Masada (meaning ‘stronghold’ in Hebrew) is a place with 7 stories, that took place over about 200 years and includes the Macabees, then King Herod and his crazy ways, and in 70 AD ends with the last brave stand for freedom demonstrated by the Zealots. The Zealots, who were Jewish people that strongly believed that the promised land belonged to the Jews, were the last Jews that escaped Romans by living on Masada. When the Romans finally reached them, the zealots wanted to die bravely and in freedom, "in a glorious manner as a community." "We prefer death before slavery," said their commander. They picked 10 men from lots, who in turn destroyed the population, the fortress and everything in it. Then these 10 men picked 1 man using lots, who killed the other 9, then fell on his sword. The Romans got to the top and found nothing-- the loot and women and slaves they looked forward to earning during 3 miserable years of siege--all gone!
The summit of Masada sits 190 feet (59 m) above sea level and about 1,500 feet (470 m) above the level of the Dead Sea. The mountain itself is 1950 feet (610 m) long, 650 feet (200 m) wide, 4,250 feet (1330 m) in circumference, and encompasses 23 acres. The “Snake Path” climbs 900 feet (280 m) in elevation. From the west, the difference in height is 225 feet (70 m).
Today Masada is the most popular national park in Israel. The Jews of the 20th Century make personal journeys, hiking up the difficult Snake Trail to Masada and with both arms pumping the air in victory yell "Masada shall not fall again!"
With an intriguing story like that and it’s beautiful view, it’s no wonder Masada is a favorite thus far amongst many of our tour participants! As we hiked down the mountain, someone expressed how he knew a little bit about Masada before coming yet still how interesting it was to learn so much more about it and see the place firsthand.
The pictures below also show our group enjoying the Dead Sea, learning about (as well as experiencing!) biblical hospitality, and also riding camels.
Only two days in Israel and we’ve already learned and experienced so much and there is still so much more to come. What an amazing adventure it is to be in the Holy Land!
Featured Upcoming Tour
GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020
Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
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