Unfolding History

Today was our last day in Jerusalem. Today was a day to unfold history and put everything from the trip into context.

The main focus of our day was a visit to the Israel Museum, but first we visited this interesting site.

20120913-210341.jpgNebi Samwil is just to the north-west of Jerusalem. Nebi Samwil is the traditional location of the tomb of Samuel, and may also be the location of Mizpah. There are active excavations taking place at the site that are shedding more light on this question. I will definitely be watching for further news.

From Nebi Samwil you can look out over the Benjamin plateau, and on a very clear day see all the way to the sea. The site also overlooks the tel of Gibeon.

20120913-211502.jpgWe should all remember the city of Gibeon for the following story in Joshua.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us.” But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?” They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us.”‘ Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. (Joshua 9:3-15 ESV)

Of course the trickery was soon discovered and they were punished.

But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place that he should choose. (Joshua 9:27 ESV)

We then boarded the bus and rode to the museum complex.

The first place we visited at the museum complex was a large scale model.

20120913-212252.jpgThe model shows Jerusalem as it was just before the Roman destruction of the city in 70 A.D. The model is at 1:50 scale and covers more than 21,000 square feet. Seeing the model helped us all better understand the location of sites in and around Jerusalem.

20120913-213342.jpgI took a lot of pictures of the model, and you will probably see some of them in future posts when I write about individual sites in Jerusalem.
The Israel Museum has only recently allowed photography, so we were excited about getting some good pictures. The first one that I took is one of my favorites.

20120913-213718.jpgThese are anthropoid coffins that were discovered in Deir el-Balah. The coffin Joseph was placed in would likely be similar to these.

So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:26 ESV)

As we progressed through the exhibits, we saw history unfold before our eyes. There were many great exhibits of important artifacts. Some of them were the originals of replicas that we had seen earlier in the trip, or were found in places where we had visited.

Another exhibit that I really liked combined two large stones in one exhibit.

20120913-214339.jpgOn the left side of the picture is a fragment of the warning inscription that forbids the entry of Gentiles into the Court of Women. On the left side we see an inscription that shows where the trumpet was sounded for the Sabbath or other feast days. This inscription was found near the base of the south-west corner of the temple platform.
I really like the way they are displayed in front of the drawing.

We were not able to take pictures inside the Shrine of the Book, but I was able to get a nice shot of the roof.

20120913-220031.jpgThe roof is constructed in the shape of a lid for the jars in which the Dead Sea scrolls were stored and later found. We saw one of the jars earlier in the week. I really enjoyed visiting the shrine. Especially after having visited Qumran earlier in the week.

After another great lunch we took a drive south of Jerusalem to see fields representative of the time of Christ. We then travelled back to the city and visited the Garden Tomb.

20120913-220303.jpgIn this picture we see what are supposed to be the two eyes of the place of a skull. It is hard to imagine what they would have looked like 2000 years ago.

20120913-221134.jpgWe then walked to a tomb that has been cut into the rock. It is representative of the type of tomb that Christ would have been laid in. However this tomb dates from a much earlier time period.

We then took a short bus ride back to the hotel. The Garden tomb is only a few blocks away and several of us walked past it again as we walked up to see the Damascus Gate and walk through part of the Old City.

20120913-222249.jpgA lot of scarves are sold in the shopping areas and they use a lot of mannequin heads to display them.

20120913-222540.jpgThey look a little creepy as you walk along and sometimes they are displayed in interesting ways. Maybe in a basket, on a chair or even on a post. In any case, the colors are beautiful.

Tomorrow morning we load our luggage on the bus and head to the airport. On the way we will visit places in the Shephelah.


For more information about the trip you can also read the following blogs by other tour members.

Ferrell’s Travel Blog

Exploring Bible Lands

Trent and Rebekah

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25 Responses to Unfolding History

  1. What an incredible place to visit, so rich in history!

  2. Sheryl says:

    Whew, those mannequin heads are spooky. It’s interesting how items are displayed for sale in different cultures.

  3. Glenda McDougal says:

    Totally fascinating, both pictures and dialogue. Have learned a lot. Looking forward to future pictures etc.

  4. Great photos. 🙂 That large scaled model is impressive. I really like the photo of the coffins. In the photo of the Garden Tomb, is the visible opening the entrance to the tomb?

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