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This is a slide show of sights from around Israel taken during our summer 2000 visit. 

These next few shots are taken from a place called the Biblical Gardens, a mini biblical theme park in Ein Karem just outside Jerusalem. In this picture we see a miniature of a city gate which functioned not only to let people in and out of the city but also as a place of assembly where the elders at the gate would meet (cf. Deuteronomy 25:7, Ruth 4:11, Psalms 69:12, Jeremiah 39:3). The gate was where the important people sat, not lowly guards. It is interesting to do a search for gate in the book of Esther (occurs 11 times) and see what it indicates about Mordecai's status.
This is a crane for lifting heavy rocks in quarries or on construction sites. You can see the rock in the lower left. In this park they also demonstrated how the rocks were quarried. Unfortunately our pictures of that didn't turn out but the method was to chisel out some of the rock and hammer in wooden planks or stakes. They would then wet the stakes which would expand and slowly split the rock. Eventually they would be able to pull out a block like the one pictured here.
These are our children, Esther and Daniel, peeking out of a model tomb. At the time Esther was 2 1/2 and Daniel had just turned 4.
Here's a shot of Daniel coming out of the model tomb. My sense from the Garden Tomb is that this model is about half size.
  1 City Gate  
  2 Rock Crane  
  3 Peeking out of Tomb  
  4 Daniel  
This is Esther in the same pose.
This is what I call an Abraham tent. This shot is a bit dark but these tents would generally have one wall that could open up wide like you see here. They would pitch them facing the east which was regarded as forward (the south was regarded as to the right and the north left with west behind or towards the sea). Pitching the tent toward the east allowed them to open the front side and catch the morning rays to warm up after the cold night. Then as the day progressed and grew hotter the interior of the tent would be shaded by the back and side walls. The Tabernacle in the wilderness also opened to the east and the most important people, Moses, Aaron and his son's, camped in front of the Tabernacle on the east side (cf. Numbers 3:38).
This is a Bedouin tent today, shot just behind Tel Megiddo. I'm not sure which way this tent is facing but, aside from the tractor on the right and the blue plastic barrel, it looks like in many ways they haven't changed since the days of Abraham.
This is a millstone shot in Capernaum in Galilee. How would you like this hung around your neck and then have yourself cast into the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6).
  5 Esther  
  6 Abraham Tent  
  7 Bedouin Tent  
  8 Millstone  
This is a miniature of a sheep pen in the Biblical Gardens. Apparently the brambles on top of the wall were to keep out the foxes that have sensitive underbellies. Notice the gate as well (cf. John 10).
This is a watch tower in an old olive grove somewhere between Bethel and Shiloh. We just saw this beside the road and pulled off to take a closer look. On this particular day we had driven down to Jericho and Qumran and then we came back up into the high lands toward Bethel and Ai. We also drove up to Shiloh (cf. 1 Samuel 1:3), had a look around Michmash (1 Samuel 13,14), visited the pool at Gibeon (2 Samuel 2:13ff and Jeremiah 41:12) and stopped off at Ramah where Samuel was from (1 Samuel 1:19). Notice the terraces. You see these all over the highlands. I suspect many date back hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
Here's a shot of another watch tower in the same area as the previous one. This one is in better repair. Notice the ramp on the side. This winds around the tower so a person can climb to the top. From here one could throw or sling stones at birds. One could also keep an eye on a large area of the orchard or vineyard and chase away thieves who might be after the harvest.
This is the same tower as in the previous picture but shot from the other side. You can see the ramp/stairs winding up to the top. Also underneath the tower is a shelter to get in from the rain, make a fire and sleep for the night. The top looks slanted from here but it was basically flat with a low wall.
  9 Sheep Pen  
  10 Tower and Terraces  
  11 Watch Tower  
  12 Tower Shelter  
These are date palms in Jericho. Actually these are directly across the street from Zacchaeus's  Sycamore Tree in the center of modern day Jericho. There is an old sycamore tree in the center of town that they say Zacchaeus climbed (Luke 19:4). I have a picture of it but it is rather dark.
This is a closer shot of a date palm. This one was either in a plantation by the Dead Sea quite close to Qumran or else it was on the south east side of Lake Galilee where we passed through after descending from the Golan Heights. In any case, both places are in the Jordan valley. Jericho, by the way, is sometimes called the City of Palms.
These are dates in Jericho. The ones on the right are not yet ripe. The red ones look ripe but they were actually quite dried out inside. I think they hadn't matured fully. This was in July and we weren't able to find any fully ripe dates anywhere so I guess it was still too early in the season.
  13 Date Palms  
  14 Date Palm  
  15 Dates  
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© Charles Grebe
This slide show is dedicated to my mother who made possible our summer 2000 visit to Israel.