Posts Tagged ‘Rooted and Grounded Israel Tour’

Believe it or not, we are still on day one of the tour. We had action-packed days for most of the tour. Day one offered some really interesting new treats.


As you may be aware, at the temple in Jerusalem, if one could not afford to offer a lamb or goat, one could often offer a bird such as a turtledove or pigeon instead. The birds had to be raised in a way that would make them acceptable for offering in the temple. The place for doing so would naturally need to be within a reasonable distance from Jerusalem to allow travel there without risk of birds dying. Not far from tel Beit Shemesh and tel She’ayarim, there is a dovecote that dates to the first temple period. It was carved out of the soft limestone found in the area. It is visually quite a lovely place. Quite off the beaten path for big buses I would think, but worth a visit if you can.

First Century Burial

It is always helpful to find places and things intact in a way that allows a better understanding of scripture. First century burial sites can give good insight into how Yeshua (Jesus) would have been buried, i.e. the type of tomb into which his body would have been laid and how those visiting the tomb after the resurrection would have viewed the tomb area. Not far from the dovecote described above, is an example of the first century burial tomb of a wealthy person. It was carved into the rock which was common, it had slot tombs, which was also common, and it had an entrance area with bench seating for those visiting the graves.

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We are still on day one of the tour. After leaving Beit Shemesh, we travel to the Elah Valley to remember the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, between David and Goliath. Last time we came, we remembered this battle from the top of tel Azeka. This time, we are actually across the valley to the east of tel Azeka, on tel She’arayim, an Israelite city known for having two gates. That is what the word she’arayim means in Hebrew – “two gates.” This is significant because at the time of David, most Israelite cities had one gate. The city would be easier to defend if it only had one gate. This city, which overlooked the valley of Ela had two. It is also identified as Khirbet Qeiyafa. This city was a likely place for staging and supplying the Israelite army when it was facing off with the Philistines as recounted in 1 Samuel 17. It sits just north of where the Israelites were probably encamped.

ruins tel She’ayarim

tel She’ayarim ruins
Flat stones cover water channel

Looking west toward tel Azeka

Looking westward to tel Azeka
ruins tel She’ayarim
view looking south west from tel She’ayarim into the plain where the battle would have likely been
thick line denotes where reconstruction starts
ruins tel She’ayarim
carved out rock to hold post for wooden gate door
ruins tel She’ayarim

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