Nebi Samuel 001

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  • Title:  Nebi Samuel 001
  • Description:  The Tomb of Samuel is the traditional burial site of the biblical Hebrew and Islamic prophet Samuel, atop a steep hill at an elevation of 908 meters above sea level. It is situated in the Palestinian village of Nabi Samwil in the West Bank, 1.3 kilometers north of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot.[1] On the site is a building containing a mosque built in the 18th century that was formerly a church. The tomb itself is located in an underground chamber where a small synagogue is located. The Israeli Ministry of Tourism website states "Over time practically every ancient Jewish traveler mentioned the place and its synagogue."

    Yitzhak Magen conducted archaeological excavations from 1992–2003. On the southeastern slope is a 4-acre (16,000 m2) urban settlement dating back to the 8th-7th centuries BCE, and remnants that Magen believed to be the Mizpah in Benjamin of the Book of Samuel. By contrast, Jeffrey Zorn concluded that there are no remains at the site, from the period in which the Samuel narratives are set, and it could therefore not be Mizpah.

    A large monastery was built by the Byzantines, of which little remains. There is no clear evidence that the place was considered the Tomb of Samuel, or indeed a place of religious significance, before Byzantine times. Magen argues that the builders of the monastery did not believe they were building over the tomb of Samuel, instead regarding their construction only as a memorial. The fifth century writer Jerome, for example, argues that Samuel's remains were moved to Chalcedon, on the orders of Emperor Arcadius; this would be a century before the Byzantine monastery was built.

    A sixth-century Christian author identified the site as Samuel's burial place. According to the Bible, however, the prophet is buried at his hometown, Ramah, to the east of the hill which is located near Geba. The 12th-century Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela visited the site when he traveled the land in 1173, writing that the Crusaders had found the bones of Samuel in a Jewish cemetery in Ramla on the coastal plain and reburied here, overlooking the Holy City. He wrote that a church dedicated to St. Samuel of Shiloh had been built on the hill. This may refer to the abbey church of St. Samuel built by Premonstratensian canons and inhabited from 1141 to 1244.

    Raymond of Aguilers, who wrote a chronicle of the First Crusade (1096–1099), relates that on the morning of June 7, 1099, the Crusaders reached the summit of Nebi Samuel, and when they saw the city of Jerusalem, which they had not yet seen, they fell to the ground and wept in joy; the Crusaders named the place "Mount of Joy" (Latin Mons Gaudi, French Mont de Joie), for this reason. The Crusaders built a fortress on the spot, which was razed by the Mamelukes.

    Some identify the location with the Biblical temple of Gibeon, though consensus among experts places it at the village of al Jib.
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  • Keywords:  Samuel, Nebi
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