Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bet She'an

This is a picture from the top of the Tell here. Quite an amazing few from the top here. Off to the top right hand corner would be the bathhouse. The top left hand corner would be the theatre and in the bottom left hand corner would be the temple to the pagan gods.

Here are two more overview pictures from the top of the Tell that we climbed.
This is an idol that was found from the time of the Philistines. It is actually of the Pharoah of Egypt, Ramses III. The Philistines took these idols and chopped off their arms and legs as a mockery to the religion of the Egyptians. When a country would conquer a nation, not only were they conquering the nation as a whole, but it was a symbol of a religion conquering a religion and thus they made a mockery of this idol.
These are the first century steps that lead up to the temple to the pagan gods. Everything here in the city was destroyed by an earthquake. Excavators have stood some of the pillars and things up in different areas, but this temple shows the ultimate ruin of the city.
Standing here on Paladius street, one can see a beautiful mound called the Tell. This is where the military would have been in this city. On the top is a palace from the king. His throne room is up there, and some artifacts from the city.
This is an overview of the city of Bet She'an. The city is about six times as large as the little area that we went into, but we went to where most of the remains would have been. The rest is all houses and motels now.

This is your sauna, as we would know it today. You can see on the far side of the room, there are some passage ways for heat to enter the room. These checker-like pieces are actually under the floor. They will heat up to extreme temperatures and obviously heat up the floor itself to temperatures unbearable to the feet. Then one would enter the room and pour water all over the floor, creating a steam room. This would be for use after a workout in the gymnasium just outside of the bathhouse.

This is a layout of the bathhouse here in Bet She'an. It is a rather large building. Numerous things would go on here. One could take a cold bath, hot bath, or use the heat room that was already mentioned. The people of the city could also come here for their ritual baths before going to the temples. They also could perform baptisms here and even workout here. The gymnasium would be a large building just at the entrance to this complex. Many exercises could be done here in the gymnasium, just like we can do many workouts in our gyms today.
This is one of the baptisms that is still visible today in the bathhouse. Just to note here, quickly, that these people obviously believed in immersion for their baptisms.

After exiting the bathhouse, one will find themselves on this first century street. The street is called Palladius street after a man named Palladius. Our Greek scholar, Mr. Armacost, read this in a mosaic inscription there on the street. This would have been the main street in the city.

This is the Theatre. The Romans would open these up for all to attend for free. It would give the people a sense of excitement over the Romans being in control. These were used for plays and other things. Underneath the stage is the changing rooms. We entered into this theatre and heard a man singing some soul music in here and were able to hear how well the accoustics are in these Theatres.

Scripture events in Bet She'an: After Saul and his sons were killed on Mount Gilboa, they were taken here by the Philistines and hung in the streets for all to see. They would have cut off Saul's head and placed it on a pole at the top of the Tell for all to see.


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