"Sea Of Galilee"

Chapter 1
Sea Of Galilee-#1: Galilee Boat

By Brett Matthew West

The year was 1986. The incurably fatal Mad Cow Disease swept down from England. The Challenger Space Shuttle blew up killing all seven astronauts onboard. And, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded, releasing radioactive material across much of Europe. But, the news wasn't all bad.

Two brothers, Moshe and Yuvai Lefan, from Kibbutz Ginosar, made the famous discovery of the remains of an ancient fishing boat from the 1st Century AD as they examined a newly exposed beach on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Kibbutz Ginosar was founded in 1937 by socialist Zionists on the eve of Purim. This festival commemorates the survival of the Hebrews marked for death by their Persian rulers in the 5th Century BC. A story told in the Book of Esther.

In Ancient times, Ginosar was an agricultural community on the western shore of Galilee. Now a popular tourist area, Ginosar is located on Highway 90 north of Tiberias. The ancient town of Gennesaret, that is mentioned in Matthew 14:34, provided the plain's Modern Day name.

A drought at the time the Lufan brothers made their discovery reduced the Sea of Galilee's water level. Mud that covered the boat had prevented bacterial decomposition when the craft sank to the bottom of Galilee all those years before.

When their discovery was reported, members of the Kibbutz Ginosar, the Isreal Antiquities Authority, who is responsible for excavating and conserving discoveries from Antiquity, as well as several volunteers commenced to dig in the area. This chore lasted for twelve painstaking days and nights.
When exposed to the atmosphere, the boat's ancient wood was extremely fragile, which caused the need to wrap the boat in fiberglass and insulating foam. These held the boat together and helped float the craft to its new location.

Once there, the one-of-a-kind archaeological discovery was submerged in wax for twelve years then displayed at the Yigai Allon Galilee Boat Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar. Features of the boat included being row-able, with four staggered rowers. A mast also allowed the boat to be sailed when desired.

The boat was constructed primarily of cedar planks, but contained ten different types of wood united together by pegged mortise and tenon joints. Nails had also been used in its construction. Two explanations for this are either there was a wood shortage at the time the boat was built or the vessel was made from scrap wood with extensive and repeated fixes.

The boat has been radiocarbon dated to 40 BC (plus or minus 80 years). A cooking pot, a lamp, and other pottery discovered inside the boat indicated its age may range from 50BC to 50AD. The wear of the repeated repairs made to the boat over the course of time demonstrated it was used for several decades. Perhaps as long as a century.

The boat remains historically important to Israel as an example of the type of boats their ancestors used for fishing and crossing Galilee. The only Israeli sources of information before this boat was discovered came from biblical references and Roman authors.

Mosaics, such as the one in Magdala, also offered insight into these boats. Believed to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, Magdala was located three miles north of Tiberias.

The boat is important to Christians because it was the sort of vessel used by Jesus and his disciples. The Gospels contain fifty references to this type of boat, though there remains no direct evidence connecting this particular boat directly to Jesus or his disciples.

So, is it or is it not Jesus' boat?

The mystery remains.

Author Notes Wooden Boat At Sunset, by iPhone7, selected to complement my article.

So, thanks iPhone7, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my article.

Chapter 2
Sea Of Galilee - #2: Names

By Brett Matthew West

...Well, are you familiar with these tidbits about it?

Located in northwest Israel, in the Jordan Rift Valley, The Sea of Galilee historically was subjected to earthquakes and volcanoes. Abundant basalt and ingenous rocks define the geology of the lake.

The Sea of Galilee is approximately 33 miles in circumference, 13 miles long, and 8 miles wide. This almost 141 foot deep lake is the lowest freshwater lake in the world, and the second lowest lake in the world after the salt-water Dead Sea.

The Jordan River, that flows through the Sea of Galilee from north to south, is its main water source. Take your pick here, Lake Kinneret, Lake Kinnereth, Lake Tiberias, or the Sea of Galilee (they're all the same lake) is about 64.4 square miles at its fullest.

The main reason the lake's name has changed over the course of the years is based on the dominant settlements at the time. Currently, they are Tiberias and Tel Katzir. The Modern Hebrew name is Kinneret (see Numbers 34:11 and Joshua 13:27). Joshua 19:35 calls this town one of the "fenced cities".

In earlier days, the body of water was known as the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1). Referencing the Babylonian Talmud, it was known as the Sea of Ginosar (that is located on the western shore).

Toward the end of the first century, the lake became widely known as the Sea of Tiberias, in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar Augustus. He was the second Roman Emperor from 14AD to 37AD.

From the Umayyad Period through the Mamluk Period, Medieval Persians called the lake the Sea of Minya. Umayyad was the second caliphate created after Muhammad died. Characterized by non-Arab slave-soldiers and freed slaves, Mamluk lasted through the 9th Century. The Persians named the lake after their fortified village at Khirbat al-Minya, a qasr located 660 feet west of the northern end of the lake.

The name Galilee comes from the Hebrew haggalil, which translates "The District"(Isaiah 8:23). The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John refer to the lake by this name.

However you slice the pie the vast majority of the ministry of Jesus occurred around the region of this multi-named lake. The primary explanation for this was a continuous ribbon development of settlements and villages existed around the lake. So did boat ferrying and an assortment of trades.

Some of the highlights of the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee include:

-The apostles Peter, James, John, and Andrew came from villages around Galilee.

-The Sermon on the Mount happened on a hill overlooking the lake.

-Jesus walking on the water, calming the storm, His miraculous catch of fish, and feeding the five thousand in the Talgha area on the lake's northwestern shore all took place here.

-The third and fourth appearances of Jesus after His resurrection did too.

Perhaps in a future posting I'll offer some of the history of the Sea of Galilee.

Author Notes Man Sagar Lake, Jaipur, India, by seshadri sreenivasan, selected to complement my posting.

So, thanks seshadri sreenivasan, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my posting.

Chapter 3
Sea Of Galilee - #3: Ohalo

By Brett Matthew West

I started this series of articles about the Sea of Galilee with:

-Sea Of Galilee -#1: Galilee Boat - this article is about a prehistoric boat found in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee many consider to possibly be the boat Jesus and his disciples used.

Sea Of Galilee -#2: Names - this article discussed the several names the Sea of Galilee has been called over the years and the reasons for them.

Sea Of Galilee -#3: Ohalo

Any look at the Sea of Galilee during Prehistoric times would be absolutely remiss without considering the two excavations of Ohalo. Why? Because in 1989 a significant find was discovered under the water at the south end of the Sea of Galilee.

What is the significance of this excavation? The remains of this hunter-gatherer location are considered to be one of the first permanent settlements of humans in the history of the world, as well as a portion of the Cradle of Civilization.

Ohalo predates the Neolithic Revolution that occurred somewhere around 10,000 to 8,000 BCE. The Neolithic Revolution was the first wide-scale transition of several human cultures from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agricultural settlement making large populations possible.

Nahal Ein Gev is another significantly important prehistoric village in the Sea of Galilee region. Located 1.2 miles east of the Sea of Galilee, Nahal Ein Gev contains a Late Natufian Period village. This village, from about 12,000 BCE, is found in the Ein Gev stream that flows west into the Sea of Galilee.

The Natufian culture dates to around 15,000 to 11,500 years ago and is unique because the culture supported a semi-sedentary population prior to the introduction of agriculture. This evidence helps prove humans resided around the Sea of Galilee during Prehistoric times.

The 1.2 square miles excavated portion of Ohalo, on the southwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, dates to the Last Glacial Maximum. This was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period ice sheets were at their largest extent. It is speculated more of Ohalo remains under the Sea of Galilee and can not be excavated unless the water level lowers sufficiently enough to do so.

Ohalo's age has been dated to between 14,000 to 33,000 years ago. Radiocarbon dating places Ohalo's age closer to 23,000 years ago at the junction of the Upper Paleolithic (Late Stone Age) and Epipaleolithic Period. Before the Neolithic Period (when farming was first developed).
began. In other words, humans have lived around the Sea of Galilee for a very long time.

Ohalo is noted for the world's oldest brushwood dwellings (homes made out of branches) and the world's earliest small-scale plant cultivation, about 11,000 years before agriculture started. Ohalo possessed exceedingly rare cereal grains and fruits. These were preserved in anaerobic conditions under silt and water. Anaerobic conditions occur when the disappearance of oxygen is larger than its production for photosynthesis.

Six charcoal rings where these dwellings stood have been unearthed. Oval in shape, they ranged from 9 to 16 feet long. Uniqely, these dwellings contained hearths.

A grave, and probable refuse dump, were discovered at Ohalo. So were animal bones, flints, and various artifacts. Moreover, there have been a combined hundreds of species of birds, fish, large animals, and vegetables found there.

It is thought the same time humans settled at Ohalo, the Sea of Galilee was newly formed. Possibly only a few generations after being settled, Ohalo burned to the ground. Whether this fire began accidently, or was intentionally set, remains unknown.

At the same time Ohalo burned, the water level of the Sea of Galilee rose and buried the site. This sealed Ohalo and protected the locale until it was discovered. Ohalo was found when an extended drought dropped the water level in the Sea of Galilee 29 feet.

One of the major finds at Ohalo is known as Hut 1. This hut provided 90,000 seeds of barley, fruits, brome grains, millet grass grains, and rubus berries. Other discoveries in Hut 1 have been a trapezodial grinding stone, bladelets from flints, 132 stone tools, modified stone flakes, and sickles for harvesting cereals

Look for Sea Of Galiee -#4: Via Maris.

During the Early Roman, Hellenistic, and Judean Occupations of Israel, the Via Maris passed by the Sea of Galilee and was one of the most important trade routes between Egypt and Anatolia.

Author Notes green up, by julia Eye, selected to complement my article.

So, thanks julia Eye, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my article.

Chapter 4
Sea Of Galilee - #4: Via Maris

By Brett Matthew West

Running past the Sea of Galilee, Via Maris is a Modern Day name for the Early Bronze Age major trade route that connected Egypt to the Lavent.

This large area in the Eastern Meditterraen Region of Western Asia encompassed present day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, most of Turkey southwest of the Middle Euphrates, and Israel.

The islands from Greece to Crete and Lycenaiea (the eastern coastal region of Libya), were also found along the Via Maris. So was Anatolia.

This included Asia Minor, Turkey, (chiefly from the Gulf of Alexandretta, the easternmost bay of the Meditterraen Sea), to the Black Sea.

Based on Isaiah 9:1, Via Maris translates into "the way of the sea". The Via Maris was also the most important route from Egypt to Syria (the Fertile Crescent). The route followed the coastal plain, then crossed Jezreel and the Judean Valley, in the northern district of Israel. Other frequently used names for Via Maris are International Coastal Highway and International Trunk Road.

Also known as the "Way of the Philistines," the Via Maris originated in El-Qantara, Egypt, northeast of Cairo. The Via Maris progressed east to Pelusium in Egypt's Nile Delta. Various trade routes crossed the Via Maris making traveling to Africa and Asia easier.

The Via Maris followed the northern coast of the Sinai Peninsula, through el-Arish in the northern Sinai, to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Avoiding the Yarkon River in Central Israel and Tel Dor, the route followed the coast of Canaan through Gaza, Ashkelan, the port of Ashdod, and Antipatris.

This city was known for the Battle of Aphek where the Philistines defeated the Israelites and captured the Ark of the Covenant as detailed in 1 Samuel 4:1-10.

From Antipatris, the Via Maris turned east through Megiddo, on the northern end of the Wadi Ara Pass, through the Carmel Ridge, on to the Jezreel Valley and Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.

Finally, the Via Maris passed through Magdala, on the western bank of the Sea of Galilee. At the time, the most important city in that region. Mary Magdalene was thought to have been born there. Capernaum, and Hazor ( the largest fortified city in Ancient Israel), were other towns on this section of the Via Maris.

Magdala was the location of the Migdal Synagogue, that dated to the Second Temple Period.
This is the oldest temple that has been found in the Sea of Galilee area. Another important relic from the town is the Magdala Stone. The carved stone block is known for its detailed carvings of the Second Temple, as well as images of the seven-branch lamp menorah used in the temple Moses established.

Leaving Magdala, the Via Maris crossed the Jordan River, at what is commonly called Jacob's Ford. This was the site where the Muslim sultan Saladin conquered Jerusalem in 1179AD. The route then climbed sharply over the Gulan Heights northeast into Damascus. At this point, travelers could take the King's Highway to the Euphrates River and Anatolia (Modern Day Turkey).

During the Early Roman, Hellenistic (Greek), and Hasmonean (Judaea) dynasties, flourishing towns and settlements spread around the Sea of Galilee. These included Hippos (a Greco-Roman city on a hill in the northern Jordan Valley that overlooked the sea) and Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. One of Judaism's four Holy Cities along with Safed, Hebron, and Jerusalem.


EL-Qantara -border town on Suez Canal that connects Africa and Asia
Pelusium - border fortress with flax and beer main crops
Jezreel - large fertile plain where Gideon defeated the Midianites and Amalekites (Judges 6:3)
Rafah - Modern Day sole crossing point between Egypt and Gaza Strip
Tel Dor - Canaanite port city (Joshua 12:23)
Canaan - mainly Southern Lavant region
Ashkelan - oldest and largest seaport in Canaan
Ashdod - Bronze Age tell that exported dyed woolen purple garments
Antipatris - in Central Israel. Many battles fought there between Israelites and Philistines
Megiddo (and its plain) - known as Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). Site considered "the most monumental single edifice unearthed from Early Bronze Age." Considered by some sources to be the site of the final battle before Judgement Day.
Wadi Ara Pass - leads to Megiddo
Carmel Ridge - Mount Carmel. A Neanderthal named Tabun I, regarded as one of the most important human fossils ever found discovered there.
Capernaum - fishing village on north shorevof Sea of Galilee. Multiple biblical references.
Believed to be where Peter came from.
Hazor - commercial ties with Babylon and Syria. (Joshua 11:10 called it "the head of all those kingdoms")
Hippos - border fortress ruled by Seleucids (Syrians). During Maccabees Revolt, Israel was divided into two kingdoms.
Hebron - largest city in West Bank. Home of Hittites between Abraham and Ezra after Babylonian Exile from Anatolia
Safed - Galilee's highest city. Many festivals there

Next Time: Sea of Galilee #5: Jerusalem Talmud.

Author Notes Whispering Giant in Alaska, by alaskapat, selected to complement my posting.

So, thanks alaskapat, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my posting.

Chapter 5
Sea Of Galilee - #5: Talmud

By Brett Matthew West

In this series of articles, I have talked about the Prehistory of the Sea of Galilee area. The Hellenistic and Early Roman Eras, and the New Testament miracles of Jesus that occurred there. That brings us to the Late Roman Period.

During this time, around 135CE, the Bar Kokhba Revolt was thwarted by the Romans. All Israelites were banned from entering Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem Talmud began being compiled.

Containing seventeen volumes, the Jerusalem Talmud was constructed about 350CE. Independent of scripture, this document is a collection of rabbinic notes on the Mishnah that were orally passed down. The Jerusalem Talmud is almost seventy percent Aramaic, in the vernacular of Judea. This was a Syrian dialect that replaced Hebrew as the language of the Israelites in the 6h Century CE in the Near East. Most of the teachings have been attributed to Jewish authorities from the middle of the 1st Century through the second decade of the 3rd Century CE.

During this time the Second Temple was destroyed in 70CE by the Romans. Among other historical turning points Israel endured, the country suffered defeat in the revolt against Rome under Simeon bar Kokhba in 135CE. This catastrophic loss led to the destruction of Jerusalem and Judea's devastation. These events preceded heavy migration to the Sea of Galilee region.
Rabbi Meir, in the village of Usha, became the rabbinic judicial authority.

All ancient sources note that the Mishnah was compiled by Rabbi Judah the "Prince" somewhere around 217CE. Judah ben Simeon was the Patriarch. He was also the official representative of the Israelites. Known for his piety, Rabbi Simeon presided over the Jewish Supreme Judiciary and the Sanhedrin, their legislative body.

The Mishnah only dealt with the legal component of the Jewish Oral Tradition, and divided the Jewish Religious Law Tradition into six main components. They were:

-Torts (laws)
-Sacred Things

The Jerusalem Talmud originated in Tiberias, in the School of Johanan ben Nappaha, in the Holy Land. This area encompassed land between the Mediterranean Sea and the East Branch of the Jordan River. Biblically speaking, the lands of Israel and Palestine. Wriiten in Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, the Jerusalem Talmud is about 200 years older than the Babylonian Talmud.

Compiled between 400-350CE, the Jerusalem Gemara contains the written discussions of generations of rabbis, mainly those in Sapphoris, Caesarea, and Tiberias. Several parts of tractates are missing from the Jerusalem Talmud. These include:

-the sedarim of Tohorat (except Niddah), which dealt with uncleanness, as well as its effects that lasted until sundown.

-Kodashim, the fifth order of the Mishnah, that dealt with temple services, sacrifices, and kosher slaughter of animals for non-sacrificial purposes.

-The last four chapters of Shabbat, which dealt with laws regarding observing the Jewish Sabbath and what is prohibited on them.

-The last chapter of Makot, that dealt with the laws of the court and their judicial punishments.

The only extant complete manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud known to exist was copied in 1289CE by Rabbi Jehiel ben Jekutheil Anav. Referred to as the Leiden Jerusalem Talmud, this document addressed Pesachim, detailed topics related to Passover, Passover sacrifices, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and prohibited owning or consuming leaven on Passover.

The Jerusalem Talmud rarely cited the rabbis of Babylon. Instead, the Jerusalem Talmud focused far more on the agricultural laws of the land of Israel than the Babylonian Talmud did. Also, the Jerusalem Talmed did not cover Kodashim that dealt with the sacrificial rites and laws of the temple.

Next Time: Sea of Galilee - #6: The Byzantine Empire and Christianity

Author Notes Images from the Woods, by Greg Pichnej, selected to complement my article.

So, thanks Greg Pichnej, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my article.

Chapter 6
Sea Of Galilee-#6: Byzantine Era

By Brett Matthew West

Dated as far back as the 4th Century, the earliest Christian pilgramages were made to sites connected with the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. It is believed by many sources Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, encouraged them. Complete with packaged tours, and plenty of rooms at the inns, Christian pilgramages in the Sea of Galilee region became a tourist industry during the Byzantine Period.

The Byzantine Empire arose out of Eastern Rome during the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Eastern Orthodox Christianity helped characterize this dynasty. Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity. Somewhere between 379-395AD, under Roman Emperor Theodorius, Christianity became the official State Religion.

During the Third Century, due to being united under the Macedonian Empire, and adaptation of the Greek culture, the eastern portion of the Roman Empire was more urbanized than the western portion.

Emperor Constantine established a second Rome on the site of the region's city of Byzantium. This was located on the major trade routes that linked Europe and Asia, as well as the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

Constantine supported Christianity with imperial preferences and special privileges. The State Church of the Roman Empire was launched. Persecution of Christians terminated under Constantine. This became known as "the peace of the church," and the "Constantine Shift" that created an alliance between Rome and the church. "Caesarpapism," a combining of the social and political powers of the State, with the religious power of the church, came to exist.

Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313AD that decriminalized Christian worship in the Roman empire. The decree also afforded Christians relief from persecution. This led to a precedent for the position of the Christian Emperor in the church.

The notions of orthodoxy (authorized or generally accepted doctrine), Christendom (worldwide body of Christians), and ecumenical councils, all derived from the Edict of Milan.

The State Church of the Roman Empire developed after the three Emperors Theodorius, Gratian, and Valentinian II, co-issued the Edict of Thessalonica in 380AD. This decree recognized the catholic orthodoxy of Nicene Christians in the Great Church. It also condemned the Arian Creed as heresy.

Arian theology held that Jesus is the Son of God, who was begotten by God the Father, with the difference being that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father. Therefore, Jesus was not co-eternal with God the Father and is subordinate to Him.

In the views of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, and some Eastern Catholic Churches, Constantine's example as a Christian Monarch made him revered as a saint and equal to the apostles.

Rome and the Christians did not always see eye to eye with one another during the Byzantin Period. For about two and a half centuries, Christians were persecuted. A classic example is Nero blaming Christians for the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD. That same year, possibly because of this fire, Peter and Paul are thought to have been martyred under Nero.

Another example was all Christians who refused to participate in the Imperial Cult that diefied Emperors were considered to have committed treason punishable by death. During the Great Persecution, from 303-311AD, the Emperor Diocletian ordered Christian buildings and homes to be destroyed and their sacred books burned. He arrested Christians, had them mutilated, tortured, starved, burned, and tossed into gladiator battles for spectator amusement, or lion food.

Though he opposed Christians, in 311AD, Emperor Galerius Maximianus issued the Edict of Toleration that ended the Diocletian persecution of Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire. This was the first decree by an Emperor to legalize Christianity. However, the edict did not restore property to Christians.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee - #7: Battle of Hattin

Author Notes The churches of Mani, by avmurray, selected to complement my article.

So, thanks avmurray, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my article.

Chapter 7
Sea Of Galilee - #7: Hattin

By Brett Matthew West

The Muslim conquest of the Sea of Galilee area changed the region's history. Decline and decay replaced a prosperous territory. The Amayyad Caliphate built the palace of Minya by the Sea of Galilee between 705-715AD. Except for Tiberias, all the other major cities were abandoned.

Khirbat al-Minya was probably built during the reign of al-Walid I. Located on the Via Maris. the palace's mosque is one of the earliest to be constructed in the Sea of Galilee region. Though damaged by an earthquake in 749AD, the palace was occupied until about 750AD. The complex contains a courtyard, an upper floor level with several rooms, a throne room, a basilica hall, residential quarters, and several mosaics.

The Muslim Sultan Saladin defeated the First Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. This Crusader State was located in the Southern Levant (Modern Day Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Southern Lebanon, Southern Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula).

Fought near Tiberias, along the Roman-built Dard al-Hawarnah road, (the main east-west corridor between the Sea of Galilee and Jordan), the Muslims won the Battle of Hattin mainly because Saladin succeeded in cutting the Sea of Galilee off from the Crusaders.

Also known as the Battle of the Horns of Hattin, because of the shape of the nearby extinct volcano Kurun Hattin and its twin peaks, this war was contested on July 4, 1187. Saladin's armies captured or killed most of the Crusaders. The Muslims became the prominent military power in the Holy Land. They also recaptured Jerusalem.

Prior to the battle, the French knight Guy of Lusignan became the king of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1192. At the same time, Saladin vowed to eliminate the Christian Franks from Jerusalem through commission of a holy war. A large portion of the Jerusalem military was destroyed in this conflict.

Saladin gathered his forces on the Gulan Heights. He lured the Crusaders away from their fortified encampment near the important water springs at La Saphorie in the Central Galilee area (believed in Late Antiquity to be the birthplace of Mary, the mother of Jesus).

A 5th Century basilica sits on the site honoring Mary's birth. A Roman theatre, two early Christian churches, a Crusader fort, and more than sixty mosaics from the 3rd to the 6th Centuries are also located there.

Records of the battle indicated the conflict played out something like this:

Saladin crossed the Jordan River on June 30, 1187. He organized his forces as a center with two wings. All able-bodied men in Jerusalem were gathered by the Crusaders to oppose him. Their army included knights, cavalry, soldiers, crossbowmen, and mercenaries, who Henry Ii, the King of England, financially donated to. Remnants of the True Cross (some Christians believed were remnants from the cross Jesus was crucified on), was their relic.

Saladin decided a field battle would be easier to fight than attacking the Crusaders' fortified encampment. He led an assault on the fortress at Tiberias, but kept his main army at Kafr Sabt, a village on the eastern Lower Galilee about six and a half miles southwest of Tiberias.

The Crusaders at Tiberias attempted to bribe Saladin to leave their castle undisturbed. He refused. One of the towers was mined, and a tunnel dug underneath it for access to the fortress. Saladin's troops stormed the palace.

On July 3, 1187, Saladin's army dug another tunnel under a second tower and the Crusaders' army began to move east for a counter-attack against Saladin's forces. They first encountered Muslim archers, then passed the Springs of Turan, and headed for the Springs of Hattin. Saladin positioned his forces between the Crusaders and the water. This move cut it off from them.

On the night of July 3, 1187, Saladin's army, some 40,000 strong, sang, beat drums, and chanted. These actions demoralized the Crusaders. On the morning of July 4, 1187, Saladin's army burned the dry grass making the Crusaders' thirst for water worse. Smoke blinded the Crusaders and Muslim archers attacked them. Many of the Crusaders' army fled to the Horns of Hattin. Surrounded, the Crusaders were defeated.

Guy of Lusignan was taken prisoner. Saladin offered him water. A sign his life would be spared. Guy of Lusignan passed the water to his cohort Raynald. Saladin knocked the water out of his hands and executed Raynald.

Other fallouts from the Crusaders' defeat at Hattin included:

-Captured nobles of the Crusaders were released upon Muslims receiving ransom

-All 200 of the Templar and Hospialier knights taken prisoner were executed except the Grand Master of the Temple

-Crusader archers were executed

-The Crusader soldiers were sold into slavery

-On July 5, 1187 the Crusader kingdom fell to Saladin. So did 52 towns and fortifications in the Sea of Galilee region, including Jerusalim

Battles that led up to the Battle of Hattin:

-Battle of Montgisard in 1177. In this skirmish, 16-year old Baldwin IV, the King of Jerusalem, led an army that defeated Saladin's forces. This was one of the Crusaders' most notable engagements.

-Battle of Marj Ayyun in 1179. This was fought between Saladin's army and Baldwin IV's army in Modern Day Lebanon. A decisive victory for Saladin. His first against the Christians.

-Battle of Jacob's Ford in 1179. Saladin destroyed a Templar Knight's castle on the Upper Jordan River.

-Battle of Belvoir Castle in 1182. A Crusaders' victory in Galilee, Transjordan, Ayla, and Beirut against Saladin's army.

-Battle of al-Fule in 1183. Guy of Lusignan's army fought Saladin's army for a week. No clear winner.

-Battle of Cressan in 1187. Fought near Nazareth. Led to Battle of Hattin.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #8: Kibbutz

Author Notes Freedom, by avmurray, selected to complement my article.

So, thanks avmurray, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my article.

Chapter 8
Sea Of Galilee - #8: Kibbutz

By Brett Matthew West

At the end of the Muslim Period, the Turkish Ottoman Empire, who ruled the region, afforded the Sea of Galilee area little attention. In 1660, Tiberias was destroyed, possibly by an earthquake, or the Druze from Western Asia. Maybe a combination of both? In the early 18th Century, somewhere around the 1730s, Tiberias was rebuilt by Zahir al-Umar al-Zaydani, the Arabian leader of Northern Palestine.

Created by the Palestine Bureau of the Zionist Organisation, led by Arthur Ruppin, in 1908 Jewish pioneers established the Kinneret Farm next to their village of Moshavat Kinneret, in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee. Jewish immigrants were trained in modern farming techniques.

Arthur Ruppin was the Director of Berlin's Bereau for Jewish Statistics and the Founder of the Israeli Hebrew identity and habitus (socially ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions). Ruppin was also one of the Founders of Tel Aviv.

Various groups of youths developed several kibuttzims. These were worker-controlled, intentional communities designed as utopian societies. Among them:

-Degania, created in 1909-1910, the earliest Zionist farming commune in Israel.

-Kvutzat Kinneret in 1913, located on the southwestern part of the Sea of Galilee.

-Afikim, built in 1932 in the Jordan Valley, known for bananas and plywood.

-Ein Gev, made in 1937 on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, near the Greco-Roman ruins of Hippos

-Ma'agan, started in 1949 on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, settled by Translyvanian Jewish immigrants

Under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, in 1921 Ein Harud became the epicenter of Mandatory Palestine. The kibbutz of Nahalel was also established that same year. This Ancient city is known for its unique, slightly oval shape resembling a wagon wheel. Joshua 19:15 talks about the village being located in the tribe of Zebulun. Joshua 21:34-35 says it was given to the Levites.

The kibbutzims are considered the Cradle of Early Zionism, a movement that wants an established homeland for the Jewish people centered in the area of Canaan, the Holy Land, Palestine, and the Land of Israel. Their desire is based on a long-standing Jewish attachment to these lands.

For its first twelve years, Kinneret Farm was a catalyst for social and economical innovations that molded essential infrastructures of the Jewish residents in the Land of Israel. After 1948, the Kinneret Farm perpetuated the State of Israel and led to the development of three forms of communal settlements: kvutzas (cooperative farms), kibbutzims (agricultural intentional communes), and moshavas (privately owned lands and properties, usually farms).

Active for forty years in preparing Jewish Zionist farmers for settling and working the land, Kinneret Farm became instrumental in:

-Beit Ha'almot, established in 1911, an agricultural farm for women

-the Jewish women's rights movement

-cooperative enterprises

-Bank Hapoalim, a workers' savings and support bank

-kaput halim, a public healthcare system

-Histadrut labor union

-Nahal 902nd Battalion "Fighting Pioneer Youth" defense force

-Haganah paramilitary.

Other Kinneret Farm projects over the years included:

-HaMashbir, the cooperative sale of affordable food during World War One

-Tnuva, a cooperative for milk and dairy products

-Solel Bonah construction company

-military camp of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces consisting of Israel's ground forces, air force, and navy)

Today, Kinneret Farm is a museum and educational center. Farm buildings circle the courtyard. There is a dining room, a barn, the farm's main building, and an agricultural training farm for women. Across the street from the farm is a cemetary for many of the pioneers and leaders of the Labor Zionist Movement. This is a well known place for secular pilgrimage.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #9 - Zionism #1 (Forms of Zionism)

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Chapter 9
Sea Of Galilee-#9: Zionism-#1

By Brett Matthew West

Zionism began as a 19th Century movement in Central and Eastern Europe, mainly because of Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment). Zionism has become an ideological and national movement for the reestablishment, development, and protection of a Jewish nation in Canaan, the Holy Land, Palestine, and Eretz (biblical) Israel.

One intent of Zionism is to negate the Jewish Diaspora; the dispersion of Jews around the world. The term "Jewish exiles" refers to those taken during the 8th Century BC. This removal was begun by Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria in 733BC, and completed by Sargon II, who destroyed the Kingdom of Israel, in 722BC.

The term "Jewish exiles" also refers to those taken from the Kingdom of Judah in the 6th Century BC by the Babylonian Exiles of 597BC and 586BC, under Nebachadnezzar II. Mordecai the Jew, in the book of Esther, is the first biblical mention of the term "Jew".

The negation of the Diaspora is frequently used by Zionists to justify their denial of the feasibility of Jewish emancipation under the doctrine. Furthermore, Zionists support life under the Diaspora leads to Jewish discrimination, persecution, Jewish national decadence, assimilation, and antisemitism. Zionists claim the Jewish people have no future without a spiritual center in the Land of Israel. Since the State of Israel was formed in 1948, Zionists have primarily continued to advocate on Israel's behalf as well as address threats to the country's existence and security.

Various forms of Zionism have arisen over the years since Theodor Herzl founded the Modern Zionist Movement he envisioned in his 1896 pamphlet Der Judenstaat, a future independent Jewish state. Eight of these include:

-Political Zionism - Theodor Herzl and Max Nordau were the main supporters. Desired to establish a legal home for Jews in Palestine. Max Nordau saw Zionism as the fulfillment of individual rights and freedoms.

-Practical Zionism - Moshe Leib Lilienblum was the main supporter. Stated there was a need in practical terms for Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel and for them to settle that land.

-Synthetic Zionism - Chaim Weizman, Leo Matzhim, and Nahum Sokolow were the main supporters. Advocated a combination of Practical and Political Zionism.

-Cultural Zionism -Ahad Ha'am was the main supporter. Believed fulfillment of Jewish national revival achieved by a cultural center in Land of Israel. Wanted a Jewish spiritual center in Israel, and a Jewish state, not just a state of Jews.

-Labor Zionism - Nachman Syrkin and Moses Hess, one of the foremost Zionist thinkers, were main supporters. Desired to establish an agricultural society on the basis of moral equality. Hess was a strong supporter of labor unions, and the working class, settling the Land of Israel with a rural kibbutzim (agricultural community), a moshabim (cooperative community of individual farms), and a Jewish proletariat.

-Revisionist Zionism - Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin were the main supporters. Emphasized romantic elements of Jewish nationalism, and the historical heritage of Jews in the Land of Israel. Stressed economic liberalism. Wanted a communist society.

-Revolutionary - Avraham Stern was main supporter. Viewed Zionism as a revolutionary struggle to gather the Jews, revive the Hebrew language, and reestablish a Jewish kingdom in the Land of Israel.

-Religious - Yitzchak Yaacov Reiner was main supporter. Reiner founded Mizrachi (a religion that taught the Torah was the center of Zionism). Maintained Jewish nationality, and establishment of the State of Israel, to be religious duties derived from the Torah.

Other views on Zionism included:

-Leon Pinsher, who saw Zionism as equal rights under the law for all Jews.

-Martin Buber, who was known for the philosophy of dialogue, saw Zionism as the foundation of Jewish humanism.

-The Lovers of Zion were unified groups opposed to the anti-Jewish programs in Russia.

-In 1897, the first Zionist Congress formed. These congresses decide on the policies of the World Zionist Organization, as well as the Jewish Agency that fosters the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee -#10: Zionism-#2

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Chapter 10
Sea Of Galilee-#10: Zionism-#2

By Brett Matthew West

The cornerstone of Zionism has always been a claim to the land historically known as Palestine (Eretz Israel) as a national homeland for the Jews and a legitimat focus for Jewish national self-determination.

In this case, Palestine is part of the ancient Land of Israel that also included Canaan, the Promised Land, and the Holy Land. (Genesis 15, Exodus 23, Numbers 24, and Ezekiel 47 mention these areas.) Nine times in the Bible it is referred to as "from Dan (in the north) to Beersheba (in the south). (Judges 20:1, 1 Samuel 3:20, and 2 Chronicles 30:5 are examples.) Three times these lands are referenced in the Bible as "from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of Egypt," (1 Kings 8:65, 1 Chronicles 13:5, and 2 Chronicals 7:8). The brook of Egypt was the Nahal Mizraim river that defined the westernmost border of the Land of Israel.

Religious traditions linked the Jews to the Land of Israel. In the early decades of Zionism, the belief foresaw the Jewish homeland to extend over historic Palestine, into Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Ashkenazi Jews, who lived in the Holy Roman Empire in Western, Central, and Southern Europe, and antisemitism in Europe, were the grassroots of Zionism. The 1894 to 1906 Dreyfus Affair in France, a political scandal that divided the Third French Republic, became one of the most prime examples of complex antisemitism.

In this case, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an Alsatian Jew, (from Alsace, a northeastern region of France on the Rhine River plain that borders Germany and Switzerland), was railroaded into a guilty verdict for passing secret documents to the German Embassy in Paris. Dreyfus received a sentence of life imprisonment though many believed him to be innocent. He was later pardoned and reinstated in the French army. The affair encouraged radicalization in French politics. The sole reason Dreyfus was accused? He was Jewish.

When Zionism began, after the publication of Theodor Herzl's book Der Judanstaat (The Jewish State) in 1897, the movement attempted to persuade Jewish migration to Ottoman Palestine in Syria. This area is east of the Mediterranean Sea, west of the Euphrates River, north of the Arabian desert, and south of the Taurus Mountains in Turkey.

Zionism, one of several Jewish political movements that offered alternative responses to Jewish assimilation and antisemitism, especially in Europe, Jewish thoughts of a national state began in earnest after World War Two.

Zionists created an alliance with England and secured support from them for several years for Jewish immigration to Palestine (Eretz Israel). Jews from Russia were strongly encouraged to migrate there. After realizing the implications of Zionism, and its affects on Arabs in Palestine, England eventually strained its alliance with the Zionists.

Israel was successfully established by the Zionists on May 14, 1948 as the Jewish homeland. The population of Jews now residing in Israel has grown enormous since the Zionist movement began. As of 2021, just under fifty percent of the world's Jews live in Israel. A number close to 8.5 million.

Assimilation into the Modern world became another goal of Zionism. Some Jews had been attempting to assimilate into European society. They went as far as downplaying their Jewish identity and abandoning their Jewish traditional views. Others favored cultural synthesis for continuity and moderate evolution with a need to maintain traditional Jewish values and faith, then conform to Modern Day society.

On November 10, 1975, Zionism was termed "a form of racism and racial discrimination" by Resolution 3379 of the United Nations General Assembly. This decision was later revoked on December 16, 1991 by Resolution 46/86 of the United Nations General Assembly.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, warned against Resolution 3379 when he stated, "The United Nations is about to make antisemitism international law. The United States does not acknowledge it, will not abide by it, and will never acquiesce in this infamous act. A great evil has been loosed upon the world."

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee-#11-Zionism #3: Beliefs

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Chapter 11
Sea Of Galilee#11: Zionism-#3

By Brett Matthew West

"Let them give us soveriegntry over a piece of the Earth's surface, just sufficient for the needs of our people, then we will do the rest," Theodor Herzl, the recognized Father of Zionism.

Herzl believed the only way Jews could escape eternal persecution was to become the majority population in a seperate Jewish state. He considered two destinations for colonization. The first was Argentina with its vast and sparsely inhabited territory and temperate weather. Herzl selected Palestine.

Jewish settlement of Argentina became the project of Moritz von Hirsch, a German Jewish financier who created charitable foundations to promote Jewish education. In addition, Hirsch founded the Jewish Colonization Association on September 11, 1891. This organization's chief goal was the mass immigration of Jews from Russia by settling them on agricultural lands in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Ottoman Palestine, and the United States. British Statesman Joseph Chamberlain was another staunch supporter of Jewish resettlement. He proposed Jews relocate to England's East African colonies including Uganda.

The rejection of life in the Jewish Diaspora was the central theme of Zionism. Aliyah, the ascent to the Land of Israel, was another. Zionists preferred to speak the Hebrew language that developed in the West Bank region of Ancient Israel. The capital of which was Jerusalem.

Often, Zionists refused to speak Yiddish, a West Germanic language developed in the 9th Century in Central Europe. Yiddish combined elements of the Mishnoic (Early Rabbinic), Aramaic (Ancient Syrian), and Slavic vernaculars. Their reason was because they felt Yiddish was developed in the context of European persecution. Once Zionists relocated to Israel, many of them refused to speak their mother tongues. They also adopted new Hebrew names.

Major aspects of Zionists are listed in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Two of those tenants are:

-The Land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people.

-The Jewish spiritual, religious, and political identities were shaped in the Land of Israel.

Following the destruction of the Second Temple, and the massacre of the Jews in Jerusalem, 600,000 Tocitus, and one million Josephus Jews, died of starvation, were slaughtered, or sold into slavery.

Located in the Upper Galilee, the Druze/Arab town of Peki'in has maintained a minority of Jews since the Second Temple Period 516BC to 70BC.

The Jews believe God assigned them Canaan (Genesis 15:18-21) as the Promised Land (the Land of Israel), Philistia (with cities in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, Gaza, and Jaffa), and Phoenicia (Modern Day Lebanon). This belief is conserved in the Septurgint, Christian, and Islamic traditions.

After the 2nd Century Bar Kokhba revolt in Judea, fought between 132BC-126BC, the last of three major Jewish-Roman wars, the Roman Empire banned all Jews from Jerusalem.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee 12: Zionism #4: Previous Attempts At Establishing A Jewish Homeland Before Zionism

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Chapter 12
Sea Of Galilee - #12:-Zionism #4

By Brett Matthew West

Before Zionism, several efforts were attempted to bring Jews to their own land. These included:

-Sabbatai Zevi, a Sephardis Jewish mystic from Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey), claimed to be the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. Zevi also founded the Donmeh Sect (crypto-Jews). In February 1666, he converted to Islam.

Prior to then, in 1648, Zevi began declaring to his followers he was the true Messiah and announced the Tetragrammaton (the four-letter YHWH name of the national God of Israel (yodh, heh, vav, heh), which evolved into Yahweh and Yehovah. Now pronounced Elohim or Adonai.

This name is found in the Torah, the Song of Songs, and the Hebrew Bible minus the books of Esther and Ecclesiastes. The pronunciation of this name was prohibited to all Jews except the High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement.

Sabbatai Zevi professed to be able to fly, but not publicly, as the Jews were not worthy of seeing him perform such a feat. Zevi claimed to have visions of God. Abraham Yachini's forged "The Great Wisdom of Solomon" alleged Zevi's messiahship was real.

Zevi gained many followers in Salonica (Thessalonika), the second largest city in Greece. His mystical events included the celebration of his marraige as the "One Without End". He was banished and ended up in Cairo, Egypt from 1660 to 1662.

In 1663, Zevi moved to Jerusalem and continued his mystical interpretations of psalms and Spanish love songs. He gained followers in Gaza, Aleppo, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Constantinople. Zevi's downfall began when he converted to Islam.

Zevi's legacy includes somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 Donmehs in Turkey who still practice Muslim in public and Mystical Judaism in private.

Other examples include:

-W.D. Robinson, who in 1819, proposed the establishment of the Upper Mississippi region for Jewish settlement.

-Warder Cresson, the American Consul to Jerusalem, who in 1850 established an agricultural community in the Valley of Rephaim southwest of Jerusalem. This was an ancient route from the coastal plain to the Jordan Hills where King David twice defeated the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-22 and 1 Chronicles 14:13-16).

-English Journalist Abraham Benisch, and Bohemian Bibliographer Moritz Steinschneider, who in 1835 attempted to organize a Jewish immigration in Prague.

-Mordacai Noah, an American playwright, and the most important Jewish lay leader in New York of the early 19th Century, who, in 1825, attempted to create a Jewish refuge in Grand Isle, New York.

-British financier Moses Montefiore, who established a Jewish colony in Palestine. In 1860, he also built the first Jewish residential settlement and almshouse outside the old walled city of Jerusalem (Mishkenat Sha' ananim).

-British author of "Piccadilly," and member of Parliment, Laurence Oliphant, who attempted to bring Jews from Poland, Romania, the Turkish Empire, and Lithuania to Palestine.

-The beginning of the construction of the New Yishuv (body of Jewish residents in the Land of Israel and Mandatory Palestine), the usual date of the arrival of the Bilu Group (to settle the agricultural Land of Israel) in 1882.

-The first Aliyah that came from Poland and the Ukraine to escape the state-led persecution of Jews in the Russian Empire, as well as the violent riots with massacres that occurred there in an effort to expel the Jews, especially in the Pale of Settlement (western regions of the Russian Empire).

Next Time: Zionism #5: Christian Zionism

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Chapter 13
Sea Of Galilee - #13:-Zionism #5

By Brett Matthew West

Even before Zionism gained any real traction some Christians actively supported Jews returning to Palestine. Israeli historian Anita Shapira is an example of this. Shapira founded the Yitzhak Rabin Center for research in Tel Aviv. She was also the Head of the Wetzmann Institute for the Study of Zionism at Tel Aviv University. Shapira suggested evangelical Christian Restorationists of the 1840s passed the notion of Jews relocating back to Palestine to Jewish leaders.

Evangelical Christian lobbying within England for Jewish restorationism (as a fulfillment of scriptural prophesy) was widespread prior to the 1820s. The Puritans (who attempted to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices) frequently prayed for the return of the Jews to Palestine.

John Nelson Darby, an Anglo-Irish Bible teacher, was one of the most influential members of the Plymouth Brethren (a non-conformist and non-denominational movement that supported the Bible is the supreme authority for church doctrine and practice). Darby also founded the Exclusive Brethren (similar to the Plymouth Brethren).

Darby is considered the Father of Dispensationalism (that interprets the Bible literally), and Futurism (interprets the Book of Revelation, Ezekiel, and Daniel as future events in a literal, physical, apocalyptic, and global context). Dispensationalism promoted Zionism, especially after Darby's eleven lectures on church hopes, the Jews, and the Gentiles he gave in Geneva, Switzerland in 1840.

Not Dispensationalists, John Charles Ryle (the first Bishop of Liverpool), Robert Murray M'Cheyne (a Church of Scotland minister from 1835 to 1843), Andrew Alexander Bonar (a minister for the Free Church of Scotland), hymnist Horatius Bonar, and Charles Haddon Spurgeon (known as the "Prince of Preachers" in the Reformed Baptist church), all supported what they believed was the importance and significance of the Jews returning to Palestine.

Famous for writing The Talmud and the Jews, antisemite, and Russian Orthodox churchmember, Hippolytas Lutostansky insisted in 1911 Russian Jews should be helped to move to Palestine "as their rightful place is in their former kingdom of Palestine".

Other Christian supporters of Zionism included:

-David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of England from 1916 to 1922

-Arthur Balfour, the Prime Minister of England from 1902 to 1905. Balfour issued the Balfour Proclamation that supported a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.

-Major-General Orde Wingate, who's support of Zionism caused the British Army to ban him from serving in Palestine

-Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States and leading architect of the League of Nations

-Martin Luther King, Junior, of "I have a dream" fame. He was a staunch supporter of both Israel and Zionism

-Joseph Smith, the founder of the Later Day Saints movement, who declared, "The time for Jews to return to the Land of Israel is now". Smith also sent Orson Hyde, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints to Jerusalem to dedicate the land for the Jews' return.

-After the Six-Day War of 1967, from June 5 to June 10, the Third Arab-Israeli War (that mainly involved Jordan, Syria, and Egypt), many Dispensationalists and non-Dispensationalists evangelical Christians in the United States supported Zionism.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #14:-Zionism #6 - Zionism Bad Raps And Ethnic Cleansing

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Chapter 14
Sea Of Galilee - #14:-Zionism #6

By Brett Matthew West

Zionism has often been characterized as colonialism and criticized for the promotion of unfair confiscation of land. This involves expelling, and violence towards, the Palestinians. Some of history's most outspoken voices in these regards have included:

-Nur-eldeen Masalha, the former Director of the Center for Religion and History and the Holy Land Research Project at St. Mary's University in Twichenham in Southwest London.

-Michael Prior, a priest of the Congregation of the Mission and Biblical Theologian at St. Mary's College. One of the most controversial religious leaders in the Catholic Church in Great Britian.

-Llan Pappe, the Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter in Southwest England. Claimed Zionism resulted in ethnic cleansings.

-Baruch Kimmerling, a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Known as one of the first academics to use scholarship to reexamine the founding tenets of Zionism and the Israeli State.

-Noam Chomsky, American Activist. Referred to as the "Father of Modern Linguistics."

-Cheryl Rubenberg, a writer who specialized in the Middle East.

Zionism has been viewed as a national movement contending with the Palestine one. Supporters of this accusation have included:

-Shlomo Avineri, a professor of political science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

-Mitchell Bard, an American foreign policy analyst specializing in US-Middle East policy. He is also the Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and Jewish Virtual Library.

South African rabbi David Hoffman rejected Zionism as a "settler-colonial undertaking." He characterized the movement as a "national program of affirmative action" and added, "there is unbroken Jewish presence in Israel back to Antiquity."

Isaac Deutscher, a Polish Marxist writer, and the biographer of Leon Trotsky, as well as Joseph Stalin. Called the Israelis "Prussians of the Middle East." He stated they have achieved what he termed "a victorious rush into the grave as a result of dispensing some 1.5 million Palestinians." He also said, "Israel has become the last remaining colonial power of the Twentieth Century."

Citing Theodor Herzl's 1895 diary, Edward Said, the founder of the academic field of postcolonial studies, claimed expelling the Palestinians was an early component of Zionism.

Massacres associated with Zionism over the years include:

-Dein Yassin, this massacre occurred on April 9, 1948. Far-Right Zionists paramilitary fighters killed 107 Palestinian Arabs. Women and children were part of those slain near Jerusalem.

-Sabra and Shatila, this massacre occurred between September 16-18, 1982 in Beirut, Lebanon. Approximately 3,500 Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites were slaughtered by the Lebanese military.

-Cave of the Patriarchs, this massacre happened on February 25, 1994. The American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, of the Far-Right Israeli Kach Movement, an Orthodox Jewish ultranationalist political party, killed 29 Palestinians during the Jewish Purim and Muslim Ramadan religious holiday celebrations.

These massacres led some to criticize Zionism as nothing more than violence against Palestinians. Among those who held this philosophy were:

-Saleh Abd al-Jawad, a Palestinian historian

-Ian Lustick, an American political scientist specializing in the politics of the Middle East.

In 1938, Mahatma Gandi declared Zionism to be "the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine as a religious act and must not be performed by force." He stated it was wrong to "impose the Jews on the Arabs, and it would be a crime against humanity to reduce Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home."

In 1946, Gandi seemed to have changed his mind when he told the American Journalist Louis Fischer, "If the Arabs have a claim to Palestine, the Jews have a prior claim."

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #15:-Zionism #7 - Racial Zionism

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Chapter 15
Sea Of Galilee - #15:-Zionism #7

By Brett Matthew West

Formed by Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, Satmar Hasidim is one of the largest Jewish religious groups of ultra-Orthodox Judaism. This organization is noted for its religious and social conservatism and social seclusion.

One of the farthest fringes of traditional Judaism, Neturei Karta was created in Jerusalum and Mandatory Palestine. They oppose Zionism and desire a peaceful dismantling of the State of Israel. They believe Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Jewish Messiah and that Israel is a rebellion against God.

The Soviet Union, Palestinians, and many Muslims. What do these five groups share in common? They oppose Zionism because of alleged racism, what they see as unfair land confiscations, as well as the expulsion and violence against Palistinians.

Others who share this view include the Arabs, who believe Zionism is responsible for the 1948 Palestinian Exodus, where more than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes, and about 600 Palestinian homes were destroyed in the annihilation of Palestinian society and the Palestinian homeland.

Ratified by 53 African countries, the 1979 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights attempted to eliminate Zionism as an aggressive form of discrimination.

Avi Shlaim is an Israeli-British historian and one of Israel's New Historians. These scholars put forward critical interpretations of Zionism. Shlaim stated, "Throughout its history up to the present day, Zionism is replete with manifestations of deep hostility and contempt towards the indigenous population."

Ahad Ha'am was a Hebrew Essayist, and one of the foremost pre-state Zionist thinkers. Ha'am founded Cultural Zionism and wanted a Jewish state, not a state of Jews. In 1891, Ha'am visited Palestine and published several articles that criticized the aggressive behavior and political ethnocentrism of Zionist settlers. He said "[they] behave towards the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly upon their boundaries, beat them shamefully without reason and even brag about it, and nobody stands to check their contemptible and dangerous tendencies." Ha'am also claimed, "Zionists believe the only language that the Arabs understand is that of force."

Many critics of Zionism state Jerusalum's notion of Israel as the "chosen people" is the source of their racism.

In December of 1973, the United Nations passed a resolution condemning the "unholy alliance between Portuguese colonialism, Apartheid, and Zionism". Certain Israeli policies toward Palestinians are seen as manifestations of racism in Zionist thinking.

In 1975, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379 calling Zionism a form of racism and racial discrimination. They described the doctrine as "morally condemnable, socially unjust, and dangerous."

A human rights forum resulting from the 2001 UN Conference on racism equated Zionism with "racist crimes, including acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing."

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #16 - Mandatory Palestine

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Chapter 16
Sea Of Galilee #16

By Brett Matthew West

In my articles on the Sea of Galilee, I have written about the Prehistory, Hellenistic, Roman, New Testament, Late Roman, Byzantine, Early Muslim, Crusader, Ottoman, and Zionist Beginnings periods. Now, I will examine Mandatory Palestine that was created under the British Mandate.

In 1917, during the Mesopatomia Campaign of World War One, Baghdad fell on March 11, 1917. Resultant to this outcome, a decisive British victory, England took control of Palestine. They also gained Jordan, Modern Day Palestine, and Southern Iraq.

Meanwhile, France took control of Syria. A problem arose where the border between Mandatory Palestine (basically the Land of Israel under the League of Nations) and the French Mandate of Syria, Lebanon, Alexandretta (on Turkey's Mediterranean coast), and parts of Southeastern Turkey, needed to be created.

This determination was established by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916 (Russia and Italy concurred). In addition, the Sazonov-Paleologue Agreement of April 26, 1916, gave Western Armenia (the eastern parts of Turkey, Constantinople, and the Turkish Straits) to Russia.

The April 19, 1917 Agreement of St. Jean-de-Maurienne gave Asia Minor ( Anatolia) to Italy. The Palestine region of Israel, the West Bank of the Sea of Galilee, the Gaza Strip, and portions of Western Jordan were to be under the control of an "international administration."

The September 30, 1918 Anglo-French Modus Vivendi Agreement regarded the creation of the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration in Syria, Jordan, israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. England would later gain Palestine and Mosul (in Souhtern Iraq) from the French.

The boundary between Mandatory Palestine and the Mandate of Syria was defined in broad terms by the December 1923 Paulet-Newcombe Agreement. Mandatory Palestine would be located from the Mediterranean Sea to Al-Hamma, Tiberias. The Mandate for Syria would place the country between the Mediterranean Sea and Jeziret-ibn-Amar in the Sirnak Province of the Southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey.

The Paulet-Newcombe Agreement drew this boundary through the middle of the Sea of Galilee. Later, the Zionist movement pressured France and England to redraw the boundary so as many water sources as possible would be in Mandatory Palestine.

This led to the Sea of Galilee, in its entirity, being included in Palestine, along with the Jordan River, Lake Hula (in the Syrian-African Rift Valley between Europe, Asia, and Africa), Dan Spring (the largest source of the Jordan River), and part of the Yarmouk River (the largest tributary of the Jordan River), all becoming parts of the Land of Israel. For the first time in several centuries the Land of Israel's borders were defined.

Transjordan was created under the Mandate for Palestine on April 25, 1920, at the San Remo Conference. They also created the Mandates for Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia (Iraq). The Mandate for Palestine was based on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations on June 28, 1919, and the San Remo Resolution. The objective of these Mandates was to "provide administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone."

England controlled Palestine through almost thirty years of riots, protests, and revolts by the Jewish and Palestinian Arabs. These included the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt to demand the end of open-ended Jewish immigration to Palestine in support of establishing a Jewish national home. About 320,000 Jews had migrated there by 1935.

The Jewish Insurgency of 1944-1948 in Mandatory Palestine, a paramilitary Jewish conflict fronted by underground Zionist groups (especially the Daganah, the largest underground Jewish militia) against England's rule in Mandatory Palestine, was another.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine formed seperate Jewish and Arab states operating under an economic union. Jerusalem was transfered to a UN trusteeship status.

The Mandate for Palestine ended on May ,15, 1948 and Israel declared its independence. The 1947-1949 Palestine War ended with Mandatory Palestine divided among Israel, Jordan's annexation of the West Bank, and the Egyptian All-Palestinian Protectorate in the Gaza Strip.

Woodrow Wilson's idea of self-determination, which was set forth in his Fourteen Points speech of January 8, 1918, and Europe's desire of gains for their empires, contributed to the creation of the Mandate for Palestine. The two governing principles of non-annexation of territory, and the development of territory to benefit its native people, also contributed to the Mandate for Palestine.

On May 14, 1922, the US announced an agreement with England about the Mandate for Palestine. That announcement was, "Consent of the United States shall be obtained before any alteration is made in the text of the Mandate."

The September 21, 1922 Lodge-Fish Resolution endorsed the Balfour Declaration of establishing Palestine as the national home of the Jewsish people.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #17: Canaan

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Chapter 17
Sea Of Galilee #17

By Brett Matthew West

Canaan was a Semitic-speaking civilization of the Ancient Near East (now most of the Modern Middle East) during the later portion of the years 2000BC to 1001BC.

Canaan held significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna Period (Egyptian history) of the 14th Century BC.

This was where the Hittites of Anatolia, Assyrian, Mitanni (Northern Syria and southwest Anatolia), and Egyptian empires overlapped or converged.

Most of the Modern Day knowledge of Canaan comes from archaeological excavations in sites such as:

En Esur - (Northern Sharon Plain, the coastal plain of Israel). Song of Songs 2:1 mentions the "Rose of Sharon." Isaiah 33:9, 35:2, 65:10, and 1 Chronicles 5:16 and 27:29 all mention the Plain of Sharon.

Tel Miggido - in Northern Israel that guarded an important trade route on the Via Maris.

Tel Hazar - north of the Sea of Galilee. Joshua 11:10 depicts Tel Hazar as "The Head of all those kingoms." Tel Hazar is the largest archaeological site in Northern israel.

Gezer - in the foothills of the Judean Mountains, midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, on the ancient coastal trade routes.

In the Bible, Canaan refers mainly to the Land of Israel, Phoenicia (eastern Mediterranean), and Philistia (the home of the Philistines from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt to Tel Aviv, Israel).

Canaanites were a mixture of settled and nomadic-pastoral indigenous populations, and the most frequently used ethnic term in the Bible. The Book of Joshua listed the Canaanites as a nation the Israelites were to exterminate.

Some biblical scholars state, "The Israelite cultural largely overlapped with, and derived from, Canaanite culture."

The name Canaanites was known to the Ancient Greeks as the geographical people known as the Phoenicians. During Late Antiquity, the North African Punics in the Western Mediterranean self-designated as Phoenicians, particularly in Ancient Carthage of the 9th Century BC.

The name Canaan derived from the Hebrew, Koine Greek (Biblical Greek), and Latin. One interpretation of the name means "lowlands." Another is "subjugated."

Ephraim Avigdor Speiser, a Jewish-Polish American Assyriologist, discovered the Ancient site of Tepe Gawra in 1927. This find was located fifteen miles NNE of Mosul in northwest Iraq, about a mile from Nineveh on the eastern bank of the Tigris River.

Speiser claimed "Canaan" meant the color purple (which made Phoenicia and Canaan the same; the "Land of Purple," mostly because of the dyes and textiles Canaan was famous for.)

Canaan experienced:

-Prehistory - Stone Age of hunter-gatherers from 4500BC to 3500BC

-Chalcalithic Age of metal workers and farmers from 3500BC to 2000BC

-Middle Bronze Age of city-states from 2000BC to 1550BC

-Late Bronze Age of Egyptian dominence from 1550BC to 1200BC

After the Bronze Age, Canaan was ruled by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. These different ages of Canaanite culture led to the First Agricultural Revolution in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Next Time - Sea Of Galilee #18: Canaan's Calcolithic Ghassulian Culture

Author Notes An Egyptian Sun King, by Brendaartwork18, selected to complement my posting.

So, thanks Brendaartwork18, for the use of your picture. It goes so nicely with my posting.

Chapter 18
Sea Of Galilee #18

By Brett Matthew West

About 4500BC, the Ghassulian culture was the first wave of migration into Canaan. This began the Chalcolithic archaeological period in Canaan. A time when copper predominated metalworking technology.

The Ghassulians, who are usually the prime example of the Calcolithic period in Canaan, were originally from the South Caucasus region. This was located between the Black Sea (that lies between Europe and Asia) and the Caspian Sea (the world's largest inland body of water.) They also came from the Northwest Zagros Mountains in Iran, Northern Iraq, and Southeastern Turkey. Upon migrating to Canaan they brought a complete craft tradition of metalworks with them. They were excellent coppersmiths.

Similar to artifacts of the Maykop culture of the Western Caucasus region (Modern Day Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Southern Russia), the Ghassulians' copperwork was the most advanced metal technology in the ancient world.

The Maykops were known for their animals style in metalworks, bronze cheek-pieces for horses, and petroglyphs that are yet to be deciphered. Some of the world's earliest wagon wheels, the most ancient stringed instrument, the most ancient sword, and the most ancient architectural column ever discovered belonged to the Maykops.

The Ghassulians' main copper mine was at Wadi Feynan in Southern Jordan. The Wadi Feynan area posssessed the largest copper deposits in what is now Modern Day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Their copper was mined from the Cambrian Burj Dolomite Shale Unit as malachite.
A green-banded, opaque, mineral. Their copper was smelted at sites of the Beersheba culture (in the Beersheba Valley near Negev). This was a desert, and semi-desert, location in Southern Israel.

The Chalcolithic period in Canaan ended when the urban settlement of En Esur began on the southern Mediterranean coast. With a name that translates into "Spring of the Bracelets," the En Esur settlement was located on the northern Sharon Plain, where the Wadi Ara Pass leads from the Coastal Plain inland.

The Ghassulian culture arose on the edge of the Dead Sea in Modern Day Jordan. Small hamlets of farming people characterized them. Some lived in underground dwellings or trapezoid-shaped mud-brick abodes. These were often partially built underground. Polychrome wall paintings adorned their dwellings.

Ghassulian pottery was highly elaborate, mainly footed bowls and horn-shaped wine goblets. Their copper was smelted with stone tools. The Ghassulian culture closely correlated with the Amratians of Upper Egypt (this culture lasted from approximately 4000BC to 3500BC and worked with raw gold, papyrus rowboats, and copper). The Ghassulians were also closely associated with the Minoans of Crete (a sophisticated culture that flourished from about 3000BC to 1100BC).

The earliest evidence of the Ghassulians' copper industry was found in Bir abu Matar in the Beersheba Valley, in the Negev desert of Southern Israel.

Found on the western shore of the Dead Sea, the Ghassulians' Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi dates to about 3500BC. Artifacts from this temple are believed to have been discovered at Nahal Mishmar, a stream and cave in the Judean Desert.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #19: Canaan's Early Bronze Age

Author Notes Brass N' Copper, by MoonWillow selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 19
Sea Of Galilee #19

By Brett Matthew West

The Early Bronze Age in Canaan lasted from approximately 3500BC to about 2000BC. During this time, sites such as Ebla developed. Recorded as the first world power, the ancient Sumarian city of Ebla was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria.

Located south of Aleppo, Ebla shows the Levant was a center of ancient, centralized, civilization equal to Egypt and Mesopotamia. Ebla held power over most of northern and eastern Syria. Upon the destruction of the second rebuild of Ebla, the Amorites settled the area and built the third Ebla.

Ebla was incorporated into the Akkadian Empire of Mesopotaia somewhere around 2300BC. This was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia. Their empire stretched as far south as Dilmun on the Persian Gulf in Saudi Arabia and Magan in Oman. They also settled in what became Bahrain and Qatar. When the Akkadian Empire fell, its people coalesced into Assyria and Babylonia.

Genesis 10:10-12 mentions Accad (Akkadia) as part of Nimrod's kingdom. Nimrod may have been Gilgamesh (the king of Uruk, who became a legend in the Third Dynasty of Ur), or Sargan of Akkad (the first ruler of an empire).

Sumerian references to the "tent dwellers" (Canaanites west of the Euphrates River), dates earlier than Sargan's rule (about 2334BC to 2279BC), and Enshakushanna (the king of Uruk in 2350BC).

Some sources state the earliest king of Canaanite territory was Lugal-Anne-Mundu (perhaps the first empire in recorded history, and the most important king of Adab in Sumer (in the west province of Modern Day Iraq).

Upon the fall of the Akkadian Empire, people from Khirbut Kerch, on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee, moved into the area. They were known for their Syro-Palestinian pottery (a plain, less ornate, ceramic). Originally, they arrived from the Zagros Mountains in Modern Day Iran, and the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

The first cities in the southern Levant arose during the Early Bronze Age. These included En Esur and Meggido. They regularly contacted people in Egypt, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia, including the Assyrians, the Luwians of Modern Day Turkey, the Hittites of Anatolia, the Hurrians of the Near East, and the Hattians of Central Anatolia.

Abandonment of their cities, a return to farming villages, and semi-nomadic herding, marked the end of the Early Bronze Age in Canaan. Their trade routes remained opened, as did their crafts production of pottery, gold, silver, ivory, statues, vessels, alters, and stelae (stone slabs used as gravestones).

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #20: Canaan's Middle Bronze Age



Author Notes Silver and Bronze, by avmurray, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 20
Sea Of Galilee #20

By Brett Matthew West

During the Middle Bronze Age, approximately 2000BC to 1500BC, urbanism returned to the Canaan region and the area was divided into small city-states. Hazor became the most important of them. The Mesopotamian influence dominated the Canaanite culture, and a large international trade network became integrated into Canaan.

About 2240BC, Naram-Sin became the ruler of the Akkadian Empire (the second ancient empire of Mesopotamia). His kingdom reached its maximum strength and he proclaimed himself "God of Akkad," "King of the Four Quarters" (translated to mean king of the known world and everything in it), and "King of the Universe."

The "four quarters" were:,

-Amurru (in Modern Day Syria and Northern Lebanon). Amurra was the westernmost quarter.

-Subartu (found in Upper Mesopotamia on the Upper Tigris river.) The northernmost geographical location of the Akkadian Empire.

-Elam (centered in the far west and northeast of Iran). The easternmost boundary of the Akkadian Empire.

-Sumer (in south-central Iraq). The southernmost expanse of the Akkadian Empire. The earliest known civilization in the historical era of Southern Mesopotamia and one of the world's first civilizations.

The Amorite Chieftain Hammurabi founded Babylon in 1894BC (about sixty miles south of Modern Day Baghdad in Iraq). During this time, Babylon grew from little significance to develop into Babylonia and Babylon became the region's holy city. The Mesopotamians also established Larsa and Isin.


-an important city-state southeast of Uruk in Iran's Dhi Qar Governorate (in southern Iraq and the heartland of Sumer).

-may also be the source of Babylonia mathematics

-the Plimpton 322 tablets that contain two of the three Pythagorean triples that solved a, b, c equals a squared + b squared = c squared


-known for temples and royal hymns

-Sumarian King List, a literary composition that created the legitimacy to claims of power for city-state kingdoms in Southern Mesopotamia.

During the Middle Bronze Age, Mesopotamia was divided mainly between two confederacies, one centered around Meggido in the Jezreel Valley (in the Northern District of Israel), and the other at Kadesh on the Orontes River in Syria.

Under Hazor (north of the Sea of Galilee), the prosperity of Canaan reached its apex. Hazor at least minimumly paid tribute to Egypt. Hazor was the largest fortified city in Canaan and imported large quantities of tin for its bronze industry. Joshua 11:10 called Hazor the "head of all those kingdoms."

Other significent city-states of the Canaanite Middle Bronze Age included Yamhad, the most powerful Syrian kingdom of its time. Yamhad dominated northern, northwestern, and eastern Syria. A gateway between the eastern Iranian plateau and the Aegean region, Yamhad centered on Halab and was considered a holy religious center. This helped Yamhad attain its prominence.

Qatna, in the Homs Governorate of Syria, near the village of al-Mishrifeh, contained one of the largest palaces of the Bronze Age in Syria. Qatna was abundantly fertile with a vast population that tended grazing animals.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #21: Canaan's Late Bronze Age



Author Notes The Helmet, by Sean T Phelan selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 21
Sea Of Galilee #21

By Brett Matthew West

In the early portion of Canaan's Late Bronze Age, that lasted from approximately 1550BC to about 1200BC, Canaanite confederacies centered on Meggido in Northern Israel, southwest of Haifa on the slopes of Mount Carmel (Israel's third largest city). The Baha'i Faith's World Centre is located there. From the 14th Century BC, Abu Hawam was the earliest known settlement in the Meggido region.

The other Canaanite confederacy centered on Kadesh, near the headwaters of the Orontes River.
According to some sources, Kadesh was located near Gaza. Ancient Antioch was an important city during that time.

Eventually. Canaan was brought into both the Egyptian, and the Hittite, empires. Later, Canaan was absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire during the apex of Assyria being a state. The Assyrians dominated the Ancient Near East, and regarded as the first World empire, they held the largest empire formed in ancient world history. Their dominance was over Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Lavant, parts of Anatolia, Arabia, Modern Day Iran, and Armenia.

According to the Bible, Western Asians appeared to have settled Canaan. The most powerful of them being the Amorites. Uncivilized, and nomadic, they were considered native to Syria and Transjordan on the East Bank.

The Amorites are mentioned in Genesis 10:16-18, Genesis 14:7, Joshua 10:5, Deutoronomy 1:19, Deutoronomy 27, Deutoronomy 44, Numbers 21:13. Other references regard the Amorites as being Canaanites though "Amorite" is not used to describe the population that occupied the coast.

For centuries prior to the Biblical Hebrews, parts of Canaan, and southwestern Syria, became tributary to Egypt. Several local rebellions occurred. During this same time, the Assyrians ruled northern Canaan and Northern Syria.

The Egyptian Pharoah Thutmose III, who ruled according to most sources from April 28,1479BC to March 11, 1425BC, and his son Amenhotep II, who created the largest Egyptian empire from 1427BC to 1401BC, kept the Canaanites loyal to Egypt.

The Habiru rebels, outlaws, raiders, and mercenaries arose to challenge Egyptian rule. They were Aramean people of the Near East, of the Late 12th Century BC, from the central region of Modern Day Syria.

The Biblical word "Hebrew" began as a social category during Canaan's Late Bronze Age and evolved into an ethnic group. Many discoveries of the time appear to link the Habiru to the Hebrews.

The Habiru may also be connected to the Midianites (on the northwest Arabian peninsula and the Red Sea. Genesis says the Midianites were the descendants of Abraham's son Midian).The Kenites (descendants of Cain, who were known as coppersmiths and metalworkers), and the Amalekites (descended from Eliphaz, the son of Esau, who lived in the Negev desert, and semi-desert, regions of southern Israel) may also be connected to the Habiru. Deutoronomy 25:17-19 states Israel was to "blot out the remembrance of Amalek (the Amalekites) from under heaven."

The Habiru may have been attracted to Canaan because of a new power based in Asia Minor, and their horse-drawn chariots, known as the Mitanni, a major rival of Egypt. The Mitanni are thought to have formed after Babylon fell and descended from remnants thereof. They also contained Hurrians, Semites, Kassites, and Luwians.

Egyptian power in Canaan suffered major defeats when the Hittites advanced to Syria and displaced the Amorites. Egypt's control of Canaan totally collapsed when the Sea People (the Philistines) settled into the southwestern Israel coastal plain on the Mediterranean Sea.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #22: Amarna Letters

Author Notes Distorted Desert, by Annalinda, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 22
Sea Of Galilee #22

By Brett Matthew West

In 1887 more than 390 BabylonIan cuneiform letters, written in the Akkadian language, were discovered by an Egyptian woman digging mud-brick on the east bank of the Nile River, about 190 miles south of Cairo. This was on the site of Pharoah Akhenaten's capital. He was perhaps the world's first monotheist.

Known as the Amarna Letters, these tablets are diplomatic correspondences from Byblos, Tyre, Gezer, Hebron, Shechem (Nablus), Ashkelon, Megiddo, and Jerusalem, to Egyptian authorities. They opened up in detail events that occurred as Egypt was losing its grip on its Asiatic Empire of the Late Bronze Age, about the 1400sBC, to a people known as the Habiru. These were a powerful Egyptian enemy in the Palestine-Syria region.

Three main significant factors pertain to the Amarna Letters, the Habirus, and the conquering Hebrews under Joshua's command in the Old Testament of the Bible. The biggest still unanswered question is do the Amarna Letters confirm the biblical account?

-the resemblance of the etymology of the names Habiru and Hebrew (All Hebrews were Habirus, but not all Habirus were descended from Jacob)

-the chronological relationship between the events of the Habirus of the Amarna Letters and those of the Israelites

-the locations in Canaan of the Habirus to those of the Hebrews in Joshua's time

In the Scriptures, the name "Hebrew" is a gentilic designation for ethnic Israelites. The "Habiru" of the Amarna Letters is used in a sociological sense. The Habirus were bent on destroying the Canaanite feudal society. The Habiru may have been indigenous to Canaan.

The unresolved question as to whether the Habirus and the Hebrews were the same people is were the Hebrews an active presence in Canaan during the Amarna Age of the 14th Century BC? There may be proof of that in the Beth-shan Stela of Seti I.

This commemorates a military campaign in which Pharoah's forces encountered warriors described as "Apirus," the Egyptian equivalent of Habirus, which in turn would place Hebrews in Canaan in the 12th Century BC.

The Hebrew homeland was Yarmuta, a Galilean hill the Bible calls Yarmuth Heights. Yarmuta was in the Hebrew territory of the tribe of Issacher, off the shores of southern Lebanon, and north of Tyre. This was an important center of wood for Egypt. The tribe of Issacher reached from the Jordan River to Mount Carmel, and included the Esdraelon plain between Lower Galilee and Sumaria (Joshua 21:29).

Perhaps the most telling convergence between the Biblical Conquest and the Amarna Letters concerns Labayu, the ruler of Shechem, who gave Shechem to the Habirus. Joshua 8:32-35 describes how the Hebrews moved safely from Gilgal, in the plains of Jericho, to Shechem.

Biblical history (1 Kings 6:1 and Judges 11:16) details that one of Egypt's Pharoah's (of the 18th Dynasty, based on recorded history, Amenhotep II, drowned in the Red Sea (Exodus 15:4-5). After his demise, Pharoahs Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III, ruled Egypt a combined 41 years after Israel's exodus from Egypt (the same time the Hebrews took over Shechem).

Genesis 10:21 says, "all the [Hebrews were] descendents of Eber." This ethnic designation included Abraham. The Bible's use of the word "Hebrew" became narrower in later use to mean Jacob's descendents. And, Genesis 39:14 calls Joseph a "Hebrew who came from the land of the Hebrews."


Journal of the Adventist Theological Society

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #23: The Amarna Letter From Urusalim (Jerusalem)

Author Notes journal, by suep, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 23
Sea Of Galilee #23

By Brett Matthew West

Measuring approximately 8 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide, Amarna Letter EA286 is titled "A Throne Granted, Not Inherited." This correspondence was written by Abdi-Heba, the ruler of Jerusalem of the mid-1330sBC. At the time of his rule, Jerusalem was thought to have had a population of about 1,500 citizens, and been a small highlands stronghold that lacked large buildings as well as fortifications.

Multiple bands of Habirus attacked Jerusalem forcing Abdi-Heba to plead with the Pharoah for an army from Egypt to defend the city. As a result of this letter, Abdi-Heba was charged with conspiracy. Later, Abdi-Heba reconciled with the Habirus and became a loyal supporter of them.

Other Amarna Letters Abdi-Heba wrote to Egypt were titled "EA285 The Soldier-Ruler of Jerusalem," "EA287 A Very Serious Crime," "EA288 Benign Neglect," "EA289 A Reckoning Demanded," and "EA290 Three Against One."

Because of their dialect, the Amarna Letters from Jerusalem (written Urusalim) have attracted substantial attention. Their scribal culture is of a vastly high quality compared to the other Amarna Letters from Canaanite cities. So are their syntax, cuneiform signs, and orthography.

The Amarna Letters from Jerusalem hold unique interest because:

-they come from Jerusalem before King David banished the Canaanites (Jebusites) and made the city his capital (2 Samuel 5)

-they provide evidence Jerusalem was occupied in the Late Bronze Age era for which there is very little archaeological evidence otherwise because most of Ancient Jerusalem is under the Temple Mount and can not be excavated

-they demonstrate a sophisticated scribal system existed in Jerusalem during the Late Bronze Age

The Amarna Letters provide a detailed view of Canaan prior to the Hebrews move into the area. The Israelites were helped in their endeavors by the stalemate between the Egyptian and Hittite Empires, and the intrusion of the Sea Peoples. This led to a weakening in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Sea Peoples are believed to have come from Asia Minor, the Aegean region, islands of the Mediterranean, and Southern Europe at the end of the Late Bronze Age.

Abdi-Heba's Amarna Letters were written after the Habirus took control of Shechem before the city became a principle center of Hebrew worship and the first capital of Israel. The Habirus' presence in Canaan may have been significant and long term.

The Habirus were known as SA, GAZ, Habirus, Hapiri, Apiru, and Apiri. The biggest, still unanswered question remains were they the Ancient Hebrews? The Habirus were viewed in the Amarna Letters with violence, law breaking, upheaval, destruction, and sedition. To be Habiru in an Egyptian court placed them as a traitor and subjected them to death.


Bible (Center for Judicial Studies)

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #24: Was Yahweh Nothing More Than A Canaanite City

Author Notes quack!quack!quack!, by supergold, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 24
Sea Of Galilee #24

By Brett Matthew West

It is widely accepted by those who study the subject the Shasu were Bedouins and highwaymen. They were also semi-nomadic people of Syria-Palestine.

There are three known references in New Kingdom period texts to an area called "The land of the Shasu of Yahweh." Not including the Old Testament, these are the oldest known references in any ancient texts to the God Yahweh.

The New Kingdom Era lasted between the 16th Century BC, and the 11th Century BC, of the Egyptian Empire and covered the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of Egypt. Radiocarbon dating lists the beginning of this age to have been from 1570BC to 1544BC, which was the peak of Egypt's power.

Several hieroglyphic military, diplomatic, and administrative Egyptian texts discuss the Shasu, as do eight Pharoahs. An Egyptian letter dated to 1192BC stated in part "We have finished letting the Shasu tribes of Edom pass the fortress of Merneptah Hotep-hir-Maat..."

Dated to about 1190BC, and found in Pharoah Merneptah's temple in Thebes, the Merneptah Stele is considered one of the most important discoveries made referencing the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. The Stele stated "Israel is laid waste, its seed is not." This is the earliest known mention of Israel outside of the Bible, and the only known mention of Israel in Egyptian records.

In this case, the Shasu mentioned are linked to the Edomites, who possessed a well known relationship with the Hebrews. In Transjordan, Edom laid between Moab and the Arabian Desert, which in Modern Times is divided between Southern Israel and Jordan.

The tribes talked about in the Merneptah Stele were settled after they crossed into the Biblical Pithom in Succoth (now Deir Alla in Transjordan). Exodus 1:11states Pithom was one of the "storage" or "treasure" cities built for the Pharoah by the forced labor of the Hebrews. Rameses, and Heliopolis, were the others. These Shasu were Semites who herded animals.

When used geographically in Egyptian texts, Shasu is translated "land of". In the above situation it refers to "the land of the Shasu of Yahweh." New Kingdom texts for Shasu referred to peoples in Lebanon, Sinai, Transjordan, Syria, and Canaan. However, the Shasu were rarely under the control of the Egyptian government and were viewed as enemies of Egypt.

Ancient Egyptians classified all the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Midianites, Amalekites, Habirus, Kenites, Amorites, Arameans, and Hebrews as Shasu. There is also a reference in the 1250BC Papyrus Anastasi I to a group of giant Shasu in Canaan.

The topographical lists at Soleb and Amarah-West are inscribed with "The land of the Shasu of Yahweh." These lists contain the names of enemies of Egypt. Built about 1400BC, Soleb is a temple constructed by Pharoah Amenhotep III, that is located in Modern Day Sudan, on the left bank of the Nile River, about 135 miles south of Wadi-Halfa. This is not questioned by Egyptian scholars. Also in Sudan, Amarah-West was built by Pharoah Rameses II in the 13th Century BC. Egyptologists do not question the name Yahweh in either of these two lists.

Canadian Egyptologist, and archaeologist, Donald B. Redford conducted multiple excavations in Karnak and Mendes, Egypt. He argued Yahweh was first worshipped as an Edomite god. Furthermore, he stated one of the Edomite tribes split from their main body, moved northwest to Israel and took their god Yahweh with them. Redford claimed that explains how Yahweh became the God of the Israelites.

The earliest Biblical traditions place Yahweh as the deity of southern Edom, and may have started in Edom, Seir, Teman, or Sinai before being adopted in Israel and Judah.

In his 1979 book Festshrift Elmar Edel, author and Semetic biographer Michael C. Astour pointed out the place names listed at Soleb and Amarah-West show Shasu ethnic groups in Syria-Palestine. Therefore, he claimed the question remained did Yahweh reference a town or city like all the others contained in the Egyptian topographical lists that begin with 13sh3sw as Yahweh does?

Is the question "the land of the nomads who live in the area of Yahweh?" Even if 13sh3sw does point this out, it is clearly a place named after the God Yahweh of the Old Testament. Proposed locations of the city of Yahweh have included:

-a spring in the Beqa Valley, near the Litani River, in Lebanon

-Samata (Samat) on the Phoenician coast, about seven miles south of Batroun, in Northern Lebanon, one of the world's oldest cities

There is no topographical site in the region today that contains the name Yahweh, or anything similar. Nor are there any Biblical references, or ancient historical sources known to exist for that region, that mention "the land of the Shasu of Yahweh. Other proposed sites for the city of Yahweh have been:

-Medinet Haber, on the West Bank of Luxor in Southern Egypt (the site of the ancient city of Thebes)

-Turabaar, with the Modern Day name of Turbal, in Lebanon

-Sarar (Mount Seir) in Edom

-Laban in Syria

The Soleb reference to Yahweh is about 500 years older than the Moabite Stone's reference to Yahweh, and is the oldest known non-biblical occurrence of the name Yahweh.


Bible (Donald B. Redford) (Michael C. Astour)

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #25: The Moabite Stone's Connection To The Ancient Hebrews

Author Notes Camel Comics, by eileen0204, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 25
Sea Of Galilee #25

By Brett Matthew West

Written in a variant of the Phoenician alphabet closely related to the Paleo-Hebrew script used in Ancient Israel and Judah, the Mesha Stele, or Moabite Stone as it is also known by, has been dated to about 840BC.

The Moabite Stone contains significant Canaanite inscription in the name of King Mesha of Moab, that was located in Modern Day Jordan. Moab laid on the vast majority of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, and often skirmished with the Hebrews.

During the Iron Age, that lasted from approximately the 12th Century BC to the 1st Century BC, the Phoenician alphabet was the language of the Phoenicians, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and Hebrews.

The Iron Age was the last of the three divisions of the prehistory, and proto-history, of humanity. The other two being the Stone Age, when stone tools were first used by mankind, and the Bronze Age.

Prehistory is generally dated to about 3.3 million years ago, and the beginning of recorded history when writing systems were invented. Proto-history occurs when a non-writing culture or civilization is noted by another culture in their writings. For example, when Egypt mentioned the Ancient Hebrews in their hieroglyphics.

The Moabite Stone depicts how the Moab god Chemosh allowed the Moabites to be subjugaled to the Hebrews. However, Chemosh later returned and aided Mesha in riding the Moabites of the Hebrews and restore the lands of Moab. Mesha's many building projects are also listed on the Moabite Stone.

The Anglican Missionary Frederick Augustus Klein, of the Church Missionary Society, discovered the Meshe Stele about 1868 in Ancient Diban, which stood south of Ammon, and east of the Dead Sea. Located along the King's Highway, a major trade route that connected Africa with Mesopotamia, Diban was first occupied in the Early Bronze Age.

The cornerstone of Moabite history, the Moabite Stone is the first major Canaanite inscription found in the Palestine region. It remains the longest Iron Age inscription discovered there. The Moabite Stone provides invaluable information concerning Moabite and Hebrew political relations of the 9th Century BC. With some differences, the Moabite Stone parallels 2 King's 3:4-28.

The Moabite Stone is the most extensive inscription recovered that referenced the kingdom of Israel (the House of Omri) and contained one of the earliest known extra-Biblical references to Israel's God Yahweh. The Merneptah Stele, the Tel Dan Stele, and one of the Kurkh Monoliths being the only other ones known to exist.

The oldest mention of the Dynasty of David outside of the Bible, the Tel Dan Stele was discovered in 1993 in Upper Galilee by archaeologist teammember Gila Cook. Its pieces helped construct an ancient stone wall and dated to the 9th Century BC. Written in Aramaic by Aramean King Hazael, the Tel Dan Stele detailed the death of Jehoram, Israel's King. The Stele also corroborated 2 Kings and the conquering of the Land of Israel.

The only known reference to Israel in Assyrian, and Babylonian records, the Kurkh Monolith was discovered in 1861 in the province of Diyarbakir, Turkey, by John George Taylor. He was the Consul-General of the Ottoman Eyalet of Kurdistan. The monolith contains "A-ha-ab-bu Sir-ila-a-a," which many experts on the topic translate to mean "Ahab, king of Israel."

In November of 1869, the Bani Hamida Bedouins broke the Moabite Stone after the Ottoman government ordered them to surrender the Stele to Germany. Fortunately, a papier-mache impression of the Stele had been achieved prior to this event's occurrence.

Main topics the Mesha Stele covered included:

-Moab being oppressed by King Omri of Israel
-Mesha's victories over Jehoram and Gad (one of the ten lost tribes of Israel) at Nebo, Jehaz, and Ataroth (in Gilead)
-Mesha's building projects
-Mesha's wars against the Moab city of Horonaim that are mentioned in Jeremiah 48 and Isaiah 15

This was a battle won by Moab against King Jehoram, the ninth King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, an unnamed King of Edom, and Jehosaphat, the fourth King of Judah.

The discovery of the Khirbat Ataruz inscribed altar in Madaba, Jordan in 2010, provided validation evidence of the Moabite Stone's authenticity by Biblical archaeologists.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #26: Edom's Interactions With The Ancient Heebrews

Author Notes Historic Walls, by avmurray, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 26
Sea Of Galilee #26

By Brett Matthew West

The oldest Biblical traditions place Yahweh as the deity of Southern Edom, and that Yahweh may have originated in Edom, Teman, Seir, or Sinai before being adopted in Israel and Judah.


this be true, perhaps an in-depth examination of Edom is in order.

Believed to have been first settled in the Late Bronze Age, about 1550BC to 1069BC, Edom was an Ancient Transjordan kingdom located between Moab, the Arabah region south of the Dead Sea, and the Arabian Desert. The vast majority of what was Edom's territory is now divided between Modern Day Southern Israel and Jordan.

Their capital in Raqmu in Modern Day Petra, Jordan adjacent to the Jabal Al-Madbah mountain, Edom flourished between the 13th Century BC and the 8th Century BC. BabylonIa destroyed the city in the 6th Century BC. The Ancient Nabataeans of Arabia finished them off.

After Edom fell, the Edomites relocated towards Southern Jordan, the kingdom of Judah (its capital being Jerusalem), and parts of the Negev desert down to the Timna valley in Northern Israel, in the southwestern Arava basin. This area is rich in copper that has been mined since about the 5th Century BC.

Modern Jews are named after, and descended from the Kingdom of Judah. The Tel Dan Stele shows the kingdom existed by the mid-9th Century BC, and was a successor to the United Kingdom of Israel under Saul, David, and Solomon.

Driven out of this area by Nebuchadnezzar II about 587/586BC, the Edomites settled in the southern hills of Judah, to an area north of Tel Be'er Sheva, the largest city in the Negev Desert of Southern Israel. There, they became known as Idumaeans, and their territory was known as Idumaea, a name used in the Hellenistic and Roman eras, and mentioned in the New Testament.

In the 2nd Century BC, the Edomites were forcibly converted to Judaism by the Hasmonean leader, and Jewish High Priest, John Hyrcanus in about 125BC and incorporated into the Jewish nation. The Hasmoneans ruled Judea with the Seleucid Empire and expanded into Galilee, Perea, and Samaria. While Edom and Idumaeans relate to a historically-contiguous population, they were two separate territories.

The Gospel of Mark indicates people from Idumaea, Tyre, Sidan, Judea, Jerusalem, and lands west of the Jordan came to see Jesus by the Sea of Galilee.

Edom is a Hebrew word that means "red," and the Hebrew Bible relates the name to Esau, the older son of Isaac. Genesis, Obadiah, Malachi, Romans, and Hebrews all refer to Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob. Edom ceased to exist approximately 667BC, and was last mentioned in an Assyrian inscription of that year.

Strabo, a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian, who resided in Anatolia (Modern Day Turkey) during the Roman Empire's transitional period, wrote around the time of Jesus. He stated the Idumaeans constituted the majority of the population of Western Judea.

The Hebrew Bible states Edom stretched from the Sinai Peninsula (around Kadesh Barnea, at the southern border of Canaan and Judah) to Eilat, Israel's southernmost city on the northern tip of the Red Sea. Bozrah (Busaira) in Tafilah Governate, in Jordan, was the capital of Ancient Edom.

Genesis lists the descendents of Esau settled in the land after displacing the Horites inhabiting the area around Mount Seir (Genesis 14:6 and Deuteronomy 2:12). Selah was its principal stronghold, and Ezion-geber, on the Gulf of Aqaba, another main seaport.

Genesis 36:31-43 displays eight Edomite kings reigned before any Israelite kings did. There were also ten clans of Esau in Edom. 1 Samuel 14:47 depicts King Saul defeated the Edomites in the Late 11th Century BC. 2 Samuel 8:13-14 tells how David defeated the Edomites in the "Valley of Salt." 1 Kings 9:15-16, 2 King's 14:7, and 2 Chronicles 25:11-12, explain the Israelites never completely vanquished the Edomites.

In 587/586BC, Nebuchadnezzar II plundered Jerusalem and slaughtered Judaeans. These actions placed a permanent end to the Kingdom of Judah. Psalms 137:7, and Obadiah 1:11-14, tell this story. Edom was denounced by prophets for these incidents (Isaiah 34:5-8 and Jeremiah 49:7-22).

In the year 70AD, some 20,000 Edomites, under Simon bar Giora and Roman Emporer Titus, may have assisted in pillaging Jerusalem. The Book of Jeremiah states "No one will live there, nor will anyone of mankind reside in it." Psalms states "Over Edom will I cast out my shoe." These passages demonstrate the Israelites held the Edomites in contempt.

After the three Jewish Wars against the Roman Empire in Judea, where the Jewish Temple was destroyed during Nero's reign, the Idumaeans were no longer mentioned though the geographical region of Idumaea was still referred to at the time of Jerome (who converted the Bible into Latin).

Edom drew much of its trade for spices, incense, salt, balsam wood, and copper between Egypt, Mesopotamia, Southern Arabia, and the Lavant along the Incense Route. This was a series of land and sea routes that linked the Mediterranean world with Northwest Africa, Arabia, India, and several other locations.

Found in Wadi Faynan, between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the large-scale copper-mining site Khirbet en-Nahas (one of the Ancient world's largest copper mines and smelting sites, that was excavated by archaeologist Thomas Levy in Southern Jordan), provided evidence of Edom's strong, centralized, 10th Century BC kingdoms.

Since the exodus from Egypt, Edom was a long-time enemy of the Hebrews. They treated them in unfriendly manners though they were related to the Israelites.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #27: Philistines - The Arch-Enemies Of The Hebrews

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 - Galilee Boat (Was This Jesus' Boat?)
Chapter 2 - Names (Sea of Galilee Has Been Known By)
Chapter 3 - Ohalo (Prehistoric Sea Of Galilee Village)
Chapter 4 - Via Maris (Major Trade Route)
Chapter 5 - Talmud
Chapter 6 - Byzantine Era (Christianity Under Their Rule)
Chapter 7 - Hattin (A Devastating Turning Point In Sea Of Galilee's History)
Chapter 8 - Kebbatz (Cradle Of Early Zionism)
Chapter 9 - Zionism #1 (Forms)
Chapter 10 - Zionism #2 (Cornerstone Of Zionism)
Chapter 11 - Zionism #3 (Beliefs Of Zionism)
Chapter 12 - Zionism #4 (Attempts To Resettle Jews Before Zionism)
Chapter 13 - Zionism #5 (Christianity's Support Of Zionism)
Chapter 14 - Zionism #6 (Bad Raps Of Zionism)
Chapter 15 - Zionism #7 (Racial Zionism)
Chapter 16 - The Creation Of Mandatory Palestine
Chapter 17 - The Geopolitical Importance Of Canaan
Chapter 18 - Canaan's Chalcolithic Ghassalian Culture
Chapter 19 - Canaan's Early Bronze Age
Chapter 20 - Canaan's Middle Bronze Age
Chapter 21 - Canaan's Late Bronze Age
Chapter 22 - Do Amarna Letters Confirm Biblical Conquest Of Canaan?
Chapter 23 - Amarna Letters From Jerusalem
Chapter 24 - Was Yahweh Nothing More Than A Canaanite Location?
Chapter 25 - The Moabite Stone's Connection To Ancient Hebrews
Chapter 26 - Edom's Interactions With Ancient Hebrews

To read any, or all, of these chapters click on the blue numbers on the top of the page.

Author Notes Brass N' Copper, by MoonWillow, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 27
Sea Of Galilee #27

By Brett Matthew West

The Philistines are thought to have arrived in Israel, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon in the 12th Century BC, about the same time the Hebrews did.

During this period, cities and civilizations in the Middle East were in a state of decline. Genesis 10:14 says the Philistines descended from the Casluhites of Egypt, after the Ethiopian War in which Moses led the Egyptians against the kingdom of Kush.

Covering Northern Sudan, Southern Egypt, and parts of Eritrea, Somalia, and Ethiopia, Kush was one of the earliest civilizations to develop in the Nile River Valley area of Modern Day Sudan (about 1070BC).

Nebuchadnezzar II, and the Persian Empire (who were larger than any previous empire), destroyed the Philistines. Thereafter, they lost their ethnic identity and disappeared from the archeological record by the 5th Century BC.

The first known reference to the Philistines was found in a relief at the Temple of Ramesses III in Medinet Habu. There, they were called "Pelesets" of the Late 2nd Century BC. They may have been one of the Sea Peoples who attacked Ancient Egypt during the Late Bronze Age Collapse (1200BC to 900BC).

The Bible says the Philistines originated in Caphtor, near Pelusium, in the eastern Nile delta. According to the Septuagint, they may have been connected to the Caphtorians, or the Cherethites, of Crete. The Philistines may have arrived in the Lavant from Minoa in Greece.

There are 286 references of the Hebrew term "Plistim" (Philistines) in the Masoretic text, 152 of them are in 1 Samuel, and 12 in the Pentateuch.

By 1300BC, to 900BC, ethnic Philistine city-states were established around Ashkelon (in the Southern District of Israel), Ashdod (near Tel Aviv), Ekron (west of Jerusalem), Gath (in Central Israel), and Gaza. Deuteronomy 2:23 says the Philistines captured their lands from the Avvites.

The Philistines of Genesis were different from those of the Bible from Joshua to 2 Kings. When used in the context of Samson, Saul, and David, the term "Philistines" meant "non-Israelites of the Promised Land."

Judges 13:1 depicts the Philistines dominated the Hebrews in Samson's time, and that he killed more than a thousand of them.

Before the Assyrians, and the Babylonians, the Philistines were an arch-enemy of the Hebrews.
Perpetual wars seemed to last between them.

The Philistine population of the 12th and 11th Centuries BC varied from approximately 25,000 to 30,000.

Amos 9:7 says " As He brought Israel from Egypt, God brought the Philistines from Caphtor."

Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and Zephariah all speak of the destruction of the Philistines.

At least nine battles were fought between the Israelites and the Philistines:

-1 Samuel 13:17-19 - details how the Philistines defeated the Hebrews, captured the Ark of the Covenant, and all the Hebrews' iron weapons

-2 Chronicles 28:18 - the Battle of Shephelah in the Judaean foothills

-1 Samuel 7:3-14 - the Philistines defeated at the Battle of Eben-Ezer. The hymn "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" refers to the monument Samuel erected in memory of this Israelite victory.

-1 Samuel 13:19-21 - the Philistines won and forced the Israelites into disarmament. They could not have any blacksmiths, and had to rely on the Philistines to sharpen their weapons and agricultural implements

-1 Samuel 14 - King Saul's oldest son Jonathan routed the Philistines in the Battle of Michmash

-1 Samuel 17 - David defeated Goliath near the Valley of Elah on the West Bank. Goliath is reported to be buried at Khirbet Hanot.

-1 Samul 31 - the Philistines defeated the Israelites on Mount Gilboa, (overlooking the Jezreel Valley and the Jordan Valley). They killed King Saul and his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua

-2 Kings 18:5-8 - Hezekiah defeated the Philistines at Gaza

Places that have been suggested where the Philistine arose from:

-five Egyptian inscriptions called them Pelesets from Egypt

-Anatolian hieroglyphics, by the Hittites, demonstrated the Philistine lands of the 1100sBC, to the 1000sBC, reached from the Amik Valley, in the Hatay Province, near Antioch, Turkey, to Aleppo, Syria. They also went down to Muhardah, in Northern Syria, on the Orontes River, to Shaizar in Syria (near Hama)

-A Greek theory claims the Philistines arose from Palaete, in the Ceraunian Mountains, on the southern Adriatic coast of the Illyria (the northwest part of the Balkan Peninsula), to Epirus (an Ancient area shared by Northwest Greece and Southern Albania).

-Found in the Negev Desert, southwest of the Kingdom of Judah, Ziklag marked the border between Israelite and Philistine territories.

The Philistines appear in four New Kingdom of Egypt texts. One is the Medinet Habu inscription near the Theban Hills, on the West Bank of the Nile River, that is closely associated with the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III. The second is the Rhetorical Stela of King Tutankhaman at Deir al-Medina. This was the literary archives of the builders of the royal tombs who lived on the West Bank of the Nile River at Thebes. Both of these are dated between 1186BC and 1155BC.

The third was the Papyrus Harris I (the longest known papyrus from Ancient Egypt with about 1,500 lines of text), that summarizes the entire reign of Ramesses III from 1186BC to 1155BC. The fourth is the Onomasticon of Amenemipet, a list of Egyptian words by category that lacks their explanations. Dated from the end of the 12th Century BC, to the early 11th Century BC, this is Egypt's papyrus of the 20th to 22nd Dynasties.

A connection between the Philistines and the Mycenaean culture (the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece) has been documented by artifacts found in excavating Ashkelon, Ekron, Ashdod, and Gath. This pottery was a locally-made version of the Aegean Mycenaean (Minoan civilization) decorated in browns and blacks. As well as red decorations, on white slips, known as Philistine Bichromeware. Twenty-three 12th to 10th Century BC sites have yielded Philistine pottery in Northern Israel.

Consistent with Ancient Aegean religion, the most common diety artifact discovered in Philistine lands is the figurine of a goddess called "Ashdoda."

Philistines harvested a large olive industry in Ekron, and a sizable fermented drink crop for beer and wine. Gold, bronze, and iron were their most frequent metalworks.

Located in Ashdod, Israel, the Corinne Mamane Museum of Philistine Culture is the only museum in the world dedicated to the Philistines. The museum features a permanent exhibit of Philistine artifacts. Cultural events, Philistine-style clothing visitors can try on, and Philistine cuisine highlight the museum.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #28 - Why Isaiah Was Sawn In Two

Author Notes Diabloceratops, by Sean T Phelan, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 28
Sea Of Galilee #28

By Brett Matthew West

(This chapter details the environment of Judah in Isaiah's time. Sources say he may have prophesied more than 60 years.)

The prophet Isaiah authored three books:

-the biblical Book of Isaiah

-Des Propheten Jesaja Weissagunger - culturally important to Israel, and regarded as a part of the knowledge base of known civilization. This book was written by Isaiah and reproduced by Carl Ludwig Hendewerk in 1836.

-The Isaiah Targum - the biblical book of Isaiah translated by Jonathan ben Uzziel

Isaiah was born in the Kingdom of Judah in the 8th Century BC. He died in the 7th Century BC. Isaiah's name is translated "God is Salvation." In the book of Isaiah he is referred to as "the prophet."

One view holds Isaiah wrote all 66 chapters of the Book of Isaiah, possibly between 740BC and 686BC, with a 15 year span in between. This notion also holds dramatic declarations of Cyrus the Great, the Persian king from 559BC-530BC, that:

-ended the BabylonIan captivity of the Hebrews

-rebuilt the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem to completion in 515BC

-returned the sacred vessels seized from the First Temple (Solomon's Temple) in 587BC-586BC

The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem began to change the Hebrews from their monolatristic beliefs of Yahwism to the monotheistic (only one God) beliefs developed in Judaism.

Another view of the Book of Isaiah holds Chapters 1-39 originated with the prophet Isaiah, with commentaries written 100 years later in the time of Josiah, the 16th king of Judah. Josiah:

-reformed Hebrew religion by removing the worship of gods to the worship of Yahweh

-established, or compiled, the Hebrew Scriptures during the Dueteronomic Reform that removed pagan altars, and idols, from the Temple in Jerusalem

-destroyed rural sanctuaries and fertility cults

-centralized worship at the Temple in Jerusalem

This view also holds the remainder of Isaiah, Chapters 40-66, date immediately before, and immediately after, the end of the Hebrew exile in Babylon, about 200 years after Isaiah lived.

According to the first verse of the Book of Isaiah, he propesied during the reigns of three Judean kings:

**********Uzziah - the 10th king of Judah.

Reigned 52 years from the age of 16 till he was 68, about 792BC/791BC to 740BC.

Uzziah was struck with leprosy for disobeying God (2 King's 15:5, 2 Chronicles 26:19-21).

The Gospel of Matthew lists Uzziah in the genealogy of Jesus.

Also known as Azariah.

Conquered the Philistines and Arabians.

2 Chronicles 26:18 tells how he burnt incense in the Temple, an earthquake occurred, a rent was made in the Temple, then leprosy struck him.

**********Jotham (Yotam) - the 11th king of Judah.

Reigned 16 years from about 791BC to 732BC before being deposed by pro-Assyrians in favor of his son Ahaz.

The Gospel of Matthew lists Jotham in the genealogy of Jesus.

An imprint of him was discovered near Eilat by archaeologist Nelson Glueck.

There is a wadi (valley) named after him near Eilat (Yotam Wadi), on the Red Sea, near Jordan.

Built the Upper Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 36:10).

Built cities in the mountains of Judah.

Fought against the Aramean king Rezin, and the Israelite king Pekah (2 Kings15:37).

Defeated the Ammonites.

Contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah.

An inscribed bulla seal that belonged to Jotham's son Ahaz was discovered in the mid-1990s. This is the only archaeological verification of Jotham discovered to date.

**********Ahaz (Jehoahaz) - the twelfth king of Judah.

Reigned 16 years from about 732BC/731BC to 716BC/715BC.

2 Kings 16:2 portrays Ahaz as an evil king.

The Gospel of Matthew lists Ahaz in the genealogy of Jesus.

Isaiah 7:11 tells how Isaiah counseled Ahaz to trust in God rather than foreign allies. Ahaz said he would not test God. Isaiah then told Ahaz the sign from God will be the birth of a child his mother will call Immanuel, meaning "God-with-us" (Isaiah 7:13-14).

Ahaz called for assistance from the Assyrians and Israel was attacked, the Hebrews were deported to Assyria, and Northern Israel incorporated into the Assyrian Empire.

2 King's 16:18 tells how Ahaz changed the furniture, and had an altar made for the Temple in Jerusalem, after those he saw in Damascus.

2 King's 16:3 tells how Ahaz offered his son by fire to Moloch, a bull-headed idol of the Canaanites. This practice was condemned by Leviticus 18:21. 2 Chronicles 28:3 says it was more than one son.

The Deuteronomist, that underlies much of the Hebrew Bible, stated Ahaz's kingship was disastrous for the religious state of the Hebrews and much of Hezekiah's aimed to undo all the evil Ahaz did.

2 Chronicals 28:27 tells that Ahaz was not entered into the sepulchre of the kings

Four artifacts have been discovered that verify Ahaz and his reign:

-In the mid-1990s a bulla that bears his seal was found with the inscription "Belonging to Ahaz (son of) Yehotam, king of Judah".

-An orange carnelian scaraboid seal, dated to the 8th Century BC, is inscribed "Belonging to Ushna servant of Ahaz". This is displayed in Yale University's collection of ancient seals.

-The annals of Tiglath-Pileser III, the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 745BC to 727BC, and one of Assyria's most prominent and historically significant kings, mentions tributes paid to him by Ahaz.

-In 2015, the Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar discovered a royal bulla of Hezekiah inscribed "Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah" that dated to between 727BC and 698BC.

The time and manner of Isaiah's death are not specified in the Bible. Later Jewish traditions stated he was martyred under Manasseh, the 14th king of Judah.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #29: Why Isaiah Was Sawn In Two - Part Two (A closer look at Isaiah)

Author Notes Napolean's crown, by supergold, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 29
Sea Of Galilee #29

By Brett Matthew West

(Chapter 28 examined some of the environment in which Isaiah prophesied. This chapter further examines Isaiah).

Chapter 7:11-16, of the Book of Isaiah, contains the prophet's main message when he said "The maiden is with child and she will call his name Immanuel." The Bible says this prophesy was fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-23.

In Isaiah 9:6, he prophesied that "Jesus would come as a baby."

Isaiah 53 is applied to Jesus several times in the New Testament, and the Book of Isaiah is quoted 85 times in the New Testament.

Found in Chapter 6, Isaiah, regarded as the Evangelical Prophet, was called to begin prophesying about 742BC. "Here I am, send me" was Isaiah's response after he saw God and the need for a prophet to the Israelites. Isaiah suffered bitter opposition, ridicule, and disbelief by the Israelites. Isaiah's sympathies were with the poor, not the upper classes. His speech was strong, vivid, and of the finest classical Hebrew.

The Book of Isaiah can be separated into five sections of prophesies:

-Chapters 1-25, against Judah and Jerusalem

-the reigns of King Josiah and King Jehoiakim

-after Jehoiakim's reign ended

-against foreign nations

-hope for Israel

Isaiah 53 says "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities." This refers to the atonement of Jesus.

Verses in the Book of Isaiah that directly apply to Jesus include:

-6:1-2 - His message

-7:14-15 - the conception of Christ

-9:1-2 - His ministry

-9:6 - His name

-9:7 - His rule

-11:1-2 - His commission

-35:5-6 - His ministry

-42:1 - His name

-42:2-7 - His ministry

-50:4-5 - His message

-50:6 - His suffering

-52:13 - His resurrection

-52:14 - His suffering

-53 - His death

-53:2 - His commission

There are several other prophesies in Isaiah, but what about Isaiah himself? Isaiah is considered the greatest of the writing prophets. He enjoyed most of his influence under King Hezekiah. There are 25 Hebrew words in the Book of Isaiah that occur in no other prophetic writing.

Three themes Isaiah frequently used were references to the "holy mountains" of Jerusalem, the highway to Jerusalem, and the use of fire as punishment (when Isaiah used this theme he meant God's judgement).

Isaiah prophesied during the decline of Israel and the expansion of the Assyrian Empire, that occurred about 740BC to 727BC. He also prophesied the sins of Judah would result in its captivity by Babylon in 586BC. Isaiah 35:9 says God would rescue His people from BabylonIan captivity as He did from Egypt. The Israelites returned to Judah in 538BC/537BC.

The Book of Isaiah could be separated in this manner:

-Chapter 5:1-7 is the vineyard song about God's relationship with Israel

-Chapter 12:1-6 is a hymn of praise

-Chapters 13 through 23 contain the book's poetry and oracles

-Chapters 24 through 27 are an apocalyptic section that stresses the last days

-Chapter 28:23-29 is a wisdom poem

-Chapters 36 through 39 are the main prose of the book

-Chapter 38:10-20 is a hymn of praise

-Chapter 44:9-20 denounces idols

-Chapter 51:17 is about God's cup of wrath

-Chapter 63:3 is a picture of judgement

-Chapter 63:7-Chapter 64:12 is a national lament

The exodus from Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the overthrow of Sodom and Gemorrah, Gideon's victory over Midian, and the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32), are all mentioned in the Book of Isaiah.

Other prophesies of Isaiah include:

-Chapter 9:7 says a king descended from David will rule in righteousness. This refers to Jesus.

-Chapter 40 focuses on the coming of Jesus. The Book of Isaiah says 36 times God is the Holy One of Israel.

-Chapter 40:8 says God directs us away from ourselves to Him for salvation.

-Chapter 42:6 says Jesus is a light to the Gentiles

-Chapter 60:22 says when the time is right, I, the Lord, will make it happen. This shows God is faithful and true.

-Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 in the synagogue at Nazareth. This is the Good News of salvation.

Discovered by Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai in Jerusalem, in the Talmud (the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, Jewish religious law, and Jewish theology) it is written King Manasseh killed Isaiah because he claimed, "I saw the Lord seated upon His throne." This was opposed to what Moses said, "No man may see God and live."

Isaiah spoke the tetragrammation (the four letter name of God, YHWH) and a cedar tree opened. Isaiah disappeared inside the tree. Manasseh ordered the tree sawn down. When the saw reached Isaiah's mouth he died. His punishment for having said, "I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips."

Known as the Mishnah, the Jerusalem Talmud, a Rabbinic collection of notes on the 2nd Century Jewish oral traditions, has Isaiah fleeing from Manasseh and hiding in a cedar tree. Unfortunately for Isaiah, the fringes of his garment hung out of the tree. The tree was sawn in half. So was Isaiah.

Rabbinic literature states Isaiah was the maternal grandfather of King Manasseh, the 14th King of Judah.



Next Time: Chapter 30: Literary Criticisms Of David

Author Notes Old Church In Seward, by alaskapat, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 30
Sea Of Galilee #30

By Brett Matthew West

The Bible often refers to David as "negid," which means "prince" or "chief," rather than "melek," which means "king".

The biblical David never established any of the complex bureaucracies a kingdom required. Even his army was comprised of volunteers.

Most of David's followers were either related to him and/or from his small home-area of Hebron, on the West Bank of Modern Day Israel, south of Jerusalem, in the Judaean Mountains.

Some scholars compare David's story as a heroic tale on the same level as King Arthur and Homer's epics. Others consider the David story as a political apology, an answer of the charges against him for murder and regicide (king killing).

Little about David is concrete or undisputed.

David may require several postings to gain his full extent. How many of you would associate these statements with your idea of who David was? Yet, several scholars have provided these literary criticisms of David:

- "a brutal tyrant, murderer, and vassal of Achish, the Philistine king of Gath" - (Baruch Halpern, the Covenant Foundation Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia, and Dig Leader from 1992 to 2007 at Tel Megiddo).

'"Ambitious and ruthless. A tyrant who murdered his opponents, including his own sons" - (Steven C. McKenzie, Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Professor of Religious Studies, specialized in Ancient Israel and the literature of the Hebrew Bible).

-"A flesh-and-blood man who achieved power by any means necessary including murder, theft, bribery, sex, deceit, and treason" - (Joel S. Baden, Professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, specialized in the Pentateuch and Biblical Hebrew).

-"A serial killer." Also stated, "The reign of Saul, David, and Solomon are reasonably well attested, but most archaeologists today would argue that the United Monarchy was not much more than a kind of hill-country chiefdom" - (William G. Dever, American archaeologist, and Old Testament scholar, specialized in the Ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah in biblical times).

-"The killing of Goliath, his affair with Bathsheba, and his ruling of the United Kingdom of Israel rather than just Judah, are creations of those living in the Late Persian or Hellenistic Periods" - (Jacob L. Wright, Associate Professor of Religion at Emory University, specialized in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament, and the archaeology of Ancient Israel).

Archaeological criticisms of David have included:

-"No contemporaneous extra-biblical source offers any account of the political situation in Israel and Judah during the 10th Century BC, and as we have seen, the archaeological remains themselves cannot provide any unambiguous evidence of events" - (Isaac Kalimi, Gutenberg Research Professor in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies and the History of Ancient Israel, at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Kalimi wrote this in 2018).

-"The main question is what kind of settlement Jerusalem was in Iron IIA (In Hebrew History, Iron Age II is recognized from about 1000BC to about 580BC. Began with the establishment of the United Monarchy of David and Solomon. Continued until the United Monarchy split into Israel and Judah): was it a minor settlement, perhaps a large village or possibly a citadel but not a city, or was it the capital of a flourishing - or at least an emerging - state? Assessments differ considerably" - (Lester L. Grebbe, Retired American scholar and Emeritus Professor of the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at the University of Hull, England. Founded the European Seminar on Methodology in Israel's history. Wrote this in 2017).

-"On the other hand if one is not convinced in advance by the biblical profile, then there is nothing in the archaeological evidence itself to suggest that much of consequence was going on in Palestine during the tenth century BC and certainly nothing to suggest Jerusalem was a great political and cultural center" - (John Haralson Hayes and James Maxwell Miller, both have served as the Professor Emeritus in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. They wrote this in 2006).

-"The archaeological evidence shows that Judah was sparsely inhabited and Jerusalem was no more than a small village. Archaeological evidence suggested that David ruled only as a chieftain over an area which cannot be described as a state or as a kingdom, but more as a chiefdom much smaller and overshadowed by the older and more powerful Kingdom of Israel to the north." - (Israel Finkelstein, Israeli archaeologist and Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University and Head of the School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures at the University of Haifa on Mount Carmel, and Neil Asher Silberman, American archaeologist and historian, specialized in biblical archaeology).

Finkelstein and Silberman also stated:

-Israel and Judah were not monotheistic at the time
-archaeological evidence for David's military campaigns lacks
-Jerusalem was underdeveloped compared to Samaria, the capital of Israel during the 9th Century BC

-"Jerusalem was a state in development. David reigned over Israel during the 11th Century BC and much of the biblical text is of a "literary-legendary nature" - (Amihai Mazar, Israeli archaeologist and Professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His Modified Conventional Chronology is the most widely accepted framework for the Israelite chronology during the Iron Age Period).

Mazar compared David to the Canaanite warlord Labaya, who lived during the time of the Egyptian Pharoah Akhenaten. The tenth ruler of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt. This Pharoah reigned abut 1353BC to around 1336BC.

Labaya was a 14th Century BC warlord in Southern Canaan and the author of the Amarna Letters 252, 253, and 254. Active around Samaria, he provided land near Shechem to the Habiru. He threatened Megiddo, Gezer, and Jerusalem.

These do not paint David in a very positive light. Or, are these assessments more accurate?

-The excavation of the Large Stone Structure, which Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar claimed was a part of a single large public building in the City of David, on the southeast hill of Modern Day East Jerusalem, and the Stepped Stone Structure, a curved 60-foot tall, narrow stone structure in the oldest part of Jerusalem, discovered in 2005, both challenge the previously listed archaeological criticisms of David.

Pottery, Phoenician-style ivory inlays, a black-and-red jug, and a bone radiocarbon dated to the 10th Century BC, were found along with the Stepped Stone Structure.

-In 2010, Eilat Mazar discovered part of the ancient city walls around the City of David, which proved an organized state existed there in the 10th Century BC.

-Excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa, by Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, uncovered an urbanized settlement, radiocarbon dated to the 10th Century BC, that supports the existence of an urbanized kingdom at David's time. (Yosef Garfinkel is a Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology, and Archaeology of the Biblical Period, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Saar Ganor was an Inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority).

-After the Khirbet Qeiyafa excavation, the Israel Antiquities Authority stated, "The excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa clearly reveal an urban society that existed in Judah already in the Late 11th Century BC. It can no longer be argued that the Kingdom of Judah developed only in the Late 8th Century BC or at some other later date."

Between all these criticisms of David, and the rebuttals, there is much more about him to be considered.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #31: Christianity's View Of David

Author Notes The ghost city, by supergold, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 31
Sea Of Galilee #31

By Brett Matthew West

The Messiah, "the Anointed One," originally began as an earthly king who ruled by divine appointment.

In the last two centuries BC, the "Son of David," another name for the Messiah, became the apocalyptic and Heavenly One who would deliver Israel and create a new kingdom. This was Christianity's beginning idea of the Messiah.

The early Christian church held the concept the life of David foreshadowed the life of Jesus. Some similarities of both are:

-they were born in Bethlehem
-David's shepherd life painted Jesus as the Good Shepherd
-the five stones David chose to use to slay Goliath were symbolic of the five wounds Jesus suffered:

-----crown of thorns
-----flogged at the pillar
-----nail wounds in His hands
-----nail wounds in His feet
-----lance piercing His side

-David betrayed by his trusted counselor Ahitophel (Psalm 41:9 and Psalm 55:12-14, and passage over the Kidron Valley northeast of the Old City of Jerusalem, which separated the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives, reminds of the Passion of Jesus:

-----triumphant entry into Jerusalem
-----cleansing of the Temple
-----Last Supper
-----agony in Gethsemane
-----Sanhedrine trial
-----trial before Pontius Pilate

-According to the New Testament, many of David's Psalms are typical of the Messiah

David was a member of the Nine Worthies, a historical, scriptural, and legendary group who personified the ideals of chivalry established in the Middle Ages. Their lives were chosen as valuable studies for others on how to become chivalric. They are:

3 Christians:
-King Arthur
-Godfrey of Bouillion, the Leader of the First Crusade, and King of Jerusalem from 1099 to 1100. He was known as the Defender of the Holy Sepulchre.

3 Jews:
-Judah Maccabeus, who led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid (Greek) Empire from 167BC to 160BC. Hanukkah commemorates Jewish worship at the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 167BC after Judah Maccabeus removed the statutes of Greek gods and goddesses from the Temple and purified it.

3 Pagans:

-Julius Caesar
-Alexander the Great
-Hector, the greatest warrior for Troy in the Trojan War

David was considered a model ruler and a symbol of divinely-ordained monarchy. He was perceived as the biblical predecessor to Christian Roman and Byzantine emporers. They were called "New Davids."

3 Dynasties claimed direct biological descent from David:

-the Solomonic Dynasty of Ethiopia of the 13th Century. This dynasty lasted until 1974.

-the Georgian Bagratids Dynasty that reigned in Georgia, at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, from the Middle Ages to the Early 19th Century.

-kings of the Frankish Carolingian Dynasty of the 8th Century, from about 750 to 887. Named after Charlemagne, many of them were called Charles. Ruled Western Europe and the West Bank of the Rhine River region.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #32: Early Branches Of David's Family Tree

Author Notes inside the basilica, by supergold, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 32
Sea Of Galilee #32

By Brett Matthew West

The Book of Samuel is one book in the Hebrew Bible, and two books in the Old Testament [1 and 2 Samuel].

Along with Joshua, Judges, and Kings, the Book of Samuel is part of the narrative history of Ancient Israel from about 1150BC (the Iron Age) to almost 70AD (when the Roman Empire destroyed the Second Temple).

This Deuteronomistic history constitutes a theological history of the Israelites and aims to explain God's law for Israel under the guidance of the prophets.

The Book of Chronicles, the last book of the Hebrew Bible, concluded the third section of the Jewish Tanakh, the Ketuvim (Torah, Prophets, Ketuvim [a genealogy from Adam to the Edict of Cyrus in 539BC of Ancient Judah and Ancient Israel.] This Edict, in the Hebrew Bible, is mentioned as authorizing and encouraging Hebrews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Chapter 36 of 2 Chronicles).

Samuel and Chronicles both identify David as the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite. His role as David's father, and ancestor of Jesus, is depicted in the hymn "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming". The Talmud identifies Nitzevet as David's mother. The Book of Ruth says Nitzevet's father, Adael, was the great-grandson of Ruth the Moabite by Boaz.

The Books of Samuel and Chronicles further say David was the youngest of eight sons, and he had at least two sisters. Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, all sons of his sister Zeruiah, served in David's army.

1 Samuel 16:6, and 1 Chronicles 2:13, both list Eliab as David's oldest brother. God told Samuel Eliab did not have the heart to be king. David's other siblings are listed as Abinadab (fought with Saul against the Philistines when Goliath was killed), Shimeah, Nathaniel, Raddai, Ozem, Zeruiah, and Abigail.

David cemented various political and national groups by marriage. When David killed Goliath, Saul offered him his oldest daughter Merab. David turned him down. Saul then gave his younger daughter Michal to David for 100 Philistine foreskins.

According to 2 Samuel 3, David took wives in Hebron. They were:

-Ahinoam from Jezreel, the mother of David's firstborn son Amnon, who Absalom, his half-brother, murdered as revenge for the rape of his sister Tamar.

-Maachah the daughter of Talmi, the king of Geshur, which is now in the Sothern Golan Heights. She was Absalom's mother

-Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, and mother of David's son Chileab.




-Maachah, Absalom's mother. He rebelled against David and was killed in the Battle of the Wood of Ephraim. Put to death after fleeing the battle and his hair got tangled in tree branches he could not get loose from. At the time he was suspended off the ground. Executed by General Joab of David's army.

David had six sons while in Hebron. They were:

-Amnon, by Ahinoam - David's firstborn son and heir apparant to the throne of Israel. Raped his half-sister Tamar and assassinated by his half-brother Absalom for it.

-Daniel, by Abigal - Known as Chileab and listed as a son of David (1 Chronicles 3:1 and 2 Samuel 3:3). Rabbonic tradition named him one of four Ancient Israelites who died without sin. The others were Jesse (David's father), Amron (praised for his faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews by Paul), and Benjamin.

-Absalom, by Maachah - Regarded as the most handsome man in the kingdom.

-Adonijah, by Haggith - Proclaimed himself king during David's terminal illness. Peacefully ceded the throne to Solomon, who put him to death.

-Shephatiah, by Abital. - Not significantly important.

-Ithream, by Eglah - not significantly important

In Jerusalem, David had many other wives and concubines including Bathsheba, his eighth wife (2 Samuel 12:24). 1 Chronicles 3:5-8 says David and Bathsheba had 13 children:

-Nathan - named after Nathan the prophet. According to the Gospel of Luke, the genealogy of Jesus is traced back to King David through Nathan.

-Solomon - Was the fabulously wealthy monarch of the United Kingdom of Israel. Reigned about 970BC to almost 931BC. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, split after his death. Built the First Temple in Jerusalem.

-Shammua - not significantly important
-Shobab - not significantly important
-Ibhar - not significantly important
-Elishaua - not significantly important
-Elpelet - not significantly important
-Eliada - not significantly important
-Nogah - not significantly important
-Nepheg - not significantly important
-Japhia - not significantly important
-Elishama - not significantly important

and in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 a son who died because of David's adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 12:1-8).

2 Chronicles 11:18 says Jerimoth was one of David's sons. He is not mentioned in any other genealogies.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #33: United Monarchy

Author Notes The Inlet, by cleo85, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 33
Sea Of Galilee #33

By Brett Matthew West

Here is a bit of trivia for you. See if you can answer them. Answers are in the posting.

1. David was the what number king of the United Monarchy? First, Second, or Third

2. Under the United Monarchy, Jerusalem was in? The Kingdom of Israel or the Kingdom of Judah

3. Who were the three Israelite kings during the United Monarchy? Saul, David, and Solomon, David, Solomon, and Rehoboam, or Rehoboam, Abimelech, and David

David was the second king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah that is traditionally dated from 1047BC to 930BC during the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon.

About 930BC, when Solomon's son Rehoboam became king, the United Monarchy split into the Kingdom of Israel (this included the cities of Shechem and Samaria) in the north and the Kingdom of Judah (where Jerusalem was) in the south.

1 Kings and 2 Chronicles depict how the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled against Rehoboam. The formation of the Kingdom of Israel, under Jeraboam, a member of the Tribe of Ephraim, resulted. He ruled from about 970BC to almost 901BC.

Solomon had made Jeraboam Superintendent over his tribesmen in building the fortress of Millo in Jerusalem. Millo is most frequently considered an embankment that flattened the slope at Ophel, a fortified hill in the City of David (the oldest part of Jerusalem).

The Israelites obtained the site after David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites in 1003BC. (The strongest fortress in Canaan). According to 1 Chronicles 11:4, during that period Jerusalem was called Jebus, after a Canaanite tribe listed in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10).

The Books of Joshua and Samuel state the Jebusites, who are best remembered as the people who lived "in a land flowing with milk and honey," inhabited Jerusalem before the conquest initiated by Joshua and completed by David (2 Samuel 5:6-10). Some sources claim the Jebusites who remained in Jerusalem after David captured the city became slaves of the Hebrews (Book of Kings), but it is unknown what ultimately became of the Jebusites.

The "Jebusite Hypothesis" claims they persisted to live in Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah. Some better known Jebusites were Nathan the prophet, Bathsheba, and Zadok the High Priest of Israel during the reigns of David and Solomon (2 Samuel 8:16-18 and 1 Kings 2:35).

The prophet Ezekiel indicated Zadok and his sons had a birthright for duties and privileges in the First Temple because they opposed paganism (Ezekiel 43:19 and Ezekiel 44:15). So do the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In the Tribe of Ephraim, Shechem was the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel after the split of the United Monarchy (Joshua 21:20-21). Located about 30 miles north of Jerusalem, Shechem is currently identified will Tell Balata, a Palestinian village in the Northern West Bank, and with Nablus in Jordan.

Shechem was where God gave Abraham the covenant first promised in Harran (Genesis 12:6-7). The ancient Way of the Patriarchs trade route ran north and south through Shechem. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob traveled this route that lies between Megiddo and Hazor south to Bathsheba.

Samaria is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the West Bank. The city has existed since Omri founded the town about 880BC/879BC and made it the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel, replacing Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). The Hebrews hated the Samarians.

Constituted by part of the tribe of Ephraim, and the tribe of Manasseh, Samaria is located on the eastern slope of the hill overlooking Sebastia in Central Palestine. Samaria is bordered on the north by the Jezreel Valley, the Jordan Rift Valley on the east, the Carmel Ridge on the northwest, the Sharon Plain on the west, and the Jerusalem mountains on the south.

Jesus healed the ten lepers in Samaria (Luke 17:11-20). His encounter with the woman at Jacob's Well, where He declared Himself to be the Messiah also occured in Samaria (John 4:1-26).

The Nabi Yahya Mosque, in Samaria, is the purported burial site of John the Baptist.

There has become a lot of debate regarding the archaeological basis for the United Monarchy. The Bible says in the Book of Judges that prior to the development of the United Monarchy, the tribes of Israel lived as a confederation under judges.

Abimelech, the son of Gideon (Judges 8:31 and Judges 9), was the first judge to become king. Ambitious, and unprincipled, he often engaged in wars with his own subjects. Murdered all but one of his brothers to become king. Abimelech was killed in the Battle of Thebez, who revolted against him. He died when a woman dropped a millstone on his head. Thebez is now a Modern Day Palestinian city known as Tubas, and is located in the Northwestern West Bank.

The United Monarchy was formed because:

-a large section of the Israelites wanted a king to rule over the decentralized confederacy.

-increased pressure from the Philistines and their superior iron weapons.

-Other enemies, including Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, Arameans, and the Phoenicians, forced the Israelites to unite after Saul's anointing.

However, kingships were seen as anathema and as placing one man in the position of reverence and power that ought to be reserved for God.

The Kingdom of Israel (Northern Kingdom/Samaria) existed until 722BC when the Neo-Assyrian Empire conquered it. This was the fourth, and penultimate, stage of the Assyrians (Mesopotamians).

The Kingdom of Judah (Southern Kingdom) existed until 586BC when it was conquered by the Neo-Babylonian Empire (Chaldeans).


Dead Sea Scrolls

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #34: Low Chronology Debate Against The United Monarchy

Author Notes Chateau de Varillettes, by Supergold, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 34
Sea Of Galilee #34

By Brett Matthew West

Israel archaeologists accepted the Bible's High Chronology account of the United Monarchy until about 1995. What occurred to change their belief?

Israel Finklestein, a Professor Emeritus at Tel Aviv University, and the Head of the School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures at the University of Haifa, is also the excavator of Megiddo, a key site for the study of the Bronze and Iron Ages in the Levant (the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia from Greece to Eastern Libya).

When Finklestein published his Low Chronology, he stated abundant archaeological evidence for the United Monarchy of the 10th Century BC should actually be dated to the 9th Century BC. Moreover, he claimed this would place David in the Iron 1A Period (approximately 925BC to about 586BC). Finkelstein further stated David was not the king of a centralized kingdom but the chieftain of a small polity in Judah disconnected from the tribes of Israel in the Northern Kingdom. Certain Israeli archaeologists have bought into Finkelstein's Low Chronology theory.

In 2001, Finkelstein co-authored The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts, with Neil Silberman (an American archaeologist specializing in biblical archaeology). This book discusses the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins and contents of the Hebrew Bible. In this writing, Finkelstein said, "Ideas of a United Monarchy are not accurate history but creative expressions of a powerful religious movement that are possibly based on certain historical kernals".

Although he accepts David as a real king of Judah around the 10th Century BC, Finkelstein believes the earliest independent references to the Kingdom of Israel date to about 840BC and the Kingdom of Judah to almost 750BC.

Finkelstein further professes "The United Monarchy existed under Jeroboam II in the 8th Century BC, whereas the former (the one under David) was potentially invented during the reign of Josiah to justify his territorial expansion".

Jeroboam II was the 13th king of the Kingdom of Israel. Known as the most prosperous king the Northern Kingdom had up to that time, Jeroboam II ruled from about 793BC to about 753BC. He oppressed the poor and supported the worship of images like the golden calf. 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, Hosea, and Amos mention him.

Josiah was the 16th king of Judah. He removed the official worship of gods other than Yahweh. Josiah became king at the age of 8 and reigned from about 641BC/640BC to about 610BC/609BC. No texts from Egypt or Babylon reference him, only biblical texts. No archaeological evidence bearing his name has ever been discovered.

The biblical High Chronology account of the United Monarchy, and Finkelstein's Low Chronology, present two different views. Is there perhaps a happy median? Something else that might support one side or the other concerning the reality of the United Monarchy?

Perhaps the Modified Conventional Chronology will cast some light on this debate?


The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman

NEXT Time: Sea Of Galilee #35: Modified Conventional Chronology Of The United Kingdom

Author Notes God Save The King, by eileen0204, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 35
Sea Of Galilee #35

By Brett Matthew West

Do you know five structural differences between the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible?

Hebrew Bible:

Torah (Law)


Ketuvim (Wisdom, Poetry, Writings)


Megillot (Five Scrolls)

Song of Songs

Nevi' im (Prophets and God's covenant relationship)

12 Minor Prophets*****

*Old Testament seperates these into Ezra and Nehemiah

**Old Testament seperates into 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles

***Old Testament seperates into 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel

****Old Testament seperates into 1 Kings and 2 Kings

*****Old Testament allows each Minor Prophet their own book while the Hebrew Bible groups them into 1 book


Israeli archaeologist Amihai Mazar proposed the Modified Conventional Chronology, that placed the start of the Iron IIA Period in the early-10th Century BC and its end somewhere in the middle of the 9th Century BC. The most widely accepted Israeli Chronology during the Iron Age Period.

Mazar is a Professor at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also the Chair of the Archaeology of Israel. Mazar was the first Israeli archaeologist to use radiocarbon dating in Mediterranean and Levantine site excavations.

Of curious note, Mazar found thirty intact beehives that dated to about 9000BC, when Jerusalem had a population close to 2,000 inhabitants. Made of straw and unbaked clay, these beehives are believed to be the oldest complete beehives ever discovered.

Issues with Finkelstein's Low Chronology of the United Monarchy (as detailed in the previous chapter, Sea Of Galilee #34) include:

-Amelie Kuhrt, of the University of London; a Historian who specializes in the history of the Ancient Near East, especially the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Seleucid Empires. She
acknowledged, "There are no royal inscriptions from the time of the United Monarchy, indeed very little written material altogether, and not a single contemporary reference to either David or Solomon. Against this must be set the evidence for substantial development and growth at several sites, which is plausibly related to the 10th Century BC."

-Kenneth Kitchen, of the University of Liverpool; a biblical scholar, Near East Historian, and Professor Emeritus of Egyptology, who is regarded as "the very architect of Egyptian chronology". He specializes in the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt (the 1000sBC timeframe). Kitchen concluded, "The physical archaeology of 10th Century BC Canaan is consistent with the former existence of a unified state on its territory."

Eilat Mazar is an Israeli archaeologist who specializes in Jerusalem and Phoenician archaeology. On August 4, 2005, Mazar discovered in Jerusalem what may have been the palace of King David. This structure is known as the Large Stone Structure. It contained:

-a public building
-a copper scroll
-a clay bulla (a seal used in commercial and legal documentation for authentication)
-an inscribed seal of Jehucal (he is mentioned in Jeremiah Chapter 37 and Chapter 38)
-a seal of Gedaliah ben Pashhur (also mentioned in Jeremiah chapter 37 and Chapter 38)

Eilat Mazar believed the building to be the Fortress of Zion that David captured.

Excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, overlooking the Elah Valley in Judah, where David fought Goliath, found an urbanized settlement radiocarbon dated to the 10th Century BC.

In 2010, Mazar discovered part of the ancient city walls around the City of David (the oldest section of Jerusalem). Mazar stated this about his find, "It's the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel and it means that at that time, the 10th Century BC in Jerusalem, there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction."

Other significant discoveries Eilat Mazar has found include:

-Nehemiah's wall
-Solomon's gate and tower
-the Ophel inscription on a large storage jar near the Temple Mount
-a stash of gold at the foot of the Temple Mount with an etched menorah, torah, and shofar (a ram's horn musical instrument used for religious purposes)
-the bulla of Isaiah
-Hezekiah's bulla that reads "Belonging to Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah" that dates to about 727BC to 698BC

She stated this about that bulla, "Perhaps the first time a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation."

All of these tend to support the biblical High Chronology of the United Monarchy.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #36: Jebusites - The Pre-Israelite Inhabitants Of Jerusalem

Author Notes Busy Bees, by cleo85, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 36
Sea Of Galilee #36

By Brett Matthew West

Are you aware that throughout the course of history Jerusalem has had at least 72 different names?

Here is a sampling:

-Jerusalem (most common name used in Bible)

-Zion (where the Jebusite fortress stood)

-Mount Moriah (identified with the Temple Mount and part of Jebus (Judges 19:10). Araunah, referred to as Ornan in 1 Chronicles, sold his threshing floor to David for 600 shekels of gold. David constructed an altar on it. This altar became the core of the Temple of Solomon. (1 Chronicles 21:26).

-The City of David (2 Samuel 5:7-10)

-Salem (Genesis 14:18. Psalm 76:2 parallels Shalem with Zion)

-Uru-salim (Sumero-Akkadian name)

-Urusalim (Amarna Letters. These were diplomatic pieces of correspondence between Egypt and Canaan, Amuru, and other kingdom leaders during the New Kingdom Period of about 1360BC to almost 1332BC)

-Yerushalayim (Hebrew name)


According to the Books of Joshua and Samuel, the Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe that inhabited Jerusalem (then known as Jebus {trampled place}) before the Israelite Conquest begun by Joshua (Joshua 11:3 and Joshua 12:10), and completed by King David (2 Samuel 5:6-10).

The Books of Kings and 1 Chronicles also state Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this conquest. David is believed to have captured Jerusalem about 1003BC. No evidence of the Jebusites has been discovered outside of the Old Testament.

The British Assyriologist Theophilus Pinches interpreted the word "Yabusu" on a contract tablet dated about 2200BC as an ancient form of Jebus.

According to the Table of Nations (Genesis 10) the Jebusites are identified in third place among the Canaanite groups, between the Hittites and the Amorites. The Hittites were between the time of Abraham, (about 2000BC and 1500BC) up to the time of Ezra (after the Israelites returned from their Babylonian exile, about 450BC).

In the late 19th Century, the Hittites were identified as an Indo-European-speaking empire of Anatolia. The Amorites came from Southern Mesopotamia in the 21st Century BC to the end of the 17th Century BC. The Amorites were famous for Babylon.

The Jebusites may have been connected to the Hurrians. The last Jebusite king of Jerusalem was Ornan. Four Hurrian names are listed in the Biblical Conquest. They are Piram the king of Jarmuth, Hokam the king of Hebron (Joshua 10:3), as well as Sheshai and Talmai who were sons of Anak (Joshua 15:14).

The Hurrians descended as a group from the Central Alborz Mountains south of the Caspian Sea (in Northern Iran). They lived east of the Tigris River and in the Zagros Mountains, Northern Mesopotamia, and the Mediterranean coast.

Exodus describes Jerusalem as a portion of the "good and large land, flowing with milk and honey" God promised Moses for the Hebrews.

The Book of Joshua details how Adonizedek, the king of Jerusalem at the time, led Jebusite and Amorite warriors from Jarmut, Eglon, Japhia, Hebron, and Lachish in battle against Gideon, who defeated them. The Hebrews killed Adonizedek, and the kings of the cities they defeated in this conflict, by trapping them in a cave and executing them.

The Book of Joshua is believed to have been compiled around 600BC. In Joshua 15:63 it is stated Judah could not eliminate the Jebusites in Jerusalem. Judges 1:21 says the Jebusites continued to dwell in Jerusalem in the territory occupied by the Tribe of Benjamin, south of the Kingdom of Israel.

According to Classical rabbinical literature, the Jebusites, as part of the price Abraham paid for the Cave of the Patriarchs, approximately 19 miles south of Jerusalem in Hebron, received a covenant that the Israelites would not capture Jerusalem against the will of the Jebusites. They engraved this covenant in bronze.

When David wanted to capture Jerusalem, the strongest fortress in Canaan, the Jebusites boasted "even the blind and lame could withstand David's siege." Medieval French rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, better known as Rashi, was an acclaimed authority on the Talmud and Hebrew Bible Commentator. He stated the Jebusites had two statues in Jerusalem with their mouths containing the words of Abraham's covenant. The blind one represented Isaac and the lame one represented Jacob.

That was why the Israelites could not conquer Jerusalem during Joshua's campaign and David was prevented from entering the city. David promised a reward of captaincy to whoever destroyed these bronzes. Joab did. David paid the Jebusites the full value of Jerusalem by collecting money from the Israelite tribes so Jerusalem became their common property.

A conflict of versions of David's attack exists between the Mesoretic Texts (the Hebrew texts of the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible), and the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament.

The Mesoretic Texts claim David conquered Jerusalem by a surprise attack, led by Joab, through the city's water supply tunnels. The Gihon Spring, one of the world's largest intermittent springs, is the only natural water supply Jerusalem posseses. This is the main source of water for the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem.

In the 19th Century, a part of the water supply system known as Warren's Shaft, that is found next to the Gihon Spring, Bronze and Iron Age Jerusalem's main water source, was discovered by the British Archaeologist Charles Warren.

In 2005, a set of heavy fortifications, and towers around what would have been the line of attack at the base of the Warren's Shaft, are now thought to have made such an offensive implausible.

The Septuagint claims the Israelites had to attack the Jebusites with their daggers, not through Jerusalem's water system.

It remains undetermined what became of the Jebusites.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #37 - Babylon - The World's First 200,00+ Citizens City

Author Notes Bird of the Night, by ChuckWaxman, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 37
Sea Of Galilee #37

By Brett Matthew West

Built along both banks of the Euphrates River, and its steep embankments, Babylon was the capital city of the Ancient Babylonian Empire of Central-Southern Mesopotamia (Present Day Iraq and portions of Syria).

The earliest known mention of Babylon as a small town appeared on a clay tablet from Sargon of Akkad's reign (about 2334BC to about 2279BC). He ruled the Akkadian Empire, Mesopotamia's first Ancient empire after the long-lived civilization of Sumer.

Arising during the Chalcolithic (Copper Age and Early Bronze Age of about the sixth and fifth centuries BC), Sumer was the earliest known civilization in the South-Central Iraq portion of Mesopotamia. Sumer is also one of the world's first civilizations. The others are:

-Ancient Egypt, about 3400BC to about 332BC. On the lower reaches of the Nile River of the African continent. Some of the things Ancient Egypt was known for include:

***ruling much of the Near East and Nubia
***agriculture and mining of various minerals
***an independent writing system
***assorted trades with other countries
***a strong military
***building pyramids
***a math system
***an effective system of medicine
***new forms of literature
***the first planked boats
***the earliest known peace treaty (with the Hittites)
***many other things

-Elam (in the far west and southwest of Modern Day Iran). About 3200BC to about 540BC. Elam stretched from the Khuzestan Lowlands to Ilam Province (in Iran), as well as a small portion of Southern Iraq. A leading political force of the Ancient Near East.

-Indus Valley civilization of the northwestern region of South Asia. About 3300BC to about 1300BC. Ranged from the Indus River in Pakistan, Northwestern India, and Eastern Pakistan. Developed the first accurate system of weights and measures.

-Minoan civilization of Crete and the Aegean Sea. About 3500BC to about 1100BC. First advanced civilization in Europe. Created massive buildings, sophisticated artworks, and writing systems.

-Caral-Supe civilization of the north and central coast of Peru along the Fortaleza, Pativilea, and Supe Rivers. About 3200BC to about 1800BC.

***The oldest known civilization in the Americas
***Completely lacked ceramics and possessed very little artworks
***Known for monumental agriculture, platform mounds, and sunken circular plazas
***Had a sophisticated government of its more than 30 major population centers
***Possible human settlement as early as 9210BC (established by radiocarbon dating)
***Had immense architecture
***During 3rd Millenia BC, possibly the second densest population in the world behind Northern China (where Peking Man was discovered)

-Ancient China civilization that developed in the Yellow River region about 2070BC to about 220BC.

***Xia Dynasty (China's first)
***millet (cereal grain) was major crop
***Known as the "Cradle of Chinese Civilization"
***Rice first grown in Yangtze Valley
***Mostly warriors and nomads
***Hallmarks include literacy and cities
***Walled and moated towns possibly began as early as 4000BC
***Known for potter's wheels, jade ornaments, luxury grave goods, and large complex buildings
***Shang Dynasty of about 1766BC first historic Chinese dynasty
***Because of the Han Dynasty (that fell about 220BC), and its emperors, the Chinese became used to being ruled as a single country. To this day still call themselves the Han people.
***Confucianism arose during Han Dynasty
***The Great Wall of China built
***much more

Ancient Babylon laid south of Modern Day Baghdad, Iraq. The city's last known occupation dates from the 10th Century AD. At that time the city was known as Babil. With the rise of the First Babylonian Dynasty of the 19th Century BC, Babylon became part of a small, independent, city-state (about 1894BC to about 1595BC). This was at the end of the demise of the Third Dynasty of Ur (where Abraham was from) and the Isin-Larsa Period.

Ur (as in Ur of the Chaldees) is most often considered to be Ur Kasdim in the Present Day Dhi Qar Province of Iraq. This was the heartland of the ancient civilization of Sumer.

Other possible locations frequently suggested to be Abraham's birthplace include:

-Edessa in Southeastern Turkey

-Urkesh in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains of Northwestern Syria

-Ururtu in the Armenian Highlands

-Urfa that lays east of the Euphrates River in Southeastern Turkey

-Kutha in the Babil Governate of Iraq on the eastern branch of the Upper Euphrates River (northeast of Babylon). This was one of the five cities from which King Sargon II of Assyria brought settlers to take the places of exiled Israelites (2 Kings 17:24-30). These settlers became known as Samaritans. Shiah Muslims consider Kutha to be the original home of their believed Abrahamic roots of Islam.

Ur contains the ziggurat built by King Ur-Nammu in about the 21st Century BC. This massive step pyramid measured 210 feet long, 148 feet wide, and 98 feet high. Only the foundation has survived. The ziggurat was part of a temple and was used as the administrative center of Ur. King Shulgi (Ur-Nammu's son) finished the construction of the ziggurat. He reigned about 2094BC to about 2046BC. Ur grew into the capital of a state that controlled most of Mesopotamia (Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, and parts of Iran).

The Isin-Larsa Period lasted about 2025BC to about 1763BC. This was between the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur and the conquest of Mesopotamia by King Hammurabi of Babylon (the first part of the Old Babylonian Period). This was before Babylon was sacked by the Kassites of the Ancient Near East (about 1595BC). The Kassites were the first to bring chariots to Babylon.

The Third Dynasty of Ur fell because of attacks by the Amorites on the west, and the Elamites on the East. This resulted in the Kingdom of Isin (the last ruling dynasty on the Sumerian Kings List) and the Kingdom of Larsa (whose fall ended the Isin-Larsa Period). Neither of these kingdoms was influential.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #38: First Babylonian Dynasty

Author Notes The Griffin, by lynnkah, complements this posting.

Chapter 38
Sea Of Galilee #38

By Brett Matthew West

Isn't it amazing the deeper you dive into researching a topic the clearer the picture becomes? This series has actually clued me in on several areas I thought I had at least a little understanding of and did not grasp the way I thought things were before doing the research.

Someone asked me in a PM how long I planned to pen this book. Not sure. Sort of letting it write itself. Suppose I will stop when the spirit moves me.


The First Babylonian Empire was dated about 1894BC to about 1595BC. Located in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, the First Babylonian Empire, also known as the Old Babylonian Empire, came after the end of the Sumerian civilization. This was the earliest known civilization in the region of Southern Mesopotamia {Modern Day south-central Iraq} and one of the world's first civilizations.

Babylon rose to power after the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur and the short-lived Isin-Larsa Period. Babylon has produced few archaeological materials. This makes dating its origins hard to pinpoint. Some materials have survived though. These include royal inscriptions, written records, literary texts, and lists of year-names.

Little is known about the Babylonian kings from Sumu-Abum, he was the first Amorite king of the First Babylon Dynasty and reigned about 1830BC to about 1817BC, to Sin-Muballit. He reigned about 1813BC to about 1792BC. At that time, Babylon was not much more than a minimal administrative center.

These kings added little size to the Babylonian territory. It was not until Hammurabi, who reigned about 1792BC to about 1750BC, and his military victories, that Babylon's size increased.

One of the oldest written laws in history is called the Code of Hammurabi. These 4130 lines of cuneiform text are the longest, best-organized and best-preserved legal text from the Ancient Near East. A relief portrait of Hammurabi hangs over the doors to the House Chamber of the US Capitol building.

Babylonian kings held three distinct titles. They were:

-Viceroy, or Governor, of Babylon - this implied the political dominion of Babylon. Marduk, Babylon's national patron diety, was considered the true king of Babylon from about the 2nd Millennial BC on. Marduk became the most prestigious god of the Mesopotamian partheon. He was worshipped in the Esagila Temple, which may possibly be the model for the Tower of Babel.

Depicted as a human carrying a snake-dragon and a spade, Marduk presided over justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, fairness, storms, and agriculture. His divine weapon was a wind weapon known as an imhulla. This was used to savage the water goddess Tiamat, the goddess of the sea and the symbol of primordial creation in the Mesopotamian story of creation, known as Enuma Elis.

Discovered in 1849 by the English Archaeologist Austen Henry Layard who excavated Ninevah, the Enuma Elis contains approximately 1000 lines recorded in Akkadian on seven clay tablets. The myth describes the creation of the world, a battle between gods that focused on Marduk's supremacy, the creation of man to serve the Mesopotamian dieties, and contained a lengthy passage praising Marduk.

-King of Karduniash - a Kassites name for Babylon. The Kassites were the third dynasty to rule Old Babylon and were primarily responsible for establishing the Second Babylonian Dynasty. The horse and chariot first came into use in Babylon during their reign.

The name was used until about 900BC to 880BC, after the Kassites lost control of Babylon under Nabu-shuma-ukin I, in the Early Iron Age. This name was also used from about 681BC to about 667BC by the Neo-Assyrian king Esarhaddon, who conquered Egypt in 671BC, and made his empire the largest the world had ever seen. He also rebuilt Babylon, which his father had destroyed.

The arrival of the Kassites to Babylon has been connected to the Proto-Indo-European peoples. They were a Prehistoric Bronze Age population, probably Euroasian clans and tribes from Present Day Eastern Ukraine, Southern Siberia, and Southern Russia, of about the 4th Millennium BC.

-King of Sumer and Akkad - this name referred to the whole of Southern Mesopotamia. Used to connect the Babylonian kings to the culture and legacy of the Sumerian and Akkadian civilizations, the title was originally used by the Third Dynasty of Ur, about 2112BC to about 2004BC. Babylonian kings used the name until the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, about 539BC.

Babylon had 14 Dynasties. They were:

-Dynasty I (Amorite) from about 1894BC to about 1595BC
-Dynasty II (1st Sealand) from about 1732BC to about 1475BC and independent of the Amorite kings
-Dynasty III (Kassites) from about 1729BC to about 1155BC
-Dynasty IV (2nd Isin) from about 1153BC to about 1022BC.
-Dynasty V (2nd Sealand) from about 1021BC to about 1001BC
-Dynasty VI (Bazi) from about 1000BC to about 981BC
-Dynasty VII (Elamite) from about 980BC to about 975BC
-Dynasty VIII (E) from about 974BC to about 732BC
-Dynasty IX (Assyrian) from about 732BC to about 626BC
-Dynasty X (Chaldean) from about 626BC to about 539BC
-Dynasty XI (Achaemenid) from about 539BC to about 331BC
-Dynasty XII (Argead) from about 331BC to about 310BC
-Dynasty XIII (Seleucid) from about 305BC to about 141BC
-Dynasty XIV (Arsacid) from about 141BC to about 224AD

Dynasty XIV ended the BabylonIan kings. The last one was Artabanus of the Partheon Empire.

The son of Nabopalassar, the founder of the Chaldean Dynasty, Nebuchadnezzar came from Dynasty X. He reigned about 605BC to about 562BC. Nebuchadnezzar conquered what became Modern Day Syria and Palestine. He destroyed Jerusalem in 587BC and besieged the city again in 586BC, when he destroyed Solomon's Temple. Allied with the Medes, Persians, and Scythians, Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt at the Battle of Carchemish.

2 Kings, 2 Chronicles 35:20, Ezekial 30, and Jeremiah 46:2 all talk about Nebuchednezzar. He created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the recognized 7 wonders of the ancient world, and ate grass like an insane cow for 7 years for his deeds in Jerusalem (Daniel 4:33).



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #39: Old Babylon

Author Notes Drauge, by lynnkah, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 39
Sea Of Galilee #39

By Brett Matthew West

Did you know that for almost 292 years Babylon was the world's first city to possess a population of some 200,000 citizens?


The earliest known mention of Babylon as a small town appeared on a clay tablet from Sargon of Akkad's reign from about 2334BC to about 2279BC. At that time Babylon was under the rule of the Akkadian Empire.

Babylon was constructed along both banks of the Euphrates River, with its steep embankments that contained the river's seasonal floods. Babylon's ancient site was south of Present Day Baghdad, Iraq, and its last verified inhabitation was around the 10th Century AD.

Babylon was a small and independent city-state at the beginning of the First Babylonian Dynasty of the 19th Century BC. Hammurabi, an Amorite king, founded the Old Babylon Empire in the 18th Century BC. He built Babylon into a major city, that replaced the ancient Sumerian city of Nippur, as the empire's holy city.

Located in Present Day Al-Qadislyah Governate in central-south Iraq, Nippur had been the seat of worship for the Sumerian god Enlil. He ruled the cosmos.

Spending many years under Assyrian, Kassite, and Elamite rulers, Babylon was also the capitol of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from about 609BC to about 539BC. When this empire fell, Babylon was ruled by the Achaemenid (First Persian Empire), the Seleucids (Greeks), the Parthians (Iranians), the Romans, and the Sasanians (the last Iranian empire before the Early Muslim Conquests of the 7th-8th Centuries BC, and the longest-lived Persian Imperial dynasty).

With a population of more than 200,000 citizens, from about 1770BC to about 1670BC, and about 612BC to about 320BC, in its time, Babylon is believed to have been the largest city in the world.

The remains of Ancient Babylon can be located in Present Day Hillah, on the Hilla branch of the Euphrates River in Central Iraq, about 62 miles south of Baghdad. Hillah is a predominantly agricultural region in the Babil Governate. The tomb of the prophet Ezekiel is thought to be nearby.

All that is left of Ancient Babylon is a large hill full of broken mud-brick buildings, various debris, and several mounds, oriented north to south along the Euphrates River, that cover a large area. In the Hebrew Bible, Babylon is known as Babel. Babylon's name translates into "gate of the gods".

At one time the Euphrates River bisected Babylon. But, over time the river's course has shifted and most of the remains of Babylon's former western parts are now inundated by the flowing river. In addition, portions of Babylon's city wall to the west of the Euphrates River remain.

Only a small percentage of Ancient Babylon has been excavated producing four sites. They are:

-Babil - stands 72 feet tall at the northern end of the site. One of Nebuchadnezzar's palaces was located there.

-Amran Ibn ali - at the south end of the site, it stands 82 feet tall and is the highest mound. This was the site of the Esagila Temple of Marduk (Babylon's primary god). There is also a shrine to Ea (the Sumerian god of water, knowledge, crafts, creation, and one of the Anunaki deities of the pantheon, who's fuction was to decree the fate of humanity), and a shrine to Nabu (the Ancient Mesopotamian god of literacy, the rational arts, scribes, and wisdom). Isaiah 46:1, and Jeremiah 48:1, refer to Nabu as Nebo.

-El Kasr - the location of Nebuchadnezzar's magnificent Neo-Babylonian ziggurat Etemenanki palace that was built between 604BC and 561BC. Laying in the center of the site, this palace has been suggested as a possible inspiration for the Tower of Babel.

-Homera - a reddish mound on the site's western side. Most of the Hellenistic (Greek after the death of Alexander the Great, in about 323BC, and the emergence of the Roman rule of Babylon), are located here.

Significant contributing reasons for the lack of artifacts from Ancient Babylon being recovered incude:

-the Euphrates River's shifted course

-the Neo-Babylonians rebuilding over major parts of the city

-Babylon being pillaged for numerous revolts against foreign rulers, especially the Achaemenid and Neo-Assyria Empires in the1st Millennium BC, as well as the Hittites and the Elamites in the 2nd Millennium BC

-portions of Babylon being mined for commercial building materials

The only expedition to recover artifacts from Old Babylon was the German archaeologist Robert Koldewey's Expedition, who possibly discovered the Hanging Gardens of Babylon on March 26, 1899. These gardens had been destroyed by Sennacherib of Assyria in 696BC.

Murdered by his own sons in an effort to become his heir apparant, Sennacherib reigned about 750BC to about 681BC. He was the second king of the Sargonid Dynasty of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The Hebrew Bible describes his military campaigns in the Levant. He also rebuilt Nineveh.

During 18 years of exploring, the Koldewey Expedition also found the Processional Way of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate, the foundations of the Tower of Babel, palaces that belonged to Nebuchadnezzar, and 967 clay tablets with Sumerian literature.

Sumu-Abum, an Amorite, was the first king of the First Dynasty of Babylon (about 1830BC to about 1817BC) after declaring independence from the city-state of Kazallu, west of Mesopotamia, in Marad (an Ancient Sumerian hill city) on the west bank of the Upper Euphrates River.

Suma-la-El, an Amorite king who reigned about 1817BC to about 1781BC, is frequently named as the progenitor of the First Babylonian Dynasty.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #40: Neo-Babylonian Empire

Author Notes Urial, by Envision, selected to complement my posting.

Chapter 40
Sea Of Galilee #40

By Brett Matthew West

Under Nabopolassar, who ruled Babylon about 747BC to about 734BC, the Neo-Assyrian Empire was destroyed and the Neo-Babylonian Empire arose in its place.

Naboplassar's origins are undetermined. However, most historians associate him with Uruk, an ancient city on the Euphrates River, about 19 miles east of Modern Day Samawah Al-Muthanna in Iraq, in Southern Mesopotamia.

Uruk is identified as the biblical Erech, the second city founded by Nimrod in Shinar (Genesis 10:10).

Cyaxarus, the king of the Eastern Median Empire (Ancient Iranians) assisted Nebopolassar in his ten year war to rid Babylon of the Assyrians.

About 614BC, the Medes sacked Assur, the religious heart, and capitol of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The remains of Assur lay on the western bank of the Tigris River in Modern Day Iraq's Al-Shirqat District of the Saladin Governate, north of Baghdad.

The Medes and Babylonians attacked Ninevah, the capitol of the Assyrian Empire, about 612BC and burned it to the ground.

Egypt, under Pharoah Necho II, a king of their 26th Dynasty, (who reigned about 610BC to about 595BC), was unexpectedly attacked by the Babylonians and driven out of Syria.

Neuchadnezzar rebuilt the imperial grounds of Babylon. This included his fabulous Etemenanki ziggurat and the Ishtar Gate, the most prominent of the eight gates around Babylon. Nebucadnezzar destroyed Solomon's Temple, built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and exiled the Hebrews.

The Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, and the Persians, about 539BC, at the Battle of Opis in September of that year. Occurring on the Tigris River north of Babylon, this was the last major military conflict between the Persian Empire and the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Their victory allowed the Persians easy access to Babylon.

2 Chronicles 36 details how Cyrus allowed the Hebrews to return to their own land. The Cyrus Cylinder, from the 6th Century BC, that was discovered in Babylon in 1879, is seen by many biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus' repatriation of the Hebrews following their Babylonian captivity. (The Book of Ezra attributes this repatriation to Cyrus).

Under Darius I, who reigned about 550BC, to about 486BC, Babylon became one of the two capitols of the 9th Satrapy Dynasty of the Armenians (with Babylon the southern capitol and Susa, in the Zagros Moutains, the northern capitol). Babylon was also a center of learning and scientific advancement. Astronomy and mathematics were revitalized, and maps of constellations completed.

In about 331BC, the Ancient Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great, of the League of Corinth, defeated Darius III, the last Persian Empire king, in the Battle of Gaugamela. This was the second battle between them, and the final loss of the Achaemenid Empire. This battle occurred in what is now Modern Day Arbil, Iraq on the banks of the Bumodus River.

When Alexander the Great died, about 523BC in one of Nebuchadnezzar's palaces, Babyon was divided between his generals, the Diadochi. Decades of fighting ensued that emptied the city. Its citizens were taken to Seleucia, a Mesopotamian city of the Seleucid Empire on the west bank of the Tigris River (in Modern Day Baghdad, Iraq). This was where the palace of Esagila was built and Babylon became insignificant.

Babylon became a province of the Persian Empire for about 900 years under Parthian and Sassanid rule, until about 650AD. The Sassanid Empire was the last Iranian Empire before the Early Muslim Conquests of the 7th and 8th Centuries.

Babylon was briefly captured in 116AD by Trajan to be part of Mesopotamia. He was the emperor of Rome from 98 to 117 and achieved the largest territorial gains in Roman history. Trajan built extensive public buildings and social welfare policies.

In addition, Trajan is one of the Five Good Emperors who ruled in peace. The other four were Nerva (emperor from 96 to 98), Hadrian (emperor from 117 to 138), Antoninus Pius (emperor from 138 to 161), and Marcus Aurelius (emperor from 161 to 180).

When Hadrian relinquished Babylon it became part of the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. Hadrian was famous for constructing the Hadrian Wall that marked the northern limit of Britannia (Great Britain under Roman occupation from 43 to 410).

Examples of the Neo-Babylonian culture have been found in the Babylonian Talmud. (This Talmud contains only the Berakhot, the sole rabbinical analysis of, and commentary on, the Mishnah), and the Gnostic Manichaeism religion (founded by the Parthian prophet Mani that taught the struggle between a spiritual world of light and an evil material world of darkness). Other examples are contained in Eastern Rite Christianity. These are some 23 Catholic churches in full communion with the Pope but not members of the Latin church.

Babylon was the seat of a Bishop of the Church of the East until after the Arab/Islamic Conquests that began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7th Century.

In the mid-7th Century, Babylon was dissolved as a province into a small village.



Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #41: Modern Babylon

Author Notes The Megalosaurus, by Sean T Phelan, selected to complement my post.

Chapter 41
Sea Of Galilee #41

By Brett Matthew West

In previous chapters, I have presented information about:

Chapter 37: Babylon - The World's First 200,000+ Citizens City
Chapter 38: First Babylonian Empire
Chapter 39: Old Babylon
Chapter 40: Neo-Babylonian Empire

This chapter deals with Modern Babylon.

I will conclude my Babylon series with Chapter 42: Babylon's Biblical Narrative.


Conducted by field research, and completed in the 18th Century in service to Denmark, German Cartographer and Explorer Carsten NIebuhr's maps of the Babylonian region are regarded as the singlemost significant addition to the cartography of the area.

From 1899 to 1917, the village of Qwaresh, and its 200 households, that were located inside the ancient inner city walls of Babylon, grew because of the need for workers for the German Oriental Society's excavations. Their primary focus was on the Temple of Marduk, the city wall, and the Processional Way that led to the temple.

Since the creation of Iraq in 1921, Babylon has been considered a cultural asset. Babylonian images have appeared on Iraq's postcards and stamps on several occasions. In the 1960s, the Iraqis built a replica of the Ishtar Gate and the Ninmakh Temple on their ancient sites.

Under Saddam Hussein, on February 14, 1978, Iraq began the Archaeological Restoration of Babylon Project. This effort reconstructed the Southern Palace of Nebuchadnezzar and 250 of its rooms. In addition, there were 5 courtyards, and a 30-meter high entrance arch, built. This project's work reinforced the Processional Way, an amphitheater from the Hellenistic Era, and the Lion of Babylon, a stone sculpture more than 2600 years old. Seven coins of iconic Babylonian features were also minted.

In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein removed the village of Qwaresh and displaced its citizens. He constructed a palace in the area he called Saddam Hill, in the pyramidal ziggurat style, over some of the ruins.

Following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the Babylonian area came under the control of US troops, then was turned over to Polish forces. The US built Camp Alpha, a helipad, and other facilities on Ancient Babylonian ruins. This caused irreparable damage to the archaeological record of the area, including the Ishtar Gate.

In 2005, the Poles turned Babylon over to the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. They planned to restore Babylon and convert the area into a cultural center.

On July 5, 2019, the area of Babylon was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Coincidently, the word "Babylon" posseses the generic meaning of a large and bustling diverse city.

Next Time: Sea Of Galilee #42: Babylon's Biblical Narrative

Author Notes Lion, by suzannethompson2, selected to complement my posting.

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