Another fantastic day in Israel.
We left for Masada, the Dead Sea, and Qumran via the Jordean Desert. It's remarkable how quickly the landscape changes once you leave Jerusalem.
The desert is a beautiful place but I can't even begin to imagine traveling through the desert without the comfort of an air-conditioned bus. When we left Jerusalem it was in the fifties but as soon as we arrived in the desert the temperatures were in the 70's and 80's.
Herod the Great built a palace here to escape the cold winters in Jerusalem.
And as you know, this was the place where the last remaining free Jews made their last stand against the Romans.
|You have a commanding 360 degree view of the entire landscape. That's the Dead Sea in the distance.|
|The ruins of Herod's private residence|
|One of the encampments of the Roman soldiers below Masada|
|This is the ruins of Herod's public palace. This is where he conducted his official business.|
|A model of Herod's private palace, equipped with his own bath house and sauna|
In the end the Romans were able to break through the defenses. But because it was close to sun down they chose not to attack that evening.
It was that fateful evening when the remaining 300 rebels and close to a 1,000 civilians chose to take their own lives rather than become slaves to the Roman Empire.
|Beautiful mosaic dating to Herod the Great in his official palace.|
|The beautiful Dead Sea|
|Floating on the Dead Sea|
And the rest is history.
One of the reasons why the find at Qumran is such a treasure is because prior to the Qumran discovery, the oldest Old Testament text available was about a 1,000 years old. But the Dead Sea scrolls date to pre-Jesus days. When archaeologists started studying the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were pleasantly surprised to discover that our Old Testament is identical to the scrolls from Jesus' days. That proves that what we have in the Old Testament has been handed down to the modern days without error.
The name of the place, Qumran, comes from the river that flows during the rainy season in the area.
|Rain water flows downs in a rapid during the rainy season|
|One of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered|