In the south of Lebanon there is evidence of an ancient battle so fierce that it permanently altered the Mediterranean coastline. A peninsula juts out from the mainland in the place where a proud island city once refused an invader, providing silent testimony as to the fate of all those who defied Alexander the Great. The city is called Tyre and it is located approximately 20 kilometres north (12 miles) of the Israeli border and about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the Lebanese capital Beirut. Tyre is well-known to Bible students particularly (although not exclusively) from the prophecy of Ezekiel who was inspired to foresee details of Tyre’s downfall that would have seemed wildly improbable to his contemporaries yet in the course of time proved accurate to the smallest detail.
Without doubt, the most sought-after tree of Bible times was the majestic cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani). The Bible mentions the cedar of Lebanon or cedar wood over 70 times! At one time, vast forests of these graceful trees covered the mountains of Lebanon and the eastern Mediterranean region. They can grow at low elevations as well as high, but growing in the rugged and arid conditions of the Lebanese mountains, contributes to a hardy tree with a reputation for wood that is all but indestructible. Continue reading
Were the Canaanites merciless child killers or gentle nature worshippers?
Warning: Subject matter may disturb
Historical revisionist theories regularly receive more traction among Bible critics than the facts would warrant. For example, consider the subject of polytheism verses monotheism. Most religious history books teach that cultures that were polytheistic (believers in many gods) naturally progressed towards becoming monotheistic (believers in one God). This is seen, even by agnostics as being a necessary step toward becoming a more mature society. Increasingly however, Bible critics challenge that idea. They see the move from polytheism to monotheism as a negative development. According to their version of history, gentle nature worshipping polytheistic societies such as Canaan were supplanted by aggressive monotheistic cultures like the Hebrews which were less tolerant, sexually repressed and war-like. Continue reading