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Our First Day on Tour

Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Megido, and Mt. Arbel

sunny 102 °F
View Israel on dasafish's travel map.

[pictures to be posted later]
All that I am about to relate happened yesterday, as I write this. We had a “family barbecue” for supper last night, and including the conversation with new friends, it lasted until after 9pm. Once I got to the room, I modified the photos (cropped and reduced file size) and tried to upload them, but they wouldn’t. After we got back from our touring today and eating supper, Dan found a better wi-fi spot and got them uploaded. They now are in the Netanya post.

So… Yesterday we started our 6-7-8 schedule, up at 6, packed by 6:30, breakfast at 6:30, and on the buses by 8am (breakfast was earlier than the 7am in the standard schedule).

We headed up the coast to Caesarea. Wow, there was a lot I didn’t know about Caesarea!! It was built by Herod the Great (to flatter/placate/announce loyalty) for Caesar Augustus. It was a totally Roman-style city, with
Herod’s Mediterranean palace on the sea, 56966ca0-8289-11e9-b6ce-53730091c43e.JPG
a prison (which later held Paul),
a theater (an amphitheater is a full circle of stadium seating, a theater is a half-circle of stadium seating),251b13a0-828a-11e9-b6ce-53730091c43e.JPG
a hippodrome that would hold 10,000 people, 4ba78130-8289-11e9-8a53-45d5387b09fb.jpg
a man-made (Herod-made) harbor for sea-commerce,
an aquaduct for water, 83494110-8288-11e9-8a53-45d5387b09fb.JPG
and all the other niceties of a “modern” Roman city. It took Herod 12 years to build this new city in honor of his emperor.

Later, Caesarea was the seat of Herod Antipas; he died in Caesarea after the people flattered him, telling him he was a god. The angel of God stuck him for not giving glory to God and H.A. died 5 days later.

Secular archaeologists love to claim that because they have seen no archaeological proof of the existence of someone in the Bible that that person never existed. Pontius Pilate was one of those, until a repurposed plaque in Caesarea (it had been turned into a stair tread centuries ago) was uncovered when they were excavating Caesarea. It states that
Pontius Pilate was prefect in the time of Caesar Tiberius. Pilate, as had the prefects before him since 6 A.D., used Caesarea as his administrative capital.6c766660-8289-11e9-b6ce-53730091c43e.jpg

After Caesarea we got on the bus and went up the road to Megido. Medigo is a city that has been built and razed many times. It was discovered in the early 1900s and initially excavated by the British. It has about 25 layers of cities.
Among the earliest layers is a Caananite altar, a large, round rock altar with steps up to it. 559417d0-8289-11e9-8a53-45d5387b09fb.JPGMegido was one of King Solomon's chariot cities. It says in the Bible that Solomon used Megido and 2 other cities for his chariots.
There were several horse troughs5567b0a0-8289-11e9-8a53-45d5387b09fb.JPG in the King Solomon level of Megido, which the guide said were highly indicative of a lot of horses based there. Megido is mentioned in the Bible as the “Hill of Megido,” which in Hebrew is “Har-Megido.” The name has been warped over the years into Armegeddon. Megido lies in the Jezreel Valley, which is sometimes called the valley of Armegeddon. The Jezreel valley is very wide and long. It stretches from the coast almost all the way to the Jordan River valley. It was in the Jezreel valley that Elijah outran the chariot of Ahab. From Megido you can see from the Mediterranean to the mountains of Gilead on the other side of the Jordan River (on a clear day – our day was quite hazy).

Next was Mt. Carmel; several mountains were pointed out to us there. Mt. Carmel borders the Jezreel valley; that was where the contest between 450 priests of Baal and Elijah was held.
Elijah’s God won! 55dd2ec0-8289-11e9-8a53-45d5387b09fb.JPG One of the things that surprised me is you can see Nazareth (or the hills that surround it) from Mt. Carmel. Israel is a tiny land; our tour guide, Shmulik (a man), says it’s a little smaller than New Jersey. The bus drove part way up Mt. Carmel and we walked the last 15 minutes. I’m glad we didn’t have to walk the entire way.

From Mt. Carmel we drove to Mt. Arbel. I looked on all the maps I could find and didn’t find a Mt. Arbel. Turns out the cliff on the side of one of the hills around Nazareth is called Mt. Arbel. When Herod the Great (both an engineering genius and a psychopath, according to our tour guide) had been “upgraded” from governor to king, he had to reconquer Judea for Caesar first. The people in the Nazareth area, seeing the weak military position of the new king, decided to rebel and fortified the natural caves in the top, craggy sides of Mt. Arbel (it looked like limestone to me, though there was some basalt there, too.) They figured Herod couldn’t attack them there. If he did, they could shoot arrows down on his soldiers and knock them off the cliff. Herod decided to come at them from above. He built large wooden cages that could hold 3-4 of his armed soldiers, and crane-like systems to lower the cages from the top of the mountain. The soldiers would be cranked to the level of a cave and would shoot fire arrows into the cave. When the rebels came out coughing, they would use specially made 8 foot long poles with large hooks on the ends to hook the rebels, pull them out of the cave, and let them fall to their deaths below. Yuck!

From Mt. Arbel we drove on to our hotel in The Sea Of Galilee, Israel, on the NE side of the lake. We have a very nice guest cabin with a jacuzzi and a sauna, and the food’s pretty good, too. Unfortunately with 6am wakeup calls and a return from tours with just enough time to shower and change before our 7pm dinner and post-dinner activities, we won't be able to avail ourselves of the amenities.

I’ve already told you about yesterday evening’s supper, so I’ll close for now and bring you today’s news tomorrow.

Posted by dasafish 14:09 Archived in Israel

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Wonderful descriptions and commentary, Sandy! I can't wait to see your photos, too :)

Keep 'em comin'!

by denwoo

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