The seventh Year - History

The seventh Year - History

Seventh Year of the Presidency of President Obama

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Day 1, January 20thDay 153, June 22, 2015
Day 2, January 21thDay 154, June 23, 2015
Day 3, January 22thDay 155, June 24, 2015
Day 4, January 23thDay 156, June 25, 2015
Day 157, June 26, 2015
Day 6, January 25th
Day 7, January 26thDay 160, June 29, 2015
Day 8, January 27thDay 161, June 30, 2015
Day 9, January 28thDay 162, July 1, 2015
Day 10, January 29thDay 163, July 2, 2015
Day 11, January 30th
Day 14, February 2Day 167, July 6, 2015
Day 15, February 3Day 168, July 7, 2015
Day 16, February 4Day 169, July 8, 2015
Day 17, February 5Day 170, July 9, 2015
Day 18, February 6Day 171, July 10, 2015
Day 21, February 9Day 174, July 13, 2015
Day 22, February 10Day 175, July 14, 2015
Day 23, February 11Day 176, July 15, 2015
Day 24, February 12Day 177, July 16, 2015
Day 25, February 13Day 178, July 17, 2015
Day 29, February 17Day 181, July 20, 2015
Day 30, February 18Day 182, July 21, 2015
Day 31, February 19Day 183, July 22, 2015
Day 32, February 20Day 184, July 23, 2015
Day 35, February 23Day 186, July 25, 2015
Day 36, February 24Day 188, July 27, 2015
Day 37, February 25Day 188, July 29, 2015
Day 38, February 26Day 189, July 30, 2015
Day 39, February 27Day 190, July 31, 2015
Day 42, March 2
Day 43, March 3
Day 44, March 4
Day 45, March 5
Day 46, March 6
Day 49, March9
Day 50, March 10
Day 51, March 11
Day 52, March 12
Day 53, March 13
Day 56, March 16
Day 57, March 17
Day 58, March 18
Day 59, March 19
Day 60, March 20
Day 63, March 23
Day 64, March 24
Day 65, March 25
Day 66, March 26
Day 67, March 27
Day 70, March 30
Day 71, March 31
Day 72, April 1
Day 73, April 2
Day 74, April 3
Day 77, April 6
Day 78, April 7
Day 79, April 8
Day 80, April 9
Day 81, April 10
Day 84, April 13
Day 85, April 14
Day 86, April 15
Day 87, April 16
Day 88, April 17
Day 91, April 20
Day 92, April 21
Day 93, April 22
Day 94, April 23
Day 95, April 24
Day 95, April 27
Day 99, April 28
Day 100, April 29
Day 101, April 30
Day 104, May 4
Day 105, May 5
Day 106, May 6
Day 107, May 7
Day 108, May 8
Day 111, May 11
Day 112, May 12
Day 113, May 13
Day 114, May 14
Day 115, May 15
Day 118, May 18
Day 119, May 19
Day 120, May 20
Day 121, May 21
Day 122, May 22
Day 125, May 25
Day 126, May 26
Day 127, May 27
Day 128, May 28
Day 129, May 29
Day 132, June 1 2015
Day 133, June 2 2015
Day 134, June 3 2015
Day 135, June 4 2015
Day 138, June 7 2015
Day 139, June 8 2015
Day 140, June 9 2015
Day 141, June 10 2015
Day 142, June 11 2015
Day 143, June 12 2015
Day 146, June 15, 2015
Day 147, June 16, 2015
Day 148, June 17, 2015
Day 149, June 18, 2015
Day 150, June 19, 2015

Year 6000

According to classical Jewish sources, the Hebrew year 6000 (from sunset of 29 September 2239 [2] until nightfall of 16 September 2240 [3] on the Gregorian calendar) marks the latest time for the initiation of the Messianic Age. The Talmud, [4] Midrash, [5] and the Kabbalistic work, the Zohar, [6] state that the date by which the Messiah must appear is 6,000 years from creation. According to tradition, the Hebrew calendar started at the time of Creation, placed at 3761 BCE. [7] The current (2020/2021) Hebrew year is 5781.

The belief that the seventh millennium will correspond to the Messianic Age is founded upon a universalized application of the concept of Shabbat—the 7th day of the week—the sanctified 'day of rest'.

One translation of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11) reads

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [8]

This tradition maintains that each day of the week corresponds to one thousand years of creation: Just as the six days of the work week culminate in the sanctified seventh day of Shabbat, so too will the six millennia of creation culminate in the sanctified seventh millennium (Hebrew years 6000–7000) — the Messianic Age.

Just as Shabbat is the sanctified 'day of rest' and peace, a time representing joyful satisfaction with the labors completed within the previous 6 days, [9] [10] so too the seventh millennium will correspond to a universal 'day of rest' and peace, a time of 'completeness' of the 'work' performed in the previous six millennia.

The Talmud [11] also draws parallels between the Shmita (Sabbatical) year and the seventh millennium: For six 'years', or millennia, the earth will be worked, whilst during the seventh 'year', or millennium, the world will remain 'fallow', in a state of 'rest' and universal peace.

The reconciliation between the traditional Judaic age of the world and the current scientifically derived age of the world is beyond the scope of this article, with some taking a literal approach, as with Young Earth creationism, and others, such as Gerald Schroeder, a scientific conciliatory approach. Contrary to popular belief, the Jewish calendar begins with the creation of Adam, not the creation of the universe. [12]


Contents

The Septuagint used the phrase "a trumpet-blast of liberty" (ἀφέσεως σημασία apheseôs sêmasia), and the Vulgate used the Latin iobeleus the English term Jubilee derives from the Latin term.

Early modern biblical scholars believed that the Latin term derived from the Hebrew term yobel, used in the Masoretic Text, which in turn derived from yobhel, meaning ram [3] the Jubilee year was announced by a blast on a shofar, an instrument made from a ram's horn, during that year's Yom Kippur. [4]

An alternative etymology notes that the Latin verb iūbilō, "shout for joy," predates the Vulgate, and proposes that instead the Latin jubilo (meaning shout, from Proto-Italic *), as well as Middle Irish ilach (victory cry), English yowl, and Ancient Greek iuzō (ἰύζω: shout), derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *yu- (shout for joy). [5] In this theory, the Masoretic Hebrew term for "jubilee" is a borrowing from neighboring Indo-European languages.

You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field. In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property. (WEB)

Ancient Near Eastern societies regularly declared noncommercial debts void, typically at the coronation of a new king or at the king’s order. [6] Biblical scholars once argued that the Jubilee was an obvious development of the Sabbatical year. [7] Rather than waiting for the 50th or 49th year, the Deuteronomic Code requires that Hebrew slaves be liberated during their 7th year of service, [8] as does the Covenant Code, [9] which some textual scholars regard as pre-dating the Holiness code [10] the Book of Ezekiel, which some textual scholars also regard as earlier than the Holiness Code, refers to a year of liberty (שנת דרור), during which property is returned to the original owner (or their heirs), [11] (earlier written mentioning in Sum: ama-gi, ama-ar-gi, 'return to the mother') but the word דרור is used by Jeremiah to describe the release of slaves during the Sabbatical year, [12] which various scholars take to imply that Ezekiel must have been referring to the sabbatical year. [7] Scholars suspect that the transfer of these regulations to 49th or 50th year was a deliberate attempt to parallel the fact that Shavuot is 50 days after Passover, and follows seven weeks of harvest [7] this parallel is regarded as significant in Kabbalah. [13]

According to the documentary hypothesis, originally proposed by Julius Wellhausen, the Biblical chapters that contain the Jubilee and Sabbatical-year legislation (chapters 25 and 27 of Leviticus) were part of the so-called "P" or Priestly Code that Wellhausen believed represented the last stage in the development of Israel's religion. [14] Wellhausen dated those chapters to a late exilic or post-exilic period though many modern proponents of the Documentary Hypothesis have arrived at different datings.

Wellhausen's theory that the Jubilee and Sabbatical-year legislation was written in the exilic or post-exilic period, specifically after the time of Ezekiel, has always been challenged by scholars who have maintained the traditional position of Judaism and Christianity for the Mosaic authorship of Leviticus. Recently, however, the theories of Wellhausen and others who date the Jubilee and Sabbatical-year legislation to the exilic period or later have also been challenged by scholars who generally do not have a conservative view of the Bible. Yehezekel Kaufmann has argued that the book of Ezekiel quotes from the Sabbatical and Jubilee legislation of the Book of Leviticus, which must have been in existence before Ezekiel's writings. [15] This argument has been expanded by Risa Levitt Kohn. Kohn examined in detail the 97 terms and phrases that are shared between Ezekiel and the Priestly Code. [16] [17] She concludes:

In each of these examples, the direction of influence moves from P to Ezekiel. A term or expression with a positive connotation in P takes on a negative overtone in Ezekiel. Ezekiel parodies P language by using terms antithetically. It is virtually impossible to imagine that the Priestly Writer would have composed Israelite history by transforming images of Israel's apostasy and subsequent downfall from Ezekiel into images conveying the exceptional covenant and unique relationship between Israel and YHWH. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that the Priestly Writer could have turned Ezekiel's land of exile (ארץ מגוריהם) into Israel's land of promise, Israel's enemies (קהל עמים) in to a sign of fecundity, or Israel's abundant sin (במאד מאד) into a sign of YHWH's covenant. It is, however, plausible that Ezekiel, writing in exile, re-evaluated P's portrayal of Israel's uniqueness, cynically inverting these images so that what was once a "pleasing fragrance to YHWH" symbolizes impiety and irreverence. [18]

John Bergsma provides a further argument against an exilic or post-exilic date for the codifying of the Jubilee and Sabbatical-year legislation, saying that the Sitz im Leben (life situation) of the exilic or post-exilic period is not at all addressed by this legislation.

Finally, if the only purpose of the jubilee legislation was to serve as a pretext for the return of the exiles' lands, certainly much simpler laws than the jubilee could have been written and ascribed to Moses. All that would be necessary is a short statement mandating the return of property to any Israelite who returned after being exiled. In point of fact, precisely such brief, pointed laws are extant in the Mesopotamian codes, for example, the code of Hammurabi §27 and the Laws of Eshnuna §29. But on the contrary, the jubilee legislation never addresses the situation of exile. The only form of land alienation addressed in the text is sale by owner. If the priesthood in the early Persian period really wanted a legal pretext for the return of lost lands, they would surely have written themselves a law that directly addressed their situation. [19]

Bergsma therefore points out the incongruity of Wellhausen's ascribing an exilic or post-exilic date to the Jubilee and Sabbatical-year legislation, since this would conflict with the Sitz im Leben of Israel during, and after, the exile. In addition, Bergsma shows that the problem that this legislation was addressing was a problem recognized by the kings of Babylon in the second millennium BC, which naturally suggests the possibility of a much earlier date of codification. These Babylonian kings (to whom could be added Ammi-Saduqa [20] ) occasionally issued decrees for the cancellation of debts and/or the return of the people to the lands they had sold. Such "clean slate" decrees were intended to redress the tendency of debtors, in ancient societies, to become hopelessly in debt to their creditors, thus accumulating most of the arable land into the control of a wealthy few. The decrees were issued sporadically. Economist Michael Hudson maintains that the Biblical legislation of the Jubilee and Sabbatical years addressed the same problems encountered by these Babylonian kings, but the Biblical formulation of the laws presented a significant advance in justice and the rights of the people. This was due to the "clean slates" now being codified into law, rather than relying on the whim of the king. Furthermore, the regular rhythm of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years meant that everyone would know when the next release was due, thereby giving fairness and equity to both creditor and debtor. [21] [22] Hudson therefore maintains that not only was the Levitical legislation a significant advance over the prior attempts to deal with indebtedness, but this legislation was also eminently practical, in contradiction to many Biblical interpreters who are not economists and who have labeled it "utopian".

The biblical regulations concerning the Jubilee year appear in Leviticus 25. According to these regulations, the Jubilee was to be sounded once 49 years had been counted, [23] raising an ambiguity over whether the Jubilee was within the 49th year, or followed it as an intercalation in the 7-year sabbatical cycles scholars and classical rabbinical sources are divided on the question. [7] [13]

The biblical requirement is that the Jubilee year was to be treated like a Sabbatical year, with the land lying fallow, but also required the compulsory return of all property to its original owners or their heirs, except the houses of laymen within walled cities, in addition to the manumission of all Israelite indentured servants. [13]

The biblical regulations state that the land was to rest a "Sabbath" when the Children of Israel came to the land God was giving them Israel. [24] The Seder Olam Rabbah (second century AD), stated that this verse meant that the counting was not to start until after the Israelites had gained control of Canaan, which the Seder Olam, based upon received tradition, placed at 14 years after their entry into the land. [25] This interpretation has been largely adopted in later rabbinic scholarship. One reason for this interpretation of the Levitical text was that if counting started before the land was completely conquered, it would require the Israelites to return the land to the Canaanites within 50 years similar nationalistic concerns about the impact of the Jubilee on land ownership have been raised by Zionist settlers. [13] From a legal point of view, the Jubilee law effectively banned sale of land as fee simple, and instead land could only be leased for no more than 50 years. The biblical regulations go on to specify that the price of land had to be proportional to how many years remained before the Jubilee, with land being cheaper the closer it is to the Jubilee. [26]

Since the 49th year was already a sabbatical year, the land was required to be left fallow during it, but if the 50th year also had to be kept fallow, as the Jubilee, then no new crops would be available for two years, and only the summer fruits would be available for the following year, creating a much greater risk of starvation overall [7] Judah the Prince contended that the jubilee year was identical with the sabbatical 49th year. [27] However, the majority of classical rabbis believed that the biblical phrase hallow the fiftieth year, [28] together with the biblical promise that there would be three years worth of fruit in the sixth year, [29] implies that the jubilee year was the 50th year. [13] The opinion of the Geonim, and generally of later authorities, was that prior to the Babylonian captivity the Jubilee was the intercalation of the 50th year, but after the captivity ended the Jubilee was essentially ignored, except for the blast of the shofar, and coincided with the sabbatical 49th year [13] the reason was that the Jubilee was only to be observed when the Jews controlled all of Canaan, including the territories of Reuben and Gad and the eastern half-tribe of Manasseh.

The length of the Jubilee cycle continues to be of interest to modern scholarship, as does the question of the practicality of the legislation, and whether it was ever put into effect on a nationwide basis. Regarding the length of the cycle, three significant scholarly studies devoted to the Jubilee and Sabbatical years agree that it was 49 years, while disagreeing somewhat on the interpretation of the other issues involved. These major studies were those of Benedict Zuckermann, [30] Robert North, [31] and Jean-François Lefebvre. [32] The reasons given by these authors to support a 49-year cycle are both textual (examining all relevant Biblical texts) and practical.

Calendrical document 4Q319 from the Dead Sea Scrolls "represents a calendrical system based on the weekly rotation of the twenty-four priestly courses during a six-year period and constructed into six consecutive Jubilees, i.e. 294 years.". [33]

Textual and practical considerations Edit

An example of the textual argument is given by North in his comparison of Leviticus 23:15–16 with Leviticus 25:8–11. The first passage establishes the timing, in days, for the Festival of Weeks (Shavuot), while the second prescribes the timing, in years, for the Jubilee. [34] In the first passage, the start of counting for the Festival of Weeks is said to be "the day after the Sabbath" (mimaharat ha-shabat, Leviticus 23:15), and is to end "the day after the seventh Sabbath" (mimaharat ha-shabat ha-sheviyit, Leviticus 23:16). These seven weeks would constitute 49 days in most modern methods of reckoning. Nevertheless, verse 16 says that they are to be reckoned as 50 days. This method of reckoning (sometimes called "inclusive numbering") is fairly common in Scripture for example, the Feast of Tabernacles is to last for seven days (Leviticus 23:34–36), but the last day is called the eighth day (v. 36). North found this comparison between Leviticus 23 (Feast of Weeks) and Leviticus 25 (Jubilees) to be "the strongest possible support for the forty-ninth year" [34] as the Jubilee year. His conclusion that the Jubilee was identical with the seventh Sabbatical year was followed by Lefebvre, for this as well as additional reasons. [35]

The consideration that the Jubilee was identical with the seventh Sabbatical year solves the various practical problems, as also addressed by these authors. If the Jubilee were separate from, and following the seventh Sabbatical year, then there would be two fallow years in succession. Lefebvre points out, however, that there is no support in Scripture for two voluntary fallow years in succession, even though some have misinterpreted Leviticus 25:21–22 as if this refers to a Jubilee year following a Sabbatical year, which is not the sense of the passage. Lefebvre shows that this cannot be the case because planting is mentioned for the eighth year it is the year after a Sabbath, a year in which planting and harvesting resume. [36] Another practical problem that would occur if the Jubilee cycle were 50 years is that, after the first cycle, the Jubilee and Sabbatical cycles would be out of phase unless the seventh Sabbatical cycle was stretched to eight years. But Scripture gives no instructions for making such an adjustment. Instead, it is assumed that the two cycles will always be in phase so that the shofar can be sounded in the seventh year of the seventh Sabbatical cycle. [37]

In contrast, the consideration that the Jubilee year is an intercalated year separate and distinct from the Sabbatical cycles resolves an issue of the requirement for observation of the Torah of both Leviticus 25:3 and Leviticus 25:11. For in the former passage, the command is that sowing and pruning must occur for 6 consecutive years, whereas in the latter, the command is to neither sow, nor reap nor gather from untended vines in the Jubilee year. If the Jubilee year is the 50th year as confirmed by Leviticus 25:10–11, it must necessarily be a separate year from the first 49 years comprising the whole of the first seven Sabbatical cycles. Therefore it cannot be identical with the seventh Sabbatical year, as 49 does not equal 50. Were the Jubilee year to be considered identical with year 1 of the following Sabbatical cycle, the requirement of observing 6 consecutive years of sowing and pruning could not be observed as only 5 years would therefore be available for sowing and reaping, not the specified six as Leviticus 25:3 requires. A lot of the misunderstanding comes from not carefully reading the original Hebrew text. There was no requirement in the Law to observe 6 consecutive years of sowing. The command stated that you may sow for 6 years but in the 7th year the land must observe a sabbath rest. It would be a double negative to command the land to be sowed for 6 years in cases of famine and war.

Historical considerations Edit

Although not cited by these authors, two historical arguments also argue for a 49-year cycle. The first is that the Samaritans celebrated a 49-year cycle. [38] Although the Samaritans stopped counting for the Jubilee some hundreds of years ago, according to a recent report an effort is underway to determine the date when counting ceased in order to resume. The counting will again be according to a 49-year cycle. [39] A second historical argument has been presented to the effect that the two instances of a Jubilee mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud (tractates Arakin 12a and Megillah 14b) appear to be proper historical remembrances, because the known calculation methods of rabbinic scholarship were incapable of correctly calculating the dates of the Jubilees mentioned. [40] Rabbinic (Talmudic) scholarship always assumed non-accession reckoning for kings, whereby the first partial year of a king was double-counted both for him and as the last year of the deceased king. This reckoning would give 47 years from the Jubilee mentioned in the 18th year of Josiah (Megillah 14b) to the Jubilee that took place 14 years after Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians (Arakin 12a), whereas the correct difference was 49 years (623 BC to 574 BC). This has been presented as additional evidence that the cycle was 49 years, and further that the cycles were being measured until the last Jubilee in the days of Ezekiel, when the stipulations of the Jubilee year, long neglected except in the counting of the priests, could no longer be observed because the people were captive in a foreign land. [41]

The Seder Olam Rabbah recognized the importance of the Jubilee and Sabbatical cycles as a long-term calendrical system, and attempted at various places to fit the Sabbatical and Jubilee years into its chronological scheme. As mentioned above, the Seder Olam put forth the idea that the counting for these cycles was deferred until 14 years after entry into the land. The reasons for this are given in Seder Olam chapter 11. In Joshua chapter 14, Caleb mentions that he was 40 years old when he was sent out as a spy in the second year of the 40-year wilderness journey, and his present age was 85, [42] which meant he received his inheritance seven years after entering Canaan. Rabbi Jose assumed that everyone else received their inheritance when Caleb did, or had already received it, so that the allotment of the land to the tribes was finished at this time. Because the division of the land took seven years, the conquest that followed must also have taken seven years. "One has to say that 14 years Israel spent at Gilgal, seven when they were conquering and seven when they were distributing." Then, after putting up the Tabernacle at Shiloh, "At that moment, they started to count years for tithes, Sabbatical years, and Jubilee years." [43]

Another explanation has been offered for Rabbi Jose's postponement of counting until 14 years had elapsed. In this same chapter 11 of the Seder Olam, Rabbi Jose stated (for unknown reasons) that Israel's time in its land must have lasted an integral number of Jubilee periods. If this were true, one of those periods should have ended at the beginning of the exile in 587 BC. Yet Rabbi Jose also believed that Ezekiel 40:1 marked the beginning of the seventeenth Jubilee, and this was 14 years after the city fell. In other words, the Jubilee came 14 years too late, according to the idea that the time in the land must comprise an integral number of Jubilee cycles. Rodger Young proposes that the knowledge of when a genuine Jubilee was due was the real reason for the supposition of a delay before the start of counting:

The reason for the fourteen-year delay in Seder ‘Olam 11 is that Rabbi Yose (primary author of the Seder ‘Olam) had the idée fixe that the total time that Israel spent in its land must come out to an exact number of Jubilee cycles. If that had been the case, then we should have expected that 587 BC, when the exile began, would have been at the end of a Jubilee period. However, Rabbi Yose cited Ezek 40:1 as designating the time of the seventeenth Jubilee, and since he knew this was fourteen years after the city fell, he presumed that counting had been delayed for fourteen years so that he could account for the fourteen years between the fall of the city and the observance of the seventeenth Jubilee. He also mentioned the previous Jubilee, in the time of Josiah. As much as he would have liked to put these last two Jubilees fourteen years earlier in order to be consistent with his idée fixe, Rabbi Yose could not do it because he knew these were historical dates, not dates that came from his own calculation. [44]

An alternative account is that counting started at the entry into the land. This follows from a straightforward reading of the relevant text in Leviticus:

The L ORD then spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'When you come into the land which I shall give you, then the land shall have a sabbath to the L ORD . Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the L ORD . You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you (Leviticus 25:1–4, 8–10, NASB).

The Talmud states that the people of Israel counted 17 Jubilees from the time they entered the Land of Canaan until their exile at the destruction of the First Temple. [45] If counting is measured back 17 cycles from Ezekiel's Jubilee (Ezekiel 40:1) [46] that began in Tishri of 574 BC, based on Thiele's computation, [47] the first year of the first cycle would have been 1406 BC. According to the religious calendar that started the year in Nisan, and in accordance with Joshua 5:10 that places the entry in the land in Nisan, Nisan of 1406 BC is the month and year when counting started. But 1406 BC is the year of entry into the land that is traditionally derived by another method, namely taking Thiele's date of 931/930 BC for the start of the divided kingdom after Solomon's death, in conjunction with 1 Kings 6:1 (Solomon's fourth year was 480th year of Exodus-era), to derive the date of the Exodus in 1446 BC. The method of determining the date of the Exodus and entry into Canaan from the Jubilee cycles is independent of the method of deriving these dates from 1 Kings 6:1, yet the two methods agree. [48]

The Jubilee in Jewish tradition Edit

A different approach is taken in the Talmud (Arakhin 12a–b) which, like Seder Olam, assigns only 410 years to the First Temple, [49] preceded by 480 years from the exodus to its building by Solomon (1 Kings 6:1) in 832 BC (by the rabbinic accounting) and its destruction in 422 BC. The Talmud (Arakhin 12b) accounts for 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and 7 years taken to conquer the land of Canaan and 7 years to divide the land among the tribes, putting the first Jubilee cycle precisely 54 years after the exodus (i.e. in 1258 BC), and saying that the people of Israel counted 17 Jubilees from the time they entered the Land of Canaan until their departure, and that the last Jubilee occurred 14 years after the First Temple's destruction (i.e. in 408 BC). [50] [51] Talmudic exegete, Rashi, explains in the Talmud (Arakhin 12b) that the year of the First Temple's destruction (422 BC) was actually the 36th year in the Jubilee cycle, and that fourteen years later (408 BC) would have been the next Jubilee. [52] This time span, taken together (from 1258 BC to 408 BC), accrues to 850 years, during which time the people counted seventeen Jubilees.

The historian Josephus, however, had a different tradition, writing in his work Antiquities (10.8.5) that the First Temple stood 470 years, [53] which would, of necessity, offset the number of Jubilee cycles. Moreover, Josephus' reckoning of the timeline of events does not always align with Seder Olam, the book on which rabbinic tradition is so dependent. The discrepancies between Josephus and Seder Olam have led some scholars to think that the dates prescribed in Seder Olam are only approximations, as Josephus brings down supportive evidence by making use of two basic epochs, the Olympiad era counting and the Seleucid era counting, drawn principally from other writers, to verify the historicity of many of these events. In spite of their differences in the general span of years, there is not necessarily disagreement between Josephus and Seder Olam when Josephus refers to dates of Sabbatical years during the Second Temple period, as the time-frame for these dates overlap those mentioned in Seder Olam (chapter 30) for the Grecian, Hasmonean, and Herodian periods.

The text of the Book of Leviticus argues that the Jubilee existed because the land was the possession of Yahweh, and its current occupiers were merely aliens or tenants, and therefore the land should not be sold forever. [54] Midrashic sources argue that the Jubilee was created to preserve the original division of land between the Israelite tribes, [55] as evidenced by the rabbinical tradition that the Jubilee should not be imposed until the Israelites were in control of Canaan. [13] Leviticus also states that the Israelites were the servants of Yahweh, [56] which classical rabbis took as justification for the manumission of Israelite slaves at the Jubilee, using the argument that no man should have two masters, and thus, as the servants of Yahweh, the Israelites should not also be the servants of men. [55]

A further theological insight afforded by the Jubilee cycles is explained in Andrew Steinmann's monograph on Biblical chronology. Steinmann has an extended discussion of the evidence for various pre-exilic Sabbatical years, and how they all occurred an integral number of seven-year periods before Ezekiel’s Jubilee (see the Historical Sabbatical Years article). He also notes that the date of the entry into the land implied by Ezekiel's Jubilee (the seventeenth) is in exact agreement with the date calculated from 1 Kings 6:1 and Joshua 5:6. These chronological considerations are usually neglected in discussions of the legislation for the Jubilee and Sabbatical years, but Steinmann stresses their theological importance as follows:

This illustrates one of the principles stated in the preface to the present book: that some historical insights will remain obscured until the chronology of the period under discussion is determined properly. The Jubilee and Sabbatical cycles provide such historical insight. But they do more: they also offer theological insights on such important matters as the date and historicity of the Exodus and the origin of the Book of Leviticus. If, as has been argued, the times of the Jubilee and Sabbatical cycles were known all the time that Israel was in its land, and, further, that the only adequate explanation that has yet been given for Ezekiel’s Jubilee being the seventeenth Jubilee is that the counting for these cycles actually started 832 years earlier, in 1406 BC, then it is logical to conclude the Lev 25–27, the texts that charter the Sabbatical years and the Jubilees, were in existence in the late fifteenth century BC. [57]


What was the Seven Years War?

The Seven Years War was a global conflict which ran from 1756 until 1763 and pitted a coalition of Great Britain and its allies against a coalition of France and its allies. The war escalated from a regional conflict between Great Britain and France in North America, known today as the French and Indian War. George Washington, a wealthy Virginia planter and an officer in the Virginia militia, served under British General Braddock in the early years of this conflict. The Seven Years War was the fourth war between Great Britain and France in the hundred-year period after 1689. While there had been some territorial concessions in the earlier wars, most of those earlier struggles returned each nation to their pre-war status. The Seven Years War was different in that it ended in a resounding victory for Great Britain and its allies and a humiliating defeat for France and its allies. France lost to Great Britain most of its North American colonial possessions, known as New France. This included Canada and all of its land east of the Mississippi River, including the Ohio Valley, to Great Britain.

At the war’s end, Great Britain faced a number of serious geopolitical and financial problems. The first problem faced by the British government rose from the need to govern and protect vast new areas won during the long conflict. In North America, the British now had responsibility for Canada and the areas east of the Mississippi River. These former French colonies included thousands of Indians and many French-speaking Catholics who had no desire to become subjects of the British crown or to live under English common law. Great Britain also had control over East and West Florida which Spain, an ally of France, was forced to cede to Great Britain at the end of the war. Financing the administration of these new areas was a critical problem facing the British government at the war’s end.

British regiment marching.

Great Britain also faced a massive war debt at the end of the Seven Years War. As of January 5, 1763, the national debt stood at over £122,603,336. According to historian Charles Middlekauff in his work on the American Revolution, The Glorious Cause, the interest on this sum was over £4,409,797 per year. Complicating Britain’s financial problems, the government faced growing protests for tax relief after increasing taxes for those living in the British Isles. Protests against the heavy land taxes and the Cider Tax were especially strong there.
The war’s end also marked a change of attitudes among people in Great Britain and in its American colonies. During the war, the British government was unable to persuade the colonial legislatures to satisfactorily contribute to the expenses of the war. With the French defeat, the British government did not believe it needed to accommodate the concerns of the colonial legislatures regarding monetary issues. At the same time, the removal of the French threat in North America gave the American colonists a new sense of self-confidence. Many colonists questioned why the British government thought it needed to leave an army in North America to protect its colonies from Indian uprisings.

One of the critical problems faced by Great Britain at the end of the Seven Years War was its uneasy relations with the Indian tribes living in the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes. While these Indian tribes had traded with the French for years, few French settlers, other than trappers and traders, had moved into the areas south of the Great Lakes. After France and her Indian allies were defeated, British settlers began crossing the Appalachian Mountain in large numbers looking for good farmland. The Indians viewed the settlers, who wanted to claim the land, differently than the French fur traders with whom they had lived for many years.

The actions of Major General Jeffrey Amherst, the British Commander of British forces in North America, also contributed to the tense relations between the British and the Indians in the final years of the war. The British, like the French, had enjoyed the support of a number of Indian tribes and, during the war, the chiefs of these tribes had received generous gifts from the British government. Gift giving was considered by the British and the French to be an integral part of maintaining good relations with the tribes. As military operations in North America came to a successful conclusion, General Amherst decided to discontinue the practice of giving gifts to Indian chiefs, as he believed he no longer needed their support. He also made the decision to cut back on trading gunpowder to the Indians. The Indians felt that the British were treating them as a conquered people and not as former allies.

In May 1763, Pontiac, an Ottawa leader, led a number of Indian tribes in the area of the Great Lakes in an uprising against British forces and settlers along the frontier. While a few British forts on the frontier held out, over eight were taken. Hundreds of British soldiers were killed, and the settlers who survived the attacks fled from their farms on the frontier to the safe areas in the east. Commonly known as Pontiac’s Rebellion, the conflict lasted until 1764. Though peace treaties ended the fighting, the possibility of further conflicts with the Indians strongly affected Britain’s decision to leave a standing army in America after the Seven Years War.


What About the Rapture of the Church?

Since there is a seven-year tribulation period foretold to occur just before Christ's return, the Rapture of the Church would be prior to this date. Most pre-millennial Bible prophecy teachers would put the Rapture seven years sooner, however, logically, it seems there has to be some amount of time (a short stage setting gap of perhaps a few years) between the Rapture and the tribulation period beginning (see here). So, the Rapture could be up to a total of 10-years, and possibly more (some prophecy scholars like Bill Salus believe it could be 11.5-years), from the coming of Jesus in Glory. I won't attempt to calculate an approximate timeframe of when the Rapture will occur based upon this, since we don't believe in setting dates, but I'm sure you can work out the implications of this!

Conclusion

We must keep in mind that there is no conclusive evidence anywhere in the Bible that God has a 7,000-year plan, or has decided to work in 2,000-year time slots. While these connections are fun to explore, let's remember it is just a theory. You can decide whether such an exploration has any merit!

Mind you, considering almost 2,000 years have passed since Christ's crucifixion (making a total of nearly 6,000 years—or six millennial days—from Adam), and at this precise juncture in human history mankind stands poised with the ability to blow up and blast out of existence all life on planet Earth, the 7,000-year plan is more believable than ever!

In any case, with Israel being a nation in the land again, and many other prophetic implications ramping up as of late, we know that Jesus will return very soon. The time is short.

God’s 7,000 Year Plan Reviewed by Joel on January 19, 2019 Rating: 5

Battle of the Monongahela

The Battle of the Monongahela in July 1755 was the most important early battle of the Seven Years’ War in North America. There British forces, under General Edward Braddock, lost badly to French soldiers and their American Indian allies. Braddock was mortally wounded, but his American ally George Washington fought valiantly and gained wide acclaim.

Imagined depiction of George Washington at the Battle of the Monongahela, 1854


Sighting the Enemy

That same day, Hawke departed Torbay to return to his blockade station off Brest. Sailing south, he learned two days later that Conflans had put to sea and was heading south. Moving to pursue, Hawke's squadron of twenty-three ships of the line used superior seamanship to close the gap despite contrary winds and worsening weather. Early on November 20, as he neared Quiberon Bay, Conflans spotted Duff's squadron. Badly outnumbered, Duff split his ships with one group moving north and the other moving south. Seeking an easy victory, Conflans ordered his van and center to pursue the enemy while his rearguard held back to observe strange sails approaching from the west.

Sailing hard, the first of Hawke's ships to spot the enemy was Captain Richard Howe's HMS Magnanime (70). Around 9:45 AM, Hawke signaled for a general chase and fired three guns. Devised by Admiral George Anson, this modification called for the seven leading ships to form line ahead as they chased. Pressing hard despite increasing gale winds, Hawke's squadron quickly closed with the French. This was aided by Conflans pausing to deploy his entire fleet in line ahead.


The magnificient 7: The meaning and history behind the world's favourite number

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David Beckham wore the 7 Manchester United shirt and made the number his daughter's middle name[GETTY]

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Pick a number, any number. Chances are it will be seven. Whatever your creed or culture the number seven is special.

Psychologists see evidence of our affinity with seven time and time again and now comes further statistical proof from mathematician Alex Bellos in his new book Alex Through The Looking Glass.

He asked 44,000 people to name their favourite number and a 10th of them answered seven.

He claims this shows that even those with no interest in maths are subconsciously doing a kind of mental arithmetic.

&ldquoOf the first 10 numbers, seven is the most prime. You cannot multiply or divide it within the group. It feels unique.&rdquo

Many civilisations over thousands of years have thought so using the number to impart its perceived magic into their lives and surroundings.

There&rsquos a reason why Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson and the other gunfighters in the 1960 film were magnificent and that&rsquos because there were seven of them.

For when it comes to making a grand statement, feeling lucky or seeking the divine, nothing beats the power of seven.

  • The optimum number of hours of sleep for humans is seven. A study by the West Virginia Medical School in the US of more than 30,000 adults found that the risk of developing heart disease increased in those who sleep one hour more or less than seven. Those who sleep for fewer than five hours a day are twice as likely to have heart attacks , strokes or angina attacks and the risk also increased markedly in those who clock up nine hours or more.
  • There are seven colours of the rainbow. Isaac Newton originally divided the spectrum into five main colours &ndash red, yellow, green, blue and violet &ndash in 1672 but later added orange and indigo to make seven. In common with the Ancient Greeks he believed there was a connection between the number of colours in the spectrum and the number of days in the week, the number of notes in a musical scale and the number of objects then known in the solar system.
  • The number seven is one of the most significant in the Bible. Scholars say it denotes completeness or perfection. After creating the world God rested on the seventh day and the seven-day week has been adopted by all human civilisations. The word &ldquocreated&rdquo is used seven times in the Book Of Genesis in reference to the making of the world. Seven also symbolises the unity of the four corners of Earth with the Holy Trinity. The number seven occurs more than 700 times throughout the Bible and 54 time in the Book Of Revelation, which refers to seven churches, seven angels, seven seals, seven trumpets and seven stars. Israel captured the city of Jericho after marching around it seven times, Solomon took seven years to build his temple, Job had seven sons and the great flood came seven days after Noah went into his ark. In the story of Joseph in Egypt there were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine and Christ spoke seven words from the cross.
  • In other religions, according to the Talmud in Judaism, the universe is made of seven heavens. The Koran often speaks of seven heavens and Muslims on a pilgrimage to Mecca walk seven times around the Kaaba, the cuboid building at the centre of Islam&rsquos most sacred mosque. In Christianity, Judaism and Islam, God resides above the seventh heaven and one of the most important elements in Jewish weddings is the conferring of the seven blessings. And in modern Jewish wedding ceremonies the bride often circles the groom seven times. In Hinduism there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds. In the ancient Vedic form of the religion the sun god&rsquos chariot is pulled by seven horses and the human body has seven basic chakras or &ldquowheels of energy&rdquo. Japanese mythology has seven gods of fortune responsible for good health, long life, happiness, knowledge, wealth, warriors and fishermen. In Buddhism the newborn Buddha rose to his feet and took seven steps.
  • Along with seven deadly sins there are seven virtues: humility, chastity, kindness, patience, abstinence, diligence and liberality.
  • David and Victoria Beckham named their daughter Harper Seven after Harper Lee, author of Victoria&rsquos favourite book To Kill A Mockingbird and the number shirt David wore in his footballing heyday playing for Manchester United and England. He also says that they chose seven as Harper&rsquos middle name &ldquobecause it symbolises spiritual perfection and is regarded as a lucky number in many cultures around the world&rdquo.
  • The ancient world had seven wonders: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (now in Turkey) the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and finally the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The Seven Wonders of the Modern World are: the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, the rock city of Petra in Jordan, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu in Peru, the Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico and the Colosseum in Rome. The list was chosen by global ballot and the results were announced on the seventh day of the seventh month (July 7) in 2007.

The ancient pyramids in Egypt are one of the seven wonders of the world [GETTY]


Hebron: History & Overview

Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) is located 32 kilometers south of Jerusalem and is built on several hills and wadis, most of which run north-to-south. The Hebrew word Hebron is explained as being derived from the Hebrew word for friend (haver), a description for the Patriarch Abraham. The Arabic Al- Khalil, literally &ldquothe friend,&rdquo has a nearly identical derivation and also refers to Abraham (Ibrahim), whom Muslims similarly describe as the friend of God. Hebron is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world and has been a major focus of religious worship for over two millennia.

From Biblical Times to 1967

Hebron has a long and rich Jewish history. Numbers 13:22 states that (Canaanite) Hebron was founded seven years before the Egyptian town of Zoan, i.e. around 1720 BCE, and the ancient (Canaanite and Israelite) city of Hebron was situated at Tel Rumeida. The city&rsquos history has been inseparably linked with the Cave of Machpelah, which the Patriarch Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite for 400 silver shekels (Genesis 23) as a family tomb. This was the first parcel of land owned by the Jewish people in their Promised Land. As recorded in Genesis, the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebekah and Leah, are buried there, and &mdash according to a Jewish tradition &mdash Adam and Eve are also buried there.

Hebron is mentioned 87 times in the Bible and is the world&rsquos oldest Jewish community. Joshua assigned Hebron to Caleb from the tribe of Judah (Joshua 14:13-14), who subsequently led his tribe in conquering the city and its environs (Judges 1:1-20). As Joshua 14:15 notes, &ldquothe former name of Hebron was Kiryat Arba. &rdquo

Following the death of King Saul, God instructed David to go to Hebron, where he was anointed King of Judah (II Samuel 2:1-4) and reigned in the city for seven years before being anointed King over all Israel (II Samuel 5:1-3). One thousand years later, during the first Jewish revolt against the Romans, the city was the scene of extensive fighting. Jews lived in Hebron continuously throughout the Byzantine, Arab, Mameluke and Ottoman periods and it was only in 1929 that the city became temporarily &ldquofree&rdquo of Jews as a result of an Arab pogrom in which 67 Jews were murdered and the remainder forced to flee. After the 1967 Six-Day War, the Jewish community of Hebron was re-established.

The city was part of the united kingdom and &mdash later &mdash the southern Kingdom of Judah, until the latter fell to the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Despite the loss of Jewish independence, Jews continued to live in Hebron (Nehemiah 11:25), and the city was later incorporated into the (Jewish) Hasmonean kingdom by John Hyrcanus. King Herod (reigned 37-4 BCE) built the base of the present structure &mdash the 12 meter high wall &mdash over the Tomb the Patriarchs.

The city was the scene of extensive fighting during the Jewish Revolt against the Romans (65-70, see Josephus 4:529, 554), but Jews continued to live there after the Revolt, through the later Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE), and into the Byzantine period. The remains of a synagogue from the Byzantine period have been excavated in the city, and the Byzantines built a large church over the Tomb of the Patriarchs, incorporating the pre- existing Herodian structure.

Tel Hebron

In October 2018, a new archaeological site opened at Tel Hebron where the walls of the city from the Early and Middle Bronze Age were excavated, as well as buildings from the Early Roman period, including pottery vessels, jewelry and coins. Workshops from the First Temple period, including wine and olive presses, pottery kilns and huge vessels to produce wine and oil were also discovered. Other findings include a four-chamber house, jars bearing ancient Hebrew inscriptions with words &ldquoto the king of Hebron&rdquo and a section of the city wall.

Jews continued to live in Hebron after the city&rsquos conquest by the Arabs (in 638), whose generally tolerant rule was welcomed, especially after the often-harsh Byzantine rule. The Arabs converted the Byzantine church at the Tomb the Patriarchs into a mosque.

Upon capturing the city in 1100, the Crusaders expelled the Jewish community, and converted the mosque at the Tomb back into a church. The Jewish community was re-established following the Mamelukes&rsquo conquest of the city in 1260, and the Mamelukes reconverted the church at the Tomb of the Patriarchs back into a mosque. However, the restored Islamic (Mameluke) ascendancy was less tolerant than the pre-Crusader Islamic (Arab) regimes &mdash a 1266 decree barred Jews (and Christians) from entering the Tomb of the Patriarchs, allowing them only to ascend to the fifth, later the seventh, step outside the eastern wall. The Jewish cemetery &mdash on a hill west of the Tomb &mdash was first mentioned in a letter dated to 1290.

The Ottoman Turks&rsquo conquest of the city in 1517 was marked by a violent pogrom which included many deaths, rapes, and the plundering of Jewish homes. The surviving Jews fled to Beirut and did not return until 1533. In 1540, Jewish exiles from Spain acquired the site of the &ldquoCourt of the Jews&rdquo and built the Avraham Avinu (&ldquoAbraham Our Father&rdquo) synagogue. (One year &mdash according to local legend &mdash when the requisite quorum for prayer was lacking, the Patriarch Abraham himself appeared to complete the quorum hence, the name of the synagogue.)

Despite the events of 1517, its general poverty and a devastating plague in 1619, the Hebron Jewish community grew. Throughout the Turkish period (1517-1917), groups of Jews from other parts of the Land of Israel, and the Diaspora, moved to Hebron, joining the existing community, and the city became a rabbinic center of note.

In 1775, the Hebron Jewish community was rocked by a blood libel, in which Jews were falsely accused of murdering the son of a local sheikh. The community &mdash which was largely sustained by donations from abroad &mdash was forced to pay a crushing fine, which further worsened its already shaky economic situation.

Despite its poverty, the community managed, in 1807, to purchase a 5-dunam plot &mdash upon which the city&rsquos wholesale market stands today &mdash and after several years the sale was recognized by the Hebron Waqf. In 1811, 800 dunams of land were acquired to expand the cemetery. In 1817, the Jewish community numbered approximately 500 and, by 1838, it had grown to 700, despite a pogrom which took place in 1834, during Mohammed Ali&rsquos rebellion against the Ottomans (1831-1840).

In 1870, a wealthy Turkish Jew, Haim Yisrael Romano, moved to Hebron and purchased a plot of land upon which his family built a large residence and guest house, which came to be called Beit Romano. The building later housed a synagogue and served as a yeshiva, before it was seized by the Turks. During the Mandatory period, the building served the British administration as a police station, remand center, and court house.

In 1893, the building later known as Beit Hadassah was built by the Hebron Jewish community as a clinic, and a second floor was added in 1909. The Hadassah organization contributed the salaries of the clinic&rsquos medical staff, who served both the city&rsquos Jewish and Arab populations.

During World War I, before the British occupation, the Jewish community suffered greatly under the wartime Turkish administration. Young men were forcibly conscripted into the Turkish army, overseas financial assistance was cut off, and the community was threatened by hunger and disease. However, with the establishment of the British administration in 1918, the community, reduced to 430 people, began to recover. In 1925, Rabbi Mordechai Epstein established a new yeshiva, and by 1929, the population had risen to 700 again.

The Massacre

On August 23, 1929, local Arabs devastated the Jewish community by perpetrating a vicious, large-scale, organized, pogrom. According to the Encyclopedia Judaica:

The assault was well planned, and its aim was well defined: the elimination of the Jewish settlement of Hebron. The rioters did not spare women, children, or the aged the British gave passive assent. Sixty-seven were killed, 60 wounded, the community was destroyed, synagogues razed, and Torah scrolls burned.

A total of 59 of the 67 victims were buried in a common grave in the Jewish cemetery (including 23 who had been murdered and dismembered in one house alone), and the surviving Jews fled to Jerusalem. (During the violence, Haj Issa el-Kourdieh &mdash a local Arab who lived in a house in the Jewish Quarter &mdash sheltered 33 Jews in his basement and protected them from the rioting mob.)

In 1931, 31 Jewish families returned to Hebron and re-established the community. This effort was short-lived, however, and, in April 1936, fearing another massacre, the British authorities evacuated the community.

Following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, and the invasion by Arab armies, Hebron was captured and occupied by the Jordanian Arab Legion. During the Jordanian occupation, which lasted until 1967, Jews were not permitted to live in the city, nor &mdash despite the Armistice Agreement &mdash to visit or pray at the Jewish holy sites in the city. Additionally, the Jordanian authorities and local residents undertook a systematic campaign to eliminate any evidence of the Jewish presence in the city. They razed the Jewish Quarter, desecrated the Jewish cemetery and built an animal pen on the ruins of the Avraham Avinu synagogue.

Reestablishing the Jewish Community

On April 4, 1968, a group of Jews registered at the Park Hotel in the city. The next day they announced that they had come to re- establish Hebron&rsquos Jewish community. The actions sparked a nationwide debate and drew support from across the political spectrum. After an initial period of deliberation, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol&rsquos Labor-led government decided to temporarily move the group into a near-by IDF compound, while a new community &mdash to be called Kiryat Arba &mdash was built adjacent to Hebron. The first 105 housing units were ready in the autumn of 1972.

In the decade following the Six Day War, when the euphoria of the victory had subsided, Judea and Samaria were still largely unsettled by Jews. Rabbi Moshe Levinger and a group of like-minded individuals determined that the time had come to return home to the newly liberated heartland of Eretz Yisrael. Word of the decision spread quickly and soon a nucleus of families was formed. Their objective was to spend Pesach in Hebron&rsquos Park Hotel.

Hebron&rsquos Arab hotel owners had fallen on hard times. For years they had served the Jordanian aristocracy who would visit regularly to enjoy Hebron&rsquos cool dry air. The Six Day War forced the vacationers to change their travel plans. As a result, the Park Hotel&rsquos Arab owners were delighted to accept the cash-filled envelope which Rabbi Levinger placed on the front desk. In exchange, they agreed to rent the hotel to an unlimited amount of people for an unspecified period.

In April 1968, the Levingers and the other families who had gathered, cleaned and kashered the half of the hotel&rsquos kitchen allotted to them and began to settle in. &ldquoEighty-eight people celebrated Passover Seder that night in the heart of Hebron. &lsquoWe sensed that we had made an historical breakthrough,&rdquo Miriam Levinger recalled, &ldquoand we all felt deeply moved and excited.&rdquo

That same year, a Palestinian threw a grenade at Jews praying at the tomb, wounding 47, among them an 8-month-old child.

A little over ten years later, in April 1979, a group of Jews from Kiryat Arba moved into Beit Hadassah. Following a deadly terrorist attack in May 1980 in which six Jews returning from prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs were murdered, and 20 wounded, Prime Minister Menachem Begin&rsquos Likud-led government agreed to refurbish Beit Hadassah, and to permit Jews to move into the adjacent Beit Chason and Beit Schneerson, in the old Jewish Quarter. An additional floor was built on Beit Hadassah, and 11 families moved in during 1986.

Since that time, the city has been the scene of violence on several occasions. In 2001, 10-month old Shalhevet Pass was shot in her stroller by a sniper. In 2003, a pregnant Israeli woman and her husband were killed when a suicide-bomber detonated next to them in the market on Shuhada Street.

Today, Hebron has a population of approximately 160,000 Palestinians, mostly Sunni Muslims. The Jewish community is comprised of roughly 700 people, including approximately 150 yeshiva students. An additional 6,650 Jews live in the adjacent community of Kiryat Arba.

Local administration and services for the Hebron Jewish community are provided by the Hebron Municipal Committee, which was established by the Defense and Interior Ministries, and whose functions are like those of Israel&rsquos regular local councils. The Ministry of Housing and Construction has established the &ldquoAssociation for the Renewal of the Jewish Community in Hebron,&rdquo to carry out projects in the city. The Association is funded both through the state budget and by private contributions. It deals with general development of, and for, the Jewish community.

In addition to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Tel Rumeida, the Jewish cemetery, and the historical residences of the city, other Jewish sites in Hebron include the Tomb of Ruth and Jesse (King David&rsquos father) which is located on a hillside overlooking the cemetery the site of the Terebinths of Mamre (&ldquoAlonei Mamre&rdquo) from Genesis 18:1, where God appeared to Abraham, which is located about 400 meters from the Glass Junction (Herodian, Roman, and Byzantine remains mark the site today) King David&rsquos Pool (also known as the Sultan&rsquos Pool), which is located about 200 meters south of the road to the entrance of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which Jews hold to be the pool referred to in II Samuel 4:12 the Tomb of Abner, Saul and David&rsquos general, which is located near the Tomb and the Tomb of Othniel Ben Kenaz, the first Judge of Israel (Judges 3:9-11).

Hebron&rsquos climate has, since Biblical times, encouraged extensive agriculture. Farmers in the Hebron region usually cultivate fruits such as grapes and plums. In addition to agriculture, the local economy relies on handicraft, small- and medium-scale industry and construction. Hebron is also one of the most important marketplaces in the Palestinian Authority.

Distinction Between "H1" & "H2"

In January 1997, after nearly thirty years of controlling the city, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from 80 percent of the Hebron municipal territory. This redeployment, originally agreed upon in the Interim Agreement (Oslo II) of September 1995, was postponed for several months, until a new agreement &ndash the &ldquoProtocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron&rdquo &ndash was reached.

In the Hebron Protocol, a distinction is made between Hebron&rsquos &ldquoH1&rdquo and &ldquoH2&rdquo areas. The status of the largest part of the city, &ldquoH1,&rdquo is similar to the one pertaining to &ldquoArea A.&rdquo The Palestinian Police Forces (PPF) exercise full control over &ldquoH1,&rdquo which the IDF is not allowed to enter unless escorted by Palestinian security forces. The IDF maintains indirect control over this part of the city by occasionally establishing checkpoints at entrances or by closing these points of access. &ldquoH1&rdquo covers residential sectors as well as the commercial areas of Bab Al-Zawiya and Wadi Al-Tuffah, situated west of the Old City.

In the remaining part of the city, &ldquoH2,&rdquo Israel maintains a military presence and controls various aspects of Palestinian daily life. Palestinian civil institutions operate under certain restrictions imposed by the Israeli military administration. When it comes to the PPF, they are only present when they participate in joint patrols led by the IDF.

&ldquoH2&rdquo covers approximately 20 percent of the municipal territory. It comprises the entire Qasba and areas adjacent to the Jewish settlements. The population in this area is composed of an estimated 30,000-35,000 Palestinians and approximately 400 Jews. This relatively small sector is the geographic, economic, historic and religious center of Hebron.

Located northeast of the Old City, the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpelah is included in the area under Israeli control, as are Islamic institutions, and a number of old mosques.

Shuhada Street & the Old City

Shuhada Street (&ldquoMartyr&rsquos Street&rdquo in Arabic) is a small road in the Old City running through &ldquoH2&rdquo connecting the western and eastern parts of the city. It was once the site of a bustling Palestinian marketplace before the city was divided. The traffic on this street is tightly controlled by the IDF to protect the 85 Jewish families in the neighborhood. Various restrictions are imposed on Palestinian motorists who want to use it. A bus station used to be located along Shuhada Street but was closed in 1986 and subsequently turned into an Israeli military compound. Palestinians who are not residents of H-2 are not allowed on Shuhada Street.

Despite being located inside the Israeli-controlled area of the city, the Souq situated inside the Qasba and behind Shuhada Street remains one of the busiest in the West Bank. However, the wholesale vegetables market (Al-Hisbe), adjacent to the Souq, has also been closed by Israel, due to security considerations.

The Qasba itself is no longer among the most densely populated areas of the city. Since the first half of the twentieth century, its population dropped from 8,000 to a few hundred. To reverse this evolution, the Palestinian local authorities have, since 1997, made a continuous effort to renovate, rehabilitate and develop the Old City. This led to an increase in the number of families moving into the Qasba. Similarly, efforts are being made to highlight its cultural heritage.

On Ein Sarah Street in H1, just a few blocks away from the old market, is a thriving Arab commercial district. As Steve Frank observed:

Cave of Machpelah/Ibrahimi Mosque

The question of who should control the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpelah is among the most sensitive issues in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Since the Islamic conquest of the region, in the seventh century, the site is predominantly revered by Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi, the Abraham Sanctuary or Ibrahimi Mosque. For seven centuries, its access was restricted to Muslim worshippers only. Jewish pilgrims could pray at a special location outside the building.

During the 1967 War, on the same day the Israeli troops entered Hebron, the IDF chaplain placed a Torah scroll inside the mosque. This initiative made it possible for Jews to hold prayers and religious services in various parts of the sanctuary &ndash sometimes at the same time and place as the Muslims. This provoked widespread indignation as the Muslims maintained the installation of a synagogue inside the sanctuary challenged the Muslim character of the site.

The need for separation between Jews and Muslims and sensitive management of access to their respective holy places was accentuated by the massacre of 29 Muslim worshippers by a Kiryat Arba settler, Baruch Goldstein, in February 1994. The killing was denounced through Israel. An Israeli commission headed by Meir Shamgar examined the circumstances of the bloodshed and recommended a number of new arrangements, such as the establishment of a physical separation between the worshippers of the two communities and the tightening of the security checks at the entrances. It was also decided that on an equal number of days a year, the holy place would be reserved for members of one community only.

Every year thousands of Jewish Israelis and visitors come to Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs to mark the reading of the Torah portion Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1&ndash25:18) which discusses Abraham&rsquos purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs to bury Sarah.

Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry Temporary International Presence in Hebron
&ldquoFrom Bronze Age To First Temple: Archaeological Site Set To Open In Hebron,&rdquo Jerusalem Post, (October 16, 2018)
At least 40,000 Jews gather in Hebron to mark biblical purchase of Cave of the Patriarchs, JTA, (November 4, 2018)
Steve Frank, &ldquoThe myth of Hebron&rsquos Shuhada Street,&rdquo Blitz, (July 23, 2019).

Tel Hebron Photo: Israeli Civil Administration Spokesperson

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