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Wednesday Roundup

Excavations at the Central Bus Station of Beersheba are turning up remains from the Byzantine city.

The southern steps leading to the Temple Mount may have been used by worshippers singing the 15 Psalms of Ascent, writes Wayne Stiles. Not so, argues Leen Ritmeyer, former architect of the excavations. “There are, however, more than 15 steps, in fact, there are 27 at the eastern end and 31 at the southern end.” I don’t think that is correct, and I do know that if you read Psalm 120 at the bottom of the staircase and advance by two steps (to the broader steps) for the next psalm, you’ll be reading Psalm 134 at the top of the staircase. Perhaps that’s just coincidence. Of course, the psalms could be sung in many places as the pilgrim came up to Jerusalem and the temple to worship.

Southern Temple Mount steps with psalms of ascent, tb090705061

Southern steps leading to Double Gate of Temple Mount

Shmuel Browns reports that the public can now walk from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount via the (now underground) first-century street and drainage channel.

If you’re tired of going to the Dead Sea and seeing scantily-clad men, there is now hope. A beach was dedicated on Monday for separate bathing. If they’d only open a third section for the men in Speedos, we would all be happy.

A one-minute video at the Jerusalem Post shows the highlights of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

An automated ticket-selling machine is now in operation at the Giza Pyramids.
Zahi Hawass’ successor has resigned.

A Roman villa and a Byzantine mansion are being excavated in Antioch of Pisidia.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Israel Antiquities Authority looks like, Leon Mauldin has a picture of her. 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Wednesday Roundup

  1. I was in Pisidioan Antioch last October and there was a group that had uncovered a huge section of Roman era ruins. They seem to be covering a lot of ground after many years of little being done.

    Great NT site, Too bad few tourist get to the site. It's been deserted the three times I've been there.

  2. Hi Todd, I should have clarified that, when reconstructing the steps, there are 31 steps in the west. At present, only 30 can be seen. Wayne didn't mention that one is supposed to take two steps at a time to complete the 15 Psalms, in which case it could work. There still are only 12 wide steps.

  3. Wayne – thanks for the note and I think the clarification is a good one.

    Leen – that explanation helps. I wonder why the builders were not consistent with their use of broad steps. Certainly the engineers would have planned it out in advance. Thanks for serving our readers with this and so many other things.

  4. Benj – yes. But I would prefer the word "and" to the word "or." It makes sense that the psalms could have been sung anywhere on the way "up," but perhaps the excitement from the anticipation would be greatest just before entering the temple precinct.

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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