Beneath The Surface, An Editorial Comment: The Battle Continues... Won’t You Join Us? -- By: Henry B. Smith, Jr.
Beneath The Surface, An Editorial Comment: The Battle Continues... Won’t You Join Us?
In June 2008, the Lord graciously reopened the doors for the Associates for Biblical Research to once again begin excavating at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel. This site has credible archaeological and geographical evidence to be correlated with the city of Ai, found in the momentous, redemptive-historical events of Joshua 7-8. A team of ABR staff and volunteers traveled to Israel in 2009 and 2010 to perform further excavations at our site.
This issue of Bible and Spade is dedicated to the archaeological efforts being made at Khirbet el-Maqatir. The foundation for this excavation was laid by the faithful and sacrificial work of our founder, Dr. David Livingston. If not for Dave’s vision, ABR simply would not be. His extensive research on the subject of Ai and its important relation to the city of Bethel is of the utmost importance. We have republished his article in this issue, “Locating Biblical Bethel,” with updated photos. Additionally, Dr. Bryant Wood, who is supervising the excavation, provides the reader with a summary of the results of the 2009 and 2010 excavation seasons. Titus Kennedy analyzes a possible stele found at our site in 2009.
Dr. Scott Stripling led a group to Israel in January of 2011 to excavate the Byzantine monastery at Khirbet el-Maqatir. This structure could possibly have a floor mosaic, commemorating the events that took place there. An article is included in this issue to share with you the significance of this monastery.
I had the great pleasure of joining the team during the 2010 season for the first time. It was literally a life-changing experience. Of course, I had always been excited about what the ministry was doing at our dig. I was thankful to serve the ministry by performing the “behind the scenes” work here in the States.
Upon my arrival in Israel, however, I soon discovered what I had been missing. I did not realize it was imperative that I participate in the work at Khirbet el-Maqatir to truly grasp the significance and importance of this critical archaeological project. To stand at the site and to look south to Jerusalem, to look into the same shallow valley where the king of Ai came out for battle, to see the hill where Joshua likely stood with his javelin, to stand at the city gate, to be at the very place where God brought His people victory over His unrighteous enemies. It was a profound, life-changing experience.
The Lord graciously provided time and resources so that my wife Birzavit could join me. It was her first trip to Israel. We were together on the optional tour of biblical sites, which I knew she would thoroughly enjoy. I was a...
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