Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Precious Things

“And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, 14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, 15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills…” Deuteronomy 33:13-15 KJV

The Hebrew word for “Precious things” (mentioned four times in these verses) is  ืžֶ֫ื’ֶื“ ‘meged’ – meaning ‘goodness’, ‘quality’ and ‘tasting good’. Other translations use the word “choice”.

The “Ancient Mountains” and “Lasting Hills” mentioned in Deuteronomy 33 are Mount Gadur, Mount Seir, Mount Hermon and Jebel Mubarak.
1. Mount Gadur (Gilead), part of the tribe of Manasseh, is 1.250 meters high with 1,000 mm rain yearly. The rainwater fed the Jabbok and Yarmuk river.
2. Mount Seir (Southern Edom) is 1,700 meters high, with a yearly precipitation of 400 mm.
3. Mount Hermon, 2.224 meters high
4. Jebel Mubarak (‘Blessed Mountain) was part of Edom.
These mountains received more dew, rain and snow than any other mountains in eastern Israel.

Mount Hermon is known under different names:
a. Hermon – (Hebrew) – Sacred, holy mountain from early times. The Canaanites called it Baal Hermon (Judges  3:3)
b. Mountain of the Sheikh (Arabic)
c. Senir (Amorites)
d. Sirion (Phoenicians) – breastplate.
e. Snowy mountain
f. Gray-haired mountain
g. Mountain of Snow
e. Eye of the Nation – because of Israel’s military strategic early warning system

According to tradition, it was on Har Habtamim, on the slopes of Katef Sion (part of Mt. Hermon) that God promised Abraham to give the land to his descendants. An ancient tomb and oak tree were found at this spot. Hermon is also believed to be the mountain where Jesus’ transfiguration took place as Jesus was in the area of Caesarea Philippi with his disciples, which is near Mt. Hermon.

During the Six Day war of 1967, Israeli forces captured part of Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights. Israeli citizens were finally safe after having been harassed and murdered by Syrian snipers for 19 long years.

Mount Hermon, geographically separate from the Golan Heights, is the most northern and highest point in Israel (2800 meters above sea level). The only skiing site in Israel has a 620-meter vertical drop. Locals call it the only ‘real’ mountain in Israel – the others are seen as only high hills.

"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes It is like the dew of Hermon,  which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore." Psalm 133 ESV

Mount Hermon has the honour of being THE mount of dew amongst Israel’s mountains. 
Because of its height, the difference in day and night temperatures create a high dew precipitation during the hot, dry summer months, while during the rainy season (November – April) there is a lot of rain and snowfall. And then, when the snow begins to melts, it will feed the springs and rivers merging into the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee.

 Blessings and life, all year round!