Bethlehem of Galilee

August 28, 2014

In studying the book of Judges, brief mention is made of Ibzan of Bethlehem. The text notes that he had 30 sons and 30 daughters, and states that he judged Israel for seven years (Jud. 12:8-10). Very likely this is the Bethlehem of Galilee, not the Bethlehem of Judah, the latter being remembered of course as the birthplace of Jesus (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:1). There were two biblical cities named Bethlehem. This is why the Bible is very specific in clarifying that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah in these texts.

Joshua 19 describes the inheritance of Zebulun (of Galilee) and Bethlehem is included in the list: “Included also were Kattah and Nahalal and Shimron and Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities with their villages” (v.15). Note the location of the map here:

Bethlehem of Galilee. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Bethlehem of Galilee. Map by BibleAtlas.org.

Here is a shot of the city sign upon entering from the south.

Bethlehem of the Galilee sign. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Bethlehem of the Galilee sign. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The earlier presence of the Templars may still be seen.

Bethlehem Templar Folk House. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Bethlehem Templar Folk House. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Today Bethlehem of the Galilee is a moshav, a cooperative agricultural community of individual farms.

Pasture in Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pasture in Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Cattle at Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Cattle at Bethlehem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.


Cistern at Adullam

October 20, 2011

Last month we had the occasion to visit Adullam. Ferrell Jenkins posted on this here. Earlier I did a post dealing especially with the narrative of 2 Samuel 23:13-17, where David and some of his men were at the cave of Adullam, when he longed for water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem. See here for post, “David’s Mighty Men.”

While seeing the biblical site of Adullam it became apparent why David would have longed for the water from Bethlehem. Adullam is on a hill.

Tell Adullam. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

There was water at Adullam. Like so many sites in Israel, water was collected in cisterns.

Cistern at Adullam. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Our driver and guide Daphna drew some water from the cistern and then poured it back. We did not take a drink so I cannot vouch for its taste.

Daphna draws water and pours it back into the cistern at Adullam. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

David’s three men traveled 13 miles to the east to get to Bethlehem from Adullam.

Bethlehem would be to our far right, 13 miles distant from Adullam. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

David knew the difference between water that was living and fresh, like that at Bethlehem, and water collected in a cistern.

This distinction is helpful in understanding the Lord’s admonition to Judah through Jeremiah the prophet:

For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13).

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