What did the “chains” (= “handcuffs”) that bound Peter and Paul look like?

Recently I participated in a tour that traced the route of the Egnatian Road that eventually led from Constantinople to Dyrrachium (Now Durrës in Albania on the coast of the Adriatic Sea).  The trip was led by Dr. Mark Wilson.  The Egnatian Way is the same road that Paul traveled on various occasions.

While visiting the modern Archaeological Museum of Durrës I saw on display something I had never seen before—a set of iron “handcuffs” from the Roman Period!

HandCuffs

Iron “handcuffs” (= “chains”) from the Roman Period. Archaeological Museum in Durrës Albania. “Chains” are mentioned over 20 times in the New Testament! — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

It is amazing how many times “chains” in the sense of wrist bands are mentioned in the New Testament—over 20 times.  For example, Peter was in put in “chains” and Paul mentions his chains many times!   I have listed some of the many references below.

Peter was held in “chains”:

Acts 12:6        The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.  7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.

Paul in Jerusalem was held in chain in the “protective custody” of the Roman soldiers in the Antonia Fortress:

Acts 21:33        The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done.

Acts 22:29        Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Paul before Festus and Agrippa II mentions his “chains”:

Acts 26:29        Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

Acts 28:20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

And Paul referred to his “chains” in connection with his various Roman imprisonments:

Eph. 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Phil. 1:7        It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

Phil. 1:13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Phil. 1:17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

Col. 4:3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

Col. 4:18        I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

2Tim. 1:16        May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.

2Tim. 2:9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

Philem. 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains.

Philem. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel.

Heb. 11:36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.

Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.

Back to Samaria/Sebaste

On recent trips to Israel, we have been able to visit the OT Samaria that was the capital city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and was founded by Omri (ruled 885–874 BC).  His son Ahab, husband of Jezebel, and other Israelite kings developed it.  It is mentioned 109 times in the OT.  The Assyrians captured the city in 723 BC, thus ending the northern Israelite Kingdom.  Afterward, the district around the city became known as Samaria and its inhabitants as “Samaritans.”

Temple Dedicated to the Roman Emperor Augustus

Beginning in the days of Alexander the Great (ca. 332 BC) it became more and more Greco-Roman in outlook.  The city was renamed “Sebaste” in honor of the Roman Emperor during the days of Herod the Great (37–4 BC) who built a temple to honor the emperor there.

West Gate of Sebaste — Hellenistic and Roman Periods

Samaria/Sebaste is located about 7 mi. [11 km.] west-northwest of Nablus (ancient Shechem).

To view 20 more images of Samaria/Sebaste, including walls, gates, towers, theater, stadium, basilica and church, Click Here.

16 HD 3-4 Minute Drone Videos of Israel

To date (29 April, 2015) Amir Aloni has posted 16 3-4 minute HD videos of Israel on Vimeo.  These were taken using a drone!  (If you want to see one of the drones in action click here and view at 0:05).  These are amazing!  His 16 titles include:

  1. Qumran Caves
  2. Spring 2015 in the Jordan Valley
  3. Herodion National Park
  4. The Green Desert
  5. A Greek Orthodox Epiphany Ceremony at the Jordan River
  6. Migdal Tseded-Rosh Haayin
  7. 669 Rescue Unit of the Israeli Air force
  8. Shokeda Forest 2015
  9. Eritreans Celebrate Epiphany
  10. Tomb of Samuel the Prophet
  11. Israel Dead Sea Rivers Flood
  12. Southern Negev and Arava
  13. The Dead Sea
  14. Tom-mismeret
  15. Dead Sea & Judean Desert
  16. Megilot Rescue Unit in Judean Desert

Israel’s 67th Birthday — Daily Life In Israel!

As many of you know, I am focused on the relationship of the relationship of geography, archaeology, and culture to the biblical text.

Many think of Israel as totally under siege and filled with terror incidents and wars BUT you are invited to take 5 minutes to flip through 67 spectacular images of the reality of Life in Israel presented by Israel21c.org (See upper left of the images for a description of what you are looking at).  A few samples below.

Dome of the Rock — New Carpets over Ancient Floors

The Times of Israel has reported that during the installation of new carpets in the Dome of the Rock that ancient floors have been revealed.  Many Jews and Christians believe that the Dome of the Rock stands over the spot where the “Holy of Holies” of the Solomonic and Second Temples.  This is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.  Muslims believe that the Rock is the spot from which Mohammed ascended to “heaven.”

WellOfSouls01

In the Well of Souls, a cave UNDER the foundation stone of the Dome of the Rock, an ancient tile floor has been revealed. — Photo from The Times of Israel

The Dome of the Rock has not been open to the non-Muslim general public for years.  BELOW the famous rock is a small cavern that is called the “Well of the Souls”—see photo above—where it is said that the dead meet twice a week to pray (and see 2:20 in the video below and pause it).  Notice the very beautiful tiled floor that was revealed during the updating of the carpet there (date??).

For a four minute YouTube video of the carpet laying process—with views of the interior of the Dome of the Rock and other underground passageways (at the 1:20 spot), see below.  At 3:25 notice the mikrab that directs the faithful towards Mecca as well as the personal prayer places on the rug that is being laid.

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Dome of the Rock. To the left of it is the Dome of the Chain and in the foreground is the “head” of a cistern (underground chamber that collects rain water). Courtesy of http://www.HolyLandPhotos.org

For additional images of the Dome and the area Click Here.

 

Hagia Sophia and Loeb Classical Series

Two items that struck me of interest.  The first is that the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey—one of the most historic/grandest churches of Christendom—now a “museum”—is being “eyed” to be converted back to a mosque!  Recently the Koran was read within the “museum” and this may be the “nose of the camel inside of the tent!”

The current “Hagia Sophia” is the third structure to stand on this spot.  The first church was built by the son of Constantine the Great,Constantius.  It was burnt down in 404.  The second was built by Theodosius II, and it was burnt down in 532.

exterior-2

View of the exterior of the Hagia Sophia. The minarets were 1,000 years after the first church was built here! Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

The present building was built by the great Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was dedicated on December 26, 537.  It took six years to build and over 10,000 men worked on it.  Although the dome has been repaired (rebuilt) a number of times, the church built by Justinian served as a Christian place of worship until Constantinople was captured by the Turk, Mehmet II on May 29, 1453.

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Interior of the Hagia Sophia—without scaffolding!! The roundels were added by the Muslims over 1,000 years after the church was built. The contain the names of Allah, Mohamed, and early Califs. Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.

Mehmet II immediately turned the building into a mosque and it served as one of the major mosques of Istanbul until the reforms of Atatürk.  It reopened in 1934 as a museum.

Harvard Loeb Classical Series — 60 Volumes!

Good news, the authoritative Loeb Classical series is now ON LINE.  Bad news, it is expensive!  For individuals $150 for the first year, and $65 for subsequent consecutive years.  However, some of you may be able to have your Institution subscribe to the Institutional version—Free 60 Trial Here.

Key features include:

  • Single- and dual-language reading modes
  • Sophisticated Bookmarking and Annotation features
  • Tools for sharing Bookmarks and Annotations
  • Greek keyboard
  • User account and My Loeb content saved in perpetuity
  • Intuitive Search and Browse
  • Inclusion of every Loeb volume in print
  • Regular uploading of new and revised volumes

Please note that some of the site’s most useful tools are features of “My Loebs,” the personal accounts available to all authorized users. We’d encourage you and your patrons to create your own accounts (via the “Sign up” link at the top of each page on the site) so as to utilize the digital Loeb Classical Library’s full capabilities.

Many of the questions about the digital Loeb Classical Library’s functionality, for example, or its relation to the print books of the series—are answered at http://www.loebclassics.com/page/faq/frequently-asked-questions

Why Corinth?

CorinthIsthmus04

See the full size image below!

At the time of Paul’s visits to Corinth it was a thriving commercial city of over 200,000 people.

Corinth was situated in the northeastern corner of the Peloponnese — very near the narrow land bridge (isthmus) that connected the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece. Its strategic location was enhanced due to its proximity to the diolkos — the stone-paved roadway that connected the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth. By using this overland passageway, passengers and cargo avoided the difficult and time-consuming trip around the southern end of the Peloponnese.

aerial-of-isthmus

The Isthmus of Corinth from the air. For comments on this image, see above. To Enlarge and/or Download Click on Image.

The Greek city of Corinth had been (partly) destroyed by the Romans in 146 B.C., but the rebuilding process, as a Roman city, had begun by 44 B.C.  For a long time it had been famous for its immorality (think prostitutes associated with the Temple of Aphrodite) and its commercial character. Its two harbors were Lechaion (Gulf of Corinth) and Cenchreae (Saronic Gulf). Every two years important games were held at nearby Isthmia.

Paul spent 18 months here on his second journey and maybe three months on his third. The letters of first and second Corinthians were written to the church here, and Paul probably wrote first and second Thessalonians and Romans while in Corinth.


To view important artifacts from Corinth, including the Erastus inscription, a menorah, and others, Click Here.

Excavations have been conducted at Corinth for over 100 years. Major finds have helped us understand the history and culture of the city that Paul spent so long ministering in. See the images included in this section and John McRay’s Archaeology and the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1991.  To view for purchase Click Here.

Suggestion:  You may also be interested in the images of the Corinth Canal, the diolkos, the port of Cenchreae, and the Acrocorinth.