31 Days to Discover Israel | Masada

#1 Jim n Sheryl Masada

Greetings, travelers! We are now here at Masada. This is a very historical site built by the maniacal and paranoid King Herod, it was one of the many castles he used to regularly escape when he grew fearful of being murdered by those in his family, servants or enemies.

Masada is one of the key places in the Old Testament, but not mentioned by name in the Bible. However, David, in about 1000 BC, hid ‘on a hill in the desert’ (see 1 Samuel 23, 14 and I Chronicles 12, 9) This ‘hill’ is Masada.

#2 view from top of tram at masada

Here’s the scoop from www.biblewalks.com:

Masada is located on a steep and isolated hill on the edge of the Judean desert mountains, on the shores of the Dead Sea. It was the last and most important fortress of the great Jewish rebellion against Rome (66-73 AD), and one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Israel.

The last stand of the Jewish freedom fighters ended in tragic events in its last days, which were thoroughly detailed in the accords of the Roman historian of that period, Josephus Flavius. Masada became one of the Jewish people’s greatest icons, and a symbol of humanity’s struggle for freedom from oppression. Israeli soldiers take an oath here: “Masada shall not fall again.”

#3 view of one of precipices

Masada is located on a diamond-shaped flat plateau (600M x 200M, 80 Dunam or 8 Hectares). The hill is surrounded by deep gorges, at a height of roughly 440M above the Dead sea level. It is accessed by roads from the east (Dead sea coast road #90) or from Arad on the west (road #3199).

During the Roman siege it was surrounded with a 4KM long siege wall (Dyke), with 8 army camps (A thru G) around the hill.

I found more interesting details at wikipedia.org.

Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa, on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Sicarii rebels and their families hiding there. Masada is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Arad.

#4 one of halls at masada

Masada is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions.

In 73 CE, the Roman governor of Iudaea Lucius Flavius Silva headed the Roman legion X Fretensis and laid siege to Masada.The Roman legion surrounded Masada, and built a circumvallation wall and then a siege ramp against the western face of the plateau.

#5 model of masada

According to Dan Gill, geological investigations in the early 1990s confirmed earlier observations that the 375-foot (114 m) high assault ramp consisted mostly of a natural spur of bedrock. The ramp was complete in the spring of 73, after probably two to three months of siege, allowing the Romans to finally breach the wall of the fortress with a battering ram on April 16. Romans took the X Legion and a number of auxiliary units and Jewish prisoners of war, totaling some 15,000 troops in order to crush Jewish resistance at Masada. A giant siege tower with a battering ram was constructed and moved laboriously up the completed ramp. Originally, Jewish rebels on top of Masada threw stones at those building and constructing the ramp. When this plan was realized, the Romans put captured Jewish prisoners from previously conquered towns to work the ramp. The Jewish people on top of Masada stopped killing those who built the ramp, choosing not to kill their fellow Jews, even though they understood this might result in the Romans penetrating the fortress. The walls of the fortress were breached in 73 CE.

#6 top of masada

According to Josephus, when Roman troops entered the fortress, they discovered that its 960 inhabitants had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide or killed each other. Josephus wrote of two stirring speeches that the Sicari leader had made to convince his fellows to kill themselves. Only two women and five children were found alive. Josephus presumably based his narration upon the field commentaries of the Roman commanders that were accessible to him.

There are significant discrepancies between archaeological findings, and Josephus’ writings. Josephus mentions only one of the two palaces that have been excavated, refers only to one fire, while many buildings show fire damage, and claims that 960 people were killed, while the remains of only 28 bodies have been found. The year of the siege of Masada may have been 73 or 74 CE.

#7 historical roman ramp where masada was penetrated

Beloved, celebrate your own personal independence from the bondage of sin this weekend.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:1-5

#8 discovery site of the lots used to determine which of the jewish remnants would kill the others so romans would not have victory

Have a great Fourth of July and don’t miss Monday – The Jordan River

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