BiblePlaces Newsletter
Vol 11, #3 - November 12, 2012

In more than ten years of newsletters, I was surprised to see that we have never featured photos of the Jezreel Valley. While it's true that the average tour in Israel pretty much skips right through this area, the biblical student loves this valley because it is so rich in history! How I've managed to avoid it in the newsletter for a decade now is a mystery.

We also decided to highlight one of the great features of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands--identifying labels. While these are not entirely "new," we've added so many throughout the collection that it almost qualifies as a new feature. Our photos below of the Jezreel Valley give you a sense for how helpful the labels can be.

This is just one of many great reasons to purchase the collection or to upgrade. If you're wondering what all is included, you can see a summary here. If you want to see more free photos, click here. If you have questions about upgrading, check out our answers. If you have other questions, send us an email; we'd love to help.

We will have a booth at this week's conference of the Evangelical Theological Society in Milwaukee. If you're there, stop by, say hi, and see why we're so excited.

Todd Bolen

Feature Highlight: Labels

The best way to understand the value of these new labels is to see them on the photos. For that, check out the featured photos below. We might add a few comments:

1. In the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, the labels are in the PowerPoint presentations. That means that they are easily modified or deleted. You may want to draw a big circle around one area and delete a label for a site you're not interested in. That'll take you a couple of seconds.

2. Besides cities and mountains, we've added labels for roads, passes, architectural features, wadis, and sometimes even sites no longer preserved. One of my favorites is the labels on the Dead Sea Scroll caves. I don't know of any other place where you can see every cave identified.

3. Each slide that is labeled also comes without the labels. This is helpful when labels may obscure a feature or when you just want to enjoy the photo without any distractions.

Unless you know an awful lot about the biblical lands, we predict that you'll learn some fun and fascinating facts as you benefit from our years of travel and research.

News from the BiblePlaces Blog...

New Video: An Exciting New Dig at Abel Beth Maacah - This short video might convince you to sign up for next summer's excavation...

Wednesday Roundup - Digging at Carchemish, exploring Shiloh, and rejecting the Mary's Well Hotel...

Ancient Cedar Beams on Temple Mount - Are they going up in smoke?...

Three Free Years of the Palestine Exploration Quarterly - Along with a link for free access, I point out some recent articles of interest...

Trail around the Sea of Gailee - Most of the 40-mile lakeshore path is now open...

New Excavation Planned for City of David - The liberal Tel Aviv University just can't resist getting involved, but that doesn't mean that everyone is happy...

And more...

Picture of the Week

If you are not a regular reader of our blog, you'll want to check out a new series written by Seth M. Rodriquez. Each Thursday he selects a photograph (or three) and tells a story about it. He show how "a picture is worth 1,000 words." Here are some quick links to recent posts in the series:

Signs of the Holly Land (pun intended) - An entertaining look at creations of man in the biblical world...

Treading Winepress - It's hard to keep the juice off your clothes...

Seven Species Display - One photo shows them all...

Pompeii, House of Sallust, Atrium - An ancient house can help you understand 1 Corinthians 11...

Patmos, View of Island Panorama - I wouldn't mind exile on this island if I had a view like this every day...

And more...

Featured BiblePlaces Photos:
The Jezreel Valley

Jesus traveled through the Jezreel Valley. Nearly everyone in ancient Israel, for that matter, traveled through the Jezreel Valley. Kings and judges, armies and merchants, all on their way somewhere, would have passed through Israel's "Grand Central Station."

I wonder what stories Jesus might have told his disciples as they crossed the valley. I wonder what stories the faithful Joseph might have told young Jesus as they journeyed through on their way to Jerusalem. This month's featured photos highlight a few of those true, life-changing stories that have been told for generations.

All of the photos below are available, with their captions, in a free PowerPoint presentation. The presentation includes the photos with and without the labels. A limited version is also available in pdf format.

Readers are welcome to use these images for personal study and teaching. Commercial use requires separate permission.  For more high-quality, high-resolution photographs and illustrations of biblical sites, purchase the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands or the Historic Views of the Holy Land collections.

Jezreel Valley from Mount Carmel

Click photograph for higher-resolution version. Download the PowerPoint presentation for all of the photos.

The view of the Jezreel Valley from the summit of Mount Carmel is spectacular. Elijah and the prophets of Baal would have had such a view just before fire came down from heaven (1 Kings 18). The city of Jokneam just below might have brought back memories of "Jokneam in Carmel," the home of one of the kings defeated in the conquest of Joshua (Joshua 12:22).


Jezreel Valley from Nazareth Ridge

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

From the ridge just above Jesus' hometown, the valley of Jezreel spreads out from east to west. To the left, Barak fielded his army of 10,000 Israelite soldiers to face Sisera and the Canaanites. The fields that day were awash with mud and blood (Judges 4-5). To the south, a law-breaking lady living in Endor was surprised one night first to see Saul and then to see Samuel (1 Samuel 28). Jesus too would raise someone from the dead on the northern slope of the Hill of Moreh (Luke 7:10-17).


Hill of Moreh and Mount Tabor

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

If Gideon had been 1,000 feet up, he would have seen even more clearly the terrifying hordes of the Midianites who came "like swarms of locusts" and camped "in the valley near the hill of Moreh" (Judges 6:5; 7:2). God used one who was like a "loaf of barley...tumbling into the Midianite camp" to glorify himself as the Warrior of Israel (Judges 7:2, 13). To the north, Jesus might have pointed and quoted, "Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name" (Psalm 89:12).


Mount Gilboa and Jezreel

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

For centuries Israel longed for a king. The years of the judges were known as the "days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Alas, things did not go much better under the nation's first king, and the "glory of Israel" was slain on Mount Gilboa, an utter failure both spiritually and militarily (1 Samuel 31-2 Samuel 1). At the western tip of Mount Gilboa, Jezreel was home to the vineyard of Naboth (1 Kings 21). After Queen Jezebel engineered Naboth's death, she was thrown from a window to be trampled by horses and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:30-37).


The Harod Valley from Mount Gilboa

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

The Harod Valley lies between Jezreel and Beth Shean, and it was the route that Jehu traveled as he drove his chariot "like a madman" from Ramoth Gilead (2 Kings 9:20). According to one writer, Jesus is "the greater Jehu," and he is talking about more than his driving skills. Whether or not Jesus recalled that story with his disciples, it does seem likely that this was the place where Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only one of whom returned to offer thanksgiving (Luke 17:11-19).



Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

Megiddo was just a mound of ruins in Jesus' day, but the memories of bloodshed no doubt remained. Two of Jesus' kingly ancestors, after all, died at Megiddo, including the righteous Josiah (2 Kings 9:27; 23:29). If Jesus and his disciples could have dug through the dirt they would have seen ancient stables and silos, temples and a tunnel. In John's vision of the revelation of Jesus, he foresaw the day when kings would again gather at Armageddon to destroy Israel (Rev 16:16).



There are people who would love to read this newsletter but they don't know about it. Would you mind helping them and helping us by forwarding it to them? They can subscribe to this newsletter here

The BiblePlaces Newsletter is cost-free and spam-free. Email addresses will never be used for any purpose other than this newsletter. If you have questions about the subscription process, see this page.

All contents ? 2012 Todd Bolen. Text and photographs may be used for personal and educational use. Commercial use requires written permission.