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Danny The Digger - Israel Private Tours

Biblical Scandals in the Shephelah

In addition to the Bible recording major historical events and how to worship God, it also describes different people and their personal relationships. Further, it is important to note that the Bible also speaks on sexuality and bedroom gossip. This uniquely designed private tour will take you on an adventure in the Shephelah (the Judean Foothills), and bring to life a few stories that illustrate the intricate relationships between men and women in the time of the ancient Israelites.


The Father of Nation Who Could Not Resist Temptation

Genesis 38 reviews the daily life of Judah, father of the Judean tribe and kingdom. He married his first son to Tamar, but after the son passes away, Judah ends up keeping Tamar as a widow in his household. Dissatisfied, Tamar decided to act. She sat on the side of the road at Petach Eynaim and dressed like a prostitute with her head covered, she got Judah’s attention. Not realizing she was his daughter-in-law; he was eager to be with her. Once they agreed he would deposit his seals as his form of payment, they went on to have a full night of intimacy. Three months later, Tamar’s pregnancy became known. Angrily, Judah orders to have her burned, but then she shows him his seals and he realizes his mistake. Tamar eventually gave birth to twins. Judah and Tamar’s 10th descent was King David.

Where did Tamar get Judah’s attention? According to Biblical text, it had to be between Adulam and Timnah. We will track those two sites and suggest a new location for the immoral event that led to the most famous dynasty in ancient times. 


The Mighty Hero Defeated by a Philistine Woman

The alleged tombs of Samson and his father in Tzora

The Book of Judges reviews the fascinating period of the Israelites’ struggles against Canaanites and Philistines. Perhaps the most famous figure in that time frame is Samson. Born and raised in the Shephelah, he often desired women of the neighboring Philistines, to the dismay of his parents. Tragically, his third love affair would cost him his life. His first wife was a Philistine woman from Timna. To impress her he killed a lion, and afterwards pulled honey down from his corpse. He became infatuated by a Philistine prostitute in Gaza, and later uprooted the gates of the city and walked with them to Hebron.

Finally, a Philistine woman called Delilah got him to confess his source of strength. She then snuggled with him until he fell asleep and cut his hair. In a vulnerable state, his eyes were poked out, and he was imprisoned in Gaza. Gradually, his hair grew back and when he was introduced to the temple of Dagon, he called for God to grant him his power one more time. Breaking the pillars of the temple, he caused the temple to collapse, killing him and his captors.

From Tell Beth-Shemesh will will review the quest for sites relating to Samson’s biography – Tzorah and Esthaol, where he was born (and buried), Timna, and Sorek stream (where he met Delilah). Before moving on, we will play Tom Jones’s pop song, which presents Samson’s disillusionment of what Delilah had done to him.


The Red Headed King Who Was Despised by His Queen

David and Michal, by Gustave Doré, 1865. From Wikimedia Commons

Through most of the Book of Samuel, the Bible admits to the superiority of the Philistines over the Israelites. At some point, it even records how they confiscate the Ark of the Israelites! One battle would go on to change it all. Samuel 17 records the Philistines invading the Shephelah at the Elah Valley. King Saul proposed a battle between two single representatives of each side to determine the fate of this war. The Philistines agreed and presented a giant named – Goliath. In despair, King Saul offered his daughter and tax exemptions for anyone willing to stand against the giant. Finally, a red headed shepherd named David stood up to the challenge and slayed Goliath.

Intimidated by the popularity of David, Saul requests 100 Philistine foreskins as dowry, but David complies. Reluctantly, Saul married his daughter to David. Unfortunately, their relationship was futile. Michal did not bear any children. David eventually fell in love with a married woman, who was married to one of his most loyal officers – but that’s another story.

Visiting the Battle site of David and Goliath, we will review the story in detail, and how it led David to the throne. We will learn about the power of sex, sex and power, and how, as the book of ecclesiastics concluded – Nothing is new under the sun.


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