Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 8 - Ein Gedi -> Ahava dead sea products factory -> Qumran -> Lunch

Next stop was Ein Gedi.

Rev Quesk's notes :

Ein Gedi (Kid Spring) is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea, and is the largest desert oasis in Israel (250 acres-125 football fields). It is watered by four springs. Their fresh water made the settlement possible since ancient times, and was referred several times in the Bible as a fertile place.

Ein Gedi was prosperous in the Hellenistic and Roman period, its wealth based on its famous dates, vegetation, and the precious balsam which was used to manufacture perfume.

(a) 1 Samuel 23 29, 24:1—Ein-Gedi was the place where David hid while being pursued by King Saul

(b) Song of Solomon 1:14—The vineyards of Ein Gedi were celebrated in King Solomon's times.

End

Ein Gedi (literally “The Spring of the Kid”) is an oasis located near the Dead Sea known for its beautiful springs, caves and abundant animal life. This was David’s refuge when he fled from King Saul (1 Samuel 23:29). It was in one of the caves here that David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe (1 Samuel 24). Some of the psalms are believed to have been inspired in this area.
Model of Ein Gedi

Map of Ein Gedi

Waiting Area

Entrance

Enroute to waterfall in Ein Gedi

Waterfall, David's falls


Enroute to entrance

Back to entrance

After Ein Gedi, it was shopping at Ahava factory before proceeding to Qumran
Rev Quesk's notes :

Qumran is located 70m above the level of the Dead Sea. The site is 325m under the sea level. The hills of the Judean desert are located on its western side.

Qumran may have been one of the desert cities listed in the Bible as part of the Judah tribe villages. Its name was either "Secacah" or "city of salt" (Jos15: 61-62).

During the end of the 2nd C BC the site was resettled during the Hellenistic period of the Hasmonean kings - John Hyrcanus I or Alexander Jannaeus. The new settlers were a break-away sect known as the Essenes (or Essences), who populated the caves and oasis sites along the western shore of the Dead Sea. They preferred to live in a remote area, far from the normal life in the cities and villages of Israel. It was built as a self supporting communal village, functioning as a sort of Monastery (which is one of the oldest known).

After the earthquake of 31 BC in the Jordan valley, during the times of King Herod the Great, the settlement was severely damaged and deserted. The Essenes returned to rebuild the site in 4BC.

During the Great revolt against the Romans, the sect sided with the rebels. The residents of Qumran prepared themselves to the worst, and hid their precious treasures (the scrolls) in the caves. The Romans indeed conquered Qumran (68AD), destroyed it and dispersed the sect.

In 1947, a shepherd boy discovered the Dead Sea scrolls in a local cave. The area was excavated and additional scrolls and fragments were discovered in 11 caves around Qumran. The scrolls were hidden in jars, and were preserved relatively well due to the dry climate of the Judean desert.

The buildings in Qumran included mainly public structures that hosted large public events, workshops and a scriptorium where the scrolls were written. Most of the residences were probably in tents around the center. A large cemetery of a thousand tombs was located near the ruins of Qumran, which further indicated that Qumran was a center for the Essenes sect.

End

Qumran. The 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a cave here by a Bedouin shepherd chasing a stray sheep in 1947. Consolidated from scrolls found in some 11 caves, every Old Testament book is represented except Esther.
Background on the discovery of the scrolls at the entrance

The jars in which the scrolls were kept

Scribe Room

Dead sea Scrolls

Qumran Caves

Where the Essenes stayed during their times


The scroll caves

Qumran caves

Dead Sea in the background

Qumran Nation Park

Lunch was at Qumran. The "canteen" was very crowded and chaotic and our group were scattered. Food so-so.



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