• Excavations at Hazor Comments Off on “Hazor is Number One …”: An Interview with Professor Amnon Ben-Tor

    By Gordon Franz and Stephanie Hernandez

    A self-proclaimed “Jerusalemite”, Amnon Ben-Tor was born, raised, educated and lives in Jerusalem.  With an MA (1961) and a PhD (1968) from Hebrew University, much of Dr. Ben-Tor’s archaeological focus has been on Hazor and Masada.  Besides these two sites, Amnon has directed excavations at Azor, Tel Yarmuth, Tel Yokneam,  Tel Qashish, Tel Qiri and Athienou (Cyprus).  He was educated under Professor Yigael Yadin and has numerous publications to his credit.  He has written extensively on Tel Hazor and has a soon to be released book on Masada.

    This interview was conducted at Hazor in July, 2008.

    Gordon Franz:
    It has been said that Hazor is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Land of Israel.  Why is it so important?

    Amnon Ben-Tor: It is the most important for various reasons.  One is because it says so in the Bible!  To quote a few passages for you: the book of Joshua states that Hazor is the “head of all those kingdoms” (11:10).  So one, the Bible recognized that Hazor was the number one Canaanite city.  The king of Hazor, in the book of Judges, is also the king of Canaan.  Jabin lives in Hazor, but he is the king of Canaan (4:2, 23, 24).  So again, Hazor is number one.  In the conquest of the Land, the decisive battle was fought at Hazor (Jos 11:1-15).  After Hazor was conquered the land was open for the Israelites to settle, from Mount Hermon all the way down to the Aravah (Jos 11:16-12:24).  The beginning of the end of the Israelite kingdom is also connected with Hazor:  In 732 BC the Assyrians take Hazor along with most of the Galilee all the way down to Megiddo (2 Kgs 15:29).  Ten years later, Samaria falls and that’s the end of the Kingdom of Israel.  So, if you look at it from this perspective, Hazor is number one in the Bible.  But this is not enough.

    Number two: If you look at historical records, Hazor is the only site in the country that is mentioned in about twenty documents found in the archive at Mari.  From these documents, we learn that Babylonian ambassadors were living in Hazor and caravans were coming and going.  Hazor is the only one mentioned: not Dan, not Megiddo, not Lachish, not Jerusalem.  No other site, just Hazor.

    If you go to the Late Bronze Age, the 14th century BC, there is the Amarna archive.  The king of Hazor is the only one that has the title “king” in all the correspondences.  Not only does he refer to himself as king, but also others.  Some of them are his rivals, but still they refer to him as king.  The king of Tyre writes to Pharaoh, “the king of Hazor has done so and so”.  Number two: the historical records.

    Number three: the archaeological record.  Canaanite Hazor is the biggest site in the country, covering some 200 acres with a population between 15,000 and 20,000 people.  So I am talking about something like New York or Paris of today.  It was a huge site.

    Further are the finds.  We have exquisite finds.  I know everybody comes and talks about the archives, which will be found in time.  But by now we already have more documents than any other site in the country.  Other than this, we have magnificent finds.  Unlike any other site, archaeology shows us that Canaanite Hazor was number one.  Then, when Canaanite Hazor was destroyed, it was no longer number one in this sense.  Israelite Hazor was much, much smaller, confined only to the acropolis, with a population of between 1,000 and 1,500 people.  Then Jerusalem is number one, and Samaria is number two.  Then we have Dan, Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lachish, and Beer Sheva.  These are important cities.

    Hazor is number one even now from another point of view.  This again has to do with the Bible and the value of Biblical historiography.  Does the Bible reflect historical reality?  Is the Bible only theology?  Or is it only fantasy?  Hazor was continuously occupied from around 950 BC to around 732 BC, and we have more strata from this time frame than any other site in the country.  We have a very dense stratigraphy.  So if you talk about the problem of the conquest of the land, of Joshua if you wish: Hazor.  The period of the Judges: Hazor.  The United Monarchy, say Solomon: Hazor.  Ahab: Hazor.  Jeroboam II: Hazor.  Tiglath-Pileser III, king of Assyria: Hazor.  So you can walk with the Bible in one hand, and – at the same time looking at the relics.  I don’t say that you have to accept everything, but the argument or the discussion should be held, could be held, can be held, here at Hazor.

    Gordon: You had the privilege of working closely with Professor Yigael Yadin.  Please tell us something about Yadin the person.  What was he like?  What made him tick?

    Amnon: Yadin was a great man.  You don’t get to meet many great men, maybe one in your lifetime.  There are only three peaks anyone can reach: in the military, in politics and in culture.  In the military, Yadin was the Chief of Staff.  The politicians asked him, as a military authority in his twenties, if he thought we could withstand the invasion of Arab armies, certain to happen once a state was declared, and he said “yes.”  He took upon himself, at that young age a tremendous responsibility!  This is something.  He became Chief of Staff after the war.  So that’s one peak.
    Second, in the 50’s and 60’s, if you ask anyone which figure they think about in terms of Israeli culture, it would be Yadin.  Yadin was Masada.  Yadin was Hazor.  Yadin was the “Dead Sea Scrolls.”
    Number three is politics, where he became Deputy Prime Minister, although I advised him not to get involved in politics.  Tell me, how many people do you know who became Chief of Staff, Deputy Prime Minister, and such an important person in the history of the country?  This was Yadin.

    So he was a great person.  He was the best lecturer.  He could fill halls with thousands of people.  He was very quick.  Whenever something came up, he was the one who could point out where the weak spot was and the good arguments.  He was a great man.

    Gordon: What influence did Yadin have in getting you involved in archaeology in general and Hazor in particular?

    Amnon: First of all, he was my teacher, and he was the best of my teachers.  Second, he gave me my first job which I had in archaeology.  He wrote the book, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Times which was one of the first books on the subject in this part of the world.  It appeared in 1963.  He gave me the job to collect the bibliography, the pictures, this and that.  I worked for him by the hour and this was the first job in archaeology that I had.

    Third, field work:  In 1958 I was working here at Hazor.  My first real excavation was here under Ruth Amiran, but Yadin was the head of the excavations.  Then, he invited me to join him in the excavation of Masada, where I spent the best three years of my life, ever.  So this was Masada.  Then I went with him in 1968 to excavate Hazor again.
    Yadin was a very important figure in archaeology.  When he died [June 28, 1984], he named three people to be in charge of his scientific legacy because there were so much of his publications that he didn’t have time to finish because of his involvement in the Agranat Commission after the Yom Kippur War, his involvement in politics and eventually the government.  So a lot was left undone.  He named Joseph Aviram – the head of the Israel Exploration Society, Professor Nahman Avigad of the Hebrew University and me to publish his scientific material.  I was to do Hazor.  So again, I came back to Hazor through Yadin’s legacy.  I worked on the publication of the volumes of Hazor III and IV, and also Hazor V.  It was during that time that I decided to come back to Hazor.  So you see Yadin is the pivot of everything that I am doing.

    :  When Yadin died in 1984 he had plans to return to Hazor and continue his excavations.  Why did he want to return?

    Amnon: He had a very, very specific goal in mind.  In 1958, a corner of a huge building was discovered in Area A.  Yadin was convinced that this was the corner of the palace of Jabin, the king of Hazor, who was known from the Mari archive as Ibni-Addu.  He was sure that in this building the archive of Hazor would be found.  This was his main goal.  He wanted to come back and look for the archive.  There were other things, but his main goal was this.  But he died, and he did not have time to come back.  I came back instead.

    Gordon: You returned to Hazor in 1990.  Why did you return and what were your objectives for the renewed excavations?  What questions did you want to answer?

    Amnon: I had three objectives: first – to deal with the issues that were controversial.  For example, the date of the six-chambered gate found at Hazor in the 50’s.  Hazor is where the “dogma” of the archaeology of the United Monarchy was formulated.  The six-chambered gate and the casemate wall were dated by Yadin’s expedition to the time of Solomon.  The Biblical passage (I Kings 9:15) attributes the construction of Hazor and Gezer to King Solomon, all of this drew a lot of fire on the one hand and a lot of support on the other.  The focus of the debate was over the date of the gate.  So one objective was to return and excavate and deal with these issues.
    Second was to deal with issues that where left unresolved by the previous excavations.  For example, what is the date of the construction of the Lower City?  When did it become a real city in the Middle Bronze Age?  It was a controversial issue.  Another issue was the question of who destroyed Hazor and when.  Yadin thought he knew.  He had the date and he had the culprit, so to speak.  But it was, and still is, a controversial issue.  He did not have enough data, so the idea was to find the evidence.  We also hope to find the archive.  Yadin did not find it.  Maybe we can find it.  So maybe the palace, or what Yadin thought was the palace, is where the archive will be found.  So let’s excavate this particular palace.  So this was the second reason.
    The third reason I returned to Hazor is that Hazor is the most important Biblical site.  Unfortunately not too many people come to visit the site for a number of reasons.  It is far away, it has no water, it has no shop, and it has no restaurant.  So people don’t come and tour guides don’t take people to Hazor.  They would rather take them to nearby Tel Dan where there is water and a restaurant.  We have other problems.  We have no real interest for Christians who are interested in the New Testament.  The only large groups of Christian visitors are the Koreans who are interested in the Old Testament.  They realize that Hazor is the place to be.  So I think it is important to make Hazor attractive to people.  If we can restore the place so that it “speaks” to the common person, not only to the archaeologists, I think we are doing something very important.  So we restore, we invest millions of shekels for reconstruction to put Hazor on the map.  I think it has helped.  We are already a World Heritage site on UNESCO’s list.  Unfortunately not too many school children come, but the number of tourists is rising.  There is a lot of work to be done with the teachers, with the ministry of education.  I have tried to work with three of them already, but so far, no success.  Let’s see what is going to happen in the future.

    Gordon: What are the most important discoveries you have made at Hazor?

    Amnon: This is more or less like asking which of your children you love the most!  It’s very difficult, you know.  The results are cumulative.  It is not one thing, but it’s this and this and the other.  So if we are talking about the Iron Age it is the excavation that we did next to the casemate wall in order to determine the date of the entire system, which we managed to place in the 10th century BC.  I think it is very, very important.  Almost everything we are finding contributes to the general picture.
    When you come to the Bronze Age it is the palace, no question about it.  The documents that we find are important as well.  The latest one that we found is the first time that Mari is mentioned in a document found at Hazor.  So far we only had Hazor mentioned on tablets found in Mari.  Now we have them both ways.  So it is this and that and the other.  All of this contributes to the picture.
    Not the least, I found my wife at Hazor.  She was a student.  We get first year students here for three weeks, to train them in field archaeology.  She was one of them and here is where I found her some 40 years ago.  So that was another important find …

    Gordon: Are you still happily married?

    Amnon: Yes, I am.  And we are talking now about 40 years.

    How does one go about volunteering for the excavations at Hazor?

    Sometimes you get the most interesting people coming to Hazor.  Including this season, we have had people from more than 27 different countries participate in the excavation.  Some of them you would never think about.  We had someone from Tasmania, the island south of Australia.  All kinds of strange / exotic countries with very, very interesting people.  Number one, we have a website.
    Number two: the January / February issue of Biblical Archaeology Review lists the sites that are excavating that summer.  We are listed there.  Number three and I think number three is the best:  It is when a friend brings a friend, brings a friend, and brings a friend.  We have people who come every year and they bring their own friends.  We have some people that are with us for fifteen seasons.  We have a woman from Sweden who has been with us for nineteen seasons.  We have a volunteer from Spain who came to Hazor 18 years ago, stayed in the country, married a local girl and is now a member of the Hazor excavations staff!  So it is by word of mouth, it is by the website.  We have groups and we have individuals.  We had the ABR group that was with us three times.  We have groups from different universities; we have our own Hebrew University students.  We have individuals from here, there and everywhere.

    Gordon:  You recently retired from active teaching at Hebrew University.  What do you hope to accomplish in your retirement?

    Amnon: It’s a cliché.  I’ve heard many people say it but I’ve never believed it but it is true.  I don’t have time to do anything!  I don’t know how I found time to teach.  There is so much to do.  Hazor takes up most of my time.
    I just finished writing a book on Masada which will appear very soon, both in Hebrew and in English.  This takes up a lot of my time.  It’s finished, it’s done.  Now we are putting in the pictures, the captions, all this technical work.  By the end of the year I hope it will appear, but we’ll see.  You never know how long it will take in the press.
    We are now busy writing the final report on the results of the Hazor excavations 1990-2008: two teams are working simultaneously on two volumes: one on the Iron Age, the other on the Bronze Age.  There are so many things I want to do.  I want to write a popular book about Hazor.  There’s no end.  There is no time to do anything.  I want to study more about Jerusalem.  I want to improve two languages, Spanish and French.  No time, no time.

    Amnon, thank you for your time, I appreciate it.  I wish you all the best in the seasons to come.  I hope you find the archive sooner, rather than later.  And I hope I will be there with you when you find it.  All the best.

    For further information concerning the Hazor Excavations, please visit their website:


  • Excavations at Hazor Comments Off on “Where is the archive at Hazor?”: An interview with Dr. Sharon Zuckerman

    By Gordon Franz and Stephanie Hernandez

    Born, raised and educated in Jerusalem, archaeologist Sharon Zuckerman has been excavating at Tel Hazor since 1990.  Along with being the Area M supervisor, Dr. Zuckerman teaches archaeology at Hebrew University.  Her doctoral dissertation was on “The Kingdom of Hazor in the Late Bronze Age – Chronological and Regional Aspects of the Material Culture of Hazor and its Settlements.”

    This interview was conducted at Kibbutz Mahaniam in July 2008.

    Gordon Franz:
    The last three years the Hazor Excavation has concentrated on Area M.  First, how did this area become known as Area M?  Second, what were Yigael Yadin’s objectives in opening up this area?

    Sharon Zuckerman:
    The origin of the name for Area M comes from the first excavation on the northern side of the tel in 1968 by Yadin’s team.  Legend says it’s called Area M because the area supervisor was named Malka Hershkovich.  So this is why the area is called Area M.  I still do not know if this is the real reason.  The objectives of Yadin were to trace the line of the casemate wall going from the six-chambered gate all the way to the northern slope of the tel and see if the wall encircled the entire tel or only part of it.  He found in Area M that the casemate wall only encircled half of the tel.  What he did find is that the 9th century solid wall, shows that the city was enlarged.  The new wall, a solid wall, that intersects the offset wall, was built to encompass the whole surface of the tel.  So the city of the 9th century, which Yadin concluded was at least twice as large as the 10th century.

    Gordon: You began to excavate just east of Yadin’s area in 1990.  Why did you open up this area and what were your objectives?

    Sharon: The first reason to open the area was to check Yadin’s conclusions.  We wanted to open an area a little to the east of his area M and to try to see if his conclusions regarding the 10th century, the 9th century and even the 8th century, are still valid.  Another goal, which might be even more important, is the fact that exactly at this point there was a flat area half way up the slope of the tel and we assumed that this was due to some type of man-made architectural feature that was built there.  This is exactly the point where we would expect to find a connection point in between the lower and upper cities during the Late and Middle Bronze Age.  We expected to see a very large staircase or some type of gate or something like that.  This is why we opened the section on the northern slopes at exactly this point.

    Gordon: What did you find in Area M that was significant?

    Well, first of all we have full and interesting stratigraphy of the Iron Age, ending in the last destruction of Hazor in 732 BC by Tiglath-Pileser III.  This is one of the few places where we have the destruction layer on or within buildings of the 8th century.  We have several phases of domestic buildings of the 8th century down to the beginning of the period.  Underneath we have a public area of the 9th century, which hints that Hazor was a very important administrative center at this time.  Below that is the Late Bronze Age, which is a very interesting complex which we assume was a part of the upper acropolis during the Late Bronze Age.  There was no 10th century and apparently no 11th century levels.  This is interesting.  No settlement period or remains in this area.

    Gordon: Area M was the basis for your doctoral dissertation at Hebrew University.  What were your conclusions?

    Sharon: My conclusions were that this same complex that we are talking about might be interpreted as a palace, similar in plan and other architectural features to other palaces that we know at this time at other Canaanite sites, for example, Ugarit and Megiddo.  I assume that the destruction of this area is probably earlier than Yadin assumed, sometime during the beginning of the 13th century rather than towards its end.  So in a sense, these were the two major conclusions.

    Gordon: These are important conclusions.  When and where will this material be published so the scholarly community can interact with it?

    Sharon: Soon, as soon as possible!  But these conclusions will probably be incorporated into the report of Hazor which is currently in the process of being published.  I did publish several articles in English, in The Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology (2007), Levant and The Journal of Near Eastern Studies (forthcoming).

    Gordon: When Dr. Ben-Tor gives lectures on Hazor, inevitably the question is asked, “Have you found the archive yet?”  Why do you think the archive is in Area M?

    Sharon: If my assumption is correct and we are digging the residential palace of Late Bronze Hazor, then this is the most logical and natural place to find the archive from the Amarna Period, which is the period that we are dating it to.  So usually we find archives in the ancient periods in palatial buildings, in palaces, or sometimes in temples.  This is also a possibility.  Also, sometimes in residential houses of influential people, like traders, people like that.  But we have excavated a large building on the acropolis.  We know that there were cuneiform tablets that attest to the existence of an archive.  But no archive was found there and no archive will be found there because we have excavated the entire building.  So it must be somewhere and I believe this somewhere is in the palatial building on the northern slope of the tel (2006:28-37).

    How many more seasons do you think it will take to get down to the Late Bronze Age?

    Sharon: I would assume between three and five years, three to five seasons from today (July 2008).

    Gordon: Sharon, it has been my privilege to work with you the past three seasons in Area M at Hazor.  It has been a pleasure working with you because you are an excellent area supervisor.  You lead by example: you are in the bucket chains, you are pushing wheelbarrows, and you are teaching the volunteers proper archaeological techniques and are ever so patient in pottery reading for those who do not grasp the fine distinction between a krater, storage jar, a bowl or a juglet.  Thank you for your patience and for leading by example.  I wish you all the best in the future seasons and am looking forward to working with you until the Late Bronze Age!

    Sharon: Thank you, thank you very much.


    Zuckerman, Sharon
    2006    Where is the Hazor Archive Buried?  Biblical Archaeology Review 32/2: 28-37.

    2007    Anatomy of a Destruction: Crisis Architecture, Termination Rituals and the Fall of Canaanite Hazor.  Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 20/1: 3-32.

    2008    Fit for a (not-quite-so-great) King: A Faience Lion-Headed Cup from Hazor.  Levant 40/1: 115-125.

    For further information concerning the Hazor Excavations, please visit their website:


  • Excavations at Hazor Comments Off on “It is the Best Job in the World!”: An Interview with Conservator Orna Cohen

    By Stephanie Hernandez and Gordon Franz


    Born and raised in the Upper Galilee, conservator Orna Cohen has had an accomplished career.  Currently restoring the Late Bronze Age palace at Tel Hazor, Cohen has used her expertise on the ancient Galilee boat and has given her expert opinion to the Israel Antiquities Authority regarding the James Ossuary.  Educated at Hebrew university and the London University – Institute of Archaeology, Cohen is also responsible for cleaning artifacts found at the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

    This interview was conducted at the “ceremonial palace” at Hazor.  For a more technical account of the excavation of the palace, see Ben-Tor and Rubiato 1999:22-39.

    Stephanie Hernandez: Why is it important for archaeologists to restore the structures that they have excavated?

    Orna Cohen: It’s very simple.  As with a modern or new building, you have to take care of it.  Just think of a building that’s been covered for thousands of years.  After you have excavated it, there are a lot of unstable structures that you have to stabilize.  There are elements like broken stones and things that you have to fix.  Also, not just stability, but you also have to show it to the public, to visitors.  You have to share it with others and restore it in such a way that visitors can understand the structures that were uncovered during excavation.

    Stephanie: What is a conservator?  How does one learn to be a conservator?  What kind of education do you need?

    Orna: It is the best job in the world!  It is the most interesting thing.  The archaeologists are excavating and dealing with all the stuff, with pottery, but the interesting thing, the sugar / cherry on the cake that I have to deal with, are the small finds.  I have to prepare them for exhibition, or publication.  If it is the structure on the site, it is the most fascinating and challenging part of the excavation.  I feel very lucky to have an opportunity to do this thing.  Basically I started as an archaeologist.  I studied archaeology, then I studied chemistry and then there are special courses on conservation.  But still you need a lot of experience to be a good conservator, to understand the value, the meaning, and the rules.  It means a longer period of experience and education.  I went to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but when I decided to specialize in conservation I had to go and study in England at the London University – Institute of Archaeology and then some courses in Norway and Italy.

    Stephanie: You have almost single-handedly, along with Ina from Sweden, restored the “ceremonial palace” near the top of the acropolis of Hazor.  Please tell us about the excavation of this structure, the objects found in the excavations and the burn layer of the violent conflagration that brought the palace to its end.

    Orna: I was lucky to start working on this project when they started digging the main hall of the palace.  So they called me when they found a few broken statues and it was the most exciting excavation I have ever visited and took part in.  It was amazing.  They excavated a layer of about one meter of thick ash all burned.  The people used to come out like a coal miner at the end of the day.  They were dark, but with big smiles on their faces because they were so happy to take part in this experience.  Every minute someone would find something, a seal, a big statue, fragments of pottery, of course cuneiform tablets.  It is the most rich excavation.  So it was very exciting.  Of course later I had to treat all the objects for publication so I twice had the pleasure of dealing with these objects.  But the excavation itself was amazing.  Everyone was very excited.  It was a sure thing you’d find many figurines.  On the corner of the treasure room were two beautiful bronze statues that were buried so they were intact.  The other statues, the large stone ones, were mutilated.  Whoever burned down the palace cut off the heads and hands of the statues.  Early on, it was a really special experience, very exciting.

    Stephanie: How intense was the fire?  How do you know this?

    Orna: The temperature reached at least 1300 degrees centigrade (2350 degrees Fahrenheit), which is huge.  But just imagine, it melted pottery and some of the mud brick, so they ran like water. You can see this material running on the walls.  For this kind of fire you need a lot of organic materials.  We know there was a lot of wood in this palace, all cedars of Lebanon, according to the charcoal that was tested.  But it is a huge room.  We have not found remains of any pillars that supported the roof.  You need a lot of large beams of cedar to roof it.  Also, there was wood combined in the walls, and of course, the very rare and unique find of the wooden floor.  These are all charcoal remains that we are talking about.  All these helped to accumulate this one meter thick layer of ash which is very rare.  The most you see on an excavation is one or two centimeters.  One meter is very unusual.  There was no need to bring in wood from the outside for this fire.  There was enough organic material.  Beside that, all the large pottery jars in the area also contained organic material, probably oils, which are expected in such a place.  Altogether, with the strong wind that we have here in the afternoon can bring the fire to this degree.  That’s what cracked all the stone panels at the bottom of the walls.  The orthostates were all cracked and crushed because of the fire.  Also, it caused me a lot of work to puzzle and glue them together!

    Stephanie: Who burned the place?

    Orna: We can not tell exactly.  But the only historical evidence is from the Bible that tells about how Joshua conquered Hazor and since the king of Hazor organized all the cities against the Israelites, they gave the order to burn it down to ashes (Jos 11:11).  Here we see it, is it this story or not, we don’t know.

    Gordon Franz:
    Permit me to change the subject.  You have made some excellent replicas of objects that have been found at Hazor for various museums.  How easy, or hard is it to make a replica?  What is the process?

    Orna: It depends on what the object is.  Today there are excellent materials for making replicas.  If you know how to do it right, it is a lot of work, but you can get beautiful replicas that almost look the same.  As a professional who does it for museums, I always make sure I made a difference and mark down that it’s a replica, so we won’t find it on the market later in Jerusalem (which already happened once!).  I did some kind of bronze keys from the Second Temple period and I saw them later on the market.  They were sold to the Tower of David.  So I have to be very careful.  I label them as replicas.  It’s something I make and it is difficult to see but I mark them as replicas.  If it’s the same material I always put “R” or replica somewhere on it.

    Gordon: Could someone make a fake archaeological artifact and sell it on the antiquities market?

    It’s been done for many years.  We have heard stories about that.  It is possible, but to do it you have to know what you want, but today it is all possible.  There are the materials and there is information that you can find everywhere.  It’s possible and it happens.  Some of it is good, so people should not buy antiquities on the free market.  There is no need to deal with antiquities.  I think today if you want to show antiquities you can show beautiful professional replicas in museums.  If you want to make your own collection, make a collection of replicas because collecting antiquities means you are sending someone to rob them, to steal them, to destroy knowledge from archaeological sites.  So we are against all these fakes and I wish people would stop buying them and start going to replicas.  I only do replicas for museums, not for the open market.

    How easy is it to fake patina?

    It is possible, but it is not easy to fake patina.  You need the knowledge, but it has been done.  There is research going on about it for historical buildings.  For instance when you are renewing part of a building you want to repeat the patina, so there is research about these things.  I had the pleasure of looking at and checking the James Ossuary and I gave my comments on it.  I think the ossuary is authentic and a real one, but the inscription on it, I am convinced there are two hands that wrote the inscription.  To my opinion, part of the inscription is faked, part is original.  Of course, there are things that go on in trial now.  They are still trying to figure out what is faked and by whom it was made.  To my opinion, the name Joshua [on the ossuary] is real.  The inscription reads: “Ya’acov bar Yosef achi Yehoshua.”  [Translation: Jacob, or James, the son of Joseph, the brother of Jesus].  So the first part, I think is added.  My professional opinion is almost against all the others that think the last name [on the inscription]; “brother of Jesus” (Joshua) is a fake.  So my opinion was against the others [at the trial].  I checked and it’s according to the patina in the letters.  There was a fake patina of just dirt that was put in these letters on purpose so I cleaned part of it and underneath there was the original, yellowish patina that based on my experience, was the original one.  It was not on the first part of the inscription but it was on the last part of the inscription.  That is what I gave as my opinion.

    How prevalent are fakes on the antiquities market today and can a discerning eye spot one?

    Orna: I do not deal with the market much.  I do not go into these stores of course.  But from time to time, I have been asked [about possible fakes].  Working in the Bible Lands Museum I saw many fakes that these expert people bought.  There are fakes and you can fool the experts for a while.  But eventually people figure it out with the new ways of testing and inspecting of things like that.  I think all the fakes are coming out as fakes.  So it is better not to buy from the market in my opinion.

    Thank you for your time.

    Orna: Thank you.


    Ben-Tor, Amnon; and Rubiato, Maria Teresa
    1999    Excavating Hazor.  Did the Israelites Destroy the Canaanite City?  Biblical Archaeology Review 25/3: 22-39.

    For further information concerning the Hazor Excavations, please visit their website:



    By Gordon Franz

    Some have raised the objection that Mount Sinai could not be in the Sinai Peninsula because millions of Israelites died during the Wilderness Wanderings and no graves of any of these Israelites have been discovered in the Sinai Peninsula from this period.  Recently we received such an inquiry at the Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) website by an anonymous individual identified only as “Curious.”

    This individual states: “How can it be logical to say the Israelites wandered in the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years, and the older ones all died, and kept the younger ones very busy burying their older generation (all the millions of adults who came out of Egypt), and yet archaeology in that location never has found a single gravesite from the entire time of the wilderness wanderings?  I don’t think the Sinai Peninsula is the right location for the 40 years of wanderings because there should be millions of graves there if that is where the Israelites wandered” (Italics by Gordon Franz).
    Is this a valid objection to Mount Sinai being in the Sinai Peninsula?

    First, we should start with the hermeneutical questions: Does the Bible interpret the archaeological finds?  Or, do the archaeological finds interpret the Bible?  In “Curious’” case, archaeology is used to interpret the Bible (see italics quote).  That is a very dangerous precedent to follow because archaeology is not an exact science and it is always changing with new excavations and new interpretations.  Views held by archaeologists today may be passé tomorrow due to new evidence.  So I would reject “Curious’” underlying presupposition.

    I believe that the Bible is divine revelation and it should interpret the archaeological finds.  The Bible is clear, Mount Sinai is in the Sinai Peninsula, and so the Bible has to dictate how we interpret the archaeological finds (Har-el 1983; Rasmussen 1989:86-92).

    Second, to say that there are no graves in the Sinai from the period of the Exodus / Wilderness Wanderings is very misleading.  One should first ask the question: In what archaeological period was the Wilderness Wanderings (Cohen 1983:16-39; for surveys of Sinai, see Meshel 2000)?  Does a preconceived idea of which archaeological period to look at happen to eliminate all your evidence?

    Third, what kind of graves would Israelites have been buried in?  If the Israelites buried their dead in a simple trench burial in the ground, would they have even left a marker on top of the grave?  There would be no reason to mark the grave because they were heading to the Promised Land, the Land of Canaan, and not returning back to visit the graves of their ancestors as Bedouin in Sinai, the Negev, Jordan and Saudi Arabia do today, thus the markers on their graves so they can visit their ancestors!

    Fourth, how do we know that most of the Israelites were even buried in Sinai?  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers that: “But with most of them God was not pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness” (I Cor. 10:5 NKJV).  “Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert” (NIV).  One gets the distinct impression from this passage that most of the bodies were just left in the Wilderness, exposed to the elements … and the vultures, hyenas and jackals!  If that is the case, there will be very few graves at all, thus “no gravesites in Sinai” would be a dead objection.

    Fifth, another possibility that should be pursued is the Hebrew practice of secondary burial.  In this practice, the dead would be buried in a cave for a year and then the bones would be gathered for “secondary burial.”  In the case of the First Temple period, the bones would be placed into a repository in the cave.  During the Second Temple period, the bones would be placed in an ossuary.  The phrase in the Bible that is connected with this practice is: “and he slept with his fathers,” or more literally, “he was gathered to his fathers.”

    This practice began with the Patriarch Abraham when he bought a cave near Hebron and buried his wife Sarah in it (Gen. 23).  He was later interned there, as was his son Isaac and his wife Rebecca.  Jacob and one of his wives, Leah, were buried there as well (Gen. 49:28-33; 50:5, 13).  When Jacob died in Egypt, he wanted to be gathered to his fathers in the Promised Land.

    Abraham, and later Jacob, bought plots of ground near Shechem and this was later used as a burial plot for others of their descendents, including Joseph (Gen. 33:19; cf. Acts 7:15-16).  Joseph clearly instructs the Children of Israel to rebury his bones in the Promised Land (Gen. 50:24-25; cf. Heb. 11:22; Ex. 13:19; Josh. 24:32).

    The Bible places the burial of Rachel in the tribal territory of Benjamin (Gen. 48:7; I Sam. 10:2; cf. Jer. 31:15; Neh. 7:26).  Interestingly, in the territory of Benjamin, there are six or seven megalithic structures clustered together and preserve the Arabic name Qubur Bani Israil, translated “tombs of the sons of Israel” (Finkelstein and Magen 1993: 63*, 371-372, site 479; Hareuveni 1991: 64-71).

    When the Wilderness Wandering narratives are examined, there are only three accounts of burials recorded.  The first is those who died of the plague at Kibroth Hattaavah [“the graves of craving”] after the LORD sent quail to their camp (Num. 11:31-34).  The second burial that is recorded is that of Miriam, the sister of Moses, at Kadesh Barnea (Num. 20:1).  The final burial is at the death of Aaron, the brother of Moses, on Mount Hor that is on the border with Edom (probably Mount Rimon, Har-el 1983:273-274).   Interestingly, in the account of Aaron’s death, there is no mention of his burial (Num. 20:23-29), but there is mention of him being “gathered to his fathers” (20:24, 26).  In the book of Deuteronomy, however, his burial is mentioned (10:6).

    The fact that Aaron would be “gathered to his fathers” indicates secondary burial was practiced, at least with him, during the Wilderness Wanderings.  As was noted with the Patriarchs, their desire was to be buried in the Land of Israel (“Eretz Yisrael”).  It is a distinct possibility that the Israelites gathered the bones of their relatives who died in the Wilderness and carried them to the Promised Land and buried them in the Land of Israel (Gonen 1985: 53 [sidebar], 54 [map]).  If that is the case, there would be no graves of the Israelites in the Wilderness because they would be in Israel!

    Finally, the tables should be turned on those who reject Mount Sinai and the Wilderness Wanderings in the Sinai Peninsula.  What is the nature of their “evidence” for graves at their theorized sites?  Again, the questions that need to be answered are these: (1) Where are these “Israelite” graves outside of the Sinai Peninsula?  (2) How does one know they are Israelites burials and not recent Bedouin burials?  (3) What archaeological period are you looking for the Wilderness Wanderings?  (4) What archaeological remains (if any) were excavated at these graves and are they from the period of the Wilderness Wanderings?  (5) Were these human remains carbon dated to determine the possible dates of the bones?  If so, are these dates consistent with the Biblical date for the Wilderness Wanderings?  (6) Were DNA tests done on the bones to determine the ethnic origin of those buried in these graves?  Were the DNA tests results compared to the local Bedouin in the area to see if it matched their DNA?

    I think we should pursue other avenues of inquiries before we allow archaeology to interpret the Bible, thus abandoning the clear statements of Scripture and removing Mount Sinai from the Sinai Peninsula and placing it in Saudi Arabia or somewhere else.  Mount Sinai belongs in the Sinai Peninsula, right where the Bible places it!


    Cohen, Rudolph
    1983    The Mysterious MB I People.  Does the Exodus Tradition in the Bible Preserve the Memory of Their Entry into Canaan?  Biblical Archaeology Review 9/4: 16-29.

    Finkelstein, Israel; and Magen, Yitzhak, eds.
    1993    Archaeological Survey of the Hill Country of Benjamin.  Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority.

    Gonen, Rivka
    1985    Was the Site of the Jerusalem Temple Originally a Cemetery?  Biblical Archaeology Review 9/3: 44-55.

    Har-el, Menashe
    1983    The Sinai Journeys.  The Route of the Exodus.  San Diego, CA: Ridgefield Publishing Company.

    Hareuveni, Nogah
    1991    Desert and Shepherd in Our Biblical Heritage.  Trans. by Helen Frenkley.  Kiryat Ono: Neot Kedumim.

    Meshel, Ze’ev
    2000    Sinai.  Excavations and Studies.  Oxford: BAR International Series 876.

    Rasmussen, Carl
    1989    Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

  • Profiles in Missions Comments Off on EPAPHRODITUS: A Gambling Veteran

    By Gordon Franz


    The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers to imitate (follow) him as he followed the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 11:1). Paul, in his epistle to the church at Philippi, set forth several examples of believers who had the mind of Christ – the lowliness of mind, and esteemed others better then themselves (Phil. 2:3, 5). Paul intended for the Christians at Philippi to imitate these examples: one of whom was one of their own – Epaphroditus.

    On the inside wall of the Church of Lydia (currently standing just outside the archaeological park of Philippi), is a mosaic icon of Epaphroditus. He is depicted as a young man dressed in a purple garment, holding what appears to be a scroll. That is not the impression I get from the book of Philippians. Epaphroditus was a veteran, a battle tested soldier, who gambled his life for the sake of the gospel.

    Philippians 2:25-30; 4:18

    Yet I consider it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my needs; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me
    …having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

    Epaphroditus in Philippi

    I suspect, but can not conclusively prove, that Epaphroditus was a veteran of the Roman Legion, and possibly of the Praetorian Guard. If so, upon his discharge from the army, he would have been given land in Philippi so he could retire to that Roman colony. It was in this city that he came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. His former military training and lifestyle would have served him well in his Christian life because he volunteered for a difficult and dangerous task, thus risking his life for the sake of the gospel. There are several lines of reasoning that have led me to this conclusion.

    First, Epaphroditus name means “charming, lovely, or fascinating” and has at the root of his name Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. According to Greek mythology she was born in the sea and washed up onto the shore of the island of Cyprus on a sea shell. In fact, Greek mythology could point to the very rocks off the beach where she came ashore. There was even a temple dedicated to her outside the ancient city of Paphos that had a black basalt rock that was worshiped as the goddess. [If you believe this Greek mythology stuff, I will be glad to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge]!

    Apparently Epaphroditus’ parents may have been pagan devotees of the goddess and therefore named their son in her honor. If true, they were probably not from Philippi because no temple or shrine to Aphrodite has been uncovered in the extensive excavations in the city. None of the ancient sources that mention Philippi attest to her presence in the city, nor is there any evidence for her, or her cult, on coins or inscriptions that have been excavated in the ruins of ancient Philippi (Koulouli-Chrysantaks 1998: 22-27).

    I would conclude that Epaphroditus was not born or raised in Philippi but that he came to the city of Philippi as a retired solder. After the battle of Philippi in 42 BC, the victors settled a number of veterans in the city and gave them fertile land to farm (Strabo, Geography 7, fr. 41; LCL 3:363). In 31 BC, after the battle of Actium in western Greece, more veterans were settled in the city upon their retirement from military service. Even in the First Century AD there were retired soldiers living, and eventually dying, in Philippi and its environs (Speidel 1970: 142-153). One of those who retired to the city could have been Epaphroditus.

    Second, the apostle Paul calls Epaphroditus a “fellow soldier” (Phil. 2:25). It is obvious that he is using this term in a metaphorical sense because, as far as we know, Paul never served in the Roman army. But that does not preclude that Epaphroditus did not serve in the military. By using this term, the veterans who were in fellowship in the assembly at Philippi would understand the character of Epaphroditus and the nature of the spiritual warfare that they were engaged in (cf. Eph. 6:10-20).

    Interestingly, during the reign of Claudius (AD 41-54) or Nero (AD 54-68), a coin was minted in Philippi with Nike, the goddess of victory, on the obverse side and three Roman standards on the reverse side. The inscription framing the standards said: “COHOR(tes) PRAE(toriae) PHIL(ippensis)” which means Praetorian Cohorts of Philippi (Burnett, Amandry, and Ripolles 1992:I:308; coin 1651). This suggests that some, if not all, of the veterans in Philippi were from the Praetorian Guards. Perhaps Epaphroditus had served in this elite unit composed of bodyguards for the Emperor. Coincidently, Paul mentioned the Praetorian Guards in his epistle to the Philippians (1:13; cf. 4:22). If the Praetorian Guards did retire to Philippi, the recent converts would be interested in hearing about Paul’s evangelism of their former comrades and Epaphroditus would have told the Philippians believers about this when he returned home.

    Third, there is an axiom that says: “You can take a man out of the Marines, but you can never take the Marines out of the man.” It has been my observation of people who put in their 20, or 25, years in the military and retire still live a regimented military lifestyle. They still say, “Yes sir, no sir.” They still have a disciplined life as far as their time is concerned. They react in dangerous situations in the way they had been trained in the service.

    You will recall the events surrounding Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot of US Air flight #1549, in the airspace over New York City in January 2009. He was a former US Air Force pilot and trained other pilots in emergency landings. When those geese clogged up and shut down both engines on his plane, he did not stop and think, “Oh my, we have a problem, what am I going to do now?” No, he calmly reacted, based on his many hours of training, and safely landed the plane on the Hudson River. Likewise, as a former soldier, Epaphroditus reverted to his military training and put his life in danger for the sake of the gospel and the Apostle Paul.

    Paul in Philippi

    The church at Philippi was one of Paul’s favorites. He had been to the city, fellowshipped with the saints, and ministered to them on at least three occasions and one of his travelling co-workers, Dr. Luke, was most likely from this city.

    On the Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey (AD 49-52), he was accompanied by Silas and Timothy. In response to the “Macedonian Call”, they went to Philippi and planted a church in that city (Acts 16:9-40). Dr. Luke, apparently a native of Philippi, stayed behind and continued the work in the newly established church in the city (AD 50).

    During Paul’s third missionary journey (AD 52-57) he had a lengthy, almost three year, stay at Ephesus (AD 52-55; Acts 19). The ministry of Paul and his co-worker Timothy, was so effective that “all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (19:10). After the near riots in the theater, Paul thought it best to leave Ephesus so he departed to Macedonia (Acts 19:23-20:1). More than likely, his first stop was Philippi (AD 55). After a ministry in Macedonia, and apparently Illyricum (Rom. 15:19), he went to Greece (Achaia). After three months in Corinth (winter AD 57), he returned to Macedonia and rejoined Dr. Luke in Philippi (spring AD 57). They, and six other brethren, accompanied them to Jerusalem with the collection for the saints in the Holy City (Acts 20:3-6).

    The church at Philippi was dear to Paul’s heart. He enjoyed the “fellowship in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5) that they shared for over ten years and knew they cared for him (4:10). One of the individuals he valued in this fellowship was Epaphroditus. When they first met, and when and how Epaphroditus came to faith, we are not told as well. Most likely it was not the apostle Paul who led his to faith in the Lord Jesus as his Savior because he would have called Epaphroditus “his son in the faith” as he did Timothy (I Tim. 1:2; II Tim. 1:2) and Titus (Tit. 1:4). Paul only calls him a “brother” (Phil. 2:25; cf. John 1:12).

    Paul also identifies Epaphroditus as a “fellow worker” (Phil. 2:25), as he does Clement and other saints from the church at Philippi (Phil. 4:3). These were individuals who labored with the apostle as he and his team proclaimed the gospel in Macedonia on various occasions.

    The Gift to Paul from the Church at Philippi

    The saints at Philippi sent a financial gift to the Apostle Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30). He had lost everything when he and Dr. Luke were shipwrecked on Malta and rent was probably high in the Eternal City. This was not the first time the believers in Philippi sent Paul a gift. They sent him two gifts while he was in Thessaloniki (Phil. 4:16), and then again when he was in Corinth (Phil. 4:15; cf. II Cor. 11:9). Each time they gave sacrificially out of their poverty (II Cor. 8:2).

    The church at Philippi appointed Epaphroditus as their “sent one” (apostle) to take the money to Paul (Phil. 4:18). Most likely he would have had others go with him, not only for accountability, but also to protect the money, since this is the pattern in the early church (cf. Acts 20:4; Lenski 1937:696-697). More than likely, they would have walked the Via Egnatia from Philippi to Dyrrachium on the Adriactic Sea (367/8 Roman miles; Adams 1982:280), and then cross the sea by ship. They would have continued walking on the Via Appian from Brundusium to Rome (360 Roman miles). This trip, covering 729 miles, most likely would have taken 57 days, with a rest on each Lord’s Day, a trip of almost two months. If Epaphroditus and his friends made this trip during the winter, he might have picked up pneumonia, or he could have eaten tainted food at one of the inns. These conditions might explain why he got deathly sick and almost died (Phil. 2:27, 30).

    Paul Under House Arrest in Rome

    The Apostle Paul was under house arrest in Rome and more than likely confined to a rented apartment near the Camp of the Praetorian Guards on the Viminal Hill (Richardson 1992: 263, fig. 58; 325, fig. 72; 431). Ministering to him was Dr. Luke and some other brethren (Col. 4:7-14; Philemon 23-24).

    The Philippian church sent a financial gift with Epaphroditus and his team and referred to him as “one who ministered to my needs” (2:25). The implication of that statement was that Epaphroditus was to stay in Rome and join the Apostle Paul’s team and work with him, even though he was under house arrest. There was one problem: Epaphroditus got deathly sick when he arrived in Rome or while he was in the city working with Paul. The Apostle had a dilemma on his hands. He was preparing for his defense before Nero and he also had a person with a near fatal sickness on his hands who may have also been homesick (“… since he was longing for you all” Phil. 2:26) and worried about the believers at home because they heard he was sick. What to do? Fortunately for both Epaphroditus and Paul, God was merciful and intervened in the situation by healing Epaphroditus. That was one less thing Paul had to be concerned about (2:26-27).

    Paul also had another concern on his heart. In that he had heard about the seeds of division that had been planted in the church at Philippi. Two sisters, Euodia and Syntyche, were at odds with each other and Paul needed to implore them to be of one mind in the Lord (4:2).

    The Apostle Paul saw a win-win situation. He would write a letter to the church at Philippi about their fellowship in the gospel (1:3), being of one mind and having the mind of Christ (2:1-11), and have it directed at these two sisters who did not get along. The letter carrier that would take this epistle back would be none other than Epaphroditus (2:25, 28). The people in the assembly at Philippi who were worried about him would rejoice when they saw him again. Paul would be less sorrowful because Epaphroditus was one less concern for him as he prepared for his defense before Nero.

    The Apostle Paul was probably aware that some in the assembly at Philippi would think that Epaphroditus did not accomplish the mission that the church commissioned him to do: join forces with Paul as they engaged in spiritual warfare in Rome. Paul gave a command to the veterans in the assembly to: “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem.” Not only were they to receive him, but also to hold him in high esteem because he went above and beyond the call of duty for the cause of Christ and almost died in the line of duty (2:30).

    One commentator points out that: “Epaphroditus was no coward, but a courageous person willing to take enormous risks, ready to play with very high stakes in order to come to the aid of a person in need. He did not ‘save’ his life, but rather hazarded it to do for Paul and the cause of Christ what other Philippians Christians did not or could not do” (Hawthorne 1983:120).

    The Greek phrase that is translated “not regarding his life” is a gambling term coined by the Apostle Paul. A Greek gambler, before he rolled the dice, would invoke Aphrodite (or Venus in the Roman world), the goddess of gamblers, with the phrase “epaphroditos”, meaning “favorite of Aphrodite” (Lees 1917:201-203; 1925-1925:46; Hawthorne 1983:120). Paul made a pun on Epaphroditius’ name. Truly the dice were loaded when Epaphroditus put his life on the line for the Lord’s work. Instead of invoking Aphrodite, he invoked the true and living God, and He was merciful to Epaphroditus and healed him.

    Paul concludes this section by stating that Epaphroditus risked his life “to supply what was lacking in your service toward me” (2:30). The Greek construction does not give the impression that Paul is trying to lay a guilt trip on the people in Philippi because they did not do enough for Paul. In fact, the opposite was the case; Paul was praising them because they had sent a trusted and beloved brother who in essence was an extension of their ministry.


    There are at least four lessons we can learn from the life of this battle tested soldier of Christ.

    First, he was a brother to the Apostle Paul. Paul used that term in a metaphorical sense to indict that they were in the same spiritual family, the family of God by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (John 1:12; Eph. 2:8, 9). Have you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and do you know the assurance of sins forgiven and the guarantee of home in Heaven? Epaphroditus did and knew these truths.

    Second, the Apostle Paul characterized Epaphroditus as a selfless person – one with the mind of Christ who esteemed others better than himself (Phil. 2:1-5). He demonstrated this selflessness by volunteering to go to Rome and help out the Apostle Paul in his time of need. When we consider the Christian life, do we ask ourselves, “What’s in it for me?” Or, do we ask ourselves, “How can I be of service to others?” Epaphroditus sought to serve other people.

    Third, Epaphroditus worked on the philosophy, “I would rather wear out than rust out.” The word retirement was not in his vocabulary! Yes, he may have put his 25 years of service in the Roman army and he had his bronze retirement diploma. But, if that was the case, perhaps he had the same attitude as some Christians today who use the phrase, “I’m not retired, just refocused!” When Epaphroditus retired as a soldier in the Imperial army, he refocused his life as a soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ engaged in spiritual warfare. Have we refocused our lives in order to be engaged in this spiritual warfare?

    Finally, Epaphroditus took great risks for the sake of the gospel. Exactly what he did in gambling with his life, we are not told, but I am sure he will be greatly rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ for his risk taking. Will we gamble our lives for the sake of the gospel?

    Isaac Watts (1674-1748) eloquently expressed what may have been the motivation for Epaphroditus “gambling habit” when he penned the last verse of his famous hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. He wrote:

    “Were the whole realm of nature mine

    that were a present far too small;

    love so amazing, so divine,

    demands my soul, my life, my all.”

    It was the divine love of the Lord Jesus that constrained Epaphroditus to risk all to follow Jesus because He died and rose again from the dead in order to pay for all Epaphroditus’ sins. It was only his reasonable service to live completely for the Lord Jesus (Rom. 12:1-2), and risking all he had, including his life, to follow Him. Will we be willing to do the same?

    Perhaps Epaphroditus was the one Isaac Watts had in mind when he penned the words to “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

    Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb,

    And shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His Name?

    Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,

    While others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?

    Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?

    Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?

    Sure, I must fight if I would reign; increase my courage, Lord;

    I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by Thy Word.

    Epaphroditus, the gambling veteran, bet all that he had and he hit the jackpot. He received the crown of life (James 1:12)!


    Adams, John Paul

    1982 Polybius, Pliny and the Via Egnatia. Pp. 269-302 in Philip II, Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Heritage. Edited by Adams, W. L.; and Borza, E. N. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

    Burnett, Andrew; Amandry, Michel, and Ripolles, Pere Pau

    1992 Roman Provincial Coinage. Vol. 1. London and Paris: British Musem and Bibliotheque nationale de France.

    Hawthorne, Gerald

    1983 Word Biblical Commentary. Philippians. Waco, TX: Word Books.

    Koukouli-Chrysantaki, Chaido

    1998 Colonia Iulia Augusta Philippensis. Pp. 5-35 in Philippi at the Time of Paul and After His Death. Edited by C. Bakirtzis and H. Koester. Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International.

    Lees, Harrington

    1917 St. Paul’s Friends. London: Religious Tract Society.

    1925-26 Epaphroditus, God’s Gambler. Expository Times 37: 46.

    Lenski, R. C. H.

    1937 The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians. Columbus, OH: Lutheran Book Concern.

    Richardson, L. Jr.

    1992 A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University.

    Speidel, Michael

    1970 The Captor of Decebalus a New Inscription from Philippi. Journal of Roman Studies 60: 142-153.


    1983 The Geography of Strabo. Vol. 3. Trans. by H. L. Jones. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. Loeb Classical Library 182.

  • Life of Christ, The Seven Churches of Asia Minor – Rev. 1-3 Comments Off on THE LIFE AND LAND OF THE LORD JESUS

    By Gordon Franz

    The following document is in an outline format and does refer to slides; however, I believe this content would be useful to anyone interested and pray that it will be a blessing.

    Click here to read Life and Land Notes


Recent Comments

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