Digging in the Golan for New Testament History, Archaeologists Find a Ruin from the Time of King David

Experts are currently at odds about the location of the ancient city of Bethsaida, mentioned frequently in the New Testament as being somewhere in northern Israel. Now the team excavating one of two possible sites for Bethsaida has made an intriguing discovery: a city gate from the 11th century BCE that suggests that this was also the more ancient city of Zer, known from the Hebrew Bible. James Rogers writes:

“There are not too many monumental discoveries dating from the reign of King David,” Rami Arav, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska and the Bethsaida excavation director [stated]. “This is absolutely a significant contribution to biblical archaeology and biblical studies.”

Arav explained that Bethsaida/Zer was founded in the 11th century BCE as a pre-planned city and the capital of the biblical kingdom of Geshur. “The city included a marketplace, granary, city walls, city gate, a high place in the city gate, and a cobblestone courtyard in front of the gate,” he said.

The city was destroyed in 920 BCE. “Since this is the period of time of King David and since the Bible [states] that King David married Maachah the daughter of Talmai the king of Geshur, it is reasonable [to conjecture] that King David walked on these very cobblestones when he visited the city,” Arav added. An ancient stele, or monumental stone slab, was discovered adjacent to the gate’s tower. The stele depicts the moon-god worshipped by the ancient Aramean people.

According to the Bible, Geshur was an independent kingdom in David’s time, but was later conquered by King Hazael of Aram.

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Read more at Fox News

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Golan Heights, Hebrew Bible, King David, New Testament

 

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

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Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy