Day 1: Dan, Galilee and Mount Arbel

We had a long, physically arduous day visiting these sites and more. Everything went well in spite of sore feet from the broken, rocky terrain of Mt. Arbel (and from climbing the water shaft at Hazor – more on that in a later post). I’ll just keep this simple… pictures with captions.

One the NW shore of Galilee. The town of Migdal (Magdala) is in the background across the water. It is the probable home of Mary the Magda-lene.

One the NW shore of Galilee. The town of Migdal (Magdala) is in the background across the water. It is the probable home of Mary the Magdal-ene.

A 3,800 year-old city gate at Dan. It is the only preserved gate we have from that time, because the city's inhabitants intentionally buried it due to structural weakness in the north (right) tower. The Bible says that when Abraham rescued Lot, he went up to this city in pursuit of the captors (Genesis 14:12-14). It is possible he walked through this very gate.

A 3,800 year-old city gate at Dan. The Bible says that when Abraham rescued Lot, he went up to this city in pursuit of the captors (Genesis 14:12-14). He may have walked through this very gate. It is the only preserved mud brick gate we have from the Middle Bronze Age. The northern (right) tower had begun to show structural weakness around 1700 B.C., so the fortifications were buried in a huge earthen rampart that protected the city for the next 3 centuries, and preserved the gate for us.

The North end of the Sea of Galilee from the cliffs of Mount Arbel. Mt. Arbel is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but it has a spectacular view of Galilee. The sites of Capernaum, the traditional "Mount of Beatitudes" and ancient Bethsaida are on the left shoreline in this photograph. The Golan Heights are in the background. This body of water is more of a Lake than a Sea. One can see all side of the lake even when standing on the shoreline.

The North end of the Sea of Galilee from the cliffs of Mount Arbel. Mt. Arbel is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, but it has a spectacular view of the area. The sites of Capernaum, the traditional "Mount of Beatitudes" and ancient Bethsaida are along the left shoreline in the top half of this photograph. The Golan Heights are in the background. This body of water is more of a lake than a Sea. One can see across to all sides even when standing on the shoreline.

Caves on the sides of the Mt. Arbel cliff. Jewish fighters fortified these and turned the side of the mountain into a fortress during ancient times. Jews fought the Greeks during the 2nd century B.C., Herod the Great in the 1st century B.C., and the Romans in the late-60's A.D. Josephus records that the Greeks, unable to penetrate the defenses, lowered soldiers in baskets from the summit above. The Greek soldiers then threw grappling hooks into the caves. When they hooked a Jewish soldier, they pulled him out of the cave and he fell onto the rocky terrain below.

Caves on the sides of the Mt. Arbel cliff. Jewish fighters fortified these and turned the side of the mountain into a fortress during ancient times. Jews fought here against the Greeks in the 2nd century B.C., Herod the Great in the 1st century B.C., and the Romans in the late-60's A.D. Josephus records that the Greeks, unable to penetrate the defenses, lowered soldiers in baskets from the summit above. The Greek soldiers then threw grappling hooks into the caves. When they hooked a Jewish soldier, they pulled him out of the cave and he fell onto the rocky terrain below.

I’ll share more photos and information later. There is simply too much to fit into one post. We have another full day tomorrow, so be sure to check back.

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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2 Responses to Day 1: Dan, Galilee and Mount Arbel

  1. Meredith says:

    Luke, I was so excited to read about the things you’ve been seeing already! I read pieces of it aloud to my friends that happened to be sitting in the same room as me 🙂 I would say to have fun… but that seems a little unnecessary!

  2. Jared Saltz says:

    Glad to see you’re having a good time, Luke.

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