Module 4 – Google Maps Tour of the Bible by JQuisumbing
Welcome to Module 4. Here we will visit the Bible sites where God influenced the lives of the Kings and the Prophets that He sent to them during the Kingdom era. In Module 3, we ended the tour with God rejecting Saul as king and God secretly sending Samuel to choose David to replace him.
1 – Young David
When the anointing oil of Samuel touched upon the brow of David, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward (1 Samuel 16:13) and through out his entire life, even when he faltered, David was always the apple of the Lord’s eye.
Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings… (Psalm 17:8)
And we will see this as we follow David’s life from one adventure after another. Starting at…
Click LINK 1 – VALLEY OF ELAH
You are looking at a 360 degree view of where a young David bravely confronted Goliath from Gath who stood over 8 feet tall.
Imagine if you will, the forces of King Saul gathered on the hill on the north side of the valley and the Philistine army were arrayed on the opposite hill. Then Goliath would come forward from the army encampment of the Philistines to mock the God of Israel and challenge the Israelites to send out their champion to fight him one on one. Everyday, the Israelites cowered and no one came to challenge him until David came to visit. And when he saw and heard Goliath insulting his God, David cried out…
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he has dared to defy the armies of the living God?” (17:26)
With King Saul’s doubtful consent, David, with no armor and shield, armed with only a shepherd’s sling and five smooth stones, bravely went down to fight this giant. From the Philistine’s side, they expected a slaughter but were shocked to see their champion quickly brought down by a well aimed stone striking him between the eyes. When they witnessed Goliath’s head chopped off and the army of Israel charging their lines, they panicked and was defeated.
After David killed Goliath, Saul was compelled to place young David at the head of his army (I Samuel 18:5) and eventually became part of the household when David married his daughter Michal. David was successful in all that he did and so his fame rose with the peoples making this praises, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (18:7)
Not long after, an intense rivalry developed between David and the king. Saul began to try to have him killed.
2 – Saul Pursued David
So, David fled the presence of the king. After he and his handful of men received nourishment from the priests of a nearby village (21:1-6), he hurriedly left and went to a hidden stronghold. So now, we come to our next site…
Click LINK 2 – CAVE OF ADULLAM
The Cave of Adullam is located at the south end of the valley of Elah about 20 miles away from Saul’s palace at Gibeah.
It was there that David’s father and brothers joined him to also escape Saul’s rage. Not long after, everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. They numbered about four hundred men (22:1,2).
But Saul found out where David was, when he and his men went to rescue a nearby village that were harassed by marauding Philistines (23:1-5). So, David had to escape to another stronghold farther south which takes us to our next site.
Click LINK 3 – ROCK OF ESCAPE
You are virtually standing atop of Masada that scholars believed was the Rock of Escape mentioned in verse 28. But being found out where he was, Saul tried to trap him but he had to give up the pursuit to face a Philistine army threatening his borders. So, David had to move again to another stronghold…
Click LINK 4 – EN GEDI
En Gedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea. It served as one of the main places of refuge for David as he fled from Saul (23:29). One time when David was fleeing from King Saul, the pursuers searched the “Crags of the Ibex” in the vicinity of En Gedi. In a cave near here, David refused to kill the Lord’s anointed but instead he just cut off the corner of Saul’s robe (24:1-7). This was not the only time that Saul’s life was spared. David hated the thought that as long as he was still within the kingdom, Saul would continue to go after him and maybe in one of those encounters, he would have no choice but to strike down the Lord’s anointed. So, he and his followers left Saul’s domain (1 Samuel 27,29).
Now, let us shift focus to King Saul for awhile…
3 – Last Days of King Saul
In 1 Samuel 28, the Philistines had come up to fight with Saul again and when Saul saw their camp, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. So Saul inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him. He was so desperate for guidance but Samuel the Prophet had passed away back in chapter 25. So, Saul secretly went to a medium/witch at the outskirts of En-dor.
You are standing on highway 7276 (8 miles from Nazareth). The road to the right goes to the modern village of Ein Dor. If you look at the signs at the corner, one of them says ‘Archaeology’ indicating that this village may be the ancient site of where the only ghost story told in the Bible occurred.
When Saul (in disguise) came before the medium, he demanded the she summon the spirit of Samuel. She was startled when her conjuring suddenly worked and an apparition of an old man appeared like a god coming up out of the earth (28:13). Saul, seeing that it was Samuel, fell to the ground. When asked why he was called back, Saul shared his fears. The response he got back was not good news.
Saul was reminded that the LORD had left him and had become his enemy. The LORD has done just as he said he would. He had torn the kingdom from him. And on top of that, the LORD will hand him and the army of Israel over to the Philistines, and he and his sons will be dead. (28:16-19) Saul returned to his encampment like a condemned man.
This takes us to our next site.
Click LINK 6 – BETH SHAN
Beth Shan or Beit She’an (in Hebrew) is a city in the Northern District of Israel, which has played an important role in history due to its geographical location at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley.
Five miles from Beth Shan, on the slopes of Mt Gilboa, the army of Saul clashed with the Philistines and they were badly defeated as prophesized. Wounded and seeing his sons killed, Saul purposely fell on his own sword. When the Philistines found the bodies of King Saul and his sons, they hung them on the walls of Beth Shan (31:10-12).
But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth Shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days (31:11-13).
After Saul died, David eventually became King of all Israel. And as his capital, he chose to rule in…
4 – JERUSALEM
Click LINK 7 – JERUSALEM
This is a 360 aerial view of Jerusalem today. It currently occupies an area of about 78 square miles and has a population of about 1 million. For the past 3000 years or so, this city had been destroyed and rebuilt countless times.
During the early days of David, it was known as Salem, the city of the Jebusites. A small remnant population of Canaanites that managed to keep their city from being conquered by the Israelites in Joshua’s time. Outlined below and shaded in yellow mark where the small city was located.
According to 2 Samuel 5, David had laid siege on the Jebusite city which was fortified with high walls and situated on a mountain spur which made it practically difficult to capture. The Jebusites even bragged about it to David saying, “You shall not come in here, but even those who are blind and those who limp will turn you away” (5:6).
Click LINK 8 – JEBUSITE RUINS
You are standing on the observation platform that overlooks the archaeological site of the Millo (5:9) remnants of the original Jebusite ruins. Under the ruins was the well that tapped the underground Gihon Springs. It was through the well, that David’s men penetrated the Jebusite defenses (5:8) and captured the city.
David expanded the city and it became the City of David.
Click LINK 9 – CITY OF DAVID
Today, you can drive along on where the western wall of the City of David once stood. There is also a museum where you can go underground to view archaeological excavations of the old city.
[Click here -> Google Map Photos of City of David Museum]
Click LINK 9a – PALACE OF DAVID
You are standing on an observation platform on where tour guides would start their tour to an underground labyrinth of structures including Hezekiah’s Tunnel (a favorite for exploration). This platform is also over a part of David’s royal palace which makes it an ideal setting for a sad story of David’s SIN.
David’s royal chamber probably had a high vantage view of the city just like this observation platform. As you look down unto the houses below…
Story of David & Bathsheba [2 Samuel 11-12]
…imagine a bone tired king, home instead of being with his men in a military action against the sons of Ammon (11:1). It was Spring in Jerusalem. He had just eaten his dinner and was about to go to his bed, but that night, he was restless. He poured some wine for himself and wandered up unto the roof of his chamber. As he gazed around at the starlit valley below, his eye was attracted to a house below and there she was. Her name was Bathsheba.
Allow me to sum up what happened. David went from temptation to temptation to sin. The result was a pregnancy of woman who was someone else’s wife (11:3-5). David sent for the husband, Uriah the Hittite (one of his own men off at war) to return. He had hoped that Uriah would have relations with his wife, but out of a sense of loyalty he did not. Then David arranged that Uriah died in battle. After the mourning period, David took Bathsheba as his wife and a son was born to them. (11:6-27)
Then God sent Nathan the Prophet to David. After his rebuke, David repented greatly (Psalm 51). God forgave him (12:13) but he had to live with the circumstances of that sin. The son that was born to him & Bathsheba died (12:15-23); and then much later in his life, his other son Absalom took his throne and tried to kill him as well (chapter 15). But for David, the worst was that because of the blood he shed, the Lord denied him the privileged to build His Temple (1 Chronicles 28:3).
Click LINK 10 – DAVID on MT ZION
Mt Zion is the high hill opposite from the City of David across what was the Tyropoeon Valley. You are virtually standing before a sculpture of King David holding a lyre, an iconic symbol because of the many psalms that he wrote since he was a simple shepherd boy. A short distance north from here is the Tomb of David.
We say our good-byes to David here, but before we continue on, it is right to remember that though David faltered in his sin, the Lord helped him to amass such great wealth that it will be used to erect the first Temple which by the way was built by his son, Solomon, whose mother was also Bathsheba. And before he died, the Lord reiterated to him that his kingdom will go on forever.
5 – Solomon’s Temple
Solomon became king after David and with the help an old Phoenician allay and king, he expanded the city (below in blue). And on Mt Moriah, he erected the first Temple.
There was great fanfare when the Temple was finished. But when the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the innermost room called the Holy of Holies, the entire Temple was filled with God’s glory to a point that even the priests could not enter (1 King 8). I invite you to watch this 3 minute video of Solomon’s Temple in 3D.
6 – The Divided Kingdom
After Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam, became king. And in 1 King 12, due to an act of foolishness, Rehoboam lost the loyalty of the northern tribes and the kingdom was divided. Rehoboam ruled the southern kingdom of Judah with the tribe of Simeon who lived more in tents and were mostly nomadic. Jeroboam, an Ephraimite, became king of the 10 northern tribes of Israel.
The Lord allowed it for as long as ALL of Israel & Judah remained faithful to Him which meant that they still go to the center of worship at the Temple at Jerusalem. But Jeroboam, the king of Israel, feared losing his rule if his people continue to go to Jerusalem. So, he made 2 golden calves and declared, “behold your gods, Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt” (12:28). One idol, he set in Bethel. The other, he set at…
Click LINK 11 – DAN
Welcome to Tel-Dan!
Once, the tribe of Dan were situated in the south. They were suppose to push out the Philistines during the conquest era of Canaan, but failing that, the tribe moved to this area of the north.
Tel Dan is one of the most important sites in the ancient Near East, in general, and for biblical archaeology, in particular. Situated at the base of snow-capped Mount Hermon on the headwaters of the Jordan, Dan has major fortifications and what is apparently an Israelite temple from the Iron Age II (ca. 1000-700 BCE) where Jeroboam placed one of the golden calf idols. [www.teldanexcavations.com]
The steel beams you are looking at was where a massive four-horned altar once stood for the offering of animal sacrifices.
What Jeroboam had d0ne had set a precedent for all the kings of the northern kingdom. Nineteen kings ruled over Israel and all of them did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Eventually, the northern kingdom was overthrown by the Assyrian Empire then exiled. As to the southern kingdom, 19 kings & 1 queen ruled over Judah. A few of them did right in the Lord’s eyes, but most sent the kingdom on a downward spiral until it too was handed over to exile.
Now, the Lord God sought repentance from the kings and so, He would send men to them to be His mouth. They would either be their guide to redemption or a thorn on their sides. These men were known as…
7 – Prophets
From the divided kingdom era, one of the most famous prophets of the Bible, mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments, is Elijah. And when it comes to him, one place always come to mind.
Click LINK 12 – MT CARMEL
Mt Carmel is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel. Its name is derived from the Hebrew “Karem El” which means “vineyards of God.” You are standing on the observation deck of the Deir Al-Mukhraqa Carmelite Monastery. The vast valley before you is the Jezreel Valley which will be the future site of the prophetical-end-time battle of Armageddon.
‘High places’ were frequently considered to be sacred, and Mount Carmel was no exception. A high place of Mount Carmel was devoted to Yahweh during the Israelite monarchy, but it had fallen into disuse by the time of Ahab, king of northern kingdom of Israel, when it was devoted to Baal, a god of Phoenicia.
Carmel’s greatest claim to fame was the battle that took place there between the prophet Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal, together with 400 prophets of Ashera, to decide which deity was more powerful. Underlying the contest was the question of why neither Baal nor Yahweh, both supposedly capable of producing rain, had not done so during a long period of intense drought (1 Kings 18). Here, the mountain, located in a kind of coastal no-man’s-land between Israel and Phoenicia, represented a strategic high ground where the Phoenician Baal and the Israelite Yahweh contended for superiority. After repairing the old altar of Yahweh, Elijah put the prophets of Baal to shame when he was able to produce fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice to Yahweh, while the prophets of Baal failed to produce fire from Baal to consume their offering.
Having proved his point spiritually, Elijah proceeded to a physical conquest as he ordered the assembled crowd of onlookers to slaughter the prophets of Baal in the valley below. He then prayed to the Lord to end the drought and a rain cloud appeared in response to his plea. [http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org]
Elijah’s whole story can be read from 1 Kings 15 to 2 Kings 2.
Now, Elijah had a protégé, who used to maintain a dwelling place here at Mt Carmel. His name was Elisha which means ‘My God is salvation‘. In the biblical narrative, after Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind, he gave Elisha a double portion of his power and he was accepted as the leader of the sons of the prophets (2 Kings 4).
Interestingly enough, though Elisha went on to perform twice as many miracles as Elijah, he seems to be the least thought of. And what is funny yet is that, compared to other Old Testament characters, Elisha’s miracles seem to be a precursor to Jesus’ own miracles. Oh sure, he may have not walked on water, but he did make an iron axe head float (6:6,7). For one particular miracle, I think we should go to…
Click LINK 13 – SHUNEM
You are on the north-end side of the modern day village of Sulam, but back in those days, this used to be the village of Shunem. Unfortunately, there were no archaeological site in the area. However, the houses of the neighborhood would be as posh as the prominent Shunemite woman’s house back then (2 Kings 4). She often invited Elisha to stay in her house during his ministry circuit of the area. This woman had no son and her husband was too old, so, he prophesied that she will give birth to a son next year, which she did. Then a few years later, the boy died. He prayed to the LORD. Then he got up on the bed and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, his hands on his hands, and he bent down on him; and the flesh of the child became warm. The boy came to life and returned to his mother (4:33-37).
So far, we talked about Elijah and Elisha. God had also sent other prophets like Amos and Hosea to minister in the Northern Kingdom, calling on the kings and the people to repent. At the same time, even the prophets of Judah like Isaiah and Micah, also warned the people of the Northern Kingdom of their coming destruction if they did not repent. But God also sent a prophet (a reluctant one anyway) to the enemies of Israel. His name was Jonah. To tell his story, let us go to…
Click LINK 14 – JOPPA
You are standing at the end of a jetty protecting the small harbor of Jaffa. During Jonah’s day, this coastal city was known as Joppa. Joppa is a very old city. You can see the contrast by its old world architecture to the ultra modern style of skyscrapers of Tel-Aviv on your far left.
Imagine yourself as Jonah on that jetty boarding on a ship bound for faraway Tarshish which was in Turkey. He was very jittery, knowing full well that he was doing wrong. You see, God had commanded him to go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness had come up before Him (Jonah 1:2). But Jonah feared what God had intended. The people of Nineveh was the enemy of His own people and if after he spoke to them that they repent their sins, he knew God will forgive them. So, he decided to run away from God. But he had a problem.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
God sent a storm and to make a long story short, Jonah ended up being in the belly of a fish for 3 days (1:4-17). After his prayer of repentance, out he came (2:1-10). He did go to Niniveh, and sure enough, after hearing him speak, the people repented. So, God forgave that generation and delayed the city’s inevitable destruction for another time (3:10). Meanwhile, God had a lesson for Jonah who went outside the city to… ahem… pout (4:1-5). At his camp, God caused a plant to grow quickly to give shade to his shelter but then it withered. At first, Jonah was overjoyed but when it died… then the Lord said…
“You had compassion on the plant, for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. Should I not also have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 people, who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left, as well as many animals?” (4:10,11)
Even with the warnings of the prophets, both kingdoms fell. The northern kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians and the population deported as per Assyrian military policy (resulting in the so-called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel). A hundred forty years later, as prophesied by Isaiah, Jeremiah and even Ezekiel who was already at exile, Judah fell to the Babylonians with their most influential citizens exiled to Babylon. Seventy five years later, exiles returned to Judah to rebuild.
8 – The Prophet for the ‘Kingdom Come‘
Within the message of the prophets, God had implanted… clues (so, to speak)… of the ultimate hope of a future kingdom for the faithful. Everyone of them put together points to the promised Messiah. One prophet, in particular, had written in his book some details that was not found in any of the other books of the Old Testament. Who was the prophet? Well, first, we go to…
Click LINK 15 – BABYLON
You are standing on the site of the ruins of ancient Babylon located by the Euphrates River 53 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq. Before you is the archaeological site of the city central. If you look west, on top of the hill, you’ll see one of Saddam Hussein’s abandoned palaces. It was probably built on top of the royal palace of Babylon’s kings. Turn again towards the south, you’ll see a replica city built for the tourists.
Why are we here? Well, on the first conquest of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, a group of young noble Hebrews were brought here to be trained and then serve the kingdom. One of them was Daniel and like the patriarch, Joseph, he too gained a very high position in the government because the Lord had given him the ability to interpret the king’s dream. Through time, Daniel maintained a high position through three other kings and went through the transition from the kingdom of Babylon to the great Persian Empire.
Beloved and chosen by God to foretell future events, Daniel prophesied through visions and dreams about what was going to happen throughout history, including what would happen to Daniel’s people in the ‘latter days’ (Daniel 10:14) and to the whole world.
In the repetition of the prophecy about human world-ruling empires, Daniel further noted: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). He saw the Messiah.
In Daniel 9:24-27, we find a prophecy that predicted the year [A.D. 27] that the Messiah would begin His ministry. The prophecy also predicted his ministry to ‘confirm the covenant’ would be cut off ‘in the middle’ of the 70th prophetic week. The New Testament shows that this occurred after 3 1/2 years, just as Daniel had prophesied.
From Daniel’s prophecies, we get a peek of where we will go from here. We say goodbye to the sites of the Old Testament and end our tour of Module 4. The next step for you is…
Module 5 – Walking the footsteps of Jesus – Part 1 – where He went fishing with his disciples; gave the Sermon on the Mount and changed water into wine
Hope to see you there…
Are you new to the Bible?
If you are, then I would like to invite you to watch the 3 minute video below and learn what the entire Bible sum up to. Be enlightened and BELIEVE…