What a full day after a day of rest! Kicking off the day with talks off Bethsaida and skirting around the debate of where the “actual” location is on the sites all day has only made the topic more tantalizing. Time to subscribe to the Biblical Archaeological Review!
Driving through the Golan Heights brought light to this Syria-Israel situation that I couldn’t visual State-side. In eleventh grade I participated in a Model UN with a concentration on the Middle East. At the time, I argued for Israel to give Syria the Golan Heights. Oh how ignorant that was! Part way into our trek through the Golan Heights we stopped at Qazrin—a reconstructed 4th century CE Jewish village. The fact that stood out the most from that site is that women would have to grind grain into flour for approximately three hours a day while the men sat at the gates. Again, women to the rescue providing daily sustenance for their families.
Caesarea Philippi was gorgeous. I read a fair amount of fiction that intertwines with Greek mythology, so I enjoyed seeing how Greek paganism actually intersected (or rather clashed) with Christianity. I saw the Gates of Hell (nbd.) After looking around at the headwaters of the Jordan River and the various temples for Greco-Roman gods, we headed to Dan.
For some reason, whenever I imagined the place where the Tel Dan inscription was found, I painted a picture of a very dry and desolate land. Oh boy was I wrong! Dan was rejuvenating for my soul. I love being surrounded by trees and hearing the streams bubble by. As always, I’m appreciative of the anti-minimalist argument that argues authenticity from the Tel Dan inscription and it’s reference to the actual House of David (not some beloved house.)
We ended the day at Hazor. If anything, it made me wish I was more familiar with the Scriptures. There are so many little details of narratives and accounts of which I just don’t have any recollection. It’s hard for me to imagine living in a time where you would slay whole communities on behalf of the Lord. It just seems so counter to the pacifist movement I am more and more identifying with. It was such a different time.
On the way to the hotel, Dr. Phillips led us over giant cement blocks to see the Jordan River. Yay for crossing “no crossing” zones!
Originally written June 2, 2o14.