Saturday, February 25, 2017

DAY FOUR IN ISRAEL(Friday Feb. 10, 2017) Bet She'an and SO MUCH MORE

There was an early a.m. baptism in the Galilee which was practically outside our door, but Kathryn and I decided not to get up for it.  Before breakfast, she came up with the idea to go down to the beach and collect some Galilee stones.  We
We took our suitcases to the bus and had breakfast before departing for BET SHE'AN National Park. 

Bet She'an National Park houses the spectacular ruins of the glory that was the Roman and Byzantine city of Bet She'an. Rising above them is the high mound on which Biblical Bet She'an stood.  The ruins here are spectacular.

of particular interest was the PUBLIC LATRINE.  Apparently, one had to straddle two sections and do their business in the middle.  Several in our group "got into position".

the latrine is on the right hand side at the bottom of the wall.

We spent a couple of hours there.  Some of our group climbed up to the original city (from Bible days) but Peggy and I stayed down so we could follow Hanna around while she described the ruins. 

Then we headed out and Hanna told us she was going to take us to someplace special. And indeed it was one of the highlights of the trip   I took this picture along the way. 
We passed these farmers who seemed a bit perplexed at seeing a huge tour bus on the narrow back road.

We arrived at a spot that seemed like nothing much and I thought about staying on the bus, but it was such a beautiful day so I got off. We were at THE GILGAL ARGAMAN.    Gilgal Argaman is an Iron-age ceremonial site in the Jordan valley near Moshav Argaman. It is likely that this site was erected by the Israelites, led by Joshua, and was their first camp after crossing the Jordan.
 It is in the shape of a footprint when viewed from the air-an amazing discovery. The Arc of the Covenant was first here and every tribe sacrificed here and repeated the verse "every place where your foot has trod you will take the land."

it is such a recent discovery that it has not been turned into a tourist attraction yet.  I found this aerial view online.  The shape of a footprint can be seen.

A high tower was added on the side of the parking area, constructed of large stone slabs.  I think Hanna said it is unfinished. 
Joshua 4 19:"And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho"

regarding the man Adam Zertal who discovered it (I think)  he passed away a few years ago. (1936 – October 18, 2015)  He was a prominent Israeli archaeologist and expert in ancient Near East studies who spent 30 years surveying a tremendous breadth of land in the West Bank,for it.

I think this is about his discovery of this Gil Gal
  • Underground quarry (Galgala?). In 2009, Zertal headed a team that discovered an ancient underground quarry in the Jordan Valley.[7] He associated the cave with two Byzantine-period place names, Galgala and Dodekaliton (Greek for "Twelve Stones"), marked on the Madaba map next to each other and at a distance from Jericho that matches the cave's distance from the city. He offered the interpretation that the Byzantines had identified the site as Gilgal, where the Children of Israel had set up the twelve stones they had taken from the Jordan River while crossing it   BECAUSE Hanna talked about the twelve stones!!!!
    An added note about the location
    Argaman (Hebrew: אַרְגָּמָן‎, lit. Crimson) is a moshav and Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located in the Jordan Valley,[2] eight kilometres north of the Damia Bridge with an area of 4,500 dunams,[citation needed] it falls under the jurisdiction of Bik'at HaYarden Regional Council. In 2015 its population was 133.
    The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. SO WE WERE IN DISPUTED TERRITORY!!!!

    I wish we had had the opportunity to see the cave!   This page on the www tells more details about this amazing find
The Etymology behind the names
  • Gilgal - from the root word Galgal (Hebrew for circle or wheel). In Biblical times the Gilgal referred to a ancient ritual place, based on a stone circle , like Stonehenge in England.  There were several similar sites in Israel, like in the Golan heights. In the course of the years the name evolved to to Gilgal (Hebrew).

  • Argaman - A Moshav 8KM north-west of Adam bridge, founded in 1968. Its name is an acronym of two fallen commanders (Arik Regev + Gad Mandel).

AND THEN it was on to QUMRAN, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered In 1947 by local Bedouins who discovered a clay jar containing 7 scrolls in a cave about 1.5km from Qumran.

THIS IS ANOTHER AMAZING SITE!!! Located on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert approximately, Qumran is located between Jerusalem and the major Dead Sea beaches

It was lunch time so some of our group went to the restaurant for lunch.  I had already snacked on the bus so I decided to not have lunch and to explore the gift shop instead.  I purchased an inexpensive blue beaded bracelet with a cross on it.  We met up with Hanna and the rest of the group at an appointed time and she led us around to the various sites and told us the story of the finds and of the Essenes. 

The ancient scrolls were sold to antique dealers and after changing hands several times they reached scholars who could accurately evaluate the age and value of the parchments. Further exploration uncovered a total of 972 texts including the oldest known existing copy of the Old Testament. The texts are written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Nabataen. The scrolls are believed to have belonged to the Essenes sect. Some of the scrolls describe the tenants of the sect and their particular slant on Judaism. In all there were 12 caves where scrolls and fragments of parchment were found.

The Essenes (who may be responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls) were a very strict Jewish group.  They made the regular Jews look liberal.  They lived in this area.  They ate in silence and were not allowed to relieve themselves on the Sabbath (Shabbat).  They slept in the desert on stones. 

Here are some of my pictures taken at Qumran

Peg got this excellent picture of one of the caves where some of the scrolls were found

Before leaving, I purchased an ice cream bar, which cost me four or five dollars.  

After leaving QUMRAN, we headed along the coast of the Dead Sea towards the DANIEL HOTEL, our lodging for the night.
We arrived at the hotel, and if I remember right, we were given a brief welcome reception.  We got settled into our rooms. 
Hanna had suggested  that we had time to go down to the beach and float in the Dead Sea.  David,  Peggy, Kathryn and I agreed to meet up and walk down together. 

We got ready and headed down (we were able to wear some absolutely luxurious white terry robes provided by the hotel).  We had
a bit of confusion about finding the beach, but I guess we found the right one since some from our group were there.  David did not go in, blut he watched our items while Peg, Kathryn and I went in. 

Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me, so was unable to take pictures.  I am sure someone from our group took some and I am trying to obtain one or two.  In the meantime, here is a pic I found online of some people floating in the Dead Sea.  (though, it looks like some of them are standing)
Hanna had told us how to approach walk out a bit and then sit down as if reclining in a recliner.  It worked!!!!!It felt so strange. The water is SO THICK.  The beach was sandy but as I walked out it got rocky or at least I thought it was rocks, but when I reached down and I found out that it was small round marbles of solid salt.  Peggy could not seem to reach down far enough, so I got a bunch for her.  We only stayed in about 15 minutes or so. 

Back at our hotel room I told Kathryn she could take the first shower.  She was only in it for a couple of minutes, barely enough time for me to get my fresh clothing for supper ready!

Supper that night was a buffet SHABBAT supper.  Lots of Jewish people were present (they cannot cook on their Sabbath).  The spread was fantastic!!!   Some of the Jewish men were very rude when it came to waiting in line for the buffet lines.  Actually, they did not wait, they merely barged ahead of people.  The deserts here were pretty good (not as good as the hotel in Tel Aviv, but better than the kibbutz and the hotel in Jerusalem.

Here are some pictures of the DANIEL HOTEL

 Candles in the lobby, must have something to do with SHABBAT.
 View from inside the hotel
 This bed is outside near the pool area.

This would have been a good place to stay at longer but we only had one night here. 

No comments:

Post a Comment