to move to neighbouring towns. Nostalgia is felt by many whenever the waters recede as they remember the village as it was originally built, with granite dwellings, characteristic of the region.

The drought has also affected some localities in Spain, namely in the region of Galicia. The Lindoso dam began receiving water in 1992, flooding five villages in the area. Now, the extreme drought has meant that the dam has only 20 percent of its full capacity, revealing the old dwellings.

The localities are now exposed and people have been heading to the dams, which are now practically empty, to visit the places that are described as ghostly.

In some places, the authorities are banning visits, due to the lack of security that some areas may present.

Read More

%%footer%%