Monday, February 27, 2012

Trip to Samaria - another 11 hour long field study:)

Today we travel and visit some northern territories above Jerusalem.  Here was our first view of the day, in the hills of what was eastern Ephraim (one of Joshua's tribal territories). The prominent peak is the "Alexandrium", a Hasmonean (Maccabees) fort later restored by Herod the Great.
 Rachel and Aubrey, dear sweet girls, I just love 'em!
 Ben is bending down, and do you see that streak of light coming from the heavens!?!
 I snapped this from the bus window. Sheep marked with orange to identify them with their owner.
 Here we are ancient Shechem, with Mount Gerazim in the background. Shechem is the first place that Abraham came when he entered Canaan, and he built an altar to the Lord here, it is also where Joshua came to pronounce the blessings and curses (between Mt. Gerazim and Mt. Ebal)  Joseph was sold into slavery not far from here, and many other biblical stories.
 The ancient wall of Shechem with Mt. Gerazim in the distance. You can see the student at the bottom, to get an idea how large this wall is.
 Me 'n Mount Gerazim.  There is a Samaritan Temple and village up there, we wanted to go up, but by the time we were ready, the mountain was shrouded in clouds and rain.
 This is Mount Ebal, on the other side of Shechem, which is near modern day Nablus (a city in the West Bank that has a lot of unrest there). Shechem sits right between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerazim.
 Ancient gate of the appears to have had some kind of sliding door mechanism, something that rolled between those large hewn boulders.
 Now we are at the ancient remains of the city of Samaria. This was a theater!  Omri, father of Ahab, bought the hill of Samaria, and made it into a capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab then built it into a glorious place, with a huge palace here. You remember Ahab don't you? He married the wicked Jezebel, who gave Elisha a run for his money!
 Remains of a huge tower guarding the city of Samaria.  Very interesting stones that are V-shaped and squeeze together, such as if a battering ram were to strike it from the outside, it would only compact the stones more tightly together.
 Olive trees amidst a field of wild flowers - early signs of Spring (Yeah!! I'm cold most of the time:)
 This is Shiloh, the picture doesn't do it justice, but this is the likely site of the Tabernacle that was erected after the Israelites came to Canaan. Of course you don't see remains of the Tabernacle, because it was made of goat hair, but it is a flat place of mostly bedrock which would have made a good foundation place.  Many came to here yearly to offer sacrifice and worship. There is an olive press right next to it, b/c they needed lots of oil for this, and many dwellings nearby. This is where Hannah came, was distraught from being childless, and the High Priest blessed her, and then where Samuel grew up with the Eli the Priest.
Almond blossoms!! They come out in February:)   We had an awesome day!  Next weekend we get to go on a 3 day field trip to Judah, Philistia, and the Negev...woo hoo!!!

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