It’s been nearly 2 months since my last blog post. Life has been very busy.
I graduated from JUC with my masters in biblical history and geography at the beginning of May! Dr. Paul Wright, the president of the university, is standing with me, holding my diploma in the picture. My time living and studying in Jerusalem and traveling throughout Israel, Jordan and Egypt was life-changing. While I was excited to come home I was sad to leave and will miss living in the Land of the Bible. Hopefully I will be back to visit before very long.
A couple days after my graduation I flew back to Rochester, NY and spent a couple weeks there before packing up everything I own and moving it all to Des Moines, Iowa where I will be living with my bride following our wedding on July 17. Life at the moment is focused on preparing for the wedding and finding a job in Des Moines. I would appreciate your prayers on both of those items.
I meant to post this a long time ago, but was sidetracked by all the events of life. A week and a half before I left Israel I went from Jerusalem to Hebron with Sam Salem, an Arab-Christian tour guide, and 3 other guys from school. Hebron shows up in the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as that of David. It is at Hebron that the three Patriarchs were buried, and it was also there that David was made king. David ruled from Hebron for 7 years before taking Jerusalem from the Jebusites and turning it into his capital city.
The Tomb of the Patriarchs was probably built by Herod the Great, a few years/decades prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. Today the structure contains a synagogue and a mosque. At one time the whole structure was open to the members of both of these religions. However, following the Goldstein Massacre, they have been separated by a wall within the structure.
It is believed that this structure was built by Herod because it has so many characteristics of Herodian architecture. Herod was the architect of the Temple Mount which is seen today. It is believed that around the upper level of the Temple Mount were massive pilasters like those of the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Check out the pictures below.
Below the Herodian monumental building is a cave, believed to be the Machpelah Cave, which Abraham bought to bury Sarah in. Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah are also believed to have been buried in this cave as well. Today, the building stands over the cave and no one is allowed to enter it. Six giant sarcophagii-like memorials draped in cloth stand within the mosque/synagogue, and are memorials to Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah, who are all supposed to have been buried here.
Following our visit to the tomb we drove through the center of town to the ancient tel of Hebron, where the city in the time of Abraham and David would have been. This central area of the modern city is a ghost town. No one lives here and all the shop doors are welded shut. The only people in this area were Israeli soldiers on patrol. You can see this area in the video at the bottom of this post.
The top of the tel of the ancient site has been built over by a military base and an apartment building. So, there is not a lot to see. Beneath the apartment building we were able to view the remains of a 4-room Israelite house from the biblical period. The 4-room style house is a classic Israelite structure.