Israel Study Tour with Bethel Bible Church

October 24 - November 4, 2015

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Shephelah: Kiriath Jearim, Azekah, Bet Shemesh, Be’erSheva

Kiriath Jearim
We spent today getting familiar with the geography and topography of Israel as well as learning the importance of the land of Israel and how God used the land to bless the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 8:6 we saw that if they observe the commands of the Lord, walking in His way and revering Him, He would bring them into a good land. This good land was a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey. We were surprised to find out that the honey is not the honey we usually think of (from bees). This honey is from a date palm tree.

This may not sound like something you would expect to cover on a tour of Israel, but these play an important role in the day-to-day lives of the people and their relationship to God.

An interesting fact is that it is a complement to call someone an almond. Almond = first bloom of the season = It is like saying they are ahead of their peers.

Kiriath-Jearim

The biblical city of Kiriath Jearim is best known for the house of Abinadab which held the Ark of the Covenant from the time of Samuel until the time of David (about 120 years). Kiriath Jearim was originally a Gibeonite city that fell within the tribal territory of Judah near the borders of Benjamin and Dan. The prophet Uriah, a contemporary of Jeremiah, was from Kiriath Jearim.

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Bet Shemesh
Tel Bet Shemesh+ Hill House Sun
This is a city layered upon the ruins of many other cities built upon each other forming a Hill. This happens to be the area that Samson is from. We saw through reading Judges 13 how Samson was set apart. He was to touch nothing dead, drink any wine and don’t cut his hair. We saw that Samson had already done 2 of these and the final straw was cutting his hair. But in the end he relied on the sovereignty of God and was counted righteous as seen in Hebrews 11.

Beth Shemesh

A border city between Judah and Dan, Beth Shemesh was given to the Levites. Beth Shemesh was the most important Israelite city in the Sorek Valley as it watched both east-west traffic through the Sorek Valley and north-south traffic along the “Diagonal Route.” Recent excavations have shown a thriving city here from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron II period.

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Tel Azeka
This area was the last stronghold to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar. It also was where David came from to go down to fight Goliath.

We were able to also go to the brook where David picked up his 5 stones. They gave us the opportunity to choose 5 smooth stones for ourselves to keep and bring home with us. To me this was a great time to be reminded of how God uses us with all of our weaknesses to accomplish His will. We were reminded often that Courage comes from without not from within.

Tel Azekah and Elah Valley

The Brook Elah is famous for the five stones it contributed to the young slinger, David. Some surmise that David chose five stones instead of the one needed in case he needed to face Goliath’s four brothers.

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Be’er Sheva
This area was very important. We were able to see an actual well that is a historical site. It is the only one in Be’er Sheva. We saw through scripture that much happened this area. Abraham, Jacob and Isaac all lived here at one point.

Jayson & Bev Chandler – Tyler, TX

Beersheba

Beer-Sheva (/bɪərˈʃiːbə/; Hebrew: בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע About this sound Be'er Sheva [beʔeʁˈʃeva]; Arabic: بئر السبع‎‎ About this sound Bi'ir as-Sab [biːr esˈsabeʕ]) is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in Israel, the eighth most populous city in Israel with a population of 203,604, and the second largest city with a total of 117,500 dunams (after Jerusalem).

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