Have We Walked In The Footsteps Of Jesus? Exciting New Possibilities at Khirbet el-Maqatir -- By: Scott Stripling

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 27:4 (Fall 2014)
Article: Have We Walked In The Footsteps Of Jesus? Exciting New Possibilities at Khirbet el-Maqatir
Author: Scott Stripling


Have We Walked In The Footsteps Of Jesus?
Exciting New Possibilities at Khirbet el-Maqatir

Scott Stripling

Four periods of occupation exist at Khirbet el-Maqatir: an Amorite Bronze Age fortress, an Israelite occupation from the late Judges Period (Iron I–II), a city from the NT era (Late Hellenistic/Early Roman), and a Byzantine monastery. Prior to 2010, the work of the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR)

Archaeological time periods at Khirbet el-Maqatir.

at Khirbet el-Maqatir focused almost entirely on the Bronze Age fortress that appeared in approximately 1550 BC, in the Middle Bronze III (MB III) period, and which suffered violent destruction in about 1400 BC, near the end of Late Bronze I (LB I). Since 2010, significant excavations have been carried out in the other occupation areas. As the city from the time of Jesus emerges from beneath 6.5 ft (2 m) of accumulated debris, the finds are stunning. After drawing the fortification system in May 2014, Khirbet el-Maqatir’s renowned excavation architect, Leen Ritmeyer, insisted that the settlement should no longer be viewed as a village, but rather as a city. It appears that he is correct.

The local population refers to the Late Hellenistic (LH) and Early Roman (ER) ruins as at-Tugra (“the little entrance”), perhaps referring to the myriad subterranean features or the tower entrance. Victor Guerin, in the mid-nineteenth century, was the first in modern times to document this four-acre settlement.1 Israel Finkelstein surveyed the site on December 13, 1981.2 As excavations have now begun in the NT city, there is understandably an interest in determining the site’s name in the late Second Temple period. There are numerous unidentified sites, such as Gofnith, mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud.3 Likewise, it could have been an unnamed settlement of the region of Aphairema that is mentioned in 1

Leen Ritmeyer

Late Second Temple city at Khirbet el-Maqatir.

Maccabees 11:34. But, in the vicinity of Khirbet el-Maqatir, 9 mi north of Jerusalem, Ephraim stands out as the most intriguing candidate. Numerous ancient sources refer to Ephraim.

Ephraim In The New Testament

After Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in Bethany (modern el Azaria), John’s gospel narrative accelerates...

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