With the religious and ethnic fault lines of Israel and her neighbours once again very much in the news, i'm continuing my case for constructions of
the Nephilim in the region, in particular Hebron, were nowhere are the dividing lines more literally seen, a continuation then from this thread.
The emphasis will be on two Hebron sites contained within two sacred enclosures/Temenos, that of Mamre were Abraham met and dined with Yahweh and two
Angels beside a great oak Terebinth, and the burial caves he purchased at Machpelah.
There is no record of how Yahweh and his Angels arrived at Mamre, or were they departed to afterward, if indeed they left, but the site was celebrated
by all peoples of the region as a place of visitation, an enclosre was built around the tree and well with an altar within the centre.
The Jerusalem Talmud (IV/7,19) mentions a great fair held at a place called Botnah, which means terebinth. It was the biggest fair in the land,
said the Rabbis, bigger than the ones at Acco and Gaza. They advised Jews not to attend, because idolatrous practices were rampant. This was probably
the same place that Byzantine writers called Terebinthus, where a great tree stood and where an annual pagan fair was held in the summer. They are the
first, apparently, to use the name Mamre as an alternative for Terebinthus
We have a detailed description of the fair from Sozomen of Gaza. Writing in the 5th century, he describes the pagan activities, which were accompanied
by "hilarity." The Emperor Constantine forbade them, he tells us, and ordered that a church be built on the spot. Sozomen begins in the present
tense but shifts to the past, so it is unclear whether, despite the decree, the hilarity continued.
of Mature This place is now called Terebinthus, and is about fifteen stadia distant from Hebron, which lies to the south, but is two hundred and
fifty stadia distant from Jerusalem. It is recorded that here the Son of God appeared to Abraham, with two angels, who had been sent against Sodom,
and foretold the birth of his son. Here the inhabitants of the country and of the regions round Palestine the Phoenicians, and the Arabians, assemble
annually during the summer season to keep a brilliant feast; and many others, both buyers and sellers, resort thither on account of the fair. Indeed,
this feast is diligently frequented by all nations: by the Jews, because they boast of their descent from the patriarch Abraham; by the Pagans,
because angels there appeared to men; and by Christians, because He who for the salvation of mankind was born of a virgin, afterwards manifested
Himself there to a godly man. This place was moreover honored fittingly with religious exercises. Here some prayed to the God of all; some called upon
the angels, poured out wine, burnt incense, or offered an ox, or he-goat, a sheep, or a cock
The sacrificial altar was probably in the middle, where a black segment appears in the diagram above. Here were found metal bells, rings, earrings,
pieces of crystal, animal bones and a great many rooster feet. The rooster was holy to Hermes-Mercury, who was not only the messenger but also the god
of commerce. An inscription honoring him turned up as well
It is unknown who first constructed the enclosure, which contains masonry of the same style as at the Cave of Machpelah Temenos, as well as those at
Jerusalem and Baalbek, Vespasian seems to have demolished it at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt, Hadrian rebuilt it, and then again Constantine who
built a church within its Eastern end.
Because it contains masonry generally labelled 'Herodian' some might consider it constructed by Herod, but there is nothing that attributes the site
to him, and during the classical period it appears to have been dedicated principally to Hermes-Mercury, messenger of the Gods.
The extent of quality masonry identical to that seen at Machpelah isn't great, a case can be made that whilst constructed at the same time only
leftovers of the quality cut stones were used, with the rest of the construction of large but lesser quality stones
It's difficult to know if the height would have been as great as at Machpelah, especially as later reconstructions have placed larger stones above
smaller thus making it difficult to establish the load bearing capacity of the lower courses
It's important to note that at the time Abraham is supposedly having his meeting with Yahweh and the Angels there was a strongly established city at
During Early Bronze Age III (2600–2300 B.C.E.) the city was protected by a massive city wall over 20 feet thick. In 1964 Hammond excavated a
40-foot-long segment of this wall on the south side of the ancient city. It was built of large field stones, some more than 3 feet long. The flat top
of this wall rose 8 feet above bedrock and may have been the base for a mud brick superstructure. In 1999, another segment of this wall, more than 45
feet long, was discovered on the north side of the tell by Eisenberg, who confirmed the structure’s Early Bronze III date
Indeed it is considered that Abraham purchased the caves at the gates of the bronze age II city,
The Middle Bronze II gateway with its massive tower may have found its way onto the pages of the Bible. In the account of Sarah’s death at
Hebron, Abraham is reported to have bought the cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place for his wife. The cave became Abraham’s
family tomb. This transaction took place in the hearing of “all who entered the gate” of the city (Genesis 23:10). When the Biblical author wrote
these words he might well have had this gate and tower complex in mind since Hammond determined that it continued in use from Abraham’s time until
the end of Iron Age II
So one finds that the visitation at Mamre is within the environs of a well established city, and it is later seen that all peoples and religions of
the region commemorated these events. Josephus attributes the Temenos at Machpelah to the time of the patriarchs, never mentioning Herod in
connection with the site, i would consider a Middle to Late bronze age date for the enclosures feasible, in terms of contextual relevance to the
Caananite occupants, and comparable construction capabilities, the Caananite cities were described as being walled up to Heaven,
The text then adds, “And we also saw Children of Anak there” (Numbers 13:28). The Children of Anak are mentioned only in connection with
Hebron, which indicates it may have been Hebron’s high and massive Middle Bronze II wall, still in use centuries after it was built, that was in the
mind of the Biblical writer when he composed the spy narrative. The Deuteronomic version of the same event employs picturesque hyperbole in describing
Canaanite cities like Hebron as being “walled up to heaven” (Deuteronomy 2:28).
If of Caananite construction obviously there take would differ from that of the Hebrews.