Saturday, April 12, 2014

En Gedi

A lush oasis surprises the traveler 
in the desert area in the western shore of the Dead Sea.
Nearby spots include Masada and Qumran.

This spot was spoken about in Solomon 1:14
as he described the beauty and fertility of this area.
Historical accounts tell of the perfumes 
made here from the persimmon groves 
and Marc Anthony
 took possession of the groves for Cleopatra.
After her death, 
Herod returned them to their Jewish owners.

Ei Gedi means-" the spring of the kid (young goat)
A freshwater spring flows 
from the rocks 656 feet above the Dead Sea.
Genesis 14:7 refers to this place as Hazazon Tamar.

David hid here from King Saul who brought
 3000 men to search for David
 in the "crags of the ibex."- 1 Samuel 24:12

Finds here date back to 4000 BC,
 when it may have been a 
cultic worship site for nomadic tribes.

David wrote many of the Psalms here-
among the strongholds and wilderness of Ein Gedi.

Some settlement happened here as
 Israel's monarchy came to a close. 
Large clay vats and silver pieces
 found here tell the story of a 
wealthy and important city.
The village grew in the 4th and 5th centuries BC, 
and then Herod used it as a royal estate.
 En Gedi was destroyed during
 the Jewish rebellion of 66-70 A D. 
The Jews destroyed the persimmon groves
 before they left so the Romans
 would not enjoy the groves.
Excavations from 1996 indicate
 this are might have been a monastic site
 for the Essene community at Qumran.

Green in the desert is  always welcome.
This reserve has plenty of Jericho balsam and acacia.

Ein Gedi is the home of the coney- hyrax-
a ground hog like animal-
 that really OWN the grounds.
 mentioned in Psalm 104:18.

These "rock hiders" love basking in the sun
 and scampering close to visitors. 

In this stark and unique desert oasis,
 it quite simple to picture David here-
 in this "stronghold".

"Because you are my help,
 I sing in the shadow of your wings. 
My soul clings to you;
 your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:7-8

 His Word always brings comfort and security.

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