Friday, April 15, 2011

Three Former Gates To The Temple

South Wall of the Temple Mount

If you look carefully in the center of this picture you can see three doors that were filled in with stone. That lower section was the entrance to the Temple Mount in Jesus day. 

During the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans The great doors were filled in to fortify the Temple complex for a last ditch stand by the Jews. It didn't work!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

No Sinking the Dead Sea

A Day Swimming in the Dead Sea

Here are some of my friends from the Ashkelon dig floating is the Dead Sea. What an interesting feeling to not be able to sink into the water. At 1300 feet below sea level there is no escape for the water but evaporation that leaves the salt behind. On that day the Jordan river did not quite make it to the Dead Sea.

Even a  minor abrasion of the skin was a cause for instant pain in that brine.

Monday, April 11, 2011

One of Many Qumran Caves

A difficult cave to enter

One of the most exciting things about digging in Israel was visiting the dig site at Qumran on the west side of the Dead Sea. Here a community of Jews set themselves aside to live according to the Law of Moses and prepare for the battle between the sons of light and the sons of darkness.

When that community saw that their place was being threatened they hid their most precious scrolls high up in secreted caves where they remained until 1947 when they were discovered by accident.  Practically no other material in Hebrew and Aramaic has survived from the time of Christ so these manuscripts have been studied carefully by many scholars.

The site is hot and very dry so many of the scrolls were well preserved. Many others were in small pieces that were almost impossible to reconnect until the age of the computer. Some of it was scripture like a complete Isaiah scroll but others were more like a laundry list for the community.

This is a place that you MUST visit if you travel to Israel.