Often, the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria are known as Israel’s heartland, where so much of Old Testament history occurred. Today, however, the area is known as the West Bank. Why West Bank? Because it refers to land west of the Jordan River. Though Israel won the war, that land was controlled by the country of Jordan after the War of Independence (1948) until the Six Day War in 1967.
Our itinerary today took us to Shiloh, where it is believed the tabernacle once stood, and where Hannah prayed for a son. That was followed by a visit to the Samaritan Museum in the city of Gerizim, followed (after a fabulous lunch!) by a steep ride to the top of Mt Gerizim.
Samaritans continue to exist in small numbers and have a different belief system than Jews, though they are very friendly toward them. They believe Mt Gerizim is the holy mountain upon which Abraham sacrificed Isaac, and the Temple was built. Thus, all we associate with Mt Moriah in Jerusalem is attributed to Mt Gerizim by the Samaritans.
Mt Ebal stands opposite Mt Gerizim, and the two depict the contrasts of blessings and curses found throughout Deuteronomy. Ultimately, this:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.~Deuteronomy 30:19
When looking at Mt Ebal and Mt Gerizim, it is obvious one is blessed and one is not. Mt Ebal, though slightly higher in elevation, gets little rain and snow, while Mt Gerizim gets plenty. Thu, Mt Gerizim is fertile and covered with trees, while Mt Ebal is barren. Coincidence? I don’t think so! (For more info, read Blessings and Curses.)
Time is short and words and pictures cannot describe the experience in full, but I encourage you to do some study on Mt Ebal and Mt Gerizim. Very fascinating!
I’ll do my best to continue to provide small snippets of what we are experiencing. Thanks for following and stay tuned for more!