Holy Land Tour Qumran | Photo of the caves of Qumran

Exploring Qumran | Holy Land Tour

Day two of the tour and today we are headed to Qumran.   I am so excited, I just can’t wait. I have everything ready to go, packed a light jacket, a hat, sunscreen, water. I am all ready to go. But first, I will answer questions that people have asked.

What Is Qumran In The Bible?

Qumran also spelled Kumran, was a settlement, a Jewish community that was lived in by the Essenes who devoted their lives to a holy living and transcribing the scriptures. 

Why Is Qumran Important?

The dead sea scrolls were found in the caves near Qumran and they are considered the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century.  They help us prove the veracity of the bible today.

What Books Were Found In The Dead Sea Scrolls?

They have parts of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Samuel, Ruth, Kings, Micah, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Joshua, Judges, Proverbs, Numbers, Psalms, Ezekiel, and Jonah.

Do The Dead Sea Scrolls Mention John The Baptist?

No, there is nothing in the Dead Sea Scrolls about John The Baptist.

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Qumran Mikvah bath Pinnable image

 

April 2017

Our wake-up call was 5:30 am this morning- ouch! Breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and the bus left at 7:30 AM  as we are always waiting for the slowpokes.

Breakfast was the same fabulous spread as yesterday. I’m indulging in trusted favorites like an omelet and a selection of delicious fruit and then experimenting with some of the salads. I’m even trying some things that as of yet are unnamed and unidentifiable.

Well, I had 4 hours of sleep last night so it’s getting better. I’m very excited about today. We really begin the journey of Israel today. That is what is probably keeping me awake.

 

Holy Land Tour Qumran

 

Traveling To Qumran

Today we are heading east to the Dead Sea area. It is about 1 hour east of Jerusalem but I think only about 13 miles.

We have 4 destinations: En Gedi; Qumran; Masada; and the actual Dead Sea to float and get muddy. Can’t wait!


I’m not really sure how close our hotel is to the actual gate as it is confusing to get around here- at least when you are sitting on a bus. However, we seem to be fairly close to the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. The gate is located in a Muslim neighborhood and leads inside to the Muslim Quarter.

There are actually four quarters in the Old City: The Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish.

There are also 8 gates that I counted on the map provided by the tour company: Damascus, Herod’s, Lions, Golden, Dung, Zion, Jaffa, and The New Gate.

The interesting thing about Jerusalem is that the neighborhoods are at once separate and yet next to each other. You definitely do not want to accidentally enter the wrong neighborhood. That could be dangerous.

Sadly, there was a terrorist attack in front of the Damascus Gate either yesterday or the day before. A Muslim woman stabbed some people! My heart just breaks for the victims.  I am praying for healing and protection. Today as we passed by the gate, heavily armed soldiers or police – not sure which were guarding the area. Troubling, yet we go on with our tour.

We eventually made it out of the city and the highway led us into the area commonly known in the world as “The West Bank”. In reality, this is part of Israel and includes the Judean Wilderness and the Judean Desert. This country is so small it can fit inside of Lake Michigan, and is about the size of New Jersey!

 

 

A tiny country surrounded on all sides by their enemies. Lebanon to the north, Syria, and Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south. The Mediterranean Sea is to the west about 22 miles from the beginning of Judea or the West Bank. I’ll include a couple of maps, but you can see why Israel doesn’t plan on giving this area back to Jordan who wants to eliminate them! 22 miles is crazy they would have been indefensible.

Traveling To Qumran – The West Bank

 

As we entered the area, we see some very nice homes on the hillside. Eli, our guide explains these are what the politicians and media call “settlements”. The ones they want to be torn down! This would be like them saying they want to tear down our homes – so crazy!

The neighborhoods give way to rolling hills that are for the most part uninhabited. You can see some towns off in the distance, but from the highway, it is open land. As the green turns to brown desert. On the hillsides and along the road you can still see Bedouins herding sheep and goats. Their lodgings are very primitive – like wooden shacks, even a tent as they lived 1000’s of years ago. The big difference is that they have a satellite dish powered by generators! Funny!

 

Qumran - the Dead Sea photo of the dead sea or salt sea
 

The Trip To Qumran – The Dead Sea

 

The view is beautiful! To actually reach the Sea you must climb mountains and then descend back down to the lowest place on earth. Cliffs and chalk-colored hills that look like a pastel water coloring provide breathtaking views of the Dead Sea and beyond into Jordan. The country is rugged and barren and yet there are ancient rivers, like the Jordan that run into the Dead Sea.

At the Dead Sea, we head now on a two-lane road south to our first stop Qumran.

Qumran is 13 miles from Jerusalem but feels further. It is situated on a plateau and overlooks the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea.

Qumran – The Archeological Site

 

Qumran is an archeological site and is most famous for the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Essenes’, Messianic Jews that left Jerusalem as they rejected the established Pharisees and Sadducees leaders in Jerusalem as they believed they were violating the priestly traditions.

 

Qumran Israel - photo of ruins of the city of Qumran

 

Qumran – Home Of The Essenes

 

The original settlement dated back to the 8th century and was abandoned when the Babylonians invaded Judea and destroyed the First Temple in 586 BC. It was resettled in the second century (Hasmonean Era) by the Essenes’ who lived there until the Romans invaded the area (66 to 73 AD) and destroyed the Second Temple in 70 AD.

photo of a sign talking about ritual baths in a mikvah in Qumran Israel
 

The Essenes renounced wealth and material comforts and elected to live a communal life. We saw the remnants of their civilization including mikvah (ritual baths) and communal dining room, cooking areas. They were committed to living a righteous life before God.

 

Photo of mikvah ritual bath in Qumran Israel
 

 

We can be thankful to them for transcribing the old testament, with the exception of Esther – so far-. These handwritten manuscripts pre-date Christ. They hid these manuscripts in clay jars in the surrounding caves. In 1947, a 12-year-old shepherd boy tending his father’s flock made an amazing discovery while looking for a lost goat. He threw a stone into a cave and heard the sound of shattering pottery. Curious, he entered the cave and found a collection of large jars containing carefully wrapped manuscripts. What he discovered was an ancient collection of handwritten copies of the Old Testament.

Many archaeologists later spent years excavating the area and found many more manuscripts in 11 caves. Some books contained multiple copies. In February 2017, a 12th cave was found showing evidence that other scrolls had been there as well but looted ☹

 

 

The book of Isaiah was found almost in its entirety! This is important because critics claimed that Isaiah had multiple authors and that Christians later inserted Isaiah’s prophecies on the coming of Christ. The Qumran manuscripts were 1000 years older than the previous translation and confirmed the later translations were indeed accurate. Amen!

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV

Visiting The Holy Land – To see the rest of this journey here

Amen!

For more information on Qumran 




Debbie lives in Southern California with her husband Doug and her amazing children and grandchildren.  She is a successful businesswoman and is active in her church and community. 






 

 

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