Elijah Fled to Beersheba

May 1, 2016

In the 1 Kings narrative of the prophet Elijah and his dealings with wicked Ahab & Jezebel, YHWH proved dramatically on Mt. Carmel that He was the true God, answering Elijah’s prayer by sending fire on the mountain to devour the sacrifice. The Baal prophets who were present were destroyed. The 3 1/2 year drought ended, showing God, not Baal, controlled the rain (1 Kings 18).

While one might expect that this would be a real turning point for the spiritual condition of Israel, such was not the case. Jezebel’s response: “Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time” (19:2).

Elijah then had a very real struggle with fear and depression. His response: “And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers'” (19:3-4).

Beersheba is located in the Negeb, the south of Israel.

Beersheba. BibleAtlas.com

Beersheba. BibleAtlas.com

Last month I had opportunity to take some aerial photos of Beersheba.

Aerial photo of Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Aerial photo of Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We have previously posted on Beersheba here here here and here.

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Beersheba

June 8, 2011

As I make use of photos of Bible places in teaching/preaching and writing, I tend to select shots of the biblical sites themselves without people (whenever possible). For example, this photo shows Beersheba of the Negev, home of the patriarchs and later designated as the southernmost border of Israel.

Beersheba, southernmost city of Israel. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Sometimes, however, it is helpful to have someone(s) in the photo to give a sense of scale and proportion.

Beersheba w/Mauldin in photo center. Gives sense of proportion. Photo by Sandy Parker.

While visiting Beersheba (Tel Sheva) in March ’11, we took a group shot. Hardhats are required for one to walk through Beersheba’s water system. This photo was taken at the city’s gate.

Beersheba. Group shot at City Gate. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Now I wouldn’t say that my group was hard-headed, but they were in fact hard-hatted 🙂

Click on images for larger view. Previous posts of Beersheba may be found here and here.

I am enjoying the meeting with the Kimberly church of Christ, speaking there each night at 7:30 through Fri.


Beersheba, cont’d.

February 16, 2011

Beersheba was to become the chief city of the Negev. Unfortunately it would also become a center for idolatrous activity. When the 8th century BC prophet Amos cried out against idolatrous cities he warned, “But do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal, nor pass over to Beersheba, for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing” (Amos 5:5). Instead, “Seek the LORD and live” (v.6).

Altar at Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin

Our photo shows a replica of an altar discovered in Beersheba; the original was broken in pieces. Many believe the destruction of the altar here may have been during the reformation by good king Hezekiah.

Beersheba is a small tel, comprising only about three acres. A good deal of excavation has been done. Our photo below shows what many believe to be storage room; others believe this to have been stables.

Storage rooms or possibly stables at Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

View is to the southeast. Remember to click on photos for higher resolution.


Beersheba, Home of the Patriarchs

February 15, 2011

Beersheba received its name when Abraham made a covenant with the Philistine king Abimelech. Included in that covenant was the recognition of Abraham’s ownership of the well he dug at that site, which was confirmed by Abimelech’s reception of seven lambs from Abraham. “Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because the two of them swore an oath there” (Gen. 21:31). Beersheba means, Well of the Oath or Well of the Seven.

“Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God” (Gen. 21:33). Our photo was taken outside the gate of Beersheba, and shows a well there, and also a tamarisk tree.

Beersheba in the Negev. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Beersheba is mentioned several times in the days of the Patriarchs. Abraham continued to live there after returning from Moriah to “sacrifice” Isaac (Gen. 22:19; cf. CSB: “And Abraham settled in Beer-sheba” (emp. mine, LM). Years later, when Isaac moved there the text tells us that “the LORD appeared to him the same night” and repeated the Abrahamic promises. “So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD” (Gen. 26:23-25).

Later still, when Jacob moved his family to Egypt it was at Beersheba that God appeared to him and said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there” (Gen. 46:1-3). God had told Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would make of them a great nation. It is in this passage that we learn that He would not do so in Canaan, the Promised Land, but it would be in Egypt. It had amply been demonstrated that the Canaanites were very willing to intermarry with Jacob’s family, and that was reciprocated (Gen. 32,38). Had they remained there they would have been assimilated into Canaanite culture, and never would have become the separate people of God.


Beersheba, Home of the Patriarchs

May 6, 2010

In our previous post we mentioned how Jacob fled from his home in Beersheba to Haran, of Mesopotamia.  For the short term he was running for his life; for the long term he married (four wives as it turned out) and had children, including twelve sons who would become the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.

See map below to locate Beersheba.

Beersheba in Southern Israel. Courtesy of http://bibleatlas.org/

Beersheba was the home of the patriarch Abraham as well as at times that of Isaac, and later Jacob as we have indicated.  There was a well there which Abraham dug.  The Philistine king Abimelech received seven ewe lambs from Abraham as confirming that the well was indeed Abraham’s (Gen. 21:22-30).  “Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because the two of them swore an oath there” (v.31).  The text goes on to say, “Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God” (v.33).

Our photo of Beersheba depicts both a well as well as a tamarisk tree.

Beersheba, with well and tamarisk tree. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

A good deal of excavation has been done at Beersheba.  See photo below.

Excavations at Beersheba. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Click on image for higher resolution.