Today we woke up to a great sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.
However, there was a mixup with the boat company, so we set off on plan B, which was to tour the areas north of the Sea of Galilee that had been planed for Saturday. The boat ride will now be tomorrow.
Our first stop of the day was at Tel-Hazor.
Hazor was a very important Canaanite city and was the most important town in the area at the time of the conquest by Joshua. Later at the time of Solomon, the walls of Hazor were rebuilt. The photo above shows the base of the city gates.
Our next stop was a site that has not had much exploration up to now.
And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Bichrites assembled and followed him in. And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.'” And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. (2 Samuel 20:14-22 ESV)
We then drove by an interesting site.
This site is called Omrit and is thought by some archaeologists to be the Temple to Augustus that was built by Herod the Great and mentioned by Josephus. I will also show the location at Banias below.
We also had fun getting the bus in and out of this location.
We then visited Tel-Dan.
Many of you will associate Dan with the tribe rather than a city. However, it was also a city. Originally the city was called Laish, but was renamed when the tribe of Dan moved to the north from their originally assigned territory. Since this was also one of the major cities in Israel at the time of the division of the kingdom, this is where Jeroboam set up one of the Golden Calves. The picture above shows the location of the altar, shaped as the metal structure, and the high place where the Golden Calf would have stood.
The last major stop of the day was at Banias, which is also just by the site of Caesarea Philippi.
Banias is the source of the Banias river which is one of the main source tributaries of the Jordan River. The area around the source is full of shrines to Pan and other associated deities. The original name of the site was Paneas, but later inhabitants could not pronounce the letter P, so the name changed.
Just beside the shrines to Pan is the traditional site of the Temple to Augustus.
The location of the Temple to Augustus is still being debated, so I am sure we will learn more about this subject in the future.
What really impressed me about this site, is that it may possibly be the place where Peter made his confession about Christ. If not here, it is not far away from here.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20 ESV)
As we were leaving I decided to take a picture of the river as it flows away from the source.
We then loaded back on the bus and made our way back toward Tiberias through the Golan Heights.
Our last stop of the day was at the Jordan River just before it flows into the Sea of Galilee. The bus driver let us off of the bus and we all crossed the Jordan on foot by walking across the bridge.
For more information about the trip you can also read the following blogs by other tour members.
Tomorrow we do plan on taking that boat ride around the Sea of Galilee :-).