Category Archives: Travel

Another sunset photo on the Sea of Galilee

In response to our recent post on Sunset from En Gev on the Sea of Galilee here, Randy Myers tried to post an image of a photo he made of a sunset on the Sea of Galilee about two weeks ago.

I contacted Randy and asked permission to post his photo on the blog. It is a beautiful photo with Tiberias in the shadows. The bird in flight adds a really nice touch.

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Randy Myers.

Sunset on the Sea of Galilee. Photo by Randy Myers.

Much of the activity of Jesus during His earthly ministry involved the Sea of Galilee and the various ports on its shore. Here is one example.

After Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, the Pharisees and the Herodians made a plan to destroy Him.

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. (Mark 3:7-8 ESV)

Randy, thanks for sharing this photo with us.

 

Prof. Yossi Garfinkel speaks in Tampa

Prof. Yossi Garfinkel speaks at Florida College

Prof. Yossi Garfinkel speaks at Florida College

Yosef Garfinkel is head of the Berman Center for Biblical Archaeology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has been involved in numerous archaeological excavations in Israel. Last year he began the fourth archaeological excavation at Lachish. Prior to that he directed the dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a site overlooking the Elah Valley where David fought Goliath, from 2007 to 2013.

Garfinkel identifies Khirbet Qeiyafa as Biblical Shaaraim (Joshua 15:36; 1 Samuel 17:52; 1 Chronicles 4:31). He identifies two large buildings dating to the Iron Age at Khirbet Qeiyafa as a palace of David and a royal storeroom. We reported on this identification with photos here.

I think it is still impossible to say if Garfinkel’s identifications are correct, but I can say that his presentation will be interesting and enlightening. I have heard him speak at the Society of Biblical Literature annual meetings.

Florida College — Temple Terrace, FL
Puckett Auditorium
Tuesday, November 18 — 7:30 p.m.

This presentation is part of the Life Enrichment program at Florida College. These programs are intended primarily for students, faculty and staff of Florida College, but there should be some seats available for visitors who are interested in the subject.

Jesus taught the crowds from a boat

What kind of boat did Jesus sit in when he spoke parables to the multitudes gathered around the cove of the sower?

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach.  (Matthew 13:1-2 ESV)

We can not know details about the boat mentioned in this text. Only one boat from the Roman period has been discovered in the Sea of Galilee.

A boat that belonged to the Roman period (dated from the first century B.C. to the first century A.D.) was discovered buried in the mud on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in January, 1986, by two members of the Kibbutz Ginosar. Two years of drought made possible the discovery. The discovery was made south of the Kibutz and north of the Migdal, the traditional site of Magdala (or Tarichea in Greek).

The boat measures 26.90 x 7.55 feet. Shelly Wachsmann, nautical archaeologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority and Museums, says,

The boat was most likely used for fishing and transport of people and cargo. It could have been sailed, or rowed by a crew consisting of four oarsmen and a helmsman. – (An Ancient Boat Discovered in the Sea of Galilee, a brochure once sold at the Museum.)

The boat is now displayed in the Yigal Allon Centre at Kibbutz Ginosar.

The Roman boat discovered in the Sea of Galilee in 1986. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman boat discovered in the Sea of Galilee in 1986. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo below shows the side view of the boat. The display on the wall informs us that,

The boat is made mostly of oak and cedar, together with other types of wood, some recycled from disused boats. Thus far, laboratory tests have found eleven types of wood in the boat. Some were used to build the hull and others were added in smaller pieces later, to replace missing parts or repair faulty ones. The result is an intricate wooden patchwork vessel.

Twelve, not eleven, trees are shown on the display: Cedar, Tabor Oak, Christ Thorn, Carob, Aleppo Pine, Hawthorn, Plane Tree, Atlantic Terebinth, Sycomore, Laurel, Willow, and Judas Tree.

The Roman boat displayed in the Yigal Allon Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman boat displayed in the Yigal Allon Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A pottery lamp was found inside the overturned boat, and a cooking pot was found outside the boat near the prow. These vessels, along with some nails from the boat, are displayed at the museum.

Pottery found in association with the boat, and nails from the boat. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Pottery found in association with the boat, and nails from the boat. Photo by FJ.

At first the boat was placed in a tank in a temporary building while the conservation took place. It is now beautifully displayed in the Yigal Allon Centre, a museum at Kibbutz Ginosar on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Entrance to the Yigal Allon Center where the Roman boat is displayed. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Entrance to the Yigal Allon Centre where the Roman boat is displayed. Photo by FJ.

The boat used by Jesus and the disciples would have been larger (John 6:22; Mark 4:38). But on some occasions Jesus had a boat standing ready for Him (Mark 3:9). Perhaps one like this one.

The story of the discovery of the boat is told by Shelly Wachsmann in the Biblical Archaeology Review (14:05; Sept/Oct 1988). This little tidbit might be of interest here:

On Sunday [February 9, 1986], we were startled to read newspaper reports of a wreck from Jesus’ time that had been discovered in the Sea of Galilee. Somehow the news had leaked. By Monday the press was writing in front page stories about the discovery of the “boat of Jesus.”

The media hype was soon overwhelming. The Ministry of Tourism actively promoted the “Jesus connection” in the hope of drawing pilgrims to Israel. In Tiberias, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, fearful that excavation of the boat would promote Christian missionary work, demonstrated against it.

During the Jewish War in Galilee the Roman Emperor Vespasian made headquarters in Tarichea (= Magdala) for a period of time. The Romans engaged the Jews in a fierce naval battle. The outcome was not good for the local residents. I suggest you consult Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, book 3, for details. Notice this brief account of the outcome.

529 but as many of these were repulsed when they were getting ashore, they were killed by the arrows upon the lake; and the Romans leaped out of their vessels, and killed a great many more upon the land: one might then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped. 530 And a terrible stink, and a very sad sight there was on the following days over that country; for as for the shores, they were full of shipwrecks, and of dead bodies all swelled; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the sun, and putrefied, they corrupted the air, insomuch that the misery was not only the object of pity to the Jews, but to those who hated them and had been the authors of that misery. 531 This was the upshot of the naval battle. The number of the slain, including those who were killed in the city before, was six thousand and five hundred. (Jewish Wars 3:529-531)

The Ginosar about which we speak is on the shore of the region called the land of Gennesaret in the Gospels (Matthew 14:34; Mark 6:53). The lake is called the lake of Gennesaret in Luke 5:1.

A mosaic with a similar boat had been found earlier at nearby Magdala. The original has been displayed at Capernaum for many years, but it was in poor condition the last time I saw it there. A modern replica, pictured below, may be seen in the Yigal Allon Centre.

Replica of a mosaic discovered at Magdala. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Replica of a mosaic discovered at Magdala. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Boats played an important role in life around the Sea of Galilee in the time of Jesus. They were important in His ministry as well.

Restoration in the Protestant Cemetery in Jerusalem

A little more than a year ago we wrote a few posts about the Protestant Cemetery in Jerusalem where several well know persons are buried. These include Horatio Spafford, the author of “It is Well With My Soul,” and several famous archaeologists. See here. Use the search box to locate more articles about the cemetery.

We also reported on the vandalism of the cemetery here. In most instances this consisted of crosses being broken from their base.

The Jerusalem University College, on whose campus the cemetery is situated, reports now that the Society for the Preservation and Restoration of Israel Heritage Sites recently restored the grave markers. See their Facebook page with more photos here.

Restoring damaged tomb stones in the Protestant Cemetery.

Restoring damaged tomb stones in the Protestant Cemetery.

HT: Rebekah Dutton

The Berlin Wall — 1961-1989

The Berlin Wall was erected August 13, 1961 as a dividing line between East and West Berlin. As soon as East Germans began to cross into the west people began to make an effort to tear down the wall. I crossed from West Berlin into East Berlin on several occasions when the wall stood in order to see the Pergamum Museum. In 1990 I joined others in my group in trying our hand at chiseling a few piece of the wall as souvenirs. The little hammer and chisel I “rented” from an entrepreneur didn’t do much to the hardest concrete I had ever seen.

Trying to chisel a piece of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

Trying to chisel a piece of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

Some of our guys decided to go after the wall with a large concrete post.

American tourist use a concrete post to dry to break through the Berlin Wall. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

American tourists use a concrete post to dry to break through the Berlin Wall. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is how it looked from the East Berlin side. Notice the rebar in the wall and  the lady holding souvenir pieces of the wall.

Trying to make a breakthrough to East Berlin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Trying to make a breakthrough to East Berlin. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Before the wall came down we always went to the wall in West Berlin where we could see the top of the Brandenburg Gate above the 15-foot-high wall. In August my wife and I visited the beautiful gate as did numerous other tourist that day. The view is toward the former East sector and the famous Unter den Linden street.

The Brandenburg Gate in August, 2014. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Brandenburg Gate in August, 2014. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A short portion of the wall has been left as a reminder of the wall that once divided Berlin into East and West.

A portion of the Berlin Wall was left as a reminder of a sad time in the history of the city. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in 2004.

A portion of the Berlin Wall was left as a reminder of a sad time in the history of the city. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins in 2004.

Sunday, November 9, the city of Berlin is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening, and ultimate tearing down, of the Berlin Wall.

Would that all men could be free from oppression with the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Cove of the Sower – from land, sea, and air

Over the past few years I have tried to get some good photos of the Cove of the Sower (also called the Cove of the Parables) and have written about it twice before. Some have suggested that this place on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee would have been the place where Jesus spoke in parables to large numbers who assembled to hear Him.

Read the full account given by Mark in 4:1-20. Here is the way it begins:

Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. (Mark 4:1-3 ESV)

Parallel accounts may be read in Matthew 13:1-15 and Luke 8:4-10.

B. Cobbey Crisler conducted some experiments at places where the Bible records that large crowds gathered. The attempt was to see if the large number were able to hear a speaker without the aid of modern sound equipment. The places were Kadesh-barnea, Shiloh,  and The Cove of the Sower in Galilee (“The Accoustics and Crowd Capacity of Natural Theaters in Palestine.” Biblical Archaeologist, 1976. Vol. 39. Num. 4).

The study indicated that the Cove of the Sower would allow between 5000 and 7000 people to hear.

Over the years different crops have been planted in the area, and this makes it difficult to compare older and more recent photos. The highway runs just above the level of the top of the trees seen on the right (north). This photo is made looking west.

The Cove of Sower from top of area. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Cove of Sower from top of area. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The photo below was made from a boat a short distance south of the shore. You can see the extension of the natural theater stretching up the hill above the trees. Hidden in the clump of trees on the top of the hill, and to the left is the traditional Mount of Beatitudes. This would be a good candidate for the place of the Sermon on the Mount.

Cove of the Sower From the Sea of Galilee by Ferrell Jenkins.

The following sketch from Crisler’s article in Biblical Archaeologist may help you to understand more clearly about the cove.

Cove of Sower sketch from Crisler's article in BA.

The terrain and the crops have changed since Crisler wrote. For those who may be curious, the covered areas are where bananas grow today. Both bananas and citrus trees have been brought to the country since the time of Jesus.

More recently I have been able to make a few aerial photos of the area. The first one was made from above the modern paved road looking down on the cove.

The Cove of the Sower from the air, looking south. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Cove of the Sower from the air, looking south. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The next aerial view shows the cove and the hill above it from the south.

Aerial View of the Cove of the Sower looking north. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial View of the Cove of the Sower looking north. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I trust that this information and these photos will enhance your understanding of the portions of Scripture mentioned above.

Babylon – index of articles

The Babylonian Empire was relatively short lived (626–539 B.C.), but it played a large role in biblical history. We have written about all of the Babylonian kings mentioned in the Bible. In this post I am pulling together an index collection of these articles to make it easy for one studying about the Babylonian captivity to locate all of them in one convenient place.

Dragon made of chrome brick on the Ishtar Gate. (Museum of the Ancient Near East, Berlin). The dragon is a composite creature with the head of a fire-spewing dragon, body and tail of a serpent, front feet of a feline, and back feet of a bird. This provides a good illustration of the apocalyptic language found in the Old Testament prophets. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The dragon made of chrome brick on the Ishtar Gate from ancient Babylon was an emblem of Marduk (Museum of the Ancient Near East, Berlin). The dragon is a composite creature with the head of a fire-spewing dragon, body and tail of a serpent, front feet of a feline, and back feet of a bird. This provides a good illustration of the apocalyptic imagery found in the Old Testament prophets and the book of Revelation. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The articles below, especially those with an * after the title, are considered minor references. They still might provide some helpful material and photos for the Bible student and teacher.

I trust this list will be helpful to students and teachers alike.

In the future, when I write something about Babylon I will try to remember to include a link in this index. I would appreciate learning if you find this index helpful.