2021 - 2022

tel dan

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תל דן

Tel Dan – the remains of a 5000-year-old ancient city. In Canaanite times, it was called Laish or Leshem. The Book of Judges tells us that the Canaanites who lived there thrived in an isolated garden, a paradise, “at peace and secure”, and “their land lacked nothing” (Judges 18: 1-10).  The town is mentioned in the Bible, in particular in connection with the capture of the city by the tribe of Dan, which migrated here from its original land in the Judean plains. Dan was a significant reference point in the unified kingdom – “from Dan to Beersheba.” (Jeremiah 4:15). After the nation was divided Jeroboam, son of Nabat, made Dan one of the two centers of worship in the Kingdom of Israel, it is  highlighted  in 1 Kings 12 in a narrative that describes Jeroboam’s installation of a golden calf at the site accompanied by sacrificial pilgrim festivals.  The city decreased in importance with the development of the nearby town of Banias. According to the Book of Genesis, Dan (“judgment” or “he judged”) was the fifth son of Jacob and the first son of Bilhah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Dan. In the biblical account, Dan’s mother is described as Rachel’s handmaid, who becomes one of Jacob’s wives. (Genesis 30:1-6).  In the Bible, Tel Dan’s site makes its first appearance in Genesis 14:14 as a place unto which Abraham pursued the four kings of Mesopotamia who took his brother Lot captive, and there he caught up with them. The place “Sha'ar Avraham”, (“Abraham’s Gate”), is considered the oldest building of its kind in Israel and the oldest of its kind in the world.  Dan is also mentioned as a victim of the conquest of Ban-Hadad of Aram in 1 Kings 15:20.

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