Trip to Hebron

Trip Start Jun 14, 2011
Trip End Dec 19, 2012

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  ,
Monday, July 4, 2011

Today, a German friend who has lived in Israel for a while, took the interns to Hebron.  This city was actually the Jewish people's first possession in the land of Israel.  Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah and the field around it to bury his wife Sarah (Genesis 23).  Abraham paid 400 shekels of silver, which is equivalent to about US $700,000 in today's currency.  Over the years, Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rivka (Rebecca), Jacob, and Leah were all buried here.

Herod built a building over the cave, and over the years this place (Ma'arat HaMachpela) was overtaken by various groups.  In 1967, Hebron was liberated by Israel in the Six-Day War, so Jewish people can finally enter this place again.  However, Muslims still control most of the site, and the Jewish people only have a tent in the courtyard.  Today, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are memorialized in the building by 6 cenotaphs (symbolic tomb markers).  Two of the cenotaphs are actually in the mosque, and the Jewish people can only enter this area 10 days per year.  As visitors, we were not allowed to enter this area either.  The actual cave is underground, where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are still buried.  The passageway underground also begins in the mosque, and visitors cannot go to the actual cave.

Hebron is significant in a few other ways as well.  When the Israelites sent the 12 men (1 from each tribe) to explore the land of Canaan, Hebron was part of that land.  Calev (Caleb) and Joshua were the only men who said that the Israelites should go up and take possession of the land for the Lord would lead them (Numbers 13-14).  In addition, Hebron was the capital of Judah, and David began his reign as King in Hebron (2 Samuel 2:1-7).

We also visited the Hebron Heritage Museum at Beit Hadassah.  This was originally a charitable/medical center in 1893.  Today, it is a museum that commemorates the 1929 Arab massacre and violence in Hebron ever since.

We also visited the Ancient Tel, the site of Biblical Hebron, which includes ruins of the walls and buildings from the time of the Patriarchs as well as the Kingdom of Judah.  There is an ancient fortress at the top, and they claim that the tomb of Yishai (Jesse) and Ruth are there.  At the top of this fortress, the Israel Defense Forces have a lookout, and we were allowed to go up there and overlook all of Hebron.  We also worshiped and prayed over the city of Hebron and the Israel Defense Forces from this lookout.

While riding the bus to and from Hebron, there were many beautiful, lush hills and mountains.  Our German friend explained to us that these are the hills/mountains spoken of in Ezekiel 36.  The Lord told Ezekiel to prophesy over these mountains that He (the Lord) would bring back the Jewish people to settle on these hills/mountains again, even the whole house of Israel (Ezekiel 36:1-15).
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