The first place that we visited today was Bet Shemesh. We spent about an hour talking about the area and read through Judges 13-16 focusing on the story of Samson. From the top of the tel we were able to see all the way to the coast where the philistines had their five major cities. Our guide Ronen told the story of Samson, using the land to explain the biblical cities and valleys.
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.
We also went to Tel Azeka which overlooks the Valley of Elah which is where David fought Goliath. It was incredible standing on this hill and envisioning what these hill would have looked like during this time!
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.
We also were able to go to the caves of Adulum which is where David found refuge while on the run from King Saul. We read Psalm 57 which David wrote while hiding in one of these caves.
Finally we drove to the Dead Sea and were able to float on the water before calling it a night.
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