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BiblePlaces Newsletter
Vol 17, #1 - April 17, 2018

Last year we released the first four volumes in the Photo Companion to the Bible series. We have been very encouraged by many enthusiastic responses we have received about this collection. Today we are excited to announce a new volume: The Book of Ruth. This little gem of a book is full of cultural and geographic scenes, and our team had a delightful time pulling together photographs that bring light to the backgrounds and customs of ancient times.

I think that this volume will always be one of my favorites. I love the story, and using both modern photographs and historic images, we have created a collection that is beautiful, extensive, and unique. With 350 images illustrating these four chapters, this will be a valuable resource for a long time. Everything is in PowerPoint, and many notes are included to explain what you are looking at.

We are selling the collection for only $20 this week. Whether you are studying or teaching the book now or later, this is the time to pick up a copy for the lowest price. You might think about whether it would also make a nice gift for a friend, teacher, or pastor. The $20 price includes free shipping (in the U.S.) and immediate download. 

Keep reading to see some of the photos from the Ruth collection as well as a new resource we've developed especially for those traveling in the United States this summer.

Todd Bolen
Photographer, BiblePlaces.com
Professor of Biblical Studies, The Master's University


New at the BiblePlaces Blog...

Weekend Roundup, Part 1 - the latest news from the biblical world, delivered each weekend unless we are traveling or preparing to release the new Ruth volume...

Early Bird Discount for IBC Conference - notice of a very interesting conference in June...

Luke & Acts (9): Book of Isaiah - Michael J. Caba's latest post on the historical reliability of Luke's two volumes...

Mikveh at Macherus - a before-and-after comparison of a Jewish ritual bath discovered at one of King Herod's palaces...

Undisturbed Canaanite Tomb Discovered at Megiddo - they don't often discover tombs that looters missed both in antiquity and in modern times...

And more...


Bible-Related Attractions in the U.S.

Several years ago, we created a list of "U.S. Museums with Artifacts Related to the Biblical World." This resource features more than 70 museums in 23 states and Canada.

Today we are pleased to announce a new list of "Bible-Related Attractions in the U.S." I was motivated to create this by a couple of events. Several years ago a friend mentioned to me that while driving up the East Coast with my family, I should stop at Chautauqua Institution and see the Palestine Park. I had no idea that there was a football-field-sized topographical model of the land of Israel tucked away in southwestern New York. Fortunately, we had a heads-up, and I paid a visit to this little-known illustration of the biblical world. Last summer I was passing through the Dallas area and this same friend asked me if I had ever visited the Capernaum First Century Village. Again, I was surprised that such a place existed.

So, in an effort to keep you from driving right past some interesting Bible-themed sites, we have created a list of such places. We invite you to take a look and bookmark it. And should you know of something we don't, please let us know!  

A Photo Every Day

Did you know that I post a photo every weekday on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? If you use any of these platforms, take a look at our pictures and follow us for more. And as you see images and captions you like, share them with your friends!


Featured BiblePlaces Photos:
The Book of Ruth

The story of Ruth is wonderful in so many ways. The selfless sacrifices of the Moabite woman and the Judahite farmer stand out against the backdrop of the evil days of the judges. The Book of Ruth tells a love story, but it is a love that is deeper than one man and one woman, for both Ruth and Boaz demonstrate deep devotion to the Lord in being willing to give up home and possessions for the sake of an old woman who could never repay them. Ruth is also a treasure because of its many cultural connections, and these lend themselves so well to photographs. The images below are a handful of the more than 350 illustrations in the latest volume in the Photo Companion to the Bible.

Click on the images below to view them in higher resolution. For a free 30-slide PowerPoint of Ruth 2:1-4, click here. To order the collection, go here. Readers are welcome to use these images for personal study and teaching. Commercial use requires separate permission. For more high-quality, high-resolution photographs and illustrations of biblical sites, purchase the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands or the Historic Views of the Holy Land collections.


"They went into the country of Moab" (1:2)

The story of Ruth begins in the land of Moab, where Elimelech's family has sought refuge from a famine in Bethlehem. The Moabites were descended from Lot and lived on the east side of the Dead Sea. Elimelech and Naomi may have traveled around the northern end of the Dead Sea, or a more direct route would have taken them across the Judean wilderness, underneath the shadow of Masada, and across the shallow waters to the Lisan peninsula. Once in Moab, they settled down and their sons married Moabite women. The photo above shows the village of Humud in a scene that might not look all that different from the way it was thousands of years ago.


"At the beginning of the barley harvest" (1:22)

Naomi returned to Bethlehem as the barley harvest was getting underway, probably during the month of April. The relief above comes from the tomb of Ounsou in Thebes, bought by Champollion and shipped to the Louvre in the early 19th century. The middle register shows the workers harvesting the grain with sickles. Behind them, women pick up the fallen ears of grain. The top register shows the men carrying baskets full of grain to the threshing floor. The scene dates to 1450 BC, several centuries before the time of Ruth. 


"Stay close to my young men until they finish harvesting" (2:21)

This photo is one of a group of images taken by American Colony photographers in the first half of the 20th century. The scene shows Arab residents of Bethlehem harvesting the grain in the fields on the outskirts of their village.


"He is winnowing barley on the threshing floor tonight" (3:2)

Once the grain was harvested, the workers carried it to the threshing floor where a sledge was used to separate the kernels from the stalks. Then the process of winnowing began. Threshing was done in the day when the air was warm and the straw more easily crushed. Winnowing typically took place later in the day when a breeze came up to blow the chaff away. This photo shows a man using a winnowing fork and the seated woman using a winnowing tray.


"So she went down to the threshing floor" (3:6)

After the winnowing, the piles of grain remained on the threshing floor. The farmer would often spend the night there on the threshing floor, protecting the grain from thieves who might try to rob him of his year's labors. This photo, taken by David Dorsey in the 1970s, shows a threshing floor at Gibeon, about 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Jerusalem.


"Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there" (4:1)

After the night meeting with Ruth, Boaz went to the town's gate because this was where the village elders gathered to decide matters. The photo above shows a recently excavated gate in the land of Judah west of Bethlehem. Since no ancient gate has yet been uncovered in Bethlehem (most of the city is covered by modern buildings), this gate at Khirbet Qeiyafa provides an illustration that is about 100 years after the time of Ruth. This gatehouse includes four chambers, two on each side of the passageway, where the elders could have sat. Here in the gatehouse Boaz agreed to take Ruth as his bride and raise up an offspring for the family of Elimelech and Naomi.

For more free images, download this PowerPoint presentation with 30 slides illustrating Ruth 2:1-4. To learn more about the Ruth collection, go here.



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All contents � 2018 Todd Bolen. Text and photographs may be used for personal and educational use with attribution. Commercial use requires written permission.