To view "Two
Very Different
Houses" click

here.

To view
"The
Empty
Tomb"
click
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To read "The
Road to
Emmaus,"  
click
here.
To read "In
Search of
Lazarus,"  click

here.

To view
"The
Upper
Room"
click
here.
To view "The
Church of St.
Peter in
Gallicantu"
click
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To view
"Visitng the
Dome of the
Rock"
click
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To view "The
Garden of
Gethsemane and
Church of All
Nations," click
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To view "In
Search of the
Messianic Secret
- Caesarea
Phillipi," click

here.
To view
"Caesarea
Maritima as Kown
to  Saint Paul"
click
here.
To read "A
Reflection of
Jerusalem & the
New Jerusalem
from the Ground,"  
click
here.
To view Group
photos of
Cincinnati
Pilgrims in
Jerusalem  click
here.
To view "Confession
of a Gentile in
Jerusalem: The
Paradox of the 5
Shekel Blessing"
click
here.
To view "Into the
Heat of the
Hebron
Cauldon," click
here.
To view "Pilgrimage to
Bethlehem, Birthplace
of Jesus," click
here.
To read "The
Wilderness of
Abraham, Jesus &
Israel- Palestine,"  
click
here.
To view
"Herodion:  A
Fortress During the
Gospels," click

here.
To view "The Call
for Simon Peter,
Fisherman," click

here.
To read
"Descending to the
Dead Sea and
Ascending to
Qumran,"  click
here.
To read
"Jury for
Jericho,"  
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here.
Photography on this page by Charleston C. K. Wang, Shirley Wang, or Arthur Wang
Copyright 2010-2013 All Rights Reserved Charleston C. K. Wang, Esq., Publisher
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Photography on this page by Charleston C. K. Wang, Shirley Wang, or Arthur Wang
Copyright 2010-2011 All Rights Reserved Charleston C. K. Wang, Esq., Publisher
To view Group
photos of
Cincinnati
Pilgrims in
Jerusalem  click
here.
To view "Confession
of a Gentile in
Jerusalem: The
Paradox of the 5
Shekel Blessing"
click
here.
To view "Into the
Heat of the
Hebron
Cauldon," click
here.
To view "Pilgrimage to
Bethlehem, Birthplace
of Jesus," click
here.
To read "The
Wilderness of
Abraham, Jesus &
Israel- Palestine,"  
click
here.
To view
"Herodion:  A
Fortress During the
Gospels," click

here.
To view "The Call
for Simon Peter,
Fisherman," click

here.
To read
"Descending to the
Dead Sea and
Ascending to
Qumran,"  click
here.
To read
"Jury for
Jericho,"  
click
here.
WANGNEWS SERVICE
An Independent Source of News & Views
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TWO VERY DIFFERENT HOUSES
ON THE LEFT,  BEIT SHE'AN (BETH SHAN):
This ancient walled city, located 17 miles south
of the Sea of Galilee at the junction of the
Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley, dates
back to the 15th century BCE when Egyptian
pharaohs used the location as a garrison town.
More than a strategic gateway location, the
area has fertile soil and abundant water,
causing Jewish sages to remark, "If the Garden
of Eden is in the land of Israel, then its gate is
Beth Shean."

During the time of the Gospels, it had become a
Hellenized city known as Scythopolis.  It
ascended to being the leading city of the
Decapolis (the top ten), a center of
Greco-Roman culture and then of the Pax
Romana.  Favored by Pompey and then by
Gabinius, it boasted large Roman baths, a
hippodrome, amphitheatre, cardo (main
north-south shop-line street), aqueduct, and
other amenities of urban life.   The city thrived
into the Byzantine Period and served as the
capital of Palaestina Secunda.  

In 634 CE, it fell intact to the Umayyad Caliph
Umar ibn al-Khattab and was renamed Baysan.  
Muslims and Christians lived together until the
city was devastated by the Golan Earthquake of
749, evidence of which include massive
columns all toppled in one direction.  The city
never fully recovered from this natural disaster.   
During the crusader period, Christians held it as
part of the Belvior fiefdom and a moated fort
was built on the site.  After the crusaders
withdrew, the city passed to the Mamluks and
served as a postal relay town between
Damascus and Cairo.   

Decline continued through the Ottoman period
and by the time of the British Mandate, it had
dwindled to being an Arab village.   During
1921-33 the tell was extensively excavated by
archaeologists from the University of
Pennslyvania who uncovered 18 successive
ancient settlements.   More excavations
continued from 1989-96 by Hebrew University.

Bethshean is mentioned in the Hebrew
Scripture:

"Within Issachar and Asher, Manasseh had
Beth-shean and its villages, Ibleam and its
villages, the inhabitants of Dor and its villages,
the inhabitants of En-dor and its villages, the
inhabitants of Taanach and its villages, and the
inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages (the third
is Naphath).  Yet the Manassites could not take
possession of those towns; but the Canaanites
continued to live in that land.  But when the
Israelites grew strong, they put the Canaanites
to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them
out. " Joshua 17:11-13.

It is reiterated at Judges 1:27,

"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; but the Canaanites continued to live in
that land."

And more dramatically, concerning the death of
Saul:

"The next day, when the Philistines came to
strip the dead, they found Saul and his three
sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.  They cut off his
head, stripped off his armor, and sent
messengers throughout the land of the
Philistines to carry the good news to the houses
of their idols and to the people.  They put his
armor in the temple of Astarte; and they
fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.   But
when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard
what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the
valiant men set out, traveled all night long, and
took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons
from the wall of Beth-shan."  1 Samuel 31:8-12.

Ironically, Beth Shan means "House of
Tranquility."

ON THE RIGHT,  BETHSAIDA:  Bethsaida
means "House of Fishing," and is mentioned in
the New Testament.   The site I visited on April
21, 2010, is known as Bethsaida Et-Tell (shown
in the photographs), and lies about 1 mile
north-east away from the shoreline of the Sea of
Galilee (Gannesaret or Lake Tiberias) near the
River Jordan.  Most prominent on the location
are the House of the Fisherman (because of the
discovery of lead weights thought to be used to
weigh down fishing nets) and the House of the
Winemaker (because of four jars thought to be
part of a wine cellar).  This town may be the one
that Tetrarch Herod Philip I in the year 30-31
renamed Julias, in honor of Livia, the wife of
Augustus (hence the name Bethsaida Julias).  
At the same time it attained the status of a polis.

This site has been proposed to be the home of
the fishermen Peter
, Andrew and Phillip (John
1:44), and perhaps, also of James and John,
the sons of Zebedee.  This claim is hotly
disputed, there being also proposed another
Bethsaida to the west of the Jordan,  near the
synagogue of Capernaum, and actually being
on the shore of Galilee.

One mystery is how can this be the Bethsaida
of Jesus -  a fishing village - when it is located
over a mile from the shore of the Sea of
Galilee?   One explanation is that the Galillee
has become smaller since the days of Peter the
fisherman.   Bethsaida may have been
abandoned after the Jewish Revolt and its
fishing harbor may have silted up.  Yet another
explanation is the the Et-Tell site rose in
elevation as a result of earthquake.  Last is the
argument that this site is not the biblical
Bethsaida at all.

According to Scripture, Bethsaida is also the
location of the feeding of the five thousand with
bread and fish (Luke 9:10-17), and the healing
of a blind man by Jesus (Mark 8:22-26).
Perhaps most memorable passage is the
pronouncement against it by Jesus:

"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!
For if the deeds of power done in you had been
done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have
repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I
tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you."  
Matthew 11:21-22.

The site shown on the right bears the ruins of  a
modest town.  The foundations revealed by
excavation show streets and buildings quite
different from that of Beit She'an to the left.  
Even Chorazin had grander buildings than this
Bethsaida.   An interesting feature is the
contemporary stone markers showing arrow
pointers that give the direction of neighboring
sites.  Perhaps what is so beguiling about this
site is its modesty which comports with the
society of Peter and Andrew, fishermen.   
Charleston C. K. Wang, 5/19/2012.
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ARTHUR REX SURVEYING THE WORLD ATOP A COLUMN AT BETHSHE'AN