Footsteps of Biblical Women
Some of the most memorable stories from the Old Testament revolve around women, and sometimes, the geographic settings of these narratives is part and parcel of their drama. When you travel in Israel, give the women of the Bible their due. Visit these memorable sites that are closely associated with biblical women, presented here in alphabetical order according to site name.
Cave of Machpelah
Truth be told, this site, also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs, is linked with nearly all of the matriarchs, but let’s remember its origins as the site that Abraham bought from a local nobleman as a burial site for his beloved Sarah. Originally constructed by Herod the Great, the building that stands over the tomb is an architectural feat, incorporating ancient, medieval and modern elements, as well as Jewish and Arab culture in design. Located in Hebron, the facility is open to visitors from 4 AM to 9 PM (10 PM during the summer).
The biblical prophetess Huldah was known for sitting at Jerusalem's city gates, so her role may be the source for the name of two sets of arches, now blocked, located at the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount. Nineteenth century archeologist Charles Warren revealed a series of passageways behind the second set of arches, with some of these channels leading beyond the Temple Mount’s southernmost point. Today, the passageways are used by the waqf as mosques.
The site of the battle spearheaded by Deborah the prophetess against Sisera’s army, this peak is also not far from the spot where Jael brought about Sisera’s downfall, lulling him to sleep and stabbing him. This is also where many Christians maintain that the transfiguration of Jesus occurred. Mount Tabor is a tourist-friendly site, with many walking paths, seasonal activities and even car access.
The depth of Hannah’s longing for children brought her to the site of the Tabernacle in prayer, which led to the birth of Samuel. That same location now hosts a visitors' center, including a model of the Tabernacle, an engaging presentation, and a superb view of the beautiful valley.
Tomb of Rachel
According to the Bible, Rachel died during childbirth while in transit. On the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Rachel’s tomb bears out that story and is largely accepted as her traditional burial place. The site is now a large edifice with excellent security, and a popular site for prayer, particularly among women.
Include some or all of these sites in your itinerary, so you can see with your own eyes the various places where the women of the Bible once walked.