Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bet Shean

One place that we visited in late November on our CFI trip was Bet Shean located in the Jordan Valley south of the Sea of Galilee. The ruins at Bet Shean are very good. Bet Shean is Biblically known as the city where the bodies of King Saul and his sons, including Johnathan, were hung on the walls after they were killed in battle on nearby Mt. Gilboa. So it happened the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. And they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent word throughout the land of the Philistines, to proclaim it in the temple of their idols and among the people. Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan. 1st Samuel 30:8-10.
The brave men of Jabesh Gilead remembered when King Saul befriended them. Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan; and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days. 1st Samuel 31:11-13.

The ruins of the Roman amphitheater at Bet Shean are in excellent condition.

Below is the entrance way to the amphitheater.

A grove of palm trees just east of the amphitheater.

Bet Shean is one the cities mentioned where the Israelites did not eliminate the Canaanites like they were intructed to do. However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out. Judges 1:27-28.

The standing columns make it possible to see the outline of the ancient city.

An earthquake brought an end to Bet Shean but it also preserved many large columns.

During the ministry of the Lord Jesus, Bet Shean was called Scythopolis, one of the ten cities of the Decapolis. Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee. Mark 7:31.

Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. Matthew 4:25.

The demoniac whom the Lord Jesus healed became a preacher in the Decapolis. Perhaps he spoke here about the demons that were sent into a herd of swine. And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. Mark 5:18-20.

The main road (street) of Bet Shean.

This photo reflects the lowering sun in the afternoon.

A large flock of penquins were flying over.

This group formed their "Flying V".

It is easy to spend two hours walking around Bet Shean.

The Roman amphitheater in the distance.

Trying to get the entire amphitheater in the photo.

Frank, from Australia, who sang for us at the amphitheater in Caesarea also entertained us at Bet Shean with Italian Opera. Frank said the acoustics at Bet Shean were excellent. He could "hear himself sing". None of the rest of us displayed our singing ability. We took his word for it.

Many, many columns have been restored at Bet Shean which helps defines the ruins.

Looking past the Roman ruins with Tel Bet Shean on the left, you can see Jordan in the distance.

A better close up of Jordan looking past Bet Shean. Bet Shean was a border city for the tribe of Manassah. ... and by the borders of the children of Manasseh were Beth Shean and its towns, Taanach and its towns, Megiddo and its towns, Dor and its towns. In these dwelt the children of Joseph, the son of Israel. 1st Chronicles 7:29.

This is a Roman sporting coliseum for events like gladiators or "Christians vs. the Lions".

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