(Post by Seth M. Rodriquez)
For the next few posts of our “Picture of the Week” series, we will be working our way back through the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands and focusing on obscure sites included in the collection. One of the great things about the PLBL is that it includes places that you would never typically go when you visit the lands of the Bible. Even if you spent a semester or a whole year in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, or one of the other countries covered in the collection, you would probably not visit every site that Todd Bolen and his team of photographers have assembled in the PLBL. So this little sub-series can be called “Obscure Sites in the PLBL.” Or perhaps, “What You Missed on Your Trip to the Holy Land.”
Our first stop is the ancient city of “Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali” (Josh. 20:7). This site is located just west of the Huleh Basin, in the region north of the Sea of Galilee. Below is a section of a map provided in Volume 1 of the PLBL which shows the location of Kedesh.
Tel Kedesh itself can be seen image below, covered with spring wildflowers. In the Old Testament period, this was one of the places designated a “city of refuge” where someone could escape from an avenger if they had accidentally killed someone (Josh. 20:1-9). There were six cities of refuge scattered throughout the Israelite territory and Kedesh was the one that was farthest to the north.
Kedesh also shows up in Judges 4. This was the where Barak lived, and it is where the Israelite army assembled before they marched out to war under the leadership of Deborah and Barak. At the time, the king of Hazor was oppressing the Israelites. Hazor is only about 8 miles southeast of Kedesh, and in the image above the camera is looking in that direction.
Lastly, Kedesh is mentioned in 2 Kings 15:29 where it was conquered by Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, along with many other cities in the region. However, the site continued to be occupied for many centuries after that. In the Roman period a temple was built here, and if you visit the site today you can see part of one wall still standing. Several pictures of the Roman temple at Kedesh are available in Volume 1 of the PLBL.
This image and over 1,100 others (along with the map) are included in Volume 1 of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands and is available here for $39 with free shipping. Additional photographs taken in this region can be seen here, here, and here on BiblePlaces.com. Historic images of this region can be seen here, here, and here on LifeintheHolyLand.com.
Update: Another suggested location for the Kedesh of Barak is Kh. el-Kidish, southwest of the Sea of Galilee. Both of these sites were within the territory of Naphtali.