Friday, February 17, 2012

What Tel Shiloh's Task Is

Dror Eydar on Shiloh and Jewish heritage

The Israelite tribes had just endured a long, hard day of bitter battles. After suffering their first defeat, they decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant from the capital city, Shiloh, to their battlefield encampment at Aphek (present-day Rosh Ha’ayin), 35 kilometers away. Upon the arrival of the ark, the Israelites rejoiced while listening to the loud blast of the shofar...

The very act of bringing the ark was far worse than the corruption and sins committed by Hophni and Phineas, the sons of Eli, the high priest of Shiloh. It was worse than defacing the sanctuary in full view of the pilgrims. This act marked the beginning of the tribes’ spiritual descent...The Israelites entered the battlefield with a sense of complacency, thinking they were protected by divine providence. The results were disastrous...

The bad news had to be delivered to the capital...“There ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh...”

...“How did the matter go, my son?” Eli asked. The young runner broke the news about the defeat, the death of his sons, and the captured ark...The Bible does not tell us what happened to Shiloh afterward, but clues from other books and archaeological findings suggest that in all likelihood the Philistines made good on their threat and stormed the mountaintop...In recent years, I visited the biblical site of Shiloh. The area is in serious need of upkeep and renovation (although it already has a quality website), so the government’s decision to allocate significant funds and designate it a national heritage site comes just in time. The usual naysayers are crying foul and saying: “This is a controversial decision because of the site’s location in the heart of Samaria, between Ramallah and Nablus.” Indeed, much like the state of Israel, which is like a bone lodged in the throat of the Arab world, wedged between Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

This is exactly the point. To withstand the blows and face down the threats, including those from Iran and its evil satellites; the deceptive Palestinian propaganda which continues to falsely claim that there is no tie linking the Jewish people with their land, and that they would never recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people; we are presenting our formative story, which leaves no doubt that our roots in this land are planted tenfold more firmly than all the lies spewed by the gang of fabricators from Ramallah and Gaza.


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