Category Archives: Bible Lands

Bread – from bakery to consumer

From the time of my earliest tours I noticed that the tour members were surprised to see various goods carried on the head. In the Middle East it is common to see women carrying buckets of water on their head without even steadying them by hand. In the Middle East and Europe bread is transported on carts, and sometimes on the head, without any covering.

The photo below was made in the Muristan of the Old City of Jerusalem. These loaves of bread and other bakery goods may be headed to restaurants where they will be turned into sandwiches for hungry patrons.

Man carrying bread on his head in the Muristan area of the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Man carrying bread on his head in the Muristan area of the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Bread is an important staple in the diet of many people. And the bread we are speaking of here is not like that “old lite bread” as my late mother in law used to call modern prepackaged loaves of bread. She made the bread for her family in her own kitchen. On my earliest tours in the late 60s and 70s of the last century the bread served was hard and sometimes it was baked in such a ways as to have a hollow center.

The ancient Israelites were dependent on crops of grain for their bread. Wheat and barley were major crops in the Promised Land.

… a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. (Deuteronomy 8:8-9 ESV)

When the prophet Jeremiah was in prison he thinks that he may die. He requested that he not be sent back to the house of Jonathan the secretary lest he die there. King Zedekiah ordered that Jeremiah be committed to the court of the guard and that bread be delivered to him daily from the baker’s street until there was no longer bread in the city.

So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. (Jeremiah 37:21 ESV)

I am old enough to remember the rationing of World War II. Farmers were in a little better position to have stores of corn from which our bread was made in those days.

During the Wilderness Wandering the Israelites were provided with manna which the Psalmist called the bread of angels.

Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance. (Psalm 78:25 ESV)

The words of Jesus have added significance to those born into humble circumstances.

I am the bread of life. (John 6:48 ESV)

Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11 ESV)

We must remember that we are sustained both physically and spiritually by the bread that the Lord provides.

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Myra, home of Saint Nicholas

The town Myra is known to students of the New Testament as a place where Paul transferred ships while he was being taken to Rome for trial before Caesar (Acts 27:5).

In the centuries following, Myra became the home of a (Greek Orthodox) bishop known as Nicholas. Born in Patara, Nicholas died December 6, 343. Several legends arose around Nicholas who was noted for giving gifts to the poor and raising the dead.

Highly revered in Greece and Russia, St. Nicholas is known as the patron saint of children, sailors, merchants, and scholars. From his life of piety, kindness, and generosity arose the legendary figure celebrated today as St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, or Santa Claus. (Fant & Reddish, A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, 256)

The ancient Myra is associated with the modern Turkish town Demre (or Kale). I thought you might enjoy seeing a few pictures related to Saint Nicholas. In the town square is a recent statue showing St. Nicholas with children. The statue was a gift of the Russian government in 2000. Many Russian tourists were visiting the day I was there.

Modern statue of Saint Nicholas at Myra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Modern statue of Saint Nicholas at Myra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A few decades ago I saw an older statue near the entrance to the church. It now has a fresh coat of black paint.

Older statue of St. Nicholas near the entrance of the Byzantine church ruins. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Older statue of St. Nicholas near the entrance of the Byzantine church ruins. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Byzantine church dates to the 6th century A.D. Several writers point out that the sarcophagus of Nicholas was broken into by Italian merchants in 1087 A.D., and his bones were taken to Bari, Italy.

This is said to be the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This is said to be the sarcophagus of St. Nicholas. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wilson says the church is built like a basilica “in the shape of an orthodox cross” (Biblical Turkey 88).

Older statue of St. Nicholas near the entrance of the Byzantine church ruins. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Older statue of St. Nicholas near the entrance of the Byzantine church ruins. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

On the left side of the apse there is a fresco of St. Nicholas. On a previous posting about Myra reader Al Sandalow sent me a few photos he made in the area including one of the fresco. I now have some photos, but I think Al’s is better and I post it here with thanks.

Fresco of Saint Nicholas in the church at Myra. Photo by Al Sandalow.

Fresco in the church of Saint Nicholas at Myra. Photo by Al Sandalow.

Tourism seems to be thriving at Myra even though the town is off the beaten track. Whether there are any Christians living in the town is doubtful.

For an earlier post about Myra and St. Nicholas, see here.

This is an edited re-post, with additional photos, from December 22, 2012

Sixty three years ago today…

Warning. This is a rare personal note that does not fit with the general tenor of this blog, except that the woman I speak of here has made much of my work possible through her love and support.

– ♥ –

Sixty three years ago today Elizabeth Ann Williams and I committed ourselves to one another and to God. We did not date very long and I lacked a few weeks being 19 years of age, but we were determined to build a marriage according to the will of God.

Ferrell Jenkins and Elizabeth Williams

Ferrell Jenkins and Elizabeth Williams married December 16, 1954.

We met at Florida Christian College (now Florida College), Temple Terrace, FL. Our ceremony was in the small lobby of Sutton Hall (facing the Dorm Supervisor’s apartment).

After my graduation from the four-year Bible program at FCC we moved to work with churches in Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio, before returning to Florida College where I would teach a total of 25 years and Elizabeth a total of 27 years.

Our residence is about a mile from where we said our marriage vows. It has been a good marriage. Elizabeth has been a true helper for me (Genesis 2:18) in the work I chose to do— preaching and teaching the Word of God, and teaching the Word by introducing interested persons to the Land of the Word. I love her dearly.

The shepherd goes before his flock

People of the biblical world understood the illustrations used by their leaders, but many today, especially young people, do not understand these illustration without explanation.

Moses had led the people of God through the wilderness, but was soon to die after viewing the promised land from Mount Nebo. He then appealed to the LORD to provide a shepherd for Israel.

15 Moses spoke to the LORD, saying,
16 “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation
17 who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” (Numbers 27:15-17 ESV)

Joshua was to be raised up as a leader — a leader like a shepherd.

A shepherd leads his flock in the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A shepherd leads his flock in the Jordan Valley. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jesus used a similar illustration.

4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:4-5 ESV)

Our photo provides a good illustration for those who do not have personal knowledge about shepherds and sheep.

Jerusalem from the west

Earlier this week I was browsing through some of my aerial photos of Jerusalem and came across this one that I thought would be informative to good Bible students.

The photo is made while flying over the new (western) city of Jerusalem, some of which is shown in the bottom half of the photo. About mid-way of the photo (from bottom to top) you can see the entire Old (walled) City of Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock, where the biblical Temple once stood, is almost in the center of the photo (sightly left of center).

The Kidron valley is lost at this angle and the new tombs on the Mount of Olive seem to touch the Old City.

Aerial view of Jerusalem from the west. This photo shows the new (west) city of Jerusalem, the Old City, the Mount of Olives, the wilderness of Judea, the Dead Sea, and the mountains of Moab (Transjordan plateau). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial view of Jerusalem from the west. This photo shows the new (west) city of Jerusalem, the Old City, the Mount of Olives, the wilderness of Judea, the Dead Sea, and the mountains of Moab (Transjordan plateau). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Continuing east you will see a portion of the Wilderness of Judea, then the Dead Sea. At the extreme left of the Dead Sea a portion of the Jordan Valley is visible.

Beyond the Dead Sea the mountains of Moab are visible in the Transjordan Plateau.

The same photo labeled to identify the places discussed.

The same photo labeled to identify the places discussed.

— Postscript —

Leon Mauldin and I have made numerous personal study trips to the Bible Lands in addition to the tours we have led. We have included flights to photograph these places from the air. I think you will enjoy Leon’s blog. It was a coincident that just as I finished my article showing Jerusalem to Moab, I received Leon’s blog showing the rooftops of the Old City and the Mount of Olives.

An excellent Logos Pre-pub ready soon

A nice feature of Logos Bible Software is the occasional pre-publication offer. Last April I choose to place an order for Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity. I already had the first two volumes in the print edition and was considering buying the final two volumes.

Then came the offer from Logos to purchase all four volumes in the digital format. This means that I would be able to search all four volumes with one click on my computer. I ordered for $50.99. Today I received an Email telling me that the material would be ready to deliver on October 3, 2017.

When I looked this afternoon I saw that the 4-volume set was still available for the pre-pub price. Go to Logos and search for the book by title. On the home page you will see that you may download a free Basics set including 17 books. Sure, its a way to get you hooked, but a lot of us have been hooked for years and find Logos Bible Software to be a wonderful tool in our study and work. Many of the books in my collection have been bought on pre-pub. I can’t say how long this offer will remain before the price goes up to the regular digital price. So far as I know Logos is only for the PC. Now who’s bragging?

There is just one bad thing about my telling you about this material.  You may stop reading my blog and start reading it. But wait, I still have better photos.

Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity, 4 volume set.

Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity, 4 volume digital set in Logos format.

For those who would like to read more about this publication, here is information provided by Logos.

— “ —

Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity (4 vols.) by Edwin Yamauchi and Marvin R. Wilson

The Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity is a unique reference work that provides background cultural and technical information on the world of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament from 2000 BC to approximately AD 600.

Written and edited by a world-class historian and a highly respected biblical scholar, with contributions by many others, this unique reference work explains details of domestic life, technology, culture, laws, and religious practices, with extensive bibliographic material for further exploration. Articles range from 5-20 pages long. Scholars, pastors, and students (and their teachers) will find this to be a useful resource for biblical study, exegesis, and sermon preparation.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

— ” —

This has been a Bible student service announcement.

Jesus used the camel in His illustrations

Camels are first mentioned in the Bible in the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:16), and they are prominently mentioned in other Old Testament stories such as the account of  Genesis 24. John the Baptist is noted for wearing a garment made of camel’s hair (Matthew 3:4).

A mother camel and her young calf in Palestine (or West Bank). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A mother camel and her young calf in Palestine (or West Bank). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jesus used the camel to illustrate His teaching. He said,

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24 ESV)

and, to the Scribes and Pharisees He said,

You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! (Matthew 23:24 ESV)