This essay purposes to describe KOTS's visit to 'Eretz Israel' in celebration for jubilee year anniversary with historical and archaeological explanations. The essay is arrayed in chronological order which we visited. Twenty eight members joined from June 17 to June 25, 2010.
First, I would like to classify places where we visited according to the following criteria, though some places are ambiguous to classify: 1) The ancient Tel or ruins: Archaeological Garden and City of David in Jerusalem, Jericho, Qumran, Masada, Aphek, Meggido, Beth Shan, Avdat, Gezer, Azekah, Lachish, Tel Arad, Beersheba, Tel Dan, Hasor, Bethsaida, Capernaum, 2) Historical sites: Dung Gate, Damascus Gate, Tomb of Rachel, Via Dolorosa, Bethany, Mt. Olives, Western Wall, Western Wall Tunnel, Temple Mount, Siloam Tunnel, Akeldama, Kidron valley, Ein Kerem, Tabga, Hebron (Machpelah), Caesarea, 3) Natural Scenic Area: Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, Yam Ashdod, Engedi, Wadi Qelt, Mt. Carmel, Mt. Tabor, Golan Heights, Banias, Dead Sea, Jordan River, Mitzpe Ramon, Timna National Park, 4) Museum or institution: Bible Land Museum, Israel Museum, Bible Museum, Yad wa Shem, Tzir Yehuda, Bengurion University.
Second, I like to classify places where we visited according to geography of Israel: 1) Judaean & Ephraim Mountain: Jerusalem, Bethany, Jericho, Hebron, Qumran, Dead Sea, Masada, Beth Shan, Ein Kerem, 2) Negev Area: Beersheba, Avdat, Arad, Timnah National Park, 3) Shepelah: Gezer, Azekah, Beth Semesh, Lachish, 4) Galilee & North: Hasor, Dan, Capernaum, Golan Heights, 5) Central Hill area: Meggido, Mt. Carmel, Jezreel, 5) Sea: Yam Ashdod, Caesarea. Joppa.
To an Old Testament scholar, Eretz Israel is the most important subject to study. It was a great chance to study Eretz Israel systematically in person. During seven days, we have visited more than sixty places in all over the Israel. We moved here and there like military training. It was tough, but nobody complained. Eretz Israel is soil from which Judaism, Christianity, and Islam came from. However, unfortunately, because of security problem, we cannot visit many places in West Bank and Gaza. It is quite irony. It provides the reason why we have to pray for the peace of the world.
In sum, it is quite certain that the visit was illuminating, challenging, and enhancing for KOTS members' understanding to the Old Testament.