Tag Archives: Herod the Great

Abraham’s Tomb, another example of Herod the Great’s building genius

The following are some of my pictures of Abraham’s tomb, located in Jerusalem. As you would probably deduce this tomb would not have been built for Abraham upon his death, there would not have been this kind of architecture in this location at this time. The tomb, also described as a fortress, was built by Herod the Great, about 3,000 years after Abraham lived.

01_3This is my picture of Abraham’s tomb, obviously not a product of 3,000 BC. I found it incredibly fascinating that Herod the Great built not just this, he rebuilt the temple, a huge feat in and of itself. He built Masada. He built an amazing fortress on the top of a man-made “mountain”, which, I can’t find any pictures of and I’m very upset. Herod was called “the Great”, because of his amazing architectural accomplishments. I’m not aware of any other rulers who were honored with “Great” because of their building.

Obviously the significance of this “fortress” is not about Herod, but for the reason that this structure was built here. I found a good description of this by Bruce Feiler in his book “Walking The Bible” and the following is his description on pages 67 and 68.

“The fortress that I was about to enter is said to exist on the exact spot where Abraham buried Sarah. It was built two thousand years ago, perhaps by Herod the Great. Despite its scale, the building uses no mortar. Inside, it contains a courtyard and two colonnades containing memorials to Abraham, Sarah and Jacob. The memorials to Isaac and Rebekah are in an adjacent room.”

This is located in an area that is Muslim, and has been divided between Muslim and Jewish. Both Islam and Judaism, as well as Christianity, recognize Abraham as their “Father”, Judaism through Abraham’s and Sarah’s son Isaac, Islam through Abraham’s and Hagar’s son Ishmael.

The following are more of my photographs:

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This picture is of one one of the “cells” containing a tomb. I can’t tell who would have been buried here though. 04_6

07_908_100 This final shot showing part of a Muslim worship area.

Masada

The featured picture is looking down from the top of Masada, in Israel, in the Negev desert. The fortress was built by Herod the Great. Herod earned “The Great”, because of his many impressive structures that he built in many places in Israel. Masada was intended by him as a place of refuge, but ended up being used by Zealots holding out against the Roman army.

The feature right in the center, that looks like a ramp? Well it’s because it is a ramp. The Romans built this ramp in order to get access to the fortress. Which they finally did, only to find that all the defenders had committed suicide. It is staggering to imagine how day after day the Romans are building this ramp, right under the view of the defenders. Equally staggering on the part of the defenders, knowing that day by day their doom was right below them.

14_16The square outlines are where the Roman Army encampments were while they conducted the siege of Masada.

13_15This is a picture of the interior of Masada, at the top of the mountain.

05_7The Negev desert from the top of Masada, in the direction of the Dead Sea.

20_22A storm building over  the Negev and I believe, that this is in the direction of Egypt. While we were there a factory was blown up by a missile fired from the Gaza strip. We could see the smoke, and there were a lot of military aircraft overhead while we were in the area.

04_6I really have a lot of respect for the country and the people of Israel. I still stay in contact with a few people there. They live under tough conditions and I thought this was an inspiring picture, a reminder of those who defended this fortress and their 21st century descendants who defend their tiny country.

Herod the Great, the King of Israel, placed there by the Romans, was without question one of the greatest builders in Israel’s history. The reason he is called “Great” is for the many buildings, built during his reign. Israel has no real port on to the Mediterranean. Herod built this mostly to accommodate the Romans. It is a very Roman city with aqueducts, coliseum, made to be a very contemporary city of the time.

Pontius Pilate a very real historical figure

Up until recently the historicity of Pontius Pilate was doubted, critics of the Bible pointed to this “doubt” as another “proof” that the Bible was not historically accurate. Up until the stone’s discovery in 1961, Pilate was thought to be fictional, that is until the stone (pictured) was found. The stone was a dedication to the building of Caesarea Maritima and refers to Pilate as Prefect of Judaea. The stone is generally accepted to be authentic. This is a display at Caesarea Maritima, the stone there is a replica, the original is in the Jerusalem Museum. Archaeology continues over and over to confirm facts, not just from Jesus’ time, but for all the Bible.