Photo of Ein Rogel, Jerusalem, 1857
This is a photo of Ein Rogel taken in 1857 by the British photographer Francis Firth (1822-1898), who took many pictures of the Middle East. The photo shows a mostly rocky and uncultivated mountainous area. On the left side of the photograph there is an olive grove and in the foreground there is a dilapidated stone structure. The walls of the Old City of Jerusalem built by the Ottomans in 1538 can be seen in the background with the dome of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount rising above them. On the left hand side of the photo is the City of David.
Ein Rogel is an ancient spring in the fields of ancient Jerusalem, mentioned in the Bible many times as a landmark between the boundaries of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and as the site of many events during the reign of King David. According to the Bible, the spring is south of the Temple Mount where the Kidron and Hinnom Valley meet. Ein Rogel was the hiding place of David’s spies, Jonathan and Ahimaaz (2 Sam. 17:17).
Jewish Studies teachers can use this photograph when discussing the geographical locations of biblical events.
Jewish History teachers can use it to discuss the rapid expansion of Jerusalem since the 1880s.
Geography teachers can use this photograph when discussing the topography of Jerusalem, which was more visible in the 19th century when the landscape was not covered by buildings and streets.
Where was this photograph taken? What building appears in the foreground?
What can be seen in the background?
Do you see any cultivated land?
How do you think the land was used?
What does this tell us about Jerusalem?
Reading Between the Lines
Who was the photographer?
What could the small structure in the foreground have been used for?
Why do historians believe that this is the site of the biblical Ein Rogel?
Why has the photographer taken the photo from this angle?
Use Google Street View to compare the site in the picture to its current situation. How have things changed?
Do you think it is important to locate biblical sites? Why?
Choose a biblical site of interest and create a presentation to share with your classmates. Include images of the site from today.