SECTION 5

Mount Ephraim and Benjamin


Laying between the present northern limit of the central fragment of the map and the vignette depicting Jerusalem we find the territory of the tribe of Ephraim (Lot of Ephraim) and Benjamin (Lot of Benjamin). The mosaicist quotes the biblical text containing the patriarchal blessing. (more)



Laying between the present northern limit of the central fragment of the map and the vignette depicting Jerusalem we find the territory of the tribe of Ephraim (Lot of Ephraim) and Benjamin (Lot of Benjamin). The mosaicist quotes the biblical text containing the patriarchal blessing.
For Ephraim-Joseph: "Joseph, God blessed you with the benediction of the earth which sustains everything, and again by the benediction of God by his earth (Gen 49,25; Deut 33,13)"
The mountain of Ephraim is characterised by the representation of Neapolis (today's Nablus) the capital of Samaria. Only half of the vignette has been preserved and this has been rendered practically illegible by fire. It shows three gates between two towers. A porticoed road that starts from the eastern gate into the city crosses a second road which goes through the city in a north south direction. The crossroads are indicated with a domed tetrapilon supported by columns. The north-south road comes to an end, to the south with a semicircular exedra identified to be a nymphaeum. The south east sector of the city is occupied by a church.
To the south east of Neapolis, between Tour Gobel (mount Ebal) above, and Tour Garizin (mount Garizin) below we can read, off a white background, Sychar which is now Sychora. This is the place of origin of the samaritan woman who was spoken to by Jesus according to the Gospel of John 4, 5-6, to be distinguished from Sichem also Sikima and Salim where we can see the shrine of Joseph's tomb, and Jacob's Well. This latter place is highlighted by a church which pilgrims record since the IV century.
North of Neapolis, in a shifted position, we read the caption for Shilo, sanctuary of the jewish tribes, where once was conserved the Ark of the Covenant and where, as early as the IV century there rose a church. Three surviving letters of a toponym to the south have been identified as Dothaim, where Joseph found the brothers pasturing.
In the region of Akrabin, now the Akrabittine, the mosaicist inserted a rather confusing boundary indication, East border of Judea.
As regards Benjamin, the mosaicist cites Deuteronomy 33, 12, "Benjamin, the Lord covers him with his shadow and rests within his frontiers".
Within the territory of the tribe of Benjamin reference is made to Ephron also Ephraia where came the Lord. According the Gospel of John 11,54, Jesus sought some seclusion prior to his passion. There follow Rimmon, Luz also Bethel, the Old Testament Sanctuary and Ailamon where the moon stood still for one day at the command of Joshua (son) of Nun. Then come the villages of Gophna (today's Gifna), Gabaon (modern-day el-Jib), Rama (er-Ram) and Armathaim also Arimathea (today's Rentis) birthplace of the Prophet Samuel and Joseph of Arimathea mentioned in the Gospel.
The road that joins the mountain to the plain is marked with the fourth mile and the ninth mile as well as the Bethoron pass.
Theraspis, Betomelgezis and Ka ... routa(?) are three unidentified localities marked among the hills of Shephelah. Here also are indicated two villages tied with the story of the Maccabees: Adiathim now Aditha (1Mac 12,38) and Modiim now Moditha whence came the Maccabees. There follow the villages of Thamna, where Judah sheared his sheep, Anob now Betoannaba and Gedor also Gidirtha which is identifiable with the city of Gezer, which had been reduced to a modest village in the byzantine epoch. (Michele Piccirillo)





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Created Sunday, December 17, 2000 at 18:51:39
by Eugenio Alliata ofm in collaboration with Stefano de Luca ofm
Webmaster: John Abela ofm - Space by courtesy of Christus Rex
copyright - Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem 2000