Monday, December 17, 2012

Views from the Shepherds' Fields

behind the chapel is a cave used for worship

a wooden nativity scene in the cave

walls are black with soot from candles used in worship

Adjoining the chapel are the remains of a 4th century AD church (said to have been built by Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor), a larger 6th century AD basilica (destroyed by Persians in 614 AD) and a modest 7th century AD monastery (destroyed in the 10th century AD) which included a bakery, wine presses, animal pens and baptismal font.

Beit Sahour ("House of the Night Watch") is a Palestinian town about one mile east of Bethlehem under the administration of the Palestinian National Authority. View from the Shepherds' fields.

This area is also believed to be where Ruth gleaned in the fields behind the harvesters on their way to Bethlehem from Moab (Ruth 2-4). Ruth married Boaz, and they became parents of Oved, the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David, who was born in Jerusalem. Thus Bethlehem became known as the "City of David" and it was predicted that the Messiah would be born there (Micah 5:1-5).


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