David’s Great Sin – 1035 B.C. & Bathing

It seems that I was wrong about David sinning against You.

The baths at Bath
Roman houses had water supplied via lead pipes.

However, these pipes were taxed according to their size, so many houses had just a basic supply and could not hope to rival a bath complex.

Therefore for personal hygiene, people went to the local baths.

However, the local bath complex was also a gathering point and served a very useful community and social function.

Here people could relax, keep clean and keep up with the latest news.

Taking a bath was not a simple chore.

There was not one bath to use in a large complex such as the one at Bath.

A visitor could use a cold bath (the frigidarium), a warm bath (the tepidarium) and a hot bath (the caldarium).

A visitor would spend some of his time in each one before leaving.

A large complex would also contain an exercise area (the palaestra), a swimming pool and a gymnasium.

One of the public baths at Pompeii contains two tepidariums and caldariums along with a plunge pool and a large exercise area.

Engineering

The building of a bath complex required excellent engineering skills.

Baths required a way of heating up water.

This was done by using a furnace and the hypocaust system carried the heat around the complex.

The Roman Baths of Bath are famous because they were unusually large by Roman bathing standards.

The baths were built not only for local use, but also to accommodate Roman pilgrims traversing the empire.

The original Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level.

There are four main features of the site:

* The Sacred Spring,

* The Roman Temple,

* The Roman Bath House and,

* The Museum holding finds from Roman Bath.

The buildings above street level date from the 19th century.

The Roman Sacred Spring, a natural hot spring, provided the warm water for the site.

There is some slight evidence that suggests the hot spring was already a focal point for worship before the Roman Temple and baths were built.

“And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab (he was like a 5 star general), and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 

And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 

And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bath-sheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?  (Uriah is also one of his top soldiers).

And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.

Archeologists have discovered a sacred spring in an ancient city in western Turkey.
At the very heart of the site is the Sacred Spring.

Hot water at a temperature of 114 F (46°C) rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 liters (240,000 gallons) every day and has been doing this for thousands of years.

In the past this natural phenomenon was beyond human understanding and it was believed to be the work of the ancient gods.

In Roman times a great Temple was built next to the Spring dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, a deity with healing powers.

The mineral rich water from the Sacred Spring supplied a magnificent bath-house which attracted visitors from across the Roman Empire.

And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child. 

And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.  

And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered. 

And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king. 

But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.

And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey?  Why then didst thou not go down unto thine house? 

And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?  As thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.

And David said to Uriah, Tarry here today also, and tomorrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow. 

Dating as far back as 2000 B.C., ancient Egyptians were amongst the first to widely adopt the power of the hot tub for its therapeutic values.

In fact, Phraortes, the King of Media, built one of the first known hot tubs in 600 B.C., which simply consisted of a water-filled caldera that was then heated by placing red-hot stones in the water.

Due to the climate, (remember, we are in Egypt where it’s hot hot hot) Egyptians were fixated on cleanliness – so much so that foreigners (thought to be dirty) and those who didn’t have access to personal hygiene options were despised.

Men and woman shaved and plucked off all of their body hair using tweezers, knives and razors, made of flint or metal.

Not only was this for beauty, but it also rid the Egyptians of body lice.

To clean themselves while bathing, the Egyptians used natron (which was also used when mummifying the dead – you know they pulled their brains outta their noses (the dead, not the bathers), followed by linen towels for drying.

The rich had facilities in their places of residence while the majority of Egyptians bathed in the Nile.

The homes of the wealthy were airy and roomy, literally.

There were bedrooms, servant’s quarters, halls, dining rooms – and bathrooms.

Actually, a “bathroom” was usually a small recessed room with a square slab of limestone in the corner.

There the master of the house stood while his slaves liberally doused him with water.

Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers.

And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah” (2 Sam 11:1-14). 

You wouldn’t expect David to do what he’s about to do, this is something that the our government would  do, and probably does.  But David’s actions go beyond that.

“And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. 

And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.  

And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.  Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war” (2 Sam 11:15-18).

And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate. 

And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.  

Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.

And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.

And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD (2 Sam 11:23-27).

Roman Public Toilets
When Mt. Vesuvius erupted on August 24 in A.D. 79, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other Roman settlements were sealed as time capsules. They were first excavated in the 18th century, and since then these sites have given us a wonderful view into ancient Roman society.

Many of the bathrooms uncovered at Pompeii and elsewhere were communal. In many cases, they were beautiful, with frescoes on the walls, sculptures in the corners, and rows of holes carved into cold, Italian marble slabs. To ancient Romans, the practice of sitting on a shared toilet in an open room full of people was entirely ordinary.

Roman toilets didn’t flush. Some of them were tied into internal plumbing and sewer systems, which often consisted of just a small stream of water running continuously beneath the toilet seats.

Romans didn’t have toilet paper, a tersorium (or, in my technical terms, a “toilet brush for your butt”) was used. An ingenious little device made by attaching a natural sponge (from the Mediterranean Sea) to the end of a stick. Our ancient Roman would simply wipe him- or herself, rinse the tersorium in whatever was available (running water and/or a bucket of vinegar or salt water), and leave it for the next person to use. There were other means of wiping as well, such as the use of abrasive ceramic discs called pessoi.

David loved God, but even so he didn’t think about how God must have felt by his actions, he only thought about how bad he would look to the people if they knew that he had committed adultery.

Bathing

The description of Bathsheba’s bathing in 2 Sam 11:2 employs the verb rahas — “to wash” — which, when used alone, implies “to bathe the entire body.”

When limited to a portion of the body, the intended body part is stipulated. Thus, we know from the grammar (as well as from the context) that Bathsheba was bathing.

The text informs us that she was purifying her­self from her uncleanness, indicating that she had just completed her menstrual cycle.

While no such ordinance exists in the rele­vant texts of Lev 15:19-24, it appears that Bathsheba was bathing for ritual or hygienic purposes.

Remains of a Hypocaust
Water had to be constantly supplied. In Rome this was done using 640 kilometers of aqueducts – a superb engineering feat. The baths themselves could be huge. A complex built by the emperor Diocletian was the size of a football pitch. Those who built them wanted to make a statement – so that many baths contained mosaics and massive marble columns. The larger baths contained statues to the gods and professionals were on hand to help take the strain out of having a bath. Masseurs would massage visitors and then rub scented olive oil into their skin.

It was very cheap to use a Roman bath. A visitor, after paying his entrance fee, would strip naked and hand his clothes to an attendant.

Ritual purity was achieved partly by bathing, as is seen in the directive given to Aaron and his sons (Lev 8:6).

Such practices among the priesthood are also attested in Egypt, where the priests were instructed to bathe three times daily to remove physical pollution and to attain a spiritual life.

Puri­fication from defilement among laity and priests alike often involved the washing of the body (e.g., Lev 15:18, 21).

Washing the feet, attested many times in both the Old Tes­tament and the New Testament (most notably Jn 13:1-17), must have been a common occurrence in Israel.

While Rabbinical texts that speak of the necessity of washing the hands before eating (e.g., Matt 15:2) probably have roots in an earlier era, it is uncertain how far back these traditions extend.

How widespread and frequent non-ceremonial bathing was in Israel is impossible to determine.

The Old Testament accounts of such bathing undertaken by David (2 Sam 12:20), Ruth (Ruth 3:3), Samarian harlots (1 Kgs 22:38), Naaman (2 Kgs 5:10) and the allegorical Oholah and Oholibah (Eze 23:40) indicate that the practice was fairly common and not exclusive to members of the upper class.

Fur­ther indication comes from the Phoenician town Achzib. An 8th-7th century B.C. terracotta figurine depicting a woman bath­ing while sitting in an oval bathtub was un­earthed there.

This, too, suggests that bathing was widely practiced.

David and Mephibosheth & Tsinnor

In Your message to Nathan You made it clear that You wouldn’t ignore any sins that David committed. 

Since You know everything from the beginning to the end, it makes me think that David is going to do something bad?

First Temple Oil Lamps
A water tunnel dating back to the 10th Century BCE has been discovered at the City of David that could be the “tsinnor” mentioned in the account of King David’s conquest of Jerusalem (II Samuel 5:8).

The opening of the tunnel, which was discovered during ongoing excavations at the site earlier this year, is just wide enough to allow one person to pass through, but, due to debris that has yet to be moved, only the first 50 meters of the tunnel are accessible.
The walls of the tunnel are composed partly of unworked sto
nes, while other parts use the bedrock. The tunnel was discovered under a large stone structure which was previously identified by archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar as King David’s palace (2 Samuel 5:11).

The already existing tunnel was integrated into its construction and was probably used to channel water to a pool located on the palace’s southeast side. Toward the end of the First Temple period, the tunnel was converted to an escape passage, perhaps used in a manner similar to King Zedekiah’s escape during the Babylonian siege (2 Kings 25:4).

“And after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took Metheg-ammah out of the hand of the Philistines. 

And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive.  And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.

David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. 

And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: and David houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them for a hundred chariots.  

And when the Syrians of Damascus came to succor Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.

Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. 

And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. 

And from Betah, and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass.

When Toi king of Hamath heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer, 

Then Toi sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass:

Which also king David did dedicate unto the LORD, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he subdued” (2 Sam 8:1-11).

“And David gat him a name when he returned from smiting of the Syrians in the valley of salt, being eighteen thousand men.

And he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom put he garrisons, and all they of Edom became David’s servants. And the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. 

And David reigned over all Israel; and David executed Judgment and justice unto all his people “(2 Sam 8:13-15).

Joab was put over the host, Jehoshaphat was recorder, Zadok and Ahimelech were the priests, Seraiah was the scribe, Benaiah was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and David’s sons were chief rulers.

“And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Sam 9:1).

Warren’s Shaft
Discovered by Charles Warren in his investigations of the city in the 1860s, this underground tunnel system has become known as “Warren’s Shaft.”

The system by this name consists of four parts: the stepped tunnel, the horizontal curved tunnel, the 45-foot (14 m) vertical shaft and the feeding tunnel.

Scholars have long debated the date and function of this system.

“And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually” (2 Sam 9:7).

David then told Ziba what he’d told Mephibosheth and also that he and his 15 sons and 20 servants would serve Mephibosheth.  And Mephibosheth had a son named Micha.

“And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.

Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.

And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honor thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee?  Hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it? 

Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away” (2 Sam 10:1-4).

When David heard about that he was ashamed and he told the men to stay in Jericho until their beards grew out.  

And when the Ammons saw that David was angry at them they hired 20,000 footmen of the Syrians in Beth-rehob and Zoba, as well as a 1,000 men from King Maacah and 12,000 from Ish-tob.

How did David and his men conquer
Biblical archaeology has uncovered many things pertaining to the history of ancient Jerusalem. Without one exception, archaeology has confirmed the historicity of the Bible! Warren’s Shaft Warren’s Shaft discovered in the 19th century.

The excavations at the City of David in Jerusalem have been going on since the 19th century. In more recent years, particularly in the late 1970s and 80s, the excavations on the eastern slope of the City of David (called “Area G”) have shed a lot of light on both Canaanite and Israelite Jerusalem.

A little further south the water system of the city was discovered. Specifically, it was Warren who explored a 52 vertical tunnel (now called Warren’s Shaft) that was believed to be the “water shaft” mentioned in 2 Samuel 5.

Whether it was this shaft or another part of the water system we cannot be certain. Yet for sure, some “water shaft” (tsinnor in Hebrew) was used in the 2 Samuel 5 story and it played an important role in how the city (then called Jebus) was conquered.

When David heard of this he sent for Joab and in time the Syrians and Ammons both fled.  Then Hadarezer brought all the Syrians to Helam, so David pursued them and when he caught up with them he destroyed 700 chariots, 40,000 horsemen, and he also smote their captain, Shobach. 

When all the kings realized that they had no chance against Israel they made a peace treaty with Israel and became their slaves.  So now the Syrians feared to ever help the Ammons again.

Tsinnor

The word translated as “water shaft” in 2 Sam 5:8 is the Hebrew tsinnor.  Used in only one other Biblical pas­sage (Ps 42:7), the term’s interpretation has long been debated by scholars.

It is apparent from the context that the tsinnor was a means of conquering the city. 

While some suggest meanings such as “dagger,” “hook” or “grappling-iron,” the context of Ps 42:7 (where the NIV translates tsinnor as “water­falls”) implies that the word in 2 Sam 5:8 has to do with a water system.

Cognates (words related by descent from the same ancestral language) from Aramaic and Ugaritic also in­dicate that tsinnor refers to a watercourse, shaft or tunnel.

This implies that Joab led the charge through an underground waterway.  At one time archaeologists thought that the site known as “Warren’s Shaft” was the tsinnor.

From the top of Warren’s Shaft a stepped tunnel leads to an above-ground entrance inside the Canaanite city wall. Joab was thought to have entered the water system through the Gihon spring and climbed up the once nar­row shaft to conquer the city.

New discoveries made since 1995, how­ever, have shed new light on this water sys­tem. It now appears that the stepped tunnel that leads from the entrance to Warren’s Shaft did not have its present form until the 8th century B.C.

In Joab’s time the top of Warren’s Shaft was still buried 4 feet (1.2 m) below the floor of the tunnel. Joab’s entrance into the city via the tsinnor had to have been by some other water source or passage.

As helpful as archaeology is in bringing the Bible to life, it is important to realize that old con­clusions often need to be revisited in light of more recent excavation and analysis.

David’s Kingdom & Horses and Chariots in Ancient Warfare

Saul was a bad king.  Now that David is the full king of all of Israel, is he going to be good or bad?

Kassites
Ancient people of the Middle East, that is principally known for having established the dynasty that ruled Babylonia for about 450 years, starting around 1600 B.C.

Much is uncertain concerning the Kassites, we know little about their culture as well as where they came from.

One of the most likely suggestions is that their origin was in the Zagros Mountains in today’s Iran.

At the beginning of their Mesopotamian presence, the Kassites established Dar Kurigalzu as their capital, about 150 km north of Babylon.

It is assumed that the Kassite society was a feudal one.

The horse was a sacred animal among the Kassites, and they probably introduced this animal into Mesopotamia.

There is little in art and architecture that was specific Kassite.

Most of what the Kassites built was Babylonian in style — their only invention was to use molded bricks to create relief decorations in temple walls.

Among the modern peoples that seem to descend from the Kassites are the Lors of Iran.

18th century B.C.
The Kassites try to penetrate into Babylonia, but are driven out by the king.

Still they manage to establish themselves in Mesopotamia north of Babylonia’s borders.

Middle 18th century B.C.
Gandash becomes the first king among the Kassites, a dynasty that eventually would take over Babylonia.

Around 1600
The Kassites take control over Babylonia, and their king becomes king over Babylonia as well. From this followed a 400 year period of Kassite domination in Babylonia.

1158:
The Elamites conquer Babylonia, and loot the cities. This becomes the end of the Kassite dynasty.

“And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest roundabout from all his enemies;

That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.  

And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. 

And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,

Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? 

Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.

In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?

Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:

And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 

Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as beforetime.

Gold Gilded Wooden Chariot
Introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in the sixteenth century B.C., the chariot was throughout the New Kingdom closely associated with the king, who is constantly shown dominating the field of battle, the reins around his waist, firing his bow.

Chariots begin to appear in Egyptian wall reliefs and paintings from the early 18th dynasty, and are mentioned as diplomatic gifts in the correspondence from el-Amarna.

Until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb only two complete vehicles were known – one now in Florence and another from the tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu – together with a miscellaneous array of chariot fittings and fragments from other tombs in the Valley of the Kings and elsewhere.

The burial of Tutankhamun yielded six complete but dismantled chariots of unparalleled richness and sophistication, four found at the southeast end of the Antechamber and two along the north wall of the Treasury.

Each had had its axle sawn through to enable it to be brought along the narrow corridor into the tomb, and each had been broken down into its component parts for compactness when stored.

Thrown about when the tomb was robbed, and roughly handled when the burial was tidied up, the confused and precarious heaps into which these parts had been thrown were a nightmare to untangle.

But, after much delicate preservative work, five of the six chariots could be reassembled for display in the Cairo Museum.

And as since the time that I commanded Judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. 

I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam 7:1-17).

After Nathan re-laid the message David talked to God,

“…Who am I, O Lord GOD?  And what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? 

And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? 

And what can David say more unto thee?  For thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.

For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. 

Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 

And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?

For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee forever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.

And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it forever, and do as thou hast said.

And let thy name be magnified forever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. 

For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.

Horses were well suited to the warfare tactics of the nomadic cultures from the steppes of Central Asia.

Several East Asian cultures made extensive use of cavalry and chariots.

Muslim warriors relied upon light cavalry in their campaigns throughout North Africa, Asia, and Europe beginning in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D.

Europeans used several types of war horses in the Middle Ages, and the best-known heavy cavalry warrior of the period was the armored knight.

With the decline of the knight and rise of gunpowder in warfare, light cavalry again rose to prominence, used in both European warfare and in the conquest of the Americas.

Battle cavalry developed to take on a multitude of roles in the late 18th century and early 19th century and was often crucial for victory in the Napoleonic wars.

In the Americas, the use of horses and development of mounted warfare tactics were learned by several tribes of indigenous people and in turn, highly mobile horse regiments were critical in the American Civil War.

Horse cavalry began to be phased out after World War I in favor of tank warfare, though a few horse cavalry units were still used into World War II, especially as scouts.

By the end of World War II, horses were seldom seen in battle, but were still used extensively for the transport of troops and supplies.

Today, formal battle ready horse cavalry units have almost disappeared, although horses are still seen in use by organised armed fighters in Third World countries.

Many nations still maintain small units of mounted riders for patrol and reconnaissance, and military horse units are also used for ceremonial and educational purposes. Horses are also used for historical reenactment of battles, law enforcement, and in equestrian competitions derived from the riding and training skills once used by the military.

And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:

Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue forever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed forever” (2 Sam 7:1-29).

Horses and Chariots in Ancient Warefare

Ancient Chariot Fleet, Horses Unearthed in China
To protect it from drying out, a worker sprays water onto a millennia-old chariot recently unearthed in the city of Luoyang in central China.

Overall, 5 chariots and 12 horse skeletons were found in the tomb pit, according to China’s state-sponsored Xinhua news service.

Archaeologists believe the tomb was dug as part of the funeral rites of a minister or other nobleman during the Eastern Zhou dynasty period, about 2,500 years ago.

Chariots were important vehicles of war during the Zhou dynasty and were driven by nobleman-warriors wielding halberds or spears, said David Sena, a China historian at the University of Texas at Austin who was not involved in the discovery.

“During this period, there wasn’t a distinction between the military class and an educated aristocratic class,”

Sena said.

“People with aristocratic backgrounds were expected to do both, and riding a chariot was one of the skills that a nobleman was expected to have.”

The use of horses and chari­ots revolutionized warfare in the ancient Near East.

Scholars generally agree that the horse was introduced into the area during the late third mil­lennium 6 B.C. and had become prominent in Canaan by the early second millennium.

The development of the chariot soon followed, but scholars disagree about the History of its invention.

Horses and chariots are mentioned in the Mari tablets (18th century B.C.), and the Kassites and the people of Mitanni (17th century B.C.) were renowned for both horse breeding and chariot technol­ogy.

In fact, the Kassites devel­oped specialized and precise vocabulary for chariot com­ponents, and the Mitannian maryannu comprised a group of chariot experts.

In all likelihood foreigners introduced horses and chari­ots to the Egyptians during the Hyksos period (18th to 16th centuries B.C.) horse-drawn chariots were often used in warfare and religious processions — and sometimes even served as portable thrones.

Reliefs and paintings from Egypt portray both Seti I and Ramesses III standing in chariots, drawing their bows against enemies.

Chariots have also been found among relics in Eighteenth Dynasty tombs, such as those preserved with relation to King Tutank­hamen.

The early chariot’s design permitted two people stand­ing abreast – a driver and an archer — to occupy the small platform.

The axle was made of wood, and rawhide held the frame together. Wheels were fastened to the axle with linchpins of wood or bronze.

The draft pole extended to the rear of the chariot was se­cured with rawhide bindings and was attached to the horses’ yoke with straps.

Since horses were primarily used in ancient times to pull chariots, the term rider men­tioned in Ex 15:1 probably refers to the chariot driver.

The song’s boast that the God of Israel had hurled the horse and charioteer into the sea dramatically portrays the man­ner in which the power of God had bested the most technologically advanced tool of warfare available during that time.

David Becomes King Over Israel – 1055 B.C. & King David

I don’t quite get this, the men killed David’s enemies and to reward them he kills them.  Oh, wait a minute, I got it now. 

Vengeance is Yours, not theirs (Rom 12:9).

David — the sweet psalmist of Israel
As a young man, David played the harp (lyre) for King Saul.

So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him (1 Sam 16:23).

Later, David is called the “sweet psalmist of Israel.”

We have many examples in the collections of Psalms.

Now these are the last words of David.

“David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel (2 Sam 23:1).

On traditional Mount Zion, near the traditional Tomb of David there is a statue of King David playing the harp (lyre).

David Becomes King Over Israel

All the Israelites came to David and said,

“…Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. 

Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. 

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.  

David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years “(2 Sam 5:1-4).

In Judah he reined for 7½ years and 33 in Jerusalem.

“And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites…which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. 

Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David. 

And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.

David with the Head of Goliath, c. 1607, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Gemäldegalerie, Vienna, is a painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio (1571–1610). Peter Robb believes it to have been acquired by the conde de Villamediana in Naples between 1611 and 1617, as Giovanni Bellori records Villamediana as having returned to Spain with a half-figure of David by Caravaggio.
Caravaggio also treated this subject in a work currently in the Galleria Borghese, Rome, and in an early work dated c. 1600 in the Prado in Madrid.

So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David.  And David built roundabout from Millo and inward. 

And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him. 

And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David a house” (2 Sam 5:6-11).

David got couple more concubines from Jerusalem and they had children: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphet.

When the Philistines heard that David was anointed king they were not happy about it and came looking for him. 

So David asked God if he should go up to the Philistines?  And He said,

Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand (2 Sam 5:19).  

And David smote them and burned all their images, so he called the place Baal-perazim.

The Philistines returned and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim, and David again turned to God,

David is a Renaissance sculpture sculpted by Michelangelo from 1501 to 1504.
The 5.17 meter (17 ft) marble statue portrays the biblical King David.

Unlike previous depictions of David which portray the hero after his victory over Goliath, Michelangelo chose to represent David before the fight contemplating the battle yet to come.

It came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici themselves.

This interpretation was also encouraged by the original setting of the sculpture outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence.

The completed sculpture was unveiled on 8 September 1504.

“…He said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. 

And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.

And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer” (2 Sam 5:23-25).

David chose 30,000 men to go to get the Ark of God.  They set it on a cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah.  

His sons, Uzzah and Ahio drave the cart.  As they travelled David and all the Israelites played instruments, like harps, psalteries, timbrels, cornets, and cymbals.

“And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. 

And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perez-uzzah to this day.  And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?”  (2 Sam 6:6-9).

So David wouldn’t move the Ark into the city of David, but put it inside of Obed-edom’s house, and it stayed there for three months, and God blessed Obed-edom and his household.  When David found out he was pleased he moved it to the city of David.

“And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart” (2 Sam 6:16).

Once they had the Ark in its place they again offered burnt and peace offerings and he blessed the people in the name of the Lord.  And gave everyone a cake of bread, a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine.

“Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself today in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

And David said unto Michal, It was before the LORD, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel: therefore will I play before the LORD. 

And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor. 

Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death” (2 Sam 6:20-23).

King David

Statue of King David by Nicolas Cordier in the Borghese Chapel of the Basilica di Santa Maria.

The death of Saul about 1000 B.C. threatened to end Israel’s experiment with a monarchy.  The tribes were no better off with a king than they had been under the judges. 

Still plagued by the Philistines and surrounded by other hostile peoples, Israel could easily have been destroyed or simply absorbed among     the many peoples that formed the melting pot of Palestine.

Within the space of two generations, King David and King Solomon vanquished Israel’s foes and created a kingdom whose influence spanned from the Sinai Desert to the Euphrates River.   Under them, Israel played a major political and economic role in the affairs of the Near East. 

David faced serious opposition to his rule after the death of Saul in 1000 B.C.  Although the tribal elders of Judah proclaimed David king at Hebron, the northern tribes rallied around Saul’s son Ish-bosheth, who escaped the massacre on Mount Gilboa.

Backed by Abner, Saul’s powerful commander of troops, Ish-bosheth established a capital at Mahanaim in the Transjordan from which he opposed the leadership of David (2 Sam. 2:1-11).  Abner clearly was the greater threat since he had the loyalty of his army to use as a tool for furthering his ambitions. 

The Wars of David

Throughout his reign David fought a series of both defensive and offensive wars against surrounding peoples who threatened his kingdom.  In the process, not only did more land allotted to the tribes come into the possession of Israel, but David extended Jerusalem’s influence and control beyond Palestine into Syria.  

To accomplish this considerable feat, David employed a professional army composed of mercenaries drawn from various backgrounds, including Hittites, Philistines, and Ammonites, as well as Israelites.

The “Thirty,” an inner circle of fighting men of unquestioned loyalty to David, spearheaded his elite troops (2 Sam 23:8-39).

The Murder of Ish-bosheth & The Pool of Gibeon

You say that no liars will go to heaven (Rev 21:8), and it appears that if we lie not only is it against You, but bad things will happen, sooner or later, like the guy that said he killed Saul, when he hadn’t. 

So what’s up with David now?

Illustration from the Morgan Bible depicting the death of Ish-bosheth.
In the Biblical story, Ish-bosheth was proclaimed king over Israel in 1007 B.C. by Abner, the captain of Saul’s army, at Mahanaim in Transjordan), after his father and brothers were slain in the battle of Gilboa. Ish-bosheth was 40 years old at this time and reigned for two years.

About Names
The names Ish-bosheth and Ashba’al are unusual in some ways, as they have ambiguous meanings in the original Hebrew that are puzzling.

In Hebrew, for Ish-bosheth, “ish” means “[great] man” and “boshet” means “[given to] bashfulness [or humility]” or “[sensitive to] shame”, but it could also mean “shameful (or shamed) person”.

He is also called Ashba’al, in Hebrew meaning “[person of] master[y]” (and the “esh” may be connected to the Hebrew word for “fire”).

“Ba’al” may also allude to the name of the ancient deity Baal mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.

Critical scholarship suggests that Bosheth was a substitute for Ba’al, beginning when Ba’al became an unspeakable word; as (in the opposite direction) Adonai became substituted for the ineffable Tetragrammaton.

“Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker” (2 Sam 3:1).

David was blessed by six sons: Amnon, Chileab, Adonijay, Shephatiah, Eglah, and  Absalom  (you will hear more from Absalom).

“And it came to pass, while there was war between the house of Saul and the house of David, that Abner made himself strong for the house of Saul. 

And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah: and Ish-bosheth said to Abner, Wherefore hast thou gone in unto my father’s concubine?

Then was Abner very wroth for the words of Ish-bosheth, and said, Am I a dog’s head, which against Judah do shew kindness this day unto the house of Saul thy father, to his brethren, and to his friends, and have not delivered thee into the hand of David, that thou chargest me to day with a fault concerning this woman?1 

So do God to Abner, and more also, except, 2 as the LORD hath sworn to David, even so I do to him;

To translate the kingdom from the house of Saul, and to set up the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beer-sheba.

And he could not answer Abner a word again, because he feared him. 

And Abner sent messengers to David on his behalf, saying,  Whose is the land?  Saying also, Make thy league with me, and, behold, my hand shall be with thee, to bring about all Israel unto thee.

And he said, Well; I will make a league with thee: but one thing I require of thee, that is, Thou shalt not see my face, except thou first bring Michal Saul’s daughter, when thou comest to see my face. 

And David sent messengers to Ish-bosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. 

And Ish-bosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.

And her husband went with her along weeping behind her to Bahurim. Then said Abner unto him, Go, return.  And he returned. 

And Abner had communication with the elders of Israel, saying, Ye sought for David in times past to be king over you:

Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies” (2 Sam 3:6-18).

Abner and 20 men went to David in Hebron and David had a feast with them.  And Abner said that if David would make a league with him that he wouldn’t interfere in him reigning all over, and David sent him away.

Then Joab and David’s servants showed up with a spoil they had conquered.

“Then Joab (this man is a mighty warrior and very loyal to David) came to the king, and said, What hast thou done? Behold, Abner came unto thee; why is it that thou hast sent him away, and he is quite gone? 

Thou knowest Abner…that he came to deceive thee, and to know thy going out and thy coming in, and to know all that thou doest. 

And when Joab was come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, which brought him again from the well of Sirah: but David knew it not.

And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. 

And afterward when David heard it, he said, I and my kingdom are guiltless before the LORD forever from the blood of Abner the son of Ner:

Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff, or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.

So Joab and Abishai his brother slew Abner, because he had slain their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle. 

And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with 3 sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier. 

And they buried Abner in Hebron: and the king lifted up his voice, and wept at the grave of Abner; and all the people wept. 

And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dieth? 

Mount of Olives and Bahurim
Results of an archaeological survey of the northeastern slope of the Mount of Olives have identified numerous ancient burial caves, some cisterns, and the biblical site of Bahurim.

The burial caves are from the Second Temple period and later, but in some places remains were preserved from the Iron Age. Ras Tammim in the survey’s Area III has been identified with biblical Bahurim.

This site is best known as the place where Shimei cursed David when he fled from Jerusalem during Absalom’s revolt.

Bahurim also is mentioned in connection with the return of David’s wife Michal.

You cannot help but feel sorry for Michal’s second husband who followed, “weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim.”

Thy hands were not bound, nor thy feet put into fetters: as a man falleth before wicked men, so fellest thou. And all the people wept again over him” (2 Sam 3:24-34).

“And the king said unto his servants, Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel? 

And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness” (2 Sam 3:38-39).

When Saul’s son heard that Abner was dead he and the Israelites were troubled.  Jonathan had a son, Mephibosheth, and when he and Saul had been killed the nurse picked him up and ran and fell and the boy became lame of his feet.

Saul’s son had two men that were captains, Baanah and Rechab, and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim.  Rechab and Baanah went to the house of Ish-bosheth, who lay on a bed at noon.  And they entered the house and stabbed him under the fifth rib, beheaded him, and ran off with his head.

 

The Pool of Gibeon is a site in Gibeon mentioned a number of times in the Bible.

Archaeological evidence locates the historical site of the pool in the village of Jib, in the West Bank Palestinian territories.

The remains of Gibeon were excavated in the late 1950s and early 1960s by a team of archaeologists led by University of Pennsylvania archaeologist James B. Pritchard.

The pool itself was unearthed in 1957.

The Pool of Gibeon, “one of the ancient world’s remarkable engineering achievements”, was dug 88 feet into limestone until it met the water table.

A spiral staircase along the walls allowed access to the water, according to the archaeologists that excavated the site.

They then took the head to David in Hebron, and said,

 

“Behold the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed” (2 Sam 4:8). 

And David replied,

 

“…As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,

When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings.

How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed?  Shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth? 

Hebron is a Palestinian city located in the southern West Bank, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem.

Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters (3,050 ft) above sea level.

It is the largest city in the West Bank, and the second largest in the Palestinian territories after Gaza, and home to approximately 250,000 Palestinians, and between 500 and 850 Jewish settlers concentrated in Otniel settlement and around the old quarter.

Canaanite period
Cave of the Patriarchs

Archaeological excavations reveal traces of strong fortifications dated to the Early Bronze Age, covering some 24-30 dunams centered around Tell er-Reumeidah.

The city flourished in the 17th–18th centuries B.C. before being destroyed by fire, and was resettled in the late Middle Bronze Age.

Hebron was originally a Canaanite royal city.

Abrahamic legend associates the city with the Hittites.

And David commanded his young men, and they slew them, and cut off their hands and their feet, and hanged them up over the pool in Hebron.  But they took the head of Ish-bosheth, and buried it in the sepulcher of Abner in Hebron” (2 Sam 4:9-12).

1 A curse formula –
1 Sam 3:17

2 The knowledge of David’s divine designation as successor to Saul had spread widely – 1 Sam 16:13, 25:28

3 Sackcloth is a course dark cloth, usually made out of goat’s hair.  It was worn by mourners, often by prophets, and by captives. 

Some think that originally it was a loincloth and it was the only article worn by Israel’s ancestors.  Others think it was like a corn sack with openings for the neck and arms and usually worn over another garment but next to the skin.

The Pool of Gibeon

David’s forces, led by Joab, defeated Saul’s army under the command of Abner at “the pool of Gibeon”.

The archaeological site identified as the Biblical Gibeon has a great cistern that may no doubt be identified with this pool.

This cistern, cut into solid rock is 82 feet (25 m) deep and 37 feet (11 m) in diameter.

A tunnel connects the cistern to another chamber at groundwater level.

The water is accessible by descending steps along the circumference of the cistern and then following a tunnel to a chamber fed a spring outside the city wall.

Constructed in the early 11th century B.C., the pool of Gibeon had been used for over 100 years by the time of the battle recounted in 2 Samuel.

It was still in use in the 6th century B.C., as attested by Jeremiah’s report that Johanan and his men there caught up to Ishmael, the assassin who had killed the Judahite governor Gedaliah.

David Gets News of Saul’s Death & Hebron

David should be a happy man now, due to the victory over the Philistines, getting his wives back, Saul is dead, and now he’ll be king?

Mount Gilboa is a mountain range overlooking the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel.

The formation extends from southeast to northwest, bordering the highlands of the West Bank and the Beit She’an valley.

The Green Line between Israel and the West Bank runs south and west of the ridge.

Every year, Irus Ha-Gilboa, a purple iris, blooms on the mountain.

Two nature reserves have been declared on the Gilboa ridge;

The Irus Ha-Gilboa nature reserve in 1970, covering 7,280 dunams and the eastern Gilboa reserve in 2005, covering 18,290 dunams.

David Gets News of Saul’s Death

When David returned from slaughtering the Amalekites a man escaped from Saul’s camp and went to David and told him of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths.  Yet, he lied on how Saul actually died.

“And David said…How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead? 

And the young man…said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 

And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. 

The Battle at Mount Gilboa
The Battle of Mount Gilboa was fought between the Israelites under King Saul and the Philistines in 1013 B.C.[1] and was a Philistine victory. Saul’s son Jonathan was killed and Saul was wounded in that battle and chose to take his own life (by falling on his sword) before the Philistines could get to him
And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.  He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.

So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. 

Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him:

And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.

And David said unto the young man that told him, Whence art thou? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. 

And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed? 

And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died. 

The Jezreel Valley is a large fertile plain and inland valley south of the Lower Galilee region in Israel.

The Samarian highlands and Mount Gilboa border the valley from the south and to the north lies the Israeli cities Afula and Tiberias.

To the west is the Mount Carmel range, and to the east is the Jordan Valley.

The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel (known in Arabic as Zir’in; ين‎) which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in the Merneptah stele.

The word Jezreel comes from the Hebrew, and means “God sows” or “El sows”.

The phrase “valley of Jezreel” was sometimes used to refer to the central part of the valley, around the city of Jezreel, while the southwestern portion was known as the “valley of Megiddo”, after the ancient city of Megiddo, which was located there.

The area has been known as the Plain of Esdraelon (Esdraelon is the Koine Greek rendering of Jezreel).

The valley perhaps once acted as the channel by which the Dead Sea, located southeast of the valley, connected to the Mediterranean Sea. About two million years ago, as the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan Rift Valley rose, this connection was lost, and periodic floods from the Mediterranean Sea ceased.

This resulted in the Dead Sea no longer having a connection to the ocean, and over time, due to greater evaporation than precipitation plus surface water inflow, it has become heavily saline.

Biblical cities in the Jezreel Valley include Jezreel, Megiddo, Beit She’an Shimron and Afula. Archaeological excavations have indicated near continuous settlement from the Ghassulian culture of the Chalcolithic Age (c. 4500–3300 B.C) to the Ayyubid periods of the 11–13th centuries.

The biblical city of Ophrah, is identified in the Book of Judges as the home of Gideon.

The valley formed an easier route through the Levant than crossing the mountains on either side, and so saw a large amount of traffic, and was the site of many historic battles; the earliest battle for which, the Battle of Megiddo, has a surviving detailed account to prove that it was fought in the valley.

Due to the surrounding terrain, Egyptian chariots were only able to travel from Egypt as far as the Jezreel valley and the valley north of Lake Huleh.

The valley was the scene of a victory by the Israelites, led by Gideon, against the Midianites, the Amalekiltes, and the Children of the East, but was later the location at which the Israelites, led by King Saul, were defeated by the Philistines.

And David said unto him, Thy blood be upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD’S anointed” (2 Sam 1:4-16).

David lamented over the deaths and he ordered that the children of Judah be taught how to use the bow   (2 Sam 1:18).

David again called on God,

.”..Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron(2 Sam 2:1).

Northern Jezreel Valley and Mount Carmel, seen from Haifa.
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 272,181.

Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including Daliyat al-Karmel, the Krayot, Nesher, Tirat Carmel, and some Kibbuzim.

Together these areas form a contiguous urban area home to nearly 600,000 residents which makes up the inner core of the Haifa metropolitan area.

It is also home to the Bahá’í World Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the history of settlement at the site spans more than 3,000 years.

The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century B.C.).

In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center.

Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Phoenicians, Persians,

Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, and the Israelis.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948; the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality.

Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square km (24.6 sq mi).

It is located about 90 km (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel.

So David got his wives and all his men and their families and went to Hebron to live.  And the men of Judah anointed him king over Judah.  He also showed kindness of the men of Jabesh-gilead for taking Saul and Jonathan off the wall and burying them.

“But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saul’s host, took Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim;

And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel. 

Ish-bosheth Saul’s son was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 

And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months” (2 Sam 2:8-11).

Abner then went to Gibean and Joab, Zeruih’s son and a servant of David, went out and met him by the pool.  And Abner told Joab to let the men get up and play before them and Joab said okay. 

Then they went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and 12 of David’s servants.  And they stabbed them in the side, so the place was named Helkath-hazzurim, which is in Gibeon.

There was a sore battle that day, and Abner was beaten.  Zeuriah’s three sons were there, Joab, Abishai, and Asahel.  Asahel chased after Abner, and when Abner saw he was being chased he asked,

“Art thou Asahel? And he answered, I am” (2 Sam 2:20).

Abner told him to stop following him and to go to one of the young men, but Asahel wouldn’t.  Abner then told him that if he didn’t leave he would kill him, but Abishai wouldn’t, so Abner stabbed him under the fifth rib so the spear went all the way through him, and he fell down and died.

Joab, Abishai’s brother, also pursued Abner and the sun went down as they came to the hill of Ammah, that was before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon.  Then the children of Benjamin groped together and stood on the top of a hill.

“Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour forever?  Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?  How long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren? 

And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. 

So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more.

And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim. 

And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 

But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and threescore men died. 

And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Beth-lehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day” (2 Sam 2:26-32).

Hebron

The city of Hebron, under curfew.
March 8, 2005 in Hebron (Al Khalil in Arabic) — The main road to Hebron that Palestinians have taken for years is blocked, so another we have to take an alternate route.

We cross the Israeli military checkpoint that blocks the southern entrance to Bethlehem.

We pass a Palestinian refugee camp, and clusters of Israeli settlements collectively known as the Gush Etzion block, south of Bethlehem.

We see how new Israeli settlements start out as illegal outposts of a few rows of mobile homes, and over time turn into Southwest-style villa townhouses that would fit right in, if we were in Southern California.

Then there are Israeli military bases taking up even more West Bank land to guard the settlements.

We arrive at one of the first, and one of the most ideologically right wing settlements in the West Bank, Kiryat Arba.

We pass the checkpoint, and are allowed inside, past the electric fence, into the heart of this settlement of 6,500 people.

It is the largest in the central Hebron area, but there are now 5 other Jewish enclaves within the Old City with an additional 400-500 Jewish Settlers: Tel Rumeida, Beit Hadassa, Beit Romano, Abraham Avion, and the Gutnic Center. They are supported by between 1,500 to 2,000 Israeli soldiers.

In central Hebron, conflicts with the native Palestinian population of 130,000 include land confiscation and historic house demolitions, which are taking place to create a corridor linking up the 5 Jewish enclaves and the larger settlement of Kiryat Arba.

This will create a settler complex that includes the Ibrahim Mosque (Tomb of Abraham), one of the holiest sites to Muslims and Jews, as well as Christians

Hebron (meaning” confed­eracy”) is situated on a hill about 19 miles (30 km) south-southwest of Jerusalem.

Numers13:22 states that the city was built seven years before the Egyp­tian city of Zoan (“Tanis” in Greek), around 1735 B.C., but this must have been a rebuild­ing since excavations have uncovered occu­pation levels dating back a millennium and a half earlier.

Formerly, Hebron was called Kiriath Arba (Gen 23:2).  Some have suggested that this means “town of four,” indicating a league of four towns in the vicinity.

But Josh 14:15 and 15:3 state that it was named after Arba, an ancestor of the Anakim.Abraham lived at Hebron near “the great trees of Mamre”(Gen 13:18) and built an altar Yahweh there.  Mamre was a small site less than 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Hebron, named after Mamre the Amorite.

Abraham was visited there by the Lord and two angels, who repeated the promise of a son.

At Hebron Abraham al­so purchased the cave of Machpelah as a family burial site.

During the conquest Joshua defeated the ruler of Hebron and the city was given to Caleb on account of his bravery. It was later set apart as a city of refuge and a Levitical town.

Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba (Hebrew: קִרְיַת־אַרְבַּע‬), lit. “Town of the Four,” is an urban Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank. Founded in 1968, in 2017 it had a population of 7,339.
The international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. According to a classified 1970 document “The method for establishing Kiryat Arba” released in 2016, the establishment of Kiryat Arba used a system of annexing land to a military base for the purpose of civilian settlement,[3] the first time this happened in the West Bank according to Shlomo Gazit.
Etymology
Kiryat Arba is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 23) as the place where Abraham buried Sarah. The Book of Joshua chapter 14 verse 15 says (Darby Bible): “Now the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-Arba; the great man among the Anakim…” There are various explanations for the name, not mutually exclusive. According to the Biblical commentator Rashi, Kiryat Arba (“Town of Arba”) means either the town (kirya) of Arba, the giant who had three sons, or the town of the four giants: Anak (the son of Arba) and his three sons – Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai – who are described as being the sons of a “giant” in Numbers 13:22: “On the way through the Negev, they (Joshua and Caleb) came to Hebron where [they saw] Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmi, descendants of the Giant (ha-anak)…” Some say that Anak (“Giant”, see Anak) is a proper name (Targum Jonathan and the Septuagint), and that he, Anak, may have been the father of the three others mentioned in the Book of Numbers as living in Hebron, previously known as “Kiryat Arba.”
Alternatively, the name may refer to the four couples buried in the Machpela Cave: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, and according to the Zohar, Adam and Eve.
During the judges period Samson car­ried the gates of Gaza toward Hebron. David and his mercen­aries curried the favor of the Hebron inhab­itants after defeating the Amalekites and after Saul’s death David ruled Judah from this location before be­coming king over all of Israel.

Absalom began his conspiracy at Hebron, his birthplace, and during the reign of Rehoboam the city was among the many that were fortified in preparation for possible attack.

Excavations have uncovered a portion of a Middle Bronze Age wall about 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and a large domicile from the Iron I period.

Hellenistic period kilns and pottery were discovered there, as well as Byzantine period burial places.

 

Herod the Great built an enclosure of large ashlar masonry around the burial cave of the pa­triarchs (the Haram in Arabic).

A Byzantine church and a mosque were later successively built above the Haram, which remains a sacred site for Muslims.

Two ancient oaks are tradi­tionally revered as the “great trees of Mamre,” but the Hebrew most likely refers to terebinth.