Mark 10 – Marriage and Divorce & The Lost Cities of Africa: Tanis (2 of 5)

We have seen many different kingdoms and cities, but one we haven’t seen yet is…

Marriage and Divorce

Throughout his life, Ramses II went on to build various monuments and thus his legacy of being a builder in Ancient Egypt and Nubia was born.
Ramses II constructed monuments such as Abu Simbel, the mortuary temple Ramesseum, Pi-Ramesses in the Delta, and most notably completed the Temple at Karnak.

1 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.

“Coasts of Judea” – the Greek and Roman equivalent to the Old Testament

land of Judah, essentially the southern part of the Holy Land (now exclusive of Idumea), which formerly had been the southern kingdom. 

2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.

“Came to him, and asked him” – the question of the Pharisees was hostile.  It was for unlawful divorce and remarriage that John the Baptists denounced Herod Antipas and Herodias (6:17-18), and this rebuke cost him first imprisonment and then his life. 

Jesus was now within Herod’s jurisdiction and the Pharisees may have hoped that Jesus’ rely would cause the tetrarch to seize Him as he had John.

“Is it lawful…to put away his wife?” – Jews of that day generally agreed that divorce was lawful, the only debated issue being the proper grounds for it.

3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?

4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.

5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

Whatever his original status, after the death of Ramesses XI, Smendes became a king of Egypt, and is recorded as such in most reference material.
However, only two sources specifically name him as pharaoh, consisting of a stela in a quarry at Dibabia near Gebelein (Jebelein), and a small depiction in the temple of Montu at Karnak.

“For the hardness of your heart” – divorce was an accommodation to human weakness and was used to bring order in a society that had disregarded God’s will, but it was not the standard God had originally intended, as vv. 6-9 clearly indicate. 

The purpose of Deut 24:1 was not to make divorce acceptable, but to reduce the hardship of  its consequences. 

6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

“From the beginning of the creation” – Jesus goes back to the time before human sin to show God’s original intention.  God instituted marriage as a great unifying blessing, bonding the male and female in His creation.

7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

“No more twain, but one flesh” – the deduction drawn by Jesus affirms the ideal of the permanence of marriage.

9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

“What therefore God hath joined together” – Jesus grounds the sanctity of marriage in the authority of God Himself, and His “No’ to divorce safeguards against human selfishness, which always threatens to destroy marriage.

10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.

11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

Sheshonq I was known as a strong ruler who once again brought together a divided Egypt, which had been fragmented between Thebes in the South and Tanis in the north.
Hence, his reign is seen as a highpoint in the otherwise bleak Third Intermediate Period.

“Whosoever shall put away his wife” – in Jewish practice divorce was effected by the husband himself, not by a judicial authority or court.

“Committeth adultery against her” – a simple declaration of divorce on the part of a husband could not release him from the divine law or marriage and its moral obligations – this enduring force of the marriage bond was unrecognized in rabbinic courts.

12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

“She committeth adultery” – in Roman culture women, as well as men, could divorce, whereas in Jewish society, only men could divorce their spouses.

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Heqakheperre Shoshenq II was an Egyptian king of the 22nd dynasty of Egypt. He was the only ruler of this Dynasty whose tomb was not plundered by tomb robbers.
His final resting place was discovered within an antechamber of Psusennes I’s tomb at Tanis by Pierre Montet in 1939. Montet removed the coffin lid of Shoshenq II on March 20, 1939, in the presence of king Farouk of Egypt himself.

“Of such” – the kingdom of God belongs to those who, like children, are prepared to receive the kingdom as a gift of God.

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

“As a little child” – the point of comparison is the usual openness and receptivity of children.  The kingdom of God must be received as a gift,; it cannot be achieved by human effort (cf. Eph 2:8-9).  It may be entered only by those who know they are helpless, without claim or merit.

16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

“What shall I do…?” – the rich man was thinking in terms of earning righteousness to merit eternal life, but Jesus taught that it was a gift to be received.

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

“Why callest thou me good?” – Jesus wasn’t denying His own goodness but was forcing the man to recognize that his only hope was in total reliance of God, who alone can give eternal life.  No human being is good, only God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.

“Defraud not” – the prohibition of fraud may have represented the 10th commandment.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

Jean Pierre Marie Monte excavated at Byblos (modern Jbail) in Lebanon between 1921 and 1924, excavating tombs of rulers from Middle Kingdom times.

Between 1929 and 1939, he excavated at Tanis, Egypt, finding the royal necropolis of the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Dynasties — the finds there almost equalled that of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Wendebauendjed’s unique cups from his intact Tanis tomb were discovered by Pierre Montet in 1946

In the 1939-1940 Egypt excavation season, he discovered the completely intact tombs of 3 Egyptian pharaohs at Tanis: Psusennes I, Amenemope, and Shoshenq II along with the partially plundered tomb of Takelot I in Lower Egypt at Tanis.

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

“One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast” – there is nothing wrong with having money, but hoarding it when there are others that need help is basically telling God to mind His own business.  See v. 10:25.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

“With men it is impossible, but not with God” – God can do anything and salvation only comes from Him.

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,

30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

The Valley of the Kings (Arabic: وادي الملوك Wadi Biban el-Muluk; “Gates of the King”) is a valley in Egypt where for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the kings and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth through Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt).

The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, across from Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs situated) and West Valley.

“Now in this time…the world to come” – these two terms take in all of time from the fall of man to the eternal state.  The present age is evil (Gal 1:4), but the coming righteous age will begin with the second advent of Christ and continue forever.

31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

“First shall be last” – a warning against pride in sacrificial accomplishments such as Peter had manifested (v. 28).

32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,

33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:

34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

“Drink of the cup that I drink of” – a Jewish expression that meant to share someone’s fate.

King Tut, XVIII dynasty, about 1352 BC. This is his golden throne made of sheet gold worked around a wooden base and inlaid with faience, colored glass, lapis, lazuli, and calcite.

“Be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with” – the image of baptism is parallel to that of the cup, referring to His sufficient and death as a baptism which equals eternal life.

But the Catholics and Jews use Peter’s words and tell lies to people saying that you have to be baptized with water to be saved.  For example, having your baby baptized by the Catholic priest does only two things: (1) the baby is wet and (2) your pocketbook has less.

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, an dye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).

39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:

40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

Egypt’s most famous mummified king, Tutankhamun, had malaria and bone abnormalities that likely contributed to his death, according to recent findings published in the Journal of the E

Although King Tut’s mummy has been examined before, the researchers took two years to conduct detailed anthropological, radiological, and genetic (DNA) analysis to examine the boy pharaoh and 10 other royal mummies.

King Tut died in circa 1324 B.C. at age 19 after nine years on the throne and left no heirs.

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Psusennes I, was the third king of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt who ruled from Tanis (Greek name for Dzann, Biblical Zoan) between 1047 – 1001 B.C.
Psusennes is the Greek version of his original name Pasebakhaenniut which means “The Star Appearing in the City” while his throne name, Akheperre Setepenamun, translates as “Great are the Manifestations of Ra, chosen of Amun.” He was the son of Pinedjem I and Henuttawy,
Rameses XI’s daughter by Tentamun. He married his sister Mutnedjmet.

46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

“Jericho” – a very ancient city located five miles west of the Jordan and about 15 miles northeast of Jerusalem, but down a decline of 3,700 feet to more than 1,000 below sea level.

In Jesus’ time Old Testament Jericho was largely abandoned, but a new city south of the old one, had been built by Herod the Great.

47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

48 And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

49 And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

50 And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

51 And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

 

The Lost Cities of Africa (2 of 5)

The city of Tanis is relatively unknown among Egypt’s wealth of historical sites, though it yielded one of the greatest archeological troves ever found. Once the capital of all Egypt, Tanis’s royal tombs have yielded artifacts on par with the treasures of Tutankhamun.

Tanis

Location: Nile Delta, Egypt
Date of Construction: c 1070 B.C.
Abandoned: Pre-7th Century C.E.
Built By: Pharaoh Smendes and the Twenty-First and Twenty-Second Dynasties
Key Features: Re-Use Of Blocks and Statuary from Older Sites; Temple Compound with Wall; Temple Of Amun; Royal Tombs and Treasures.

Scattered blocks and the stumps of obelisks litter the top of a huge sand mound, marooned along the former course of a long-since silted-up branch of the Nile Delta.

Part of a stele from the temple compound (also known as the Sanctuary) at Tanis.
It shows the pharaoh Ramesses II making an offering to a god.

This stele was recycled by the constructors of Tanis from the ruins of the nearby city of Pi-Ramesses, founded by Ramesses II.

Such recycling initially caused Egyptologists to misidentify Tanis as Pi-Ramesses.
Overleaf: Remounted blocks and statues at Tanis, demonstrating why the mound containing the remnants of the city came to be called San el-Hagar, the Place of Stones.

Here was the site of Tanis, one-timecapital of ancient Egypt and the site of the only authentically undisturbed royal tombs, the extraordinary though unheralded contents of which rival the glories of Tutankhamun.

Tanis is the Greek name for the ancient Egyptian city of Djanet, a site known today as San el-Hagar – “the place of stones”.

Technically speaking, San el-Hagar actually refers to the northernmost and larger of two huge sand mounds or gezira: it rises over 9,814 feet above the surrounding flood plain and has an area of 437 acres.

From around the 11th century B.C. until the late 8th century B.C. it was capital of Egypt (albeit one of several at some points).

Before and after this it was an important regional capital and as well as its administrative role it was a major religious and trading center, funneling trans-Mediterranean trade into and out of Egypt, until its branch of the Nile silted up and it was left high and dry.

Despite this prominence, the circumstances of its construction made Tanis extremely difficult for latter-day archaeologists to identify, for the site is a kind of structural palimpsest, composed of the building blocks of other cities and other times.

Delta Pharaohs and Southern High Priests

Tanis was the product of a confused and divisive period of ancient Egyptian politics. The Twentieth Dynasty was weak and failing and in Upper Egypt (the southern part of the country) the pharaoh had lost most real power to the high priests of Amun in the city of Thebes.

Djanet (formerly known as Fort Charlet) is an oasis city, and capital of Djanet District, in Illizi Province, southeast Algeria. It is located 256 miles south of the provincial capital, Illizi.

According to the 2008 census it has a population of 14,655, up from 9,699 in 1998, and an annual population growth rate of 4.3%. It is inhabited by the Kel Ajjer Tuareg people.

By the end of the reign of Ramesses XI, last pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty, the High Priest Herihor was openly sharing power as co-ruler.

The rise of the high priests saw the pharaonic power base shift to the north of Egypt in the Nile Delta region, where the city of Pi-Ramesses had been made capital.

At the death of Ramesses XI, the throne passed to the governor of Tanis, one Smendes, who may have been Ramesses’ son-in-law. As his residence he took Tanis, superseding Pi-Ramesses, whose own branch of the Nile was now drying up.

Smendes’ Twenty-First Dynasty had Libyan connections, which became more marked with the transition to the Twenty-Second Dynasty under Shoshenq I, which retained Tanis as its seat.

However, in the mid-9th century B.C. the south of Egypt broke away to become a separate kingdom, and by the 8th century B.C. several rival dynasties were established, running concurrently and each ruling a portion of Egypt; Tanis was now only the capital of a small local kingdom.

Egypt was reunited by a Nubian Dynasty around 720 B.C. and Tanis henceforth reverted to the role of a provincial capital.

Ramesses XI (also written Ramses and Rameses) reigned from 1107 BC to 1078 BC or 1077 BC and was the tenth and final king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt.

He ruled Egypt for at least 29 years although some Egyptologists think he could have ruled for as long as 30 years.

Ramesses XI was once thought to be the son of Ramesses X by Queen Tyti who was a King’s Mother.

With only intermittent control of the country and much civil strife, the view of the dynasties of the Third Intermediate Period has traditionally been that they were poor shadows of former glories, scraping by in pale imitation of the wealth and opulent splendor of the preceding New Kingdom.

Discoveries made at Tanis were to both reinforce and undermine this accepted view.

Decoding Tanis

The first archaeology at Tanis was little more than looting, with quantities of statuary carted off to European capitals.

But Egyptologists such as Auguste Mariette and Flinders Petrie also uncovered inscriptions, statues and names dating back to the Middle Kingdom and the Twelfth Dynasty (c 1900 B.C.), as well as ones that seemed to identify the site as the lost city of Avaris, which was later re-named Pi-Ramesses.

When French Egyptologist Pierre Montet began what was to be the most significant exploration of the site in 1929, he also found similar evidence.

But later Egyptologists have realized that Montet and his predecessors were wrong and that the inscriptions were misleading: the blocks and statuary were recycled – moved from elsewhere and pressed into service.

It is now clear that the nearby, but probably largely abandoned, city of Pi-Ramesses had served as a sort of quarry for the builders of Tanis. Other blocks, obelisks and statues came from other locations.

Napoleon Bonaparte had the site surveyed in the late 1700s, but afterwards, in the early 1800s, most of the work at Tanis was concerned with the collection of statuary.

Jean-Jacques Rifaud took two large pink granite sphinxes to Paris, where they became a part of the Louvre collection. Other statues were taken to Saint Petersburg and Berlin.

Henry Salt and Bernardino Drovetti found eleven statues, some of which were also sent to the Louvre, but also to Berlin and Alexandria, though those sent to Alexandria are now lost.

Some dated back as far as the Old Kingdom. This evidence of a capital cobbled together from the recycled detritus of older cities would appear to tie in with the traditional view of the impoverished Intermediate dynasties.

However, it may have been that the northern delta kings did not have access to the quarries of Upper Egypt when they built their new capital and were simply being practical.

Excavations have revealed that the primary feature of the city was a massive wall of mud brick, which enclosed a sandy bowl between four raised areas on the San el-Hagar mound, creating a huge temple compound.

The wall was 33 feet high and 49 feet thick. It was built by Psusennes I, third pharaoh of the Twenty-First Dynasty (reign 1039-991 B.C.), in an apparent effort to create a northern Thebes.

Thebes was the religious capital of Egypt, with a complex of temples to the “divine family” – Amun, Mut and Khonsu. Its importance as the focus of Egyptian religious and cultural life brought power and prestige.

Thebes, chief city of Boeotia, in ancient Greece. And the capital of ancient Egypt. In ancient egypt, Thebes means “Apet” or “Apit,”
It was originally a Mycenaean city.

Thebes is rich in associations with Greek legend and religion. Sometime before 1000 B.C., Thebes was settled by Boeotians and rapidly replaced Orchomenus as the region’s leading city.

At the end of the 6th century B.C. it began its struggle with Athens to maintain its position in Boeotia and in Greece. In the Persian Wars, Thebes, motivated by hostility to Athens, sided (480–479 B.C.) with the Persians.

Psusennes created his own temple complex with shrines to the divine family and then went further and created a northern analogue of Thebes’s Valley of the Kings – the sacred valley where the great pharaohs of ages past had been interred (see Tombs to Rival Tutankhamun below).

Other structures that have been identified include smaller temples (chapels) built by later pharaohs. After the Persian occupation of Egypt (525-405 B.C.), Nectanebo I of the Thirtieth Dynasty (reign 380-362 B.C.) initiated a new program of building at Tanis.

He built a new, enormous mud-brick enclosure and started new temples, as well as constructing a sacred lake in the northern corner of the city. Egypt soon fell again to the Persians and then to Alexander the Great and afterwards was ruled by the Greco-Egyptian Ptolemies.

They completed some of these unfinished temples, but by now the original

great temple to Amun was gone, its site built over with houses.

The Ptolemies gave way to the Romans, but by the end of the Roman Era the branch of the Nile that gave Tanis its raison d’etre had silted up and it was – like Pi-Ramesses before it – defunct and largely abandoned by the time of the Islamic conquest.

Lime burners destroyed much of the fabric of the city, leaving little but the granite blocks and obelisks that litter the site today.

Tombs to Rival
Tutankhamun

The unprepossessing detritus of ancient Tanis on the surface concealed something spectacular beneath. Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings had electrified the world of archaeology with its astonishing collection of grave goods, but even King Tutankhamun’s tomb had not escaped the attentions of ancient tomb raiders.

Reapplied seals on the doors, chests with contents that did not match the inventories listed on their exteriors and the general disarray of parts of the tomb all indicated that it had been broken into and robbed in antiquity, before being resealed and later lost to the world.

Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis
Thebes, the city of the god Amon, was the capital of Egypt during the period of the Middle and New Kingdoms. With the temples and palaces at Karnak and Luxor, and the necropolises of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, Thebes is a striking testimony to Egyptian civilization at its height.

Tanis, however, hosted a mini-Valley of the Kings and included a royal tomb that had never been disturbed, complete with all its grave goods – treasures to rival those of Tutankhamun.

In 1939, in his eleventh season of excavation at Tanis, and with the gathering clouds of war in faraway Europe casting a long shadow over his endeavors, Montet unearthed a tomb within the temple precinct.

Inscriptions identified it as that of Osorkon II (ruler during the Twenty-Second Dynasty 872-837 B.C.) and although it had been long plundered, the thieves had left behind heavy objects such as a stunning quartzite sarcophagus, shabtis (tomb statues supposed to come to life in the afterlife as servants for the dead pharaoh) and alabaster jars for his internal organs.

Far more impressive was the adjoining tomb, which proved to be undisturbed. Nested within a granite sarcophagus and a granite coffin was a coffin of solid silver; within lay incredible jewelry and a glorious face-mask of solid gold (the mummy itself had largely decomposed).

Although the inscriptions on the wall attributed the tomb to Psusennes I, who had originally built it for himself and his queen Mutnodjmet, there were numerous other burials in the five-chambered tomb, including three more Twenty-First Dynasty pharaohs:

Queen Nodjmet, the wife of High Priest Herihor (1080-945) and possibly sister of Ramses IX, in April 2006, at Cairo Museum, Egypt. She died a long time after her husband and carried the title of ‘Mother of the King’.

General Wendebauenjed (an important military man), and the previously unknown pharaoh Shoshenq II (ruler during Twenty-Second Dynasty), who occupied an unusual silver coffin with a head shaped like a falcon.

In all Montet discovered six tombs, which hosted the burials of at least 14 royals and nobles.

The exquisite treasures, including face-masks of workmanship at least as fine as that of Tutankhamun, and fabulous jewelry of gold and lapis lazuli (not to mention sets of golden sandals to protect the feet of kings on the road to the afterlife), show that the kings of the Intermediate Period were far from impoverished.

Yet the tombs also show the continuing practice of reusing materials. Sarcophagus lids were carved from statues while a huge granite block used to plug the entrance to one of the tombs had originally been part of an obelisk in praise of Ramesses II.

The use of a sarcophagus from Thebes reminds us that Psusennes’ brother was High Priest at Thebes and was apparently responsible for state-sanctioned looting of the Valley of the Kings.

Montet’s discoveries, which included no less than five intact and undisturbed royal mummies, made in 1939 and 1940, were overshadowed by the war in Europe and never got the publicity that attended Carter’s success.

Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and High Priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI.

Today the wonders of Tanis sit in Cairo Museum, often overlooked by tourists eager to see the more celebrated treasures of Tutankhamun.

Tanis and the Lost Ark

The name of Tanis is probably best known today as the hiding place of the Ark of the Covenant in the blockbuster movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, which presents an entirely fanciful and inaccurate picture of the city.

Most scholars dismiss this link as a convenient fiction, invented by the moviemakers to justify an exotic Egyptian location. There is, however, a genuine if tenuous link between Tanis and the Ark, for the Bible speaks of an Egyptian king called Shishak who invaded Israel and took Jerusalem. 

One theory about the missing Ark is that it was looted from the Temple of Solomon by Shishak. Could Shishak have been Shoshenq of Tanis?

This was thought to be the case for many years (although more recently the link has been disputed), in which case perhaps the Ark was stolen away to Tanis, just as Indiana Jones discovered.

…Jericho.

Matthew 19 – Marriage and Divorce Houses in the Holy Landof the 1st Century A.D.: Peter’s House In Capernaum

Many people were quite superstitious back then, as they still are today.  And back then they had Greek Mythology, and there were also many different Legends of different things. 

Including things that Jesus had said, so tomorrow we’re going to look at…

Matthew 19
Marriage and Divorce
 

1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;

“Beyond Jordan” – the east side, known later as Transjordan or Perea and today simply as Jordan.  Jesus now began ministering there.

2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

“For every cause” – the last part of the question is notin the parallel passage in Mark (10:2).  Matthew possibly included it because he was writing to the Jews, who were aware of the dispute between the schools of Shammai and Hillel over the interpretation of Deut 24:1-4. 

Shammai held that “some uncleanness: meant “immorality” (Matt 19:9) – the only allowable cause for divorce.  Hillel (c. 60 B.C.-20 A.D.) emphasized the preceding clause, “she finds no favor in his eyes.”

He would allow a man to divorce his wife if she did anything he disliked – even if she burned his food while cooking it.  Jesus clearly took the side of Shammai (see v. 9), but only after first pointing back to God’s original ideal for marriage in Gen 1:27, 2:24.

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Sunset over the Sea of Galilee.

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing ofdivorcement, and to put her away?

8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

9 And I say unto you, Whosoevershall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

19:10-12 – see 1 Cor 7:7-8, 26, 32-35.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

“This saying” – the disciples’ conclusion in v. 10 “it is not good to marry.”  Not everyone can accept this teaching because it is not meant for everyone.  Jesus then gives three examples of person for whom it is meant in v. 12.

The tomb of Shammai in the Meron river, Israel.
Hillel and Shammai were two leading rabbis of the early 1st century BCE who founded opposing schools of Jewish thought, known as the House of Hillel and House of Shammai.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

“Made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” – those who have voluntarily adopted a celibate life-style in order to give themselves more completely to God’s work.  Under certain circumstances celibacy is recommended in scripture, but it is never presented as superior to marriage.

It is unknown if the Apostle Paul had been marriedprior to his conversion to Christ, but once he accepted Christ he wasn’t married, nor was he a eunuch, but he gave his life to God.  Paul recommends marriage to those that cannot maintain life without having sex; it would be better to marry then to fornicate and burn in hell.

13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

God delights in marriages

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

“There is none good but one” – the good is not something to be done as meritorious in itself.  God alone is good and all other goodness derives from Him – even the keeping of the commandments, which Jesus proceeded to enumerate (vv. 18-20).

“If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” – “To enter into life” is the same as “have eternal life.”  The requirement to “keep the commandments” is not to establish one’s merit before God, but is to be an expression of true faith. 

The Bible always teaches that salvation is a gift from God’s grace received through faith, not by works (Eph 2:8).  There is nothing we have to do to please God to be saved, our faith in Jesus Christ is all that is necessary (Heb 11:6).

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

The Lord is saddened by divorces because He can fix ANYTHING! But He has to be asked from a true heart of faith.

“Perfect” – Greek teleios, “goal, end.”  His goal was eternal life, but wealthy/greed stood in his way (cf. 1 Jn 2:15-17).

“Go and sell that thou hast” – in His listing of the commandments, Jesus omitted “do not covet.”  That was the rich man’s main problem and was preventing him from entering life. 

If you have wealthy friends enjoy their company while you can because most of them won’t be going to heaven (v. 24; Matt 7:13-14).

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then canbe saved?

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

“Judging” – governing or ruling.  Some think that the 12 disciples will someday rule with Christ in His literal millennial kingdom on this earth.  Yet, that would mean God sees them better than others and that would contradict what Peter (and others) said on Acts 10:34 – “God is no respecter of persons.”

But then again, God does have His favorites, as He said to Moses:

…I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion (Rom 9:15). For a clearer explanation see Ex 33:13-23.

29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

“Shall receive a hundredfold” – we are to place Jesus first in our life, nobody or anything should be more important to you than Him because only Jesus can save you.

30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Houses in the Holy Land
of the 1st Century A.D.: 

Peter’s House In Capernaum

Housing conditions in the 1st century Holy Land varied dramatically according to people’s financial situations. The best preserved homes are those that were built for the upper classes and constructed with obvious craftsmanship from lasting materials.

A Key found at Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found)

Of these, the most splendid examples are the remains of Herod the Great’s lavish palaces in Jerusalem, Masada and Jericho.

These structures, along with other luxurious houses discovered in Jerusalem’s upper city, reflect the stylistic conventions of contemporary Roman villas.

The villa was structured around an open, colonnaded courtyard and contained a large reception room and dining area to accommodate large gatherings. Floors were covered with detailed stone mosaics, and walls were painted with frescoes.

These upper-class houses and palaces in Judea also contained distinctively Jewish features, such as ritual baths alongside ordinary bathrooms, the absence of human or animal representation in mosaics and frescoes and the presence of Jewish symbols  (e.g., the menorah).

Since relatively few people lived in palatial homes, many more examples of middle-class dwellings have been revealed through archaeology. An important example, discovered in Jerusalem in 1970, is known as the “burnt house.”

This home was completely buried with soot and ash from the destruction of the city in 70 A.D. and, therefore, has been well preserved. The floor plan reflects a common pattern of three medium-sized rooms, a small storage room, a small kitchen and a stepped, ritual bath built around a paved courtyard.

Measuring about 30 square feet, the Burnt House had a Mikveh, a kitchen, a courtyard, and four rooms. These seven spaces made up the first level of what would have stood as a much larger home.

Throughout the house, archeologists discovered scorched beams and stones and layers of ash that revealed the house had been destroyed by fire. The wooden ceiling collapsed under its own weight, burying this house for 20th-century archaeologists to find. Interestingly, the bones from a woman’s forearm were found in the kitchen area. After discovery, they were buried.

The walls were covered with a thin layer of limestone plaster, and the floors consisted of pressed earth. Furnishings within the house included rectangular stone tables, bowls, plates, cups and cylindrical weights, one of which identifies the owner as Bar Karos.

Other significant examples of 1st century houses have been unearthed in Capernaum.  Excavations near the ruins of the ancient synagogue there revealed a group of approximately 12 homes constructed of black basalt rocks and small pebbles and arranged around a central courtyard containing ovens and grinding stones.

These single-story dwellings had floors of beaten black earth and stairways leading to flat roofs. The less-substantial roofs were probably built with tree branches covered with mud and straw (cf. Mk 2:4).

The largest of these homes attracted particular attention in that it featured a crushed limestone floor and had plastered walls filled with decorations (including flowers, pomegranates and numerous crosses) and inscriptions, which were fragmentary and in many languages: 124 in Greek, 18 in Syriac, 15 in Hebrew and 1 in Latin.

Most the inscriptions were short prayers, such as “Christ have mercy” or “Lord Jesus Christ help.” Others contained the name Peter, suggesting that this house was venerated in antiquity as a place of Christian pilgrimage associated with the memory of Peter.

A shy, private person would not have an easy time of things in ancient Rome. Bathing was typically conducted as a group activity, the baths of Caracalla in the city of Rome could accommodate upwards of 1600 bathers, and “going to the powder room” was often a group effort as well. Rome gave us lots of amazing things that we take for granted today: central heating, giant sports stadiums, vaulted ceilings, concrete and coin operated machines to name a few.

The most important innovation, in my opinion, however was the flushing toilet. Not the porcelain gods we have come to know and appreciate (sometimes praying to after a night of excessive, youthful partying), but often large, sometimes elaborate communal affairs–marble cladding, statuary, shrines.

Thus, this dwelling has come known as the house Peter in Capernaum (Mt 8:14: 1:29; Lk 4:38).

The lowest urban classes inhabited crowded treatment buildings called insuloe  – multi-storied buildings divided numerous apartments called cenaculi. The lowest floor generally contained a shop in which the proprietor also lived.

The upper floors were accessed through outside staircases. The insulae usually lacked any system of heating, running water or sewage.

Eutychus most likely fell from the third floor window of an insula while listening to Paul preach Christ in Troas (Acts 20:7-12). 

…the Legend of the “Needle’s Eye Gate.”