En Kerem, in the Hill Country of Judah

October 18, 2016

After the virgin Mary was informed by the angel Gabriel that by “the power of the Highest” she would conceive “and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS” (Luke 1:31,35), she then went to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was the then 6-months expectant mother of John the Baptist. “Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth” (vv. 39-40).

The text does not specify which city of Judah in which Zacharias (the priest) and his wife Elizabeth resided. However the traditional site is that of En Kerem, located 4+ miles west of Jerusalem.

En Kerem, in the hill country of Judah, west of Jerusalem. Traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

En Kerem, in the hill country of Judah, west of Jerusalem. Traditional birthplace of John the Baptist. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

R. Riesner has this entry on “The Birthplace of John the Baptist”:

A literary tradition that can be traced back to the sixth century identifies the birthplace with En-Kerem (Arabic Ain Karim), seven kilometers west of Jerusalem (ELS 44ff.). Remains of two fourth-century churches indicate, however, that the tradition stretches back to a still-earlier time (GBL II.776). (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, p. 34).

En Kerem, city sign. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

En Kerem, city sign. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I’m making this post from beautiful Fair Haven, Vermont, where I’m currently presenting an 8-lesson Visualized Survey of the Bible.

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