A site located about 7.5 miles south of Jerusalem called the Herodium is a site that looks like a volcano—but it is not! The Herodium was built by Herod the Great (Matthew 2). According to Josephus, a Jewish historian, the Herodium served as a palace/fortress for Herod the Great. Herod was buried here in 4 B.C. Later the Herodium served as a base for Jewish rebels during the first (A.D. 66-70) and second (A.D. 132-135) revolts against the Romans.
View looking southwest at the volcanic-shaped Herodium
The Palace, Fortress, and Burial Site of Herod the Great
Click to Enlarge and/or Download — without cost/obligation
In addition, the Herodium is located only 3.5 miles southeast of Bethlehem—where Jesus (called the Christ) was born.
The Grotto of the Nativity
The “Traditional” Site Where it is said that Jesus was born
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download — without cost or obligation
Herod was the king when Jesus was born—the same one who killed not only three of his sons, his favorite wife (Mariamne), the High Priest, his mother-in-law, but also the babies of Bethlehem (Matt 2:16).
Visitors to Israel are keenly aware of all the places built by Herod the Great and will probably visit Caesarea Maritima, the Temple Mount, and Masada. And there are many others. If fact, the land is littered with archaeological remains of places and buildings built by Herod. But really, one must consider the lasting (cosmic?) significance of Herod versus that of the child that was born in the insignificant hamlet of Bethlehem—namely Jesus.
The Ascended Jesus Surrounded by Mary and John the Baptist
From the Hagia Sophia Church in Istanbul
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download — without cost or obligation
In spite of all the “oohing and aahing” at Herodian remains, today no one actually “worships” Herod—as they do Jesus.
North of the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem is the site of the Garden Tomb and Gordon’s Calvary.
View of the “skull” – looking northeast. In the center of the image the “skull” is visible. Note the modern Arab bus station in the lower right portion of the image.
“Gordon’s Calvary” Just right of center note the apparent “eye sockets” and the bridge of a nose. Unfortunately the “bridge of the nose” collapsed a few years ago.
In 1842, Otto Thenius proposed that this was Calvary (Golgotha) – the place of the skull – the site of the crucifixion of Jesus. This proposal was given prominence by the British general Charles Gordon in 1883 in combination with the nearby tomb that had been discovered in 1867. For a more general view of the area, click here.
Luke 23:32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull [Golgotha/Calvary], there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Luke 23:35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.
Since the Romans normally crucified people right along the roads, so passersby would be intimidated, the crucifixion was probably not on top of Golgotha, but along side a nearby road.
Gordon’s Calvary June 1967 — after the Six Days War.
For Christians: the Beginning of an Advent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Day series.
The Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:29) . . . twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
A “Crown of Thorns” made from a branch of a tree just outside of Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives. Click on image to Enlarge and/or Download.
Mark 15:17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
John 19:2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe . . . John 19:5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
View looking west over the Old City of Jerusalem from within Dominus Flevit. The “golden” Dome of the Rock is visible beyond the cross, and to the right of the Dome the grey Domes of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are visible. Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download.
You can view/download 10 images of Dominus Flevit Here.
In Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-31 there is the story of a “Canaanite woman” from the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon who said:
“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” . . . The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
Matt 15:22–25 and compare Mark 7:26ff.
It seems that Jesus’ response was somewhat “off-putting” for the subsequent “conversation” went as follows:
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Dogs are not highly thought of in some of the Middle Eastern Cultures today but evidently in New Testament times they were kept as household pets.
Note the dog under the couch “feasting” on the crumbs that have fallen on the floor (Matt 15:27; Mark 7:28) — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
The above is a votive relief (5th century BC.) found in the Asclepion of Piraeus (port of Athens). It represents a funerary banquet. The heroized dead person reclines on a couch with a seated woman on the right and a naked youth on the left side of the image—drawing wine from a large krater. Note especially the dog under the couch feasting on the food that has dropped on the floor (Matt 15:27; Mark 7:28).
Note the dog under the couch “feasting” on the food that has fallen on the floor (Matt 15:27; Mark 7:28) — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
The above votive relief also represents a funerary banquet. The heroized dead person reclines on a couch with a seated woman on the left and a naked youth on the far left side of the image—drawing wine from a large krater. Note especially the dog under the couch feasting on the food that has dropped on the floor (Matt 15:27; Mark 7:28).
Note the dog under the couch waiting for crumbs from the meal — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download
The above is a votive relief (4th century BC.) found at Argos in southern Greece. The god or hero is reclining on a couch with a woman on the left holding a tray with food. On the far left is a nude boy drawing wine from a large krater. Note the dog under the couch, waiting for crumbs!
Visitors to Israel will often stop at the Second Temple/Talmudic site of Korazin (Chorazin: Matt 11:21; Luke 10:13) where an impressive basalt synagogue has been partially reconstructed. To the west of Korazin, on the south side of route 8277 is beautiful is a Roman Catholic retreat center known as Domus Galilaeae. It opened in 2000 and was blessed by Pope John Paul II. It is generally not open to visitors so I thought I would share a few of my images of the place.
View from the patio of Domus Galilaeae of Jesus teaching his disciples
In the background is the Sea of Galilee — 3 mi. distant
The main chapel of Domus Galilaeae
Library Reading Area
Inside of the beautiful deep blue plexiglass reading area
Note the desk and in the center is a scroll of scripture
To view additional images of the retreat center Click Here.