Holy Land Pilgrimage and Biblical Archeology

 

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"WOE TO YOU, CHORAZIN!  WOE TO YOU, BETHSAIDA
FOR IF THE MIGHTY WORKS WHICH WERE DONE IN YOU,
HAD BEEN DONE IN TYRE AND SIDON, THEY WOULD HAVE
REPENTED LONG AGO IN SACKCLOTH AND ASHES"
MATTHEW 11
              
                        

Holy Sites -- Gila's Highlights

Let's echo the reproach to Chorazin

Of the three cities – Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum – rebuked or cursed by Jesus, Chorazin is the attention grabber, as the first mentioned.  We don’t know which miracles were performed in this Galilean village, 2.5 miles northwest of Capernaum.  Was it casting out demons?  Healing a withered hand?  Rebuking a malarial fever?  Raising up a dying child?

But we do know that this is a wake-up call and had the people heeded Jesus’ words, as the wicked population of Nineveh had heeded Jonah’s warnings, destruction would have been averted.  All three towns disappeared off the face of the earth, until their ruins were revealed by the archeologists’ spade.

Ruins of Chorazin synagogue

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Interior of Chorazin  Synagogue

Chorazin was the first of the “cursed” cities to be identified. In 1869 a Dutch officer named C. Van de Velde stumbled upon the ruins of Chorazin as he traveled throughout the Holy Land estimating road distances in his second career as a cartographer.  Van de Velde’s map, published in both French and English, was considered the best and most reliable of his day. Undoubtedly it was incorporated
into the 19th century equivalent of Google maps.

Ionic basalt capital from Chorazin's synagogue

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Ionic basalt capital once adorning Chorazin's synagogue

The most astounding discovery at Chorazin (in 1926) was a black basalt stone armchair used in the synagogue during the reading of the Torah.  In the Acts of the Apostles, James refers to the custom of reading the Torah, or the Law of Moses on the Sabbath.  “For in every city, for generations past, Moses has had those who proclaim him, for he has been read aloud every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
(Acts 15:21)
In Chorazin and other Galilean synagogues of Jesus’ day, during the reading of the Law of Moses, the congregation sat on stone benches still seen running along the side walls or on mats on the floor.  However, the elders sat facing the people, with their backs to Jerusalem.  The most distinguished of the elders would sit on a stone armchair called the “seat of Moses.”
This stone armchair found at Chorazin is an exemplary illustration of the “seat of Moses” mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 23.  “Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works, for they do not practice what they preach’.”

Seat of Moses of Matthew 23 found in Chorazin synagogue

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

"Seat of Moses" of Matthew 23 found in the Chorazin synagogue

Here in Chorazin’s synagogue with our group “elder” settled in the “seat of Moses” and the others on the original stone benches, we can talk about hypocrites, pretense, honor, walking the talk….wherever the spirit leads us.  It’s a rare, quiet opportunity to explore Jesus’ message in a town destroyed because of the people’s refusal to repent.
Afterwards we head for the shady old oaks, putting ourselves in the sandals of nineteenth century European and American explorers who walked the land in a quest to identify sacred geography.  And let our imaginations roam for clues that would guide our search to locate buried biblical sites.

Old oak tree outside Chorazin synagogue

Photo:  Gila Yudkin

Shady old oak at Chorazin

Gila Yudkin, who calls herself a Connecticut-born Yankee living in King David’s court, leads her groups to the most popular sites in off-hours and takes advantage of quiet opportunities to explore the message of the Gospel.  Gila is always on the lookout for groups thirsty for biblical insight, archeological anecdotes and old-fashioned fun.
Read what archeology has revealed about Bethsaida in the time of Jesus.
For more about Jesus’ attitude towards hypocrites, see “Let's consider whether Jesus visited Sepphoris.

For a ramble about the archeology of “a city on a hill which cannot be hid,” see “Let’s ramble through Hippos, a Decapolis city”

Copyright 2010 Gila Yudkin.  Permission needed for any reuse.

 

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"Let's echo the reproach to Chorazin" (as text without the photos) is one in the series of free quarterly e-letters sent on request to tour leaders, pastors, clergy, teachers, Bible students, colleagues and friends.  If you'd like to receive "Holy Sites: Gila's Highlights" please contact Gila. 

 

More Biblical Archeology:
 

Let's ramble through Hippos, a Decapolis city

Let's talk about Armageddon at Megiddo

Let's find Herod's tomb at Herodion

Hippos / Decapolis city

Megiddo / Armageddon

Herodion / Herod's Tomb

 
 

Let's walk down Bethsaida's first century AD street

Let's visit Gezer, Solomon's wedding gift

Let's lament King Saul at Beth Shean

1st C AD Bethsaida

Gezer / Solomon's dowry

Beth Shean / Saul's end

 


GILA YUDKIN TCHERNIKOVSKI 64A JERUSALEM ISRAEL
gila@itsgila.com

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Holy Land Photography by Gila Yudkin