Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lunch on a Kibbutz and Tel Dan


We left Chorazin after our teaching and tour and headed to a kibbutz for lunch. I forgot the name of the kibbutz, but have since found out from my sister's blog that the name is Hagoshrim Kibbutz Resort and Hotel. Many of the kibbutz throughout Israel have hotels and spas that are attached. This was one of them.

On the way we passed several villages and the landscape in the valley was lush. Again, this was shot out of the bus window.













This is the reception area and restaurant for the kibbutz. It was not at all what I expected a kibbutz to be. So much for stereotypes…




This was our first meal other than breakfast and was indicative of the meals to come – all you can eat buffets.



All meals throughout the trip included lemonade and orange juice, but we really wanted a coke. They usually cost around four dollars. However, they were so good because they are actually made with real sugar.



This was the hotel portion of the kibbutz. Again, it’s not what I would have expected when I heard the word, kibbutz. One thing I learned on this trip is not to have any preconceived notions.




After lunch we headed to Tel Dan.

The territory of the sons of Dan proceeded beyond them; for the sons of Dan went up and fought with Leshem and captured it. Then they struck it with the edge of the sword and possessed it and settled in it; and they called Leshem Dan after the name of Dan their father. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Dan according to their families, these cities with their villages. Joshua 19:47-48

They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city was formerly Laish. Judges 18:29

Dan was the northernmost city of Israel. It is located right at the border with Lebanon and Syria, which is only a stone’s throw away. This area has certainly been through a lot throughout the years.



We passed this area as we were walking up the rocky path to Jeroboam’s “high place” that he established. It is the remains of the iron age Israelite gate.

It has only been since we’ve been back that I’ve understood the significance of everything that we saw. When you’re there, you’re seeing so much that you are overwhelmed by everything. Once you’re home you have time to process all of it. Someone we met on the trip said that the first time you come to Israel you are “gawkers.” The next time you come, you can more fully appreciate what you are seeing.


Dan is located at the base of Mt. Hermon. The melting snow from Mt. Hermon makes the area very fertile. The Dan River is the largest tributary of the Jordan.  Tel Dan was a front military post until 1967, when the border with Lebanon and Syria passed at this location. 




The mud-brick arched gate below is the oldest known arched gate of its kind and was the entrance to the Canaanite city of Laish. This gate was constructed more than 1500 years before the Romans supposedly invented the arch

There was a steep path that approached the gate.




They have had some difficulty in preserving the gate due to its composition and have had to cover it to protect it as much as possible from the elements. It is possible that Abram entered this gate in pursuit of his captured nephew, Lot.

They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom. Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eschol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan…He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people. Genesis 14:12-16


In this picture you are looking toward Lebanon. The trenches were constructed during the Six Day War. You can also see Mt. Hermon in the distance from this spot.


At the base of the hills in the distance is a Lebanese village, possibly Ghajar.


On the top of the hill below you should be able to see some buildings. They are part of  the Israeli Defense Force.



This is a picture of the grim reality of Israel’s existence.


There is a rusted tank located in  front of the largest tree on the horizon in the middle of the picture.


At the end of our climb, we came to the ruins of what archaeologists believe is Jeroboam’s “high place.” Jeroboam became king of the northern kingdom of Israel when God tore Israel away from King Solomon because of his sin. Rehoboam, King Solomon’s son was left as king of the southern kingdom.

So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this and you have not kept My covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. (Jeroboam) Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” I Kings 11:11-13

So God divided the twelve tribes of Israel into the northern kingdom ruled by Jeroboam and the southern kingdom ruled by Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon.

Out of fear that the kingdom would return to the house of David, Jeroboam constructed two high places on which he placed golden calves for the people to worship. This is one of the high places. The other was in Bethel.

“If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 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 gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” He set one in Bethel, and other he put in Dan. I Kings 12: 27-30

Archaeologists have reconstructed the altar to show the size it would have been. The area to the right of the altar is where the priests homes were.


This was part of the priestly quarters. There is a small altar that was part of their quarters.



This site was not only used in Jeroboam’s day as a holy site. This round structure was built in Hellenistic times and from the number of animal bones in and around the structure, it was determined that this was also an altar.




To the right of the altar is the Bema, or high place. We sat on its steps as we listened to the teaching.


You can see the Lebanese towns off in the distance.


When He had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the Lord and made them commit a great sin. The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from then until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day. 2 Kings17: 21-23

These pictures were taken as we walked back down to the entrance.



Kay Arthur and one of the bus hostesses, Tommye Hammel.


The following pictures are of the Israelite city wall and one of the city gates. It was here that the business of the city and its government was conducted.


This is the stone bench upon which the elders, and sometimes even the king, would sit to hear lawsuits brought before them. This custom is referred in several Biblical passages. Example (Ruth 4 1-2): "Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there...And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down".



It is incredible to believe that we are standing on pavement stones that date back to the 900s BC.

Next stop, Caesarea Philippi…

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