With Prof. Robert Mullins
There are tells all over Israel, still waiting to be dug, to discover the secrets they hold. This is one of the newest excavations, a tell near the northern border of Israel. Abel Beth Maacah was conquered by the Aramean King Ben Hadad (I Kings 15:20) and the Assyrian King Tiglath Pileser III (II Kings 15:29). Most interestingly, it figured in the story of the second revolt against King David, the one after Absalom's revolt. II Samuel 20 tells the story of Sheba, son of Bichri, who challenged David and then holed up at Abel Beth Maacah. Joab arrived with David's Army. But instead of a long siege a "wise woman" bargained with Joab from the city wall and then convinced the leaders of her city to kill Sheba and throw his head over the wall. So that ended that. Azusa Pacific University professor Robert Mullins has been wanting to dig this site for several decades, while he worked on excavations elsewhere in Israel. He surveyed the tell this past summer, and plans to begin digging next summer.
With Prof. Rami Arav
In 1996, and during subsequent study tours to Israel, we have visited the ruins of et-Tell, which archaeologist Rami Arav believes was the Bethsaida of the New Testament. Intriguingly, the Iron Age remains at the site seem more extensive than those of the later period. They may be 1,000 years older, and Arav believes the city was the capital of the kingdom of Geshur at that time. Geshur was the home of one of King David's wives, the mother of Absalom. During that 1996 visit I was able to sit down with Rami Arav and talk about his excavations.