I love the “matter of fact” reporting, here. Why does this matter? Because it lays out more of the historical underpinnings – and the actual geography – for Matthew’s Nativity account.
Baptist Press reports on the story.
Israeli archeologists have uncovered an impressive entrance to Herod’s palace at Herodium. Located only three miles southeast of Bethlehem, Herodium played an important part in the events surrounding the early life of Christ.
The December announcement by Hebrew University archeologists Roi Porat, Yakov Kalman and Rachel Chachy dovetails well with the seasonal interest in the nativity accounts of Luke and Matthew in the New Testament.
While both Luke and Matthew wrote that King Herod governed Judea during the era of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem (Luke 1:5, Matthew 2:1), they included nothing concerning Herod’s massive palace/fortress complex at nearby Herodium.
Herodium, like Herod’s other isolated palace/fortress complexes at Masada and Machaerus, was built on a mountain. To enhance its impressive scale, Herod artificially extended the height of the hill to make it the tallest mountain in the Judean desert.
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