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Listen to the Land (Historical Geography) - Lesson 19

Huleh Basin

The Huleh basin has an abundance of water from several sources. The soil is also good, but the conditions for growing crops in some areas presents some challenges. Dan is a strategic city in the north as a gateway to the region and a religious center under Jeroboam. Caesarea Phillippi was built by Herod and was a place that Jesus used to teach his disciples about his role as Messiah and their future as leaders of the church.  

Cyndi Parker
Listen to the Land (Historical Geography)
Lesson 19
Watching Now
Huleh Basin

I. Water sources

II. Hazor

III. Abel-bet Maacah

IV. Dan

A. Abrahams

B. Jeroboam

C. Gateway in the north

V. Caesarea Phillippi

VI. Review


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  • The land influences the people that are living on it by affecting their stories. Learning to listen to the land helps you understand the details that are hiding in the background so that when you read the Bible, it’s like you see the narrative in living color and 3 dimensions.

  • Major rivers in the Ancient Near East provided the resources necessary for empires like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Persia to grow and flourish. Israel is on a couple of the major trade routes that connects these cultures. The location of mountains, hills and valleys in Israel affects the lifestyle and travel patterns of the people who live there and the people travelling through.

  • Learn how the geography and climate of the Cisjordan and Transjordan regions shape agricultural and shepherding activities, emphasizing the importance of rain patterns and water management techniques in biblical times.
  • Learn how the granite, sandstone, and three types of limestone shape the lifestyle, agriculture, and building practices in the biblical lands, highlighting the geological factors that influence whether inhabitants are migratory or sedentary.
  • Bashan is in the north and has enough rainfall and arable soil to support crops and large animals like cattle. The Dome of Gilead provides connection points for international and local travel. Ammon and Moab are neighbors and descendants of Lot’s daughters. Edom is south and are descendants of Esau.

  • The people that migrated to live in the coastal plain were known as the Philistines. Because of the location and terrain, the roads were sources of international travel and trade. Cities were built for commerce and control. The Negev was an important area to control for travel.

  • The Rift Valley is valuable because of its location and resources. Bitumen and Balsam were sought after. It was a popular trade route but it was important to know where to get water. Jericho was at crossroads and was near some major springs. Connecting events in biblical history to the event and location of the baptism of Jesus adds weight and significance to it.

  • The hill country of Judah has enough rain to grow grapes and other crops. Hebron was first given to Caleb and then was the city that David ruled from when he first became king. It was a connecting point for local roads. Bethlehem and Tekoa are also cities in this area.

  • Jerusalem is framed by the hills and valleys that are near it. The Sorek Wadi System is to the west and the Mount of Olives is to the east. David built a palace and Solomon later built a temple. Jerusalem was important in Jewish history and also has a place in eschatology.

  • By the beginning of the first century, Jerusalem was the site of a magnificent Jewish temple built by Herod the great. He also built an impressive palace and a Roman fort which overlooked the temple. The events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus take on added layers of meaning when you understand how the geography of the events reminded people of Messianic prophecies.

  • Benjamin has the smallest tribal allotment but it is one of the most significant areas in the nation of Israel. The geographical features, the cities located there and the roads that run through it make it a region of national and international importance.

  • The Shephelah is between the hill country and the coastal plain and has unique geographical features. When you know the location of the roads, valleys and cities in this area, you can see their significance in the stories. When you understand where Micah and Isaiah came from and their historical context, you can understand why there is a difference in their message and tone.

  • The rocks and roads will give you valuable information about the Sharon Plain and Mt. Carmel. The international road took different paths around Mt. Carmel depending on your final destination. The harbor and palace that Herod built in Caesarea were impressive.

  • The hill country of Joseph has abundant resources and nearby roads for commerce. Shiloh was a religious center and the place where Joshua met with representatives from each tribe to determine their tribal allotment. The women of Shiloh also were instrumental in saving the tribe of Benjamin. Shechem was important as far back as Abraham. Every time people would see Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal, it was a reminder of the blessings and curses of their covenant with God.

  • Who was Omri, and why was he significant in making Samaria an important city? When the people of Judah returned from Persia, there was a conflict with the people of Samaria. The animosity that was still present during the ministry of Jesus set the stage for an encounter he had with a woman that was at a well near the city.  

  • Upper and Lower Galilee have the climate soil that is conducive to widespread agriculture. Lower Galilee also has some valleys that became major roads. Major empires of the fertile crescent exerted their influence here as they expanded. When the Greeks took control with their military, they also spread their cultural influence.

  • The Jezreel Valley is the center of activity for many of the biblical narratives. Not only was it an important economic and strategic location for Israel, but also for the Canaanites, Egyptians, Arameans and Assyrians. It is also a place where significant events took place in the lives of the prophets and Jesus.

  • This body of water is often referred to as a, “sea” even though it is fresh water, not salt water. There are not many stories in the Hebrew Bible that take place in this area, but it is a center of activity for Jesus during his ministry. Many of the parables are illustrations taken from local culture and geography.

  • The Huleh basin has an abundance of water from several sources. The soil is also good, but the conditions for growing crops in some areas presents some challenges. Dan is a strategic city in the north as a gateway to the region and a religious center under Jeroboam. Caesarea Phillippi was built by Herod and was a place that Jesus used to teach his disciples about his role as Messiah and their future as leaders of the church.  

  • The Gospel of Luke traces the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem, and the book of Acts traces the journey of the gospel going out from Jerusalem. The events in Pentecost have a connection to the events at Mt. Sinai. The gospel is for the world but the events that made it possible are anchored in Israel. (Don't forget the Epilogue, Lesson 21!)

  • There are two different stories in the Gospels of Jesus feeding large groups of people. One account is in John 6 and another account is in Mark 8. The message is similar but the geography gives you some clues to help you understand why the details are different.

Have you ever read about a place and when you went there in person, it came alive? As you walk through the hills and valleys of Israel with Dr. Parker, you will see the stories of the Bible in living color. 

Your location affects your lifestyle, relationships, worldview, occupation, diet and travel. In ancient Israel, you depended on the resources around you to survive. People often lived near springs or rivers, but it was possible in some places to collect rain water and ration it through the year. The terrain and the type of soil would determine what crops you could grow, or what animals you could raise. Living near a road would give you opportunities to sell what you produced or buy what you needed. Your location would determine the amount of risk you would face from people in neighboring countries. By living in the hill country, you would develop a different mindset than if you lived on an open plain.

Once you begin to have an understanding of the, "rocks and roads" of Israel, reading your Bible with a good map next to you will help you get a 3 dimensional perspective. When the characters and the scenery become life-like in your mind, you will find yourself being inspired and motivated in your understanding of your relationship with God and how you can apply it in your interactions with others. Take this opportunity to learn from Dr. Parker to "Listen to the Land!"

Don't forget the Epilogue, Lesson 21!

 

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Listen to the Land: Historical Geography - Bible Study

Listen to the Land: Historical Geography - Bible Study

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Listen to the Land: Historical Geography - Bible Study
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A comprehensive guide to biblical geography, The Satellite Bible Atlas by William Schlegel provides historical context and insightful maps to help readers better understand the world of the Bible.
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Dr. Cyndi Parker

Listen to the Land (Historical Geography)

bs600-19

Huleh Basin

Lesson Transcript

So we spent a lot of time looking at the Sea of Galilee, all the different stories around the Sea of Galilee. We got to hang out with Jesus quite a bit around the Sea of Galilee. We have one more section that we need to do to really conclude and close off the loop that we've been making through the land. And that is going to be in the area I'm going to call the Hula Basin. So it's the the central kind of northern northeastern part of the northern arena. So this basically the hula basin is basically a portion of the Rift Valley. So we've seen so many different looks to the Rift Valley from the river to the Jordan River Valley to the Sea of Galilee. And now we have this Rosh Pina sale we talked about when we were looking at the Sea of Galilee, this big basalt plug. And so we are on the northern side of that basalt plug looking at the continuation of the Rift Valley as it goes north because of this basalt plug, because we are so low still in the Rift Valley, but because we are also north, it makes the Hula Valley completely different than any other part of the Rift Valley we've seen. So we have lots and lots and lots of water up here. So again, we're back in the area where we have about 40 inches of rain to 48 inches of rain. So just naturally, a place that is receiving a lot of rain. But in addition, if you remember from when we were looking at Upper Galilee, this is all centered mainly and rock well with a little bit the Eocene that kind of stretches over here on the eastern side, but the hills here quite high. And so you have all of upper Galilee that is absorbing this water. There's going to be an awful lot of runoff water coming off the mountains this way into the hula basin. Same thing happens with Bashan. We have this really nice big plateau area covered in basalt. It's catching a lot of rain as well. It's very high, elevated. So everything that is catching rain from here is going to drain this way into the Rift Valley. So the basin is not only absorbing its own rain, it's absorbing runoff water from either side. And in addition to that, four of the largest freshwater springs that we have in this part of the world are located along the north end of the hula basin. So it's just an enormous quantity of water, probably more water than we have encountered anywhere else yet. So we have Four Springs. These are the headwaters of the Jordan River. Those springs are going to flow down into the hula basin. And all of this is going to help us understand the geographical context of this valley, when we should be thinking we have terra rosa soil coming into the valley in great quantities because of the snow, mainly in here. But we also have basalt in basalt when it erodes into that black rich soil. It is also going down into the hula bases. So it's collecting the most quantity and the best quality soil. But we have so much water. The problem is down the center of this valley, it's going to be quite swampy. So that is going to be the detriment maybe or at least an obstacle, which means until very, very modern day, when we figured out how to drain this valley and turn the whole entire thing into an agricultural basin. In ancient times, they would have harvested closer around the edge. Even though we're north, it's kind of down in the Rift Valley, quite protected, which means that the climate is always amazing. So you can plant a crop, harvest it, replant, harvest, replant, harvest. It's not quite so stringently following the agricultural calendar that we have in the majority of the land that we've already been looking at. So this basin is it's massively productive agriculturally. I should mention that even as in modern day, it has been drained and used for agricultural purposes. Like always, when humans start messing with the ground, we only realize much later that we're destroying other things that build on that ground. And this whole entire Rift Valley area is like a massive highway for migrating birds. So birds that are going from Europe all the way down into Africa that are following the seasons, they fly down through the hula basin. And this area historically has always been a nesting spot for a lot of the. Those kinds of animals. So in modern day, once this was drained and the whole thing turned into agricultural area, it started messing with these thousands of years of migratory patterns, which once people realized that was happening, they started re flooding the middle part of the valley. And so if you were to go and visit and see this land now, which a lot of people do just for the migrating birds, because it's pretty spectacular. And if you've never seen a cloud of storks fly overhead, it is it is a scene to be witnessed. But now that this middle part has been turned into a marshland again, and so it's helping to rebalance to a certain extent, that ecosystem that always existed there. So with all this water coming in, all the headwaters we mentioned earlier, the Jordan River forming right at this northern part of the Roche Penasco. So we're collecting all the water of the valley. It is still slowly, gently sloping downhill because everything in the Rift Valley is going to slope towards the Dead Sea. So all the water the valley is slowly collecting here. And then in this little lake or swampy lake that used to exist there historically from that is where we get the Jordan River that ultimately is going to end up down into the Sea of Galilee. So put a star up on the map because we are going to focus on this city that is called Hot Saw. It was only in existence during the Old Testament period. So during the Israelite and then post Israelite like through the Assyrian and Babylonian and then we don't have records of it. The big cities move to other places, but Hot Summer was a very strategic, very strong and very important city. And even just when we look at the map and now that we know a little bit more about the Hula Valley, we might be able to go, Oh, I can see. I can see why that might be. I haven't drawn in our blue international road, but you've seen it an awful lot already. And so you can probably imagine the blue line coming here to the Sea of Galilee and then traveling north. So this is going to be our gatekeeper, the city that is going to be looking up the length of the hula basin, the one who's going to guard who can go up and over the Rosh Pina cell or once you get to hot saw, now you have an open passageway all the way to Aram. Damascus Hotspur was a very, very strong Canaanite city. So we're also going to pay attention to wind. Did it become Israelite? How did it function for the Israelites as well? So let me show you a little bit about the mention of Hotspur on the bigger international scene. We found in a place that is called Murray, and I'll show you where Ancient Murray is. It's up in Mesopotamia, but in Murray. Well, I'll just show it now, actually. Back to our Fertile Crescent map. So if this is the area, Mesopotamia, this area where this star is, is ancient Murray. So we have to, again, pull back everything you know about riverine lands and the significance of living in this kind of territory. Was archeologist dug at Murray? They found a huge library, a massive collection of these clay tablets that are quite small, like we're we're thinking small letters back and forth. But this gives us all kinds of great information. It's not like keep you up at night reading. It's more like taxation lists and who's trading with whom and which ways did they go and who owns the best olive oil and who made promises with whose daughter and that type of thing. But one of the fascinating things that we read and that we can get out of reading collection of texts like this is we can see not only lifestyle but goods and who their trading partners are. And so in this big collection of Murray tablets, we find the City of Hotspur mentioned several times, which helps us know that there is a trade connection that is going like this. So hot sauce seems to be very northern oriented. Right. There are other places in the land we've looked at that seem to be very Egyptian oriented. But by the time you get to hot sauce, you're looking north. And that was pre Israelites even being in this land, those kinds of connections. Now, the very fun bit about knowing that is we have always assumed that because there's a big collection at Murray, there has to be a big collection at Hotspur, right? Maybe Hudson has a library of texts. The city of Hudson has been explored for decades, and always in the back of everyone's mind is, are we going to find the library? And every year, every year when I go and I visit the site, like, have we found the library? And everyone's like, maybe this year we will find the library. There have been a couple of clay tablets that have been found, but not what we would expect as a library. So a few of them here and there. In fact, the last one that was found was found by a student like a kids group when they go to visit the ancient sites and kids who are like bored. Actually, sometimes people in my group stand and they, you know, are scraping their feet on the ground and, you know, as a teacher's talking and then as they kind of are doing this thing and then they're like, Oh, that's something weird. And they pick it up and it's a tablet. It has shifted its way up to the surface. So maybe it's one of those keep your eyes open. At some point in time, there is going to be a massive find and it'll be in every newspaper that goes out around the world. So keep your eyes open for that. We yet have not yet found that tablet. Now this was a strong Canaanite city and we actually met it already in one of the previous stories we told when we were hanging out in the Jezreel Valley in our Judges for this would be in our Deborah text and we were meeting Cicero and Cicero is hanging out down here on the south side of the Jezreel Valley in the area of Megiddo. But the way Cicero was introduced to us was the Lord sold them, meaning the Israelites, into the hands of Jabin King of Canaan, who reigned in hut saw right through. So it's just setting the stage for us that during that time of the Judges, this king, this site was controlling everything enough to be all the way down here with someone with a whole collection of armies waiting. We could tell a few more stories. Joshua has a good story there. In the book of Joshua, when he comes in, we already told in great detail the story of him coming into the middle part of the hill country and cutting the spine in half and paralyzing the people who already lived in the land. There's that version of the story, and then Joshua comes up and does the exact same thing in the North, and it is only in taking hot saw that there can be any kind of Israelite presence in the northern part of the country. And then we get and this is another text we've already looked at. We get the text from First Kings nine. That tells us about the political context during the time of Solomon. Now this is the account of the forced labor which King Solomon levied to build the House of the Lord his own house. The M.O., which is a portion of Jerusalem, the wall of Jerusalem, Hotspur, Megiddo and Geyser. These are all sights you're familiar with. We have now been to all three sites, figuratively speaking, anyway. And this is one of those city lists that now that you're becoming better geographers and more familiar with the land, you can start to go, Oh, there's probably something in that. And again, that saw Megiddo and Gaza, even if you're just kind of guessing at the placement of them in your mind's eye, you're going, I am very accustomed to seeing a blue line connecting all of those different cities. And it just tells us this is the biblical writers are telling us Solomon was a powerful king and he was able to sit prominently on top of the international road. So let's go to hot sauce and take a look around and just see what the whole basin is like. We're looking up kind of in a diagonal direction. We're looking to the north, but to the east we're looking at Mount Hermon, which keeps snow on its peak long into the year because of its elevation. And it's so wonderful and sitting so prominently out there on the horizon. But look at the lushness of that field. Doesn't it just invite you? It just calls you in and says, plant anything. Anything you want. Fruit, trees, grains, everything that you want to plant here is going to survive beautifully. We can look. And again, we're going to be thinking about how as we look across the width of the hula basin. And so now we're picking up the hills of Bishan and on a clear day, I mean, you can see it a little bit here. You see a little texture on the hills. These are those extinct volcanic cones that kind of poke up above the horizon line. So you can kind of look at them as they dot the landscape. So we're looking across the width, which is showing us how much land there is here in this portion of the Rift Valley. We can also see a portion of the modern day road, but this is following the same strategic location. The ancient road went on. It has to be over on the far western side. It has to be up a bit on the foothills of Upper Galilee in order to stay out of the agricultural fields or the swampy ness of the middle part of the valley. Okay. Let's go all the way north. In the hula basin, we're going to go up here and take a look at a city called Abel Beit Maka. This city probably doesn't get nearly as much attention as I think it should get, because when it appears in the Hebrew scriptures, it often is in a list of cities. Dan I on it will be Micah Hotspur. And people are, you know, like we all do prior to becoming addicted to maps, we go blah blah blah blah blah. Okay. And then we move on. So this city is ignored. There's a really great team right now that has very recently started excavations at Able Beit Micah. And what they're finding on an annual basis is astounding. So you should keep your eye open for anything coming out of their reports or follow their Facebook page or whatever you want to do. Just stay connected to what they're doing. It's it's really beautiful. Okay. So we have our international road that is drawn in, but I'm going to put another local road in here. This one is not always drawn in on maps. When I'm looking at biblical geography maps, it's not always there. Sometimes it is. But when you stand at the ancient site of able bit marker, you can feel this call like you're looking at this big dome, this really harsh terrain of snow, mainly in rock that is forming Upper Galilee. But there's like this little dip in the hills that just kind of beckons you towards the Mediterranean. And so, yeah, it's going to be a bit of a hike because you're going to have to go up and over the mountain and that is going to take some effort on your part, but it takes you directly to tire. And so now we're in Phoenician territory and tire inside on our great shipping ports. So you really do have an option of taking a shortcut as opposed to coming all the way down and around, right? So so this is a nice connection here. You could really trace a northern route to and just kind of the Rift Valley is quite broken as soon as we go a little bit further north. But you could kind of make your way over the brokenness of the rocks and continue north. That just gets us a little bit beyond our scope of the land of the Bible. But that is an option. But the international road, the one that was most frequently traveled, is going to be the one that goes up towards Aram Damascus. So it'll be MOCA. How do we understand this as an Israelite city, if it is only listed in cities that were conquered? Well, it tells us that if anyone wants to come in and take Israelite land, they have to get beyond Dan, beyond able Beit Micah and beyond Hotspur to get anywhere else. So these are very strategic gatekeepers. So me to tell a story, but I feel a question. So let's let's talk about the question first. 

 

Speaker 2 [00:19:20] What's that road to tire like? Is that wide enough or passable enough to actually take? Goods across there. What's the elevation or the train line? Yeah, on that path. 

 

Dr. Parker [00:19:34] I can only answer that based on what I know about the map. I've never experienced it because modern day politics. This is Lebanon. In fact, Lebanon starts here and goes up. And so I can't make the Israel-Lebanon journey. Which I would love. You know, there are so many times I'm like, could we get rid of the political borders that don't actually make sense? And like, you know, I have geography to see. It doesn't ever go over well with border crossings. They don't they're not as convinced as I am that that is a worthwhile cause. But what we can say, if we were to look at elevation, we're looking at elevations of about three, I want to say 3 to 4000 feet, but I feel like I need to double check myself or colleagues of mine are going to be calling me later tonight and saying, you got that wrong, but it is a depression in the rock. I would borrow imagery from the Judean hills, the Judean hills that face the West. So the wetter part of the Judean hills where there's quite a bit of steep elevation. But you can find a ridge, like a continuous ridge, and work your way from the crest of the mountain all the way down. It's a bit of a zigzag, not super direct, not without its challenges, but doable. So there's a super direct question, but that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to borrow imagery and then take a look at the texture I see on the map and the elevations on the map, and which is why I drew it in yellow. I actually think this color there may be a few people that might want to argue with me on it. They might want me to turn it into an international road. It's just a little bit beyond I haven't experienced it, so I'm going to keep it yellow. Okay. Yeah, nice. We can look at how people in able my Micah define themselves by paying attention to a little known story. I love this story and I think it's because of the people who are involved. But. It's it's a story not told in and among our faith communities, not so much. It's a battle. And that's always a little bit awkward because we don't know what to do with battles. And it comes at the end of David's reign. So David has been king. He's already gone up against Absalom. Absalom is dead. David is back in his kingdom. But we do have some people who are still offering resistance maybe towards David. And so David sends the general of his army and says, Go get rid of the last few people who are trying to create an insurrection. So those people go and they're running north, running away from the pursuit, and they go and find shelter and hospitality and able beat Micah. And so now we're going to find that, well, why don't you turn with me to second Samuel 20 and let's read a little bit more of the story than what I actually put up on the screen. Okay. So Joab is the commander of David's army. He's the one in hot pursuit. Sheba is the guy who's leading the insurrection. So Sheba is the one who has gone to Abel Beit Micah. He might have a little band of men with him. It's a little hard to tell from the text, but he's here. And Joab, as he approaches Abel Beit Micah, he does what every general who has been following adrenaline hot pursuit of someone who goes into a walled city. He's like, lay siege to the city, right? You feel this like testosterone, like, come on, we're going to destroy an entire city because we have to get rid of this guy who's going up and against our king. So now we have someone who is not even given a name, but she's given a title. She is the wise woman of Abel Beit Maka. And I say title because we have a couple of these women listed in Hebrew scripture. There's the wise woman of Toccoa who acted as an advisor to David. So we're not entirely sure. This is a little bit conjecture, but it could be a level in society that people knew of this designated title. She is the wise woman, kind of this governor of this city. Okay. So she goes to the wall and I'm going to start in. Verse 16. So second, Samuel, chapter 20, starting in verse 16. Then a wise woman called from the city. Here, here. Please tell Joab come here that I may speak with you. So he approached her and the woman said, Now this is interesting to you. Again, it has to be recognition of her role and authority within the city. For the commander of David's army to just say yes. Okay. Because approaching the wall of a besieged city is the most vulnerable place you can be. Right. You are then kind of isolated without your army and an easy target for people in the city to attack. But he trusts her, beckoning him as she goes up to listen. And she says, Are you Joab? And he answered, I am. Then she said to him, Listen to the words of your maidservant. And he answered, I'm listening. Then she spoke, saying formally, and this is where I wanted us to get, because she's describing the reputation of the city. So what role did Able Monica play in that surrounding land? So this is verse 18. Then she spoke, saying formerly they used to say they will surely ask advice at able. And thus they ended the dispute. So she's referring to the fact that within Israelite society there were always judges who sat within the city gates to offer resolutions to disputes. And then you would have a more like a bigger, more authoritarian city. If your problem is a little bit more challenging, you can go to the bigger city. She's saying we were that city where we were kind of the one taking care of all the other villages around us. People came to us. We solved their disputes. Right. So we have that kind of reputation. And in verse 19, I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city. Even a mother in Israel. Now different translations are going to offer different word orders here. It could be like she could be saying, which I don't think. But my translation almost makes it sound like that she herself is a mother in Israel. More likely, she's saying you're destroying a mother city in Israel, which then has even more of like a nurturing aspect to it. So she's like, we we are the ones were settling disputes. We are a mother city in this area in Israel. Why are you making yourself guilty of bloodshed? And Joab says, Oh, because you're hosting someone that I'm trying to get at, just like there's a much simpler solution. We will just chop off his head and send it to you over the wall. And he's like, Oh, okay. Okay. So she goes and she tells her people, here's the solution. And they say, okay. They cut off Sheba's head. They toss it over the wall. Joab and his army returns home. We should be telling the story more often, don't you think? I don't know why people think I'm weird for loving this story, but I like this for it. It gives us a glimpse not only into how Israelite culture was multifaceted, sometimes more than we give it credit for, for having these different kinds of roles and leaders in the community. But it's also giving us a look of how this entire community is structured, how Israelite villages understood. There's like the bigger city we go to. This city has responsibility for all the people around it. Yeah, we have another question. In the scripture that you were reading, it says The Able. So what does that mean? And then you're saying it's I was never able beat my soul. Is that the same? Yeah, it is the same. There's Bayt is House of Marcos. So it could be able. It could be able. The house of a car. What is my car? That's a little. Some of it might be a geographical reference, but yes, Abel and Abel Micah are all the same. That's a good clarifying question. I'm glad you glad you raised it. Now we have almost a twin city, although this one gets a lot more recognition, a lot more. We we talk about it a lot more and maybe even for good reason it even more so. The City of Dan is a gatekeeper because as soon as you make it to Dan, you've made it to Bouchon. Not quite right, because you're not up on the plateau. But if you get beyond Dan, you have to hit Dan to go up here. And that is just where so much of the trade and so much of the travel is going. So it is even more of a gatekeeper than able beat my car, which I think is why we focus so much on Dan. Now, Dan sits on top of one of those four mighty springs. So it is astounding as we travel through the land of the Bible and we've been so accustomed to seeing this wet and dry and being thirsty. And, you know, if you've been on the bus exploring and you're thirsty, thirsty, thirsty, if towards the end of your trip you go up here to Dan, you're like so astonished by the amount of water we're seeing because the spring is putting forth almost this huge river. That's one spring and there's four of them all around Dan. But Dan has one of those springs. It is the largest spring, freshwater spring in this entire part of the world. So astounding volumes and volumes of water that are coming out of the spring at all times. It's water that has been filtered through the rock of Mount Hermon and is getting down towards the valley and finding a place like a gap in the in the rock to come pouring out. Okay. So, Dan, why is it called Dan? It used to be called something else. And when we say Dan the city Dan, we think automatically of the tribe of Dan. But the tribe of Dan was not originally given this territory. So since we're focusing on geography, let me show you where the tribe of Dan was supposed to settle. We could do. We've already been down there, so we could look at a couple of things. This is the break between the Sharon plane and the Philistine plane. Okay. So Dan was supposed to take a portion of the Philistine plane. How challenging do you think that sounds? Yeah. Like. An immense challenge. Dan was supposed to sit on the international coastal highway. Dan was supposed to sit in the Sauk Valley. So one of these primary connecting places between the Philistines and the Israelites. Dan was never able to get anywhere close to taking any of this territory. And when we see Dan, especially in the Book of Judges, Dan has been pushed by the Philistines and the Canaanites into this itty bitty little corner of their territory. So Dan is just all around being completely unsuccessful. Now some of that is quite simply, they were given a challenging territory for sure. So they're stuck in this section of the Shay Lab very close to the Israelite hills, to the hill country. And so we get a story in Judges. And Judges is going to tell us Dan is entirely not impressed with their territory and their inability to live here. And so they go on a quest to find something new. Suzette. So the sons of Dan sent from their family, five men out of their whole number, valiant men from Zora and Ashtar. All So those are right in here. Those two cities from Zoran Eshel to spy out the land and search it. Go find us another place. Go find us something that we would really like to stay in. So the five men departed and came to largish. And saw the people who were living living in it securely after the manner of the sidonie ends quiet and secure, for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the side unions and had no dealings with anyone. So you think you're from Dan? You're down in that like Philistine Israelite contested area with the International Coastal Highway. And you can see what they're attracted to is there's no one oppressing you up here. Let's go there. When they came back to their brothers, Azura and ashore, they said, do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land. When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land. And then they kind of go. There's a spiritual element for God must have given this to us. And they called the name of that city, Dan, after the name of Dan, their father, who was born in Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was light. Now, as geographers, we love these kind of verses because it helps us see what's going on between the Canaanite and the Israelites. We often get biblical writers who will say something like they'll make reference to the modern day name, like, and so-and-so went from here to here too. Dan But you all know that's the one that was formerly like, you know, there's kind of they fill in the blanks for us. That is so helpful as a modern audience to actually understand the layers of the tel, to understand the layers of transitions between society and what was going on. Okay. So let's take this, though, and just for a moment, toss in a little bit of how did we write our scriptures? Kind of an idea. So these biblical writers, keeping in mind they understand their context and the history of these different cities. So we know the city of Dan used to be called light ish and the writer of the Book of Judges is telling us that. Well, let's go much earlier. So we have a very, very early reference to life, Dan, and this has to do with the story of Abraham. So I don't have the map up, but I have a very fun picture here. So before we start reading the Genesis, let me just show you this picture why I chose this picture. As archeologists were digging in the at the site of Dan. Archeologists love to find walls, but gates are so much more fun to find. It tells you the entrance of the city. In which direction is the city oriented? Like who are they watching for you? Because they only usually have one gate. The size of the gate tells you how strong the people were. You know, there's really interesting things we can see about the gate of a city wall. Well, luckily at Dan, there are multiple city gates of different ages. So there's a really huge, gigantic late Israelite gate. But just off to the side, kind of in a in a similar location, but off to the side, they found a much earlier gate. So this gate dates to the middle, Bronze Age, which we haven't talked about those ages, but let's just say Abraham ish time periods. Now, you may notice looking at this gate, so huge towers on either side, but focus on the middle. This is the entrance. Look at this shape right here. Made out of Mudbrick. Do you see the arch? In modern day, we have always thought that the Greeks and Romans were the ones who created the arch. We have through the history of architecture, said the arch came from the Greeks and from the Romans until archeology in Israel was done. And there is this gate here dating all the way back to roughly the time of Abraham. And we have another gate in Ashkelon, one of the pen tap list cities of the Philistines right on the coast. They have a sister gate dating to the same time period. Which tells us, oh, the Canaanites were developing or had developed arched Gates for a period of time, and then it went out of fashion for whatever reason. But they did it first, which is just a fun tidbit of information. Okay. There was something wrong structurally with this particular gate, and we know that because the inhabitants of the city covered up their own gate. So there was a a purposefulness first they like they used it as a sewage system, and then they covered it up all together and they moved over another site and they built their gate that would be used, which is why we still have a mudbrick gate in existence in a portion of the land that gets 40 to 48 inches of rain. This should be gone, but it's only because there was some sort of structural damage and the inhabitants covered it that it protected it, which is incredible to me. I mean, these are all reconstructed bricks, but these are the original bricks that are that you can see, which is astounding. I love it. Okay. So I am not saying this is Abraham's gate, people call it that, but there's no way for us to know if he experienced this gate or this one over here. But it's roughly of the same time period. So I'm just going to put it up there and tell this story from the Book of Genesis. So Abraham heard that his relative this would be Lotte who has been hanging out in the area of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is somewhere around the Dead Sea, where exactly we can't pinpoint but Sodom and Gomorrah, I think Dead Sea. Think Rift Valley. That's where Lotte has been. And we have five kings from the area of Bashan who have gone down into the area of the Rift Valley and have conquered Sodom and Gomorrah and have taken people captive and have gone home. One of the servants runs and tells Abraham, Hey, Lotte was taken captive. Okay, so Abraham hears there's relative had been taken captive. He led out his trained men born in his house 318, and went in pursuit. As far as Dan, he divided his forces against them. By night, this would be the conquering kings and he and his servants and defeated them and pursued them as far as Hoba, which is north of Damascus. RAY So you can, in your mind's eye, you can kind of follow that route. Oh. Abraham Maybe he was in the area of Hebron, so he came all the way up past Dan, all the way up onto Bashan, past Aram, Damascus to get light and then comes back, which is astounding. Now there's another little bit that's interesting, right? Abraham is quite a bit earlier than the tribe of Dan. The Tribe of Dan is the one who took Lish and then changed the name of life to Dan. But whoever is writing the book of Genesis is writing to people who already know of that city, like as Dan. They already know it's Dan. And so when they're writing because Abraham went as far as Dan, because that was the proper reference point. Right. If it was someone writing as Abraham was traveling, you would go. He went as far as like yeesh, because that was the name of the city at the time. But it's someone who's writing. The Israelites already know this as Dan. So we're writing it to Dan. Does that make sense? So this is like as geographers, we love this stuff. We get so super excited over this because then it helps us know, Oh, when did the different eras of Israelites know about different things and how were they telling these stories? And maybe it was. Maybe people in their earliest versions of the story did use the word life. But a later editor is going to go, you know, no one knows what. Like, you should just just write in, Dan. Right. So you can kind of see some of that transformation of the story and of the text. Okay. Also add Dan and we can't leave this go because we spent a bit of time on this in a previous section of this course, we have to pull up our friend Jeroboam of infamous the sin of Jeroboam fame. And we told that we were talking about like theologically what is happening as he is transforming place his kingdom. But we know based on what First Kings is telling us, that Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom will return to the House of David if this people go up to offer sacrifices to the House of the Lord at Jerusalem. So the King consulted and made two golden calves, and he said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your God. So Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt and he set one in Bethel and the other he put in Dan. Now this has become a sin for the people went to worship before the one. As far as Dan and sure enough at Dan in the ancient site, we have found a sacred complex. Now the stones you're looking at, this is actually there's an older sacred complex below it. And then at some point in Israelite history, it was refurbished, made a little bit larger, which is what we're seeing evidence of. But it's marking the ancient part where Jeroboam would have had his original sanctuary. It's interesting because the whole entire thing is set off by a wall which is common to do in order to mark or demarcate sacred space. So you have the entire community living all the way around it. You need a marker to show you. I'm entering. I'm leaving daily life to enter into something sacred. Right. So this outer wall is doing that for them. And so you enter into the courtyard where we have another wall. And this courtyard is marking like this is where everyone can go. And when we hit a wall, we're going, Oh, who's allowed in that space? Right. And in this space, we have the foundations of an altar and the people. Currently, the National Park Service at Dan has inserted a very large metal altar here for us. Taking we saw this at Be'er Sheva. When we were in Be'er Sheva, we saw the stone altar with the corner pieces. So this is a metal representation of that hotly debated if the altar actually was this large or not. But it's a fun representation to have here, but an altar here in this place. So within this wall would be where priest could go. And then we're sitting based on how our picture is taken, we're actually sitting on a set of stairs that go up to a larger platform area, which we assume is some sort of structure was up there that also is debated how it was used. But let's just call it a sacred complex. Just most people say that. But there's debate as always, because we can't agree on anything. Okay. So Dan has this sacred complex here. And as we have mapped it on top of the actual map and looked at where Dan is and how it's right at the edge of Bashan, you can see this kind of transition. We need a strong city that is up at Dan that's holding on to that corner of our kingdom for us. This is known by everyone. The Israelites all know this. They understand their context. They know their geography. The prophets know it. We're going to go back to our good friend Jeremiah, because we have found so many good references from Jeremiah throughout this whole entire course. Jeremiah, who, of course, is writing before the Babylonian onslaught. So he's down in and Otto's down by Jerusalem, often found in Jerusalem, debating with scribes and with the king. No one likes his message because it's quite a a negative message. And Jeremiah says, as he is writing. And just listen to the geography and think about what this means. Northern Kingdom is already gone. But Jeremiah says from Dan is heard the snorting of his horses. He's talking about the king of Babylon as he's saying, hey, Babylon's on its way. You can't stop him. So from Dan is heard the snorting of his horses at the sound of the naming of his stallions. The whole land quakes for they come and devour the land and its fulness. This city and its inhabitants. Why, Dan? Now you go. I now like because we understand our geography, because if the King of Babylon is already at Dan, he's in the country. And it's only like we're talking just a couple of days and he's bringing his horses, so he's coming for war. Right. So Jeremiah's going on. As soon as you hear those horses, as soon as they're at Dan. Destruction is on your doorstep. Now as we make our transition from Hebrew Bible, Old Testament into New Testament, first century time period, and there's a shift in building techniques. And by the time we get the influence of Hellenism coming in with Alexander the Great, we stop building on the tells the cities. The policies take over a lot more land, a lot more space. So we find that Dayan goes out of use and the New Testament equivalent of Dan Dance, the city that is doing the same thing Dan was doing. And indeed it sits right next to Dan. But just on different soil is the city of Zechariah Philip II. And when we were doing our Sea of Galilee unit, we talked about how the international road shifts and it moves from going up the western side of the hula basin to going up the eastern side. And it's because we have all these other cities along the northern part of the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But it's also because of Zechariah Philippi. This is going to be your big city. You need to connect. And so it is going to you. The road is going to move over in order to connect important cities. So Caesarea Philippi, built by Herod Philip, who was the inheritor of this portion, Golan Heights, politically called Golan Heights at the time. And you can hear the Caesar part of Zechariah Philip II. Herod Philip builds it and gives it to or dedicates it to Caesar. But he adds his name in there, too, because that's just fun, you know? Let's elevate Caesar. Yes. Let's elevate ourselves. Yes. Right. So Harry Philip builds accessory of Philip II. Now, Herod had already been in this territory. Not exactly on this spot, but a little bit in between Dan and Zechariah on this ledge, almost in the hula basin, but more elevated. It's just not quite up on Biscayne, but elevated up out of the basin. There's this nice. Beautiful area. And Herod went up there and he built a temple to Caesar for Caesar worship, which was quite a thing at that time. And so Josephus tells us that Herod built three different temples and dedicated them to Caesar. So one, we saw Samaria, we saw the steps, the foundations of that one, one he built right at the mouth of his right as you come in from his harbor at Zechariah Maritime. And the other one he built at what we would modern day call Amrit, which is very fun to visit. So just next to Amrit, with a temple dedicated to Caesar, Herod's son builds a site and is also going to build a temple and dedicate it to Caesar. But then a few other gods as well. So accessory of Philip II. We have an entire sacred complex. Now, the city, this is a polis. And so you have to be quite a large city to gain that name, to be a Paulus and Herod. Philip had his own palace. One of his palaces was up here. So this site is quite a bit larger than just the sacred complex, but this is what gets everyone's attention. So this is why we're focused here at this sacred complex. There is if you look to the far left of this picture, there's that cave we are sitting on top of where you can see all of the water. We're sitting on top of one of the other springs that form the headwaters of the Jordan. So one of them, we saw a dam. This is another one. This rock is the rock of Mount Hermon. It like the the toes the very bottom bit of Mount Hermon is what we're looking at here. So we have all this spring water that is coming out of this rock. We have this big cave over off to the side. And in front of this cave is a large platform. And on that platform is where Herod Philip built the temple. Then he built a few different temples right next to it, all of them dedicated to the God Pan. So pan in the Roman pantheon is the satire. Ray said. That's the right name, I think the goat that is up on its hind legs playing the flute. He's known as the God of Mischief and Forest, the one who causes issues and problems in these natural wooded lands. And when you take a look around you, it's Century of Philip II. You kind of go, Yeah, I understand. And this is forest, this is green, this is evergreen land. We can see how if you're going to bring in and attach a God to manage this portion of the land, you can see why Pan would have been chosen. So we have this entire area that's been dedicated to the gods and this cave right here was known as and again, within Roman mythology, this is one of the gates to Hades. So if you you know how in Roman mythology you have to go through the gate of Haiti's down to the River Styx, and you have to pay your tax on the River Styx to get all the way to Hades. This is one of the entrances, like there's multiple of them all around. So there's a whole system of worshiping at these complexes. Part of it is offering a goat sacrifice, throwing it into the cave. If the blood came up or the body of the goat came up, it was rejected by the gods. If it got sucked down, it was received by the guards. We have an entire outdoor complex over here. You can see these little niches that were set up for different statues of different gods. So this whole entire thing is set up to demonstrate the system of belief of Rome. In fact, the whole entire site, because it is built on a brand new site, Zechariah Philip II, there's no Israelite memory is attached because the Israelite memories over in Dan. So this land doesn't have its own Israelite memory attached to it. And so as Philip is building the city, he can build it the way he wants and he builds it to mimic the grand ness and the greatness of all that Rome has to offer. Roman building. Roman gods. Roman power. Roman authority. Roman Caesar. Right. Everything about this site is mimicking that. I feel a question. So I'm going to pause before we get to the Jesus story. This is good. 

 

Speaker 2 [00:54:06] Yeah. Well, I think you just answered. I was going to ask, was there any pushback from the Jews with, you know, building a temple to, you know, a Greek or a Roman god like that? But part of it is because it didn't have any Jewish history. So that made it a little bit easier. Yeah. And it's on the northern border. 

 

Dr. Parker [00:54:29] That's right. 

 

Speaker 2 [00:54:30] So it's not in the heartland. Right. So maybe that's the answer to that. 

 

Dr. Parker [00:54:36] Yeah. Yeah. So it's great, right? It's like the map plays into puzzling out those kinds of questions for us. It is on the outskirts. There's there's quite a bit of history that we could add that adds a little bit more drama to the way I'd like to answer that question. We just don't have we we haven't had time to really go through the depths of that history. But before this was a polis, before this was even a big city and it was still in its natural state. But this land was controlled by the Greeks. It already had been a place the Greek soldiers used to go to to worship their gods. So it already has about 200 years worth of Greek mythology associated with it. So you're right, because it's not on top of the Israelite story at all. And so it's a little bit like the Greek mythology is like alive and well, has been there before the Romans were here. And so there's an aspect of that and there's an aspect of it's far away, you know. And when the Jews first returned to the land, everything was Jerusalem, Judea focused. And it's only through a series of time that Jews are repopulating other areas as well. So it's all of those things. It's a really good question to go why wouldn't they resist? And it has to do with history and geography together. Now we do have. Jesus now is going to purposely choose to come here, though. So we've been looking at how Jesus interacts so much around the Sea of Galilee, all the different people who are there. The de cap list, the holiness people, the zealots, the Jewish fishermen, the Jewish communities, the Pharisees. I mean, everyone is down in the area of Galilee. And it's just really interesting when we read in the Gospel of Matthew that there for some reason is a conversation Jesus wants to have with his disciples, and he takes them here to have the conversation. And I think we should be asking ourselves why? Like, why here? What is what? What is the physical, contextual lesson that the disciples can take? Because he could have had this conversation anywhere along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, but he doesn't. So Matthew tells us that Jesus came into the district of Zechariah Philip II. Now, every single person I know takes every single group of tourists and explorers to stand in front of the sacred complex. And I do the exact same thing. So all of us do this because it's a it's a place where we can go and focus on to tell this story. But Matthew says they're in the district accessory of Philip II. Matthew gives us a little bit wider of a swath of land. But when we see how the city was constructed, we all know this is the focal point, anyway of the city. This is part of the purpose of the city. So this is at the heart of the city. So I still think it's an appropriate place to go to have conversations. I just always like to to say or it could be in this location too. Okay. So just to be a stickler on the geography. So Jesus and the disciples, they come to the district of Zechariah Philip II. He was asking his disciples, Who do people say that the son of man is now? This is good. This is good. Rabbinic technique. Rabbis and disciples. There's always a because the Jews so highly valued conversation and you're never learning anything by memorizing. You're learning things by processing and being able to work with the material. Right. And so a lot of rabbis teach by asking a question because it engages people in the conversation. So we're at the end of Jesus's ministry. And so we can see him saying, okay, who did the other people? Like, you're listening to the crowds. You're listening to what the shopkeepers are saying. You've heard their rumors. Who do people say that the son of man is? And they say, well, some John the Baptist, because people thought John the Baptist had been raised to life. He seems to be like John the Baptist others. Elijah Well, this makes sense because we all know that people are kind of waiting for the Elijah figure, some still others. Jeremiah Because he's one of the greatest of the prophets, one or one of the prophets, maybe one of the other prophets or the prophet. Sometimes people say which the prophet would be a reference back to Deuteronomy 18, where Moses says there will be another prophet like me who will come. But then Deuteronomy at the end of the book says There has not yet been a prophet like Moses. So there's kind of a the Moses type prophet who's going to come and explain all things to his people. Okay. So that's what the crowds of people and now Jesus is going to let's bring it home right now. What do you think? Because you've been walking in my dust. You've had your nose between my shoulder blades. You've been eating. When I eat, you sleep when I sleep. You have heard all the words I've spoken. You know, Jesus has been taking them aside and explaining parables to them. They have the insider scoop. And so. They say, okay, but who do you say I am? And this is one of Simon's grand moments. SIMON Peter answers, You are the Christ or Messiah, the son of the living God. And we get this. Oh, you know, good job, Peter. Just because I like to always talk about Mary Martha's disciples, I will say Martha makes the exact same conclusion about who Jesus is. We always say, this is Peter's statement, but Martha says the exact same thing. So Martha is, you know, on par in the conclusions of being able to understand who Jesus is. Okay. Now Jesus is going to go on and continue the teaching. And of course, you know. Well, hold on. Let's actually turn, because I don't want to skip something valuable. So we're going to look at Matthew 16. So after making this great conclusion, then Jesus says, Blessed are you, Simon Bruna, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Haiti's will, not to overpower it. Now, this is really great because, well, there's the wordplay. Peter and Petra's, you know, there's like the Peter Rock and the Little Pebble Rock, and there's kind of a wordplay here, which is really nice. But I want to think about something else. I want to think about the last part. So on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Haiti's will not overpower it. I have always heard this explained to me before I went and really began to explore and think about ancient culture and building structures. I was always told This is like the church is. If we were to think offense and defense that the church was on the defense, you know that we're going to hunker down and Hades is coming after us and is attacking us and it's not going to be successful against the church. But I want us to really think about this in the context of things that we have already heard. Remember this place we talked about. It was unique because there's two gates in Khirbet KUSA. Now, when we think of these gates, we say These are the gates of here, bit here, bit cubic Kafer. So think of that and then say. The gates of Haiti's will not overpower the church. So who's on the offense and who's on the defense? It's the other way around. The church is on the offense and the gates of Hades are what cannot stand against the church. Now, this is also very fun because remember this. So talk about contextual. We have a gate tahiti's right here. As part of this whole huge complex as something that is representing power and might. And authority and empire and Rome. And Diego. Peter, this comment you've made, Peter, your life right on this. I am going to build my church. This cannot stand against the church. That is when I go. The context means everything, not only for understanding the words that Jesus is saying. It transforms at least how I grew up thinking about this verse. It has such a powerful message again about empire, strength and power. But Jesus continues. I will give you the kingdom, the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth, it shall have been bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on Earth shall have been loosed in heaven. This binding and loosening idea is not necessarily referring to the spiritual realm. It is referring to what do you do with scripture? So Jewish sages, the rabbis, the scholars, the Pharisees had a term that had been long in use, long before Jesus that was binding and loosening. So you have laws in the Hebrew scriptures, things like you must observe the Sabbath, and then things like if there is a donkey that fell into a hole and it's your neighbor's donkey, make sure you pull it up and take care of it. What if you find a donkey in a hole on the Sabbath? Like. So what do you. You're supposed to take care of the donkey, but you're supposed to. Supposed to observe the Sabbath. So which lies more important? Right. So the laws are tricky. You have to circumcise on the eighth day. Well, what if the eighth day falls on a Sabbath? Which is more important? Which one do you delay? So the rabbis are always in the process of trying to to understand and clarify for their current context. How do we interpret the Bible, the Scriptures God's laws in the best way possible to really honor what God is wanting? That process is called binding and loosening, and different rabbis had reputations of loosening and binding at different areas. That idea is like a hair tie that I seem to almost always have around my wrist with my hair. But there's always a you there's like a flexibility in the law. And so there's kind of a yeah, there's a little bit of give, there's a little bit of interpretation, but at some point it breaks. But within the the give, there's a binding and a loosening that happens. And so now we can see Jesus as rabbi going to his disciples. And now I am giving you the authority to bind and to loosen, to interpret according to the communities in which you're going into this is what later on Simon or Peter and Paul and James, the late the leaders of their early Jewish church are all going to have to figure out, okay, now, because of Jesus, what do we do with these laws? How far can we stretch it? How close do we need to bind it? How far can we go before it breaks all those conversations? Jesus is here in the context of Zechariah Philip II that Jesus says, I'm giving you this authority. So you as the leaders who know me and understand me as the Messiah. Now you can bind. Now you can loosen the law and interpret it for people. And then we get this portion. Well, I'll just continue. Matthew 16. From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day. Now, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, God forbid at Lord, this shall never happen to you. But he turned and said to Peter, get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but on man's. So yes, we like to do this so typical of Peter like he's getting gold stars. One momentum rebuked the other moment it is demonstrative of his personality. But there's also an interesting concept that is going on here, because we can watch the disciples able to come to these kinds of conclusions about who Jesus is. But we still see the confusion of what they expect that Messiah to be. And we can see in Peter's comments, we can see Peter's expectation that there's still something quite political about what Jesus is about to do. And in Peter's mind, going to Jerusalem and being destroyed by the leaders of the people and dying is not an example of what a messiah should do. And if you look at the conversation, the disciples have all the way back to Jerusalem, all the way up for Passover, they are all confused about the role of Messiah. They don't get it. And it's a process. They have to wait until after the resurrection of Jesus, before they before it really begins to dawn on them, what it was that Jesus has been teaching them. But there is an important lesson to be learned here. Assyria, Philip II, because at this site where everything about this site represents Rome, it all represents the power of Rome, the might of Rome, the way that we worship our leaders, the way that we worship other gods, the way we uphold human authority, the ways we elevate ourselves. Everything that Rome offers is on display here. And to have this kind of conversation about not only who Jesus is, but what that role looks like here, Jesus is going to look in contrast to what Rome is going to offer you. Leadership in my kingdom means an inconvenient kind of love. A kind of love that is going to require me to go and die on your behalf. Is Caesar willing to die for this? Caesar wants to be worshiped, right? So there's something about we can go to Zechariah Philip II and stay here all day and say, human kingdoms, God's kingdom. We've already looked at based on international roads and the Fertile Crescent. This contrast between world dominating empires in a world influencing empire, and we're seeing the New Testament version play out here. It says, Refill pie. Jesus is going. My kingdom is built on top of me going and dying in your place. And you can see Peter. Why? I don't quite get that. That doesn't sound right. That doesn't sound like what I was expecting out of you. Because Peter is still kind of expecting something like this. Richard. It's a really fascinating kind of lesson to learn here. Accessory to Phil by. We have made our way. Around the entire loop of the biblical lands. Before we do our final review, and I'm not going to let you go, actually, I'm going to require that you hang out with me and then go. But what about when we leave the land? Right. So we're going to do that. Our next unit is going to be on that. But let's just see if there's any questions. No questions. Let's do our test yourselves. Can you make it the whole way around the map? Can you identify what all these places are? So we have sign up here. Right. I'm not even going to do the rocks this time. I'm going to trust you can go back. Maybe you've already colored them in on your own maps or something. So Bishan is up here. So Aram Damascus off to the north and to the east. We have the Dome of Gilad that split in half by the Jabber River with Aman nestled in behind. That leads us down into the mist shore or the plateau, this in-between friction land that no one kingdom was ever able to take hold of. And then just south of that is the heartland of Moab. And then quite unfortunate for us, left off the map down here. Poor item is off the map to the south. But then if we swing around, we have the bottom part of the coastal plain. And if we go all the way up the coastal plain actually to go out of order, let's just see if we remember the coastal plain. And we often know this is the Philistine coastal plain which takes us into the swampy Sharon Plain, which takes us into the swampy, itty bitty, little narrow, not often used plane of door, which takes us into the plane of Asher or the plane of Akko. That kind of our northernmost tip of the plain. Okay. Going all the way back down south, we have our biblical Negev, we have our Judean wilderness, the Judean Hill country. And in between the hill country, just here in the south, in between the hill country and the coastal plain, we get this Falla region, which was an area of push and pull all the time, Philistines and Israelites. Okay, we get this itty bitty little kind of band that goes over the hills. That was the Tribe of Benjamin. Which takes us into the house of Joseph. So with Ephraim and Manasa. And it's not until I mean, this is all cinema and it's all very cohesive land, except that we saw that it has these big valleys that open our passageways for us into all different parts, into influences from all sides. It's not until we get to Mount Carmel that the land starts breaking up a little bit more, but we'll say Mount Carmel, Mount Gilboa, which then takes us into Lower Galilee. And then we know on the eastern side of Lower Galilee we get all that basalt. And on the western side of Lower Galilee, that's where we get our fingers pressing into the rocks and all these valleys and hills, only to give way to upper Galilee in the north, which means our very final bit. We have the Jordan River Valley with the Sea of Galilee in the north, and our last little bit of the Rift Valley that we talk about is the Hula Basin. And then we've made it back around to the ocean. That's a lot of territory that we've been able to cover. So we're going to take everything we know about this because we've been telling stories, we've been looking at Psalms, at the prophets, we've looked at the histories, Old Testament, New Testament, and we really do need to go all the way back to the center, to the focal point, back to the temple, back to Jerusalem, and say this story, which hopefully I've convinced you that maps are important, that this context is important, that to understand this story, we kind of we need all of this. We need the rocks, the soils, the water and the roads. We need that. But at some point, this land can't contain at all and the story is going to overflow the boundaries. And so what do we do with this story when it leaves behind the memory that's etched into the land? So that's the next bit that we're going to talk about when we get back from our break.