August 31, 2011

Greetings from Jerusalem. Today has been a very good day, with focus in the Shepheleh and Elah Valley areas

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), He said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt. 5:41). Have you ever wondered what was meant by that? The NET Bible has a note explaining, “Roman soldiers had the authority to press civilians into service to carry loads for them.”

The Roman Empire ruled the world in the 1st century, and the Jews were a subject nation. Any of the Jews in Jesus’ audience could be thus compelled to carry a burden for a Roman soldier. But Roman law stated that you could not be made to carry it more than a mile. That raises the question of how one would know when a mile had passed. Would it be when you felt you had walked a mile, or when the soldier announced that a mile had passed?

One way to be sure was when you came across a milestone. The Romans were expert road builders, and they posted mile markers along the way.

Milestone near Beth Shemesh. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Milestone near Beth Shemesh. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The real question becomes why would Jesus make a requirement of this nature? While there may be many reasons, here are a couple of suggestions: [1] Jesus disciples are different. Not different just to be different, but different in the ways that the Gospel will make one different. Jesus’ disciples are different because they are like Jesus. See the verses of the context leading into this text.

[2] Living the kind of life envisioned by this text could very likely cause someone to ask you a reason of the hope that is in you, thus providing a teaching opportunity (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

Click on image for larger view.

Be sure to check Ferrell’s Travel Blog also.


October 18, 2010

An archaeological site of current interest is Khirbet-Qeiyafa, the Elah Fortress.  Luke Chandler has been involved in digs there, and his blog reports on some of the findings there and their implications. Go to:


Many believe this site will prove to be an Israelite fortress that dates back to the reign of King David. Our aerial photo below shows the site in its context overlooking the Valley of Elah:

Khirbet-Qeiyafa, the Elah Fortress overlooking Valley of Elah. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

You can see the circular tel on your right in the photo.  It was in the valley below that David killed Goliath.

Click on image for higher resolution.

Tel Azekah

October 12, 2010

Well, a lot has happened since our last post of this past Friday!  Sunday morning, 10/10/2010, we were blessed with the birth of another grandchild. I just happen to have a photo:


Brand new granddaughter. My son Seth.


Then yesterday we began a 4-day meeting with the Pine Lane church of Christ, south Birmingham.  It is good to be with the church there again.  Terry Benton serves as evangelist.

Our post today features an aerial photo of Azekah. First note the location of Azekah on the map below.


Azekah. Map by


Azekah is mentioned in connection with the southern conquest of Canaan under Joshua:

And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword. (Josh. 10:11).

Our photo below shows Tel Azekah as it overlooks the Elah Valley.


Aerial of Tel Azekah. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.


Azekah is included in the geographical setting for the stand-off between the Philistines and the Israelite army under king Saul.

Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. (1 Sam. 17:1).

It was on this occasion that David killed the giant from Gath, Goliath.

(Click on images for higher resolution).


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