Day Seven: Engedi, Masada, Dead Sea, Overview of Bethany and Jerusalem

p1020526-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg I Samuel 24

Our first stop today was Engedi, an area used by David when he was fleeing from Saul and served as his wilderness fortress. This is one of my favorite locations in the Dead Sea region, it is always a highlight to hike up to Engedi Waterfalls. Here is some information and our devotional while at Engedi.


1. Contains a total of four springs: Ein Gedi, Ein Nahal Arugot, Ein Nahal David and Ein Shulamit
2. Identified by some as the Hazazon—Tamar of Genesis 14:7
3. City of the Tribe of Judah—Joshua 15:62
4. One of the confrontations between David and Saul occurred here—1 Samuel 23:29–24:22
5. Camp of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites when they came up against Jehoshaphat—2 Chronicles 20:2
6. The name means “Spring of the Kid” and it was noted for wild goats.
7. Famous for growing aromatic and medicinal plants like the henna—Song of Soloman 1:14

“And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi. When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’ ” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed.” So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way. Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the LORD gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’s anointed.’ See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. May the LORD judge between me and you, may the LORD avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! May the LORD therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.” As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the LORD put me into your hands. For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Swear to me therefore by the LORD that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.” (1 Samuel 23:29–24:22, ESV)

4 Demonstrations of The Gospel From David’s Example.

1. God is Sovereign

2. God uses Suffering

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2–4, ESV)

“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.” (1 Samuel 22:1–2, ESV)“

A MASKIL OF DAVID, WHEN HE WAS IN THE CAVE. A PRAYER. With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.” (Psalm 142, ESV)

3. God honors Servanthood

4. God expects Submission

p1020531-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Teaching At Engedi- I Samuel 24

p1020533-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Isaac and Dad at Engedi Waterfall

Our next stop was the Desert Fortress of Masada.

1. Possibly it was the stronghold of David—1 Samuel 22:4–5; 23:14; 24:22

2. Jonathan Maccabee originally built a fortress here

3. Herod the Great rebuilt this stronghold in 36 b.c. and it became one of his three fortresses
a. 1,432 feet above the shore of the Dead Sea
b. 132 feet above sea level
c. 1,950 feet long
d. 650 feet wide
e. 4,250 feet in circumference

4. Here he left his family for refuge after the Parthian Invasion while he proceeded to Rome to seek help and receive an army

5. In a.d. 66, as the First Jewish Revolt began, Masada was captured by Menachem ben Yehudah, the leader of the Sicarii (named after the short dagger, sica, that they carried in their robes), the most extreme of the Zealots, who was later killed in Jerusalem by his opponents

6. After the fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70, 967 men, women and children sought refuge here under Eliezer Ben Yair, the nephew of Menachem ben Yehudah
a. The Romans, under Flavius Silva, with the 15,600 strong Tenth Legion, came and built a solid seige wall about six feet thick and about seven miles in circumference around this mountain to keep any Jews from successfully fleeing
b. Along the wall the Romans built eight, separate army camps
c. Masada finally fell on the 15th of Nisan (the first day of Passover) in a.d. 73 after the ramp was built all the way to the top of the wall and the breech in the wall was made by the use of a battering ram
d. Fell by mass suicide—Only two old women and five children survived
e. Ostraca were found having eleven names, one of which had the name ben Yair, the leader

7. Only other time it has been inhabited is by Byzantine monks in the fifth-sixth century a.d.

The Hebrew word “Masada” translates stronghold or fortress. We had a great time of reflecting on how God is our stronghold and fortress from the book of Psalms.

“He said, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,” (2 Samuel 22:2, ESV)
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2, ESV)
“Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;” (Psalm 31:2–3, ESV)
“Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” (Psalm 71:3, ESV)
“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”” (Psalm 91:2, ESV)
he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” (Psalm 144:2, ESV)

p1020545-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Masada Park Entrance

p1020561-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Teaching Time Out of Psalms on the top of Masada

p1020578-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Israeli Flag-Masada

We left Masada and began our journey to Jericho and from Jericho up to Jerusalem. Along the way, we stopped for a swim, or I should say, float in the Dead Sea.

p1020585-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Thomas and Pam Enjoying a Dead Sea Float!

We left the Dead Sea and began our journey up from Jericho to Jerusalem. On the bus ride we looked at the temptation of Jesus out of Luke 4 and the of the Good Samaritan out Luke 10. The context for both these stories is the Judean Wilderness between Jericho and Jerusalem, which we were driving through. There is a height increase of around 3500 ft from Jericho to Jerusalem over approximately 20 miles. This was a great background for us to read the Psalms of Ascents, which are Psalms 120-134. Psalm of Ascents (120-134) Despite the disagreements on meaning, modern scholarship is well agreed that the heading to the group of psalms indicates these psalms were used by worshipers ascending the hills to Jerusalem in order to celebrate one of the three major festivals (Passover, Weeks, or Booths; cf Leviticus 23).

Psalm 121 (ESV)

My Help Comes from the LORD

1  I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2  My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

3  He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4  Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5  The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6  The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7  The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8  The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

p1020614-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Overview of The Dome of The Rock (Temple Mount)

Before we entered Jerusalem and overviewed the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives from Mount Scopus, we identified the hospitality city of Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. They were close friends we find showing hospitality to Jesus and His disciples when he comes to Jerusalem for feasts. Once we arrived out our overview location we had teaching time on the town of Bethany, Mt. Moriah (The Temple Mount Area), and the Triumphal Entry.

Bethany (House of Figs)

“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.” (Mark 11:1–14, ESV)

“Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”” (Matthew 26:6–13, ESV)

Abraham and Isaac

“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.” (Genesis 22:1–19, ESV)

p1020619-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Teaching On The Hospitality of Mary and Martha and the Resurrection of Lazarus- Overview of Bethany

p1020622-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Teaching Out of Genesis 22- Abraham Offering Isaac

p1020624-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Teaching Out of Genesis 22- Abraham Offering Isaac

p1020625-2012-03-13-23-20.jpg Finishing the Day Reflecting on The Triumphal Entry


About George Ross

I am a pastor, church planter, husband, and father of four.
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