Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Caves of Machpela, Hevron Israel

To visit Hebron is to steep yourself in Jewish history as you walk in the footsteps of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joshua, King David and the Maccabees.
This structure is built over the Caves of Mechpela, also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Under its walls you find the supposed final resting place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Rebecca and Leah. Most believe it is also the burial site for Adam and Eve. Could this be one of the reasons for Abraham insisting that he purchase the land at fair market value? He was grieving the loss of Sara who lived to be 127 years old. As I did more reading on Hebron I find it to be the final resting place of Jesse, King David's father and Ruth, his GGgrandmother. We remember their stories well but when travelling in Israel so much happens in such a small area, it is hard to grasp.

In the days of Herod the Great, which was over 2,000 years ago, huge walls were built over and around the ancient caves. Upon  a closer look at these stones you will notice they are like the ones on the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Herod's stone workers lined up the corners perfectly and all these years later they remain so. It is incredible to see.

The Star of David in the stonework.

Ritual hand washing. I like the color of the tiles mixed with the concrete, marble and stone floor.

The inner chambers have an Arabesque flavor to their colors and decor.

A menorah sits in the window giving us a glimpse of the town of Hevron.

This is the second most Holy Jewish site in Israel. This corner is believed to be the closest
to the burial chambers holding the Patriarchs. The land being purchased makes it Jewish property and its ownership cannot be disputed.

A Jewish man prays at the wall.

Genesis 23:17-20
17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. 19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.

If this isn't the true burial site one thing remains clear. This land was the field of Machpela. It is the land of Biblical Hebron (Hevron).

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