Images & Art: Samaria
Ai - Et-Tell
The site of et-Tell is a prominent ruin that is usually identified as biblical Ai. Archaeological excavations though have shown that Ai was inhabited from 3000-2400 B.C. and again after 1200 B.C., but not during the time of Joshua's Conquest (1400 B.C.). Resorting to a "late date" theory of the Conquest does not solve the problem.
The Arab village of el-Jib sits on the north side of the hill and preserves the biblical name of the city inhabited by the Gibeonites. These people tricked Joshua into making a treaty with them; later the Israelites would be forced to defend their ill-made ally and in the process would defeat a five-king Canaanite coalition. The city of Gibeon sits on the west side of the Central Benjamin Plateau.[Bible Places]
The "City of Palms" spreads out on the west side of the Jordan River at 825 feet below sea level.
The Old Testament site of Tell es-Sultan is in the distance and is the city Joshua destroyed. In Jesus' day a new center had been constructed on the wadi banks in the foreground by the Hasmonean rulers and Herod the Great.[Bible Places]
One mile due west of traditional Ai (et-Tell) is Kh. el-Maqatir, an alternate location for Ai. Its location fits the approximate area one would expect to find the city that Joshua destroyed in the Conquest. Furthermore, the absence of any evidence of inhabitation at et-Tell should compel the honest historian to look elsewhere for Ai.[Bible Places]
Inhabited from the Chalcolithic period, Megiddo has approximately 26 levels of occupation. American excavators from the Oriental Institute worked from 1925 with the ambitious goal of excavating every level in its entirety. The made it through the first three levels before concentrating the work on certain areas.
Though its name identifies it as the home of the prophet Samuel and the tomb of Samuel is here venerated by Muslims and Jews, scholars are agreed that Samuel's home and place of burial are at Ramah, about five miles away. Excavations around the modern building which houses a mosque and a synagogue have revealed significant remains from the Crusader period.
10 miles south of Jericho, Qumran was on a "dead-end street" and provided a perfect location for the isolationist sect of the Essenes to live.
The site was excavated by Catholic priest Roland deVaux from 1953-56. More recent excavations of the site have taken place under the direction of Hanan Eshel.
Allegedly discovered by a Bedouin shepherd chasing a stray, the initial Dead Sea Scrolls found here changed the study of the Old Testament.
The seven scrolls were the Manual of Discipline, War of Sons of Light, Thanksgiving Scroll, Isaiah A and B, Genesis Apocryphon and Habakkuk Commentary.
Located between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal Shechem is preeminent in the biblical record, beginning with God's promise of the land to Abraham.
Later Jacob would return here with his family and settle shortly. During the Conquest, the twelve tribes gathered on these two hills to recite God's Law and the blessings and curses that accompanied obedience and disobedience.
The portable shrine that Moses built in the wilderness was stationed at Shiloh from the time of the Conquest until the city's apparent destruction by the Philistines in 1104 B.C.
Psalm 78:60 (NIV) "He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent he had set up among men."
Nestled in the Judean hills about ten miles west of Jerusalem, Yad HaShmonah is a thriving moshav (communal settlement) composed of Israeli and Finnish believers in Jesus Christ. The hill the moshav was founded on in 1971 was apparently sparsely occupied in the Arab periods, based on archaeological remains found at the site. The hill is a kilometer away from biblical Kiriath Jearim and likely closer to the Camp of Dan mentioned in Judges 18:12.
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