More Confusion, Civil, and Religion & Mizpah

The people of Benjamin and Gibeah should have given the men up that raped and killed the concubine.  People can be so stupid at times. 

Now that Israel wiped out all of them, or most of them, what are they going to do?

On the east side of the hill are remarkable remains of dwellings dated to the Hasmonean period village (2nd C BC to the 1st C BC). This area was not damaged by the Crusader rock cutting, like on the other sides where the Crusader stonemasons cut deep into the bedrock.
The houses are built along the hillside, and were tightly built like a maze. These two story houses were preserved to a height of 4.5m. They are designed as several rooms located around a courtyard.

“Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife” (Jdg 21:1).

Israel then turned to God, and said,

“…O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?”  (Jdg 21:3).

“And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death. 

And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. 

How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? 

And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD?  And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly” (Jdg 21:5-8).

The picture below shows a view of the Hasmonean quarter from the south side.

Israel checked to see what tribes were there or not and it was found that there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead.  They then sent 12,000 men to go and kill all the men, women, and children, except for the virgins, and they returned with 400 virgins.

They then went to the rock Rimmon to make peace with Benjamin and give them the virgins because even though they had been at war, they were still a part of Israel and they didn’t want them to become extinct, but they wouldn’t give them their own daughters.

“Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. 

This shows the houses in the Hasmonean quarter, moving from east to south-west.
This house has two stories, with the street seen behind the wall on the left. The walls are constructed of trimmed stones which are covered with plaster. The lintels (horizontal blocks) and doorposts are made of dressed, squared thin stones (ashlars).
Several stone basins, seen in the courtyard, contained water which was fetched from underground cisterns.

Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;

And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favorable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty. 

And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their Number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.

And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance. 

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jdg 21:19-25). 

We have a very evil and corrupt government, but image the chaos if there was no order.  The scriptures below are wise to follow:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Pro 3:5-7).

Moving towards the south, the neighboring house is seen on the left. It has also two stories, with the upper level reached from the higher street, while the lower level is reached from the lower street.

“Thus saith the LORD.  Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise loving kindness, Judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. 

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised” (Jer 9:23-25).

This last sentence does not mean that God is going to kill everyone, just the evil/uncircumcised, as well as the circumcised that are not true, such as a Catholic priest. 

Jesus had said:

Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name have cast out devils? 

And in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt 7:21-23).

Mizpah

Battle of Emmaus/Hasmonean Revolt
The Battle of Emmaus took place in 166 BC between the Hasmonean forces of Judea, led by Judah Maccabee, also called Judas Maccabeus which is also spelled Machabeus, or Maccabaeus, known to history as Judah the Hammer, and the third expedition of Greek forces given by Antiochus IV Epiphanes to Lysias.

As part of the military campaign of 165 B.C., Judas Maccabaeus – the leader of the revolt against the Seleucid empire (167-160 B.C.) – assembled the Jewish forces in Mizpah, and launched a successful attack against the Syrian forces

Mizpah (of Benjamin) is identified by many scholars as the hill of Nebi Samuel, which makes sense for a good place for launching the attack and also protecting the entrance to Jerusalem.

The course of the Emmaus battle is illustrated on the map above.

First, the Syrian forces (commanded by Seleucid Generals Nicanor and Gorgias) arrives and camps in Emmaus (red color), while Judas Maccabeus (blue color) gathered 3,000 men and assembled in Mizpah.

Then, General Gorgias headed at night from Emmaus to Mizpah to seek the camp of Judas.

When Judas learned about the Syrian split, he exploited this opportunity by moving his forces during the night to the outskirts of Emmaus.

In dawn they attacked, defeated the surprised Syrian army, and burnt their camp.

General Nicanor’s troops then flee to Gezer.

Gorgias, who found an empty camp in Mizpah, returns back to Emmaus to find that their camp on fire, and also flees.

This treatment of household archaeology at Tell en-Nasbeh initiates a broader program of research on Iron Age II residential compounds at the site.

By studying ceramics and small finds in their original architectural contexts, I investigated aspects of daily life in a fortified village at the household level. This provides a bottom-up view of Judean society that stands in contrast to the top-down view of royal or elite society typically represented in various texts of the Hebrew Bible during the period of the United and Divided Monarchies.

This household approach also stands in contrast to most Iron Age II excavations in the region that have focused primarily on the archaeology of urban centers and other outposts of the central authorities, such as fortresses.

Were the pillared-houses at Nasbeh the residences of nuclear or extended families?

Data presented allows me to define a particular five-building compound as the home of three nuclear families whose houses were physically linked.

Shared or pooled resources of these three nuclear families, revealed through household archaeology, suggest that this compound housed one extended family.

Approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Jerusalem lies Tell en-Nasbeh, a mound 853 feet long (nearly 260 m)by 426. 5 feet (nearly 130 m) wide, covering a total surface area of about 7.7 acres.

Most scholars identify this site with the Biblical Mizpah.  Little is known about Mizpah during the pre-monarchial period because the city is seldom mentioned in texts and few archaeological remains from this era have been discovered.

Excavations between 1926 and 1935 unearthed three tombs, two caves and various fragments of pottery from the Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze I periods, which predate any Biblical reference.

The Book of Judges identifies Mizpah as the assembly point for a comibined Israelite military force that attacked the Benjamites at Gibeah.

Mizpah’s central location on the watershed highway between Ramah and Bethel would have made it a natural mustering point, even if no archaeological record of a major settlement exists from that period.

The force then moved north to Bethel to inquire of the Lord before launching its attack, and Mizpah played no further in the account.

By the time of Samuel, Mizpah had become an important regional center. The prophet summoned all the Israelites there to seek forgiveness for their idolatry.

While the assembled Israelites were fasting before the Lord, the Philistines launched an attack, but God intervened with thunder and scattered them (1 Sam 7:5-11).

After this Samuel, who was serving as Israel’s judge, returned to Miz­pah each year as part of a circuit that also included Bethel and Gilgal. It was also at Mizpah that Samuel revealed Saul (not Paul the Apostle)  as Israel’s first king (1 Sam 10:17-21).

Philistine and other local pottery, along with the re­mains of rock-cut cisterns and houses, attests to a resurgence of population around the time of Samuel, as the Biblical text suggests.

During the divided monarchy, Mizpah was a border city between Israel and Judah. In approximately 895 B.C. King Baasha of Israel pushed his territory south as far as Ramah and built a fortification there (1 Kgs 15:17-22; 2 Chr 16:1-6).

This cut off Judah’s primary land route to the coastal plain. King Asa of Judah responded by bribing the Arameans to attack Israel from the north.

Baasha had to redirect his forces to this northern front, and Asa seized the opportu­nity to dismantle the Israelite fortification at Ramah.

He then used the materials to construct Judahite strongholds farther north in Mizpah and Geba.

Excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh have re­vealed the remains of a massive defensive construction of the early 9th century B.C.

Plain of Mizpah, Israel

A wall of roughly shaped and plastered stones reached a height of nearly 46 feet (14 m) and was reinforced by a series often towers.

A stone glacis (slope at the base of the fortification wall) ended in a dry moat 16.4 feet (5 m) wide and 6.56 feet (2 m) deep, while a double gate complex protect­ed the entrance to the city.

It is the only for­tification of this type in the region. Houses were built against the inside of the wall.

Remains of olive oil presses and storage bins from the period have also been unearthed, along with a cemetery on a ridge just out­side the city.

These finds confirm that Asa expended considerable resources in the strengthening of this crucial defensive position.

Following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and most of Judah in 586 B.C., Mizpah became the residence of Gedaliah, the Babylonian-appointed governor of Judah (2 Kgs 25:23; Jer 40:1-41:16).

Gedaliah’s tenure was short-lived, for lshmael, son of Nethaniah, and some other political insur­gents assassinated him less than six months after his arrival in Mizpah.

Mizpah Cemetery

The city continued to serve as the regional capital until at least the time of Nehemiah.

During this era of Babylonian control, larger, more elaborate private dwellings and public buildings replaced the smaller houses of Asa’s time.

Subsequent Biblical references to Miz­pah are few and brief. Even so, numerous examples of Persian seals and seal impres­sions, pieces of Greek and Roman pottery, and other items suggest virtually continu­ous habitation on the mound throughout antiquity.

The cemetery at Mizpah remained in use until the Byzantine period, when a Christian church was constructed nearby.