Vol 7, #4 -
December 16, 2008
I was recently looking at some photos I took on January 1, 2000.
Some people were afraid the world was going to stop that morning, and
as I spent that day traveling around remote sites in the ancient
tribal territory of Benjamin, I wondered how I would know if it did.
It's hard to believe now that 2008 is now ending.
This month's featured photos are not typical for this
newsletter. Instead of photos from the ground, we have a set of
satellite photos of Jerusalem that are helpfully labeled. If
you've not quite put the pieces of Jerusalem together in your head, or
if you can use a teaching tool, you'll find this PowerPoint
presentation quite helpful.
Also, if you've been waiting to order the new "Views
That Have Vanished" CD, now is a great time to order. We have
had excellent response on this
unique and rich collection. If you're looking for a gift for your
teacher, pastor, or future travel companion, we highly recommend it.
All U.S. orders placed by Friday the 19th will arrive before Christmas
and shipping is free.
May you have a blessed celebration of Christmas and/or Hanukkah.
News from the BiblePlaces Blog...
Video Review: Noah's Ark in Iran - The latest in the "don't
believe everything you read/hear/watch in biblical archaeology"...
Perfume Bottles Found at Magdala - The excavators suggest they
may be the same ones used by Mary Magdalene. I don't think so...
The Acoustics of Mounts Gerizim and Ebal -
A fascinating report by a traveler in the 1870s who did an experiment...
New Discoveries at Herod's Tomb - Archaeologists have found more
coffins and a theater that could seat 750 people...
Archaeology Discovery of the Year?: Khirbet Qeiyafa
Perhaps you've seen these funny words, Khirbet
Qeiyafa, in a news story or blog in the last few months.
Admittedly, the name probably doesn't grab most readers, and you may
just skip over to the next story. If you're still reading this,
however, my goal is to explain, in concise form, just why you might want
to pay attention to names you have trouble pronouncing.
Defining terms: Khirbet is a word
with a meaning similar to "tell." Whereas a tell has many layers, a khirbet
consists of one or two, meaning that people only lived there in one or
two periods in ancient times. Khirbet is often translated "ruin," as opposed
to a tell, which is translated as "mound." Qeiyafa is the name
the locals gave to this particular ruin. Sometimes the modern names preserve the
ancient name (for instance, Beisan was the Arabic name of biblical Beth
Where is it?: Kh. Qeiyafa is located
in the western foothills (Shephelah) of the Judean hill country.
More specifically, it sits on the northern side of the Elah Valley.
Elah Valley, that sounds familiar: Yes,
that's because when David fought Goliath, the two armies were situated
on hills on opposite sides of the Elah Valley (1 Sam 17:2-3).
David and Goliath?: That's where this whole
story gets real interesting.
Tell me more: After two seasons of
excavating, the ruins at Kh. Qeiyafa date to approximately 1000 B.C.
According to the biblical chronology, David became king over Judah in
about 1000 B.C.
Too bad they didn't find an inscription:
Actually, they did! It may be the earliest Hebrew inscription.
It is quite difficult to read, which is why a translation has not yet
Is Qeiyafa in the Bible?: Maybe. The
excavator once suggested that the site was Azekah (1 Sam 17:1).
Now he has proposed that it is Shaaraim (1 Sam 17:52). Another
scholar has identified the site as Gob (2 Sam 21:18-19). I have
argued that it may be Ephes-dammim, where the Philistine army was camped
when they fought David (1 Sam 17:1).
What's the bottom line: 1) This is an
important site from the time of David. 2) Critical scholarship that has
tended to minimize the importance of the Israelites during this time may
need to revise their conclusions. 3) The inscribed potsherd is
likely to be a big story when it is translated. 4) Continued
excavations will likely reveal more in future years.
Where can I find more?: You can google
straight to the excavation's website (#1
and #2), read my analysis of
why the site may be
Ephes-dammim, and why I don't think it is
Gob. Other posts I have written (or will write) may be found
A Reader Writes
and a Related Tip
Todd - I must confess that
there were several things I did not understand when I was in [classes
at] IBEX. One that always had me in a fog was the view from Nebi Samwil.
I never "got" where we were looking. But, in prepping for this Sunday's
last Israel presentation in church, I found myself forced to cover Nebi
Samwil's view. So, I pulled out my Pictorial Library and discovered
your PowerPoints, panoramas, and aerials that FINALLY enabled me to
understand what we were looking at Nebi Samwil!
Your Pictorial Library
collection has gathered dust on my bookshelf for almost a year now. I
don't know why. Now that I have reviewed it for refreshing my
understanding, I am astounded at the work you put into that project! It
is OUTSTANDING. Thank you! It is a resource that I shall use with
renewed vigor. I think I'm gonna put everything on my computer and
begin indexing it with Picasa, so I have readily searchable data for the
future when I have the opportunity to teach on Israel again. But, I just
wanted to thank you very much for the excellent resource that the
Pictorial Library is. You have done an amazing job on that.
My Follow-Up: Of course it is gratifying to hear
such encouraging words, but I include them here for the benefit of my
Specifically, the Pictorial Library may be gathering dust on YOUR shelf,
and that may be depriving yourself or those around you of some valuable
instruction. Personally, I've heard teaching this past week on
Jesus' walking on the Sea of Galilee and of his healing the blind man at
the Pool of Siloam, but not a single photograph in the instructor's
PowerPoint. Since I can picture the scene in my mind, I am not
missing out, but others are.
Here's a suggestion to make it easier: use the
PowerPoint files already included on the Pictorial Library CDs. These make it easy
to find related images, plus they have extensive explanations about the
sites. Picasa is a good program for searching for jpg images, but
the PowerPoint files have additional material, such as labels on aerial
photographs or panoramic views. Besides, if you use PowerPoint for
your presentations, you can very easily copy the slides you want from
the CD to your file.
By the way, the Nebi Samwil material is in the
"Benjamin" file on the
"Samaria and the Center" CD, and you can see many
places mentioned throughout the Old Testament in this area.
Featured BiblePlaces Photos:
Satellite Photos of Jerusalem
This month's featured images are high-resolution screenshots of
Jerusalem. The base images come from Google Earth, but helpful
labels have been added by A.D. Riddle that make it easy to identify the
major features of the ancient and modern city. The five slides are
each included with and without labeling, for maximum usefulness.
The labeled images are:
Jerusalem's Valleys and Mount of Olives
Jerusalem's Hills, Valleys and Springs
Jerusalem's Citadel and Holy Sites
Jerusalem's Walls and Gates
These images are available in a
PowerPoint file, and the
base images are from Google Earth and are
subject to the terms and conditions as established by Google.