Rendezvous With Jeroboam -- By: Raymond L. Cox

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 03:1 (Winter 1974)
Article: Rendezvous With Jeroboam
Author: Raymond L. Cox


Rendezvous With Jeroboam

Raymond L. Cox

[Raymond L. Cox is pastor of the Salem, Oregon Foursquare Church. He has traveled extensively in Bible lands and has written over 1650 articles on Biblical and archaeological subjects. In addition, he is the author of four books.]

“From Dan to Beer-sheba” no longer demarcates the extent of Israelite occupation in the Holy Land, as it did in Bible days. Since the Six Day War modern Israelis have coined the expression “From Quneitra to Sharm-el-Sheikh.” Nevertheless, the site of ancient Dan exerts a possibly greater lure today than in ancient times when the area was first a magnet for part of the Israelite tribe of Dan who won it by war as one sector of their inheritance in Canaan (Judges 18). Later it became a Mecca for the northern Israelites who came there instead of to Jerusalem after secessionist king Jeroboam installed his golden calf, probably in the sanctuary archaeologists just recently unearthed.

As many as two hundred thousand visitors have hied to Tel Dan in a single year, though most have been drawn to the Nature Reserve which sprawls in peaceful beauty near the foot of the mound. Trails lace the wooded acres, as also do streamlets fed by one of the sources of the river Jordan. Picnic tables punctuate the rustic grounds. Here is one of upper Galilee’s most exquisite pearls of nature.

But it is the 50 acre tel itself, on Israel’s northern frontier facing Lebanon and Syria, which excites archaeological interest. On my first visit a few workers were puttering in preparation for the seven-week dig about to commence there, headed by Dr. Avraham Biran, director of Israel’s Department of Antiquities. Fourteen months later I came again, this time during the excavations, and Dr. Biran conducted me about the tel. “It’s yours,” he exclaimed with a welcoming gesture after I explained the purpose of the visit.

“The archaeological evidence tallies with the historical evidence,” Dr. Biran explains in reporting results of annual

expeditions to Tel Dan which commenced in 1966. By “historical evidence” he means the Bible.

According to Judges 18:29 a Canaanite city preceded Israelite conquest and settlement here. Danites smote Laish with the edge of the sword and with fire (Judges 18:27), then built a new town on its ruins, naming if after Dan, the progenitor of their tribe. From the beginning this town continued as a hotbed of deviation from the purer religion of Israel. Dan became a byword of idolatry, its delinquency...

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