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1800's A.D.:  British Explorers Find, Walk Through, and Sketch the Quite Intact Basalt Stone Homes of the Ancient Giants Defeated By the Israelites In the Region of Bashan...Now Modern Syria! 

(Go to bottom of this article to read eyewitness descriptions of these giant cities from only about 135 years ago!)

 

  It is the year 2014 and it has become clear that a great and far reaching world political structure has been formed which has no apparent place or plan for Christianity.  In fact, were Christianity both widely believed and practiced, then this political structure would be cast in a villainous light because it holds the Government to be all the 'god' that a people stands in need of, and humans as the highest order of sentient being in a world, solar system, galaxy, and universe which somehow just formed itself.  I make mention of this because many intelligent people, reading here that the very 'cities of the giants' spoken of in the Bible's pages (Torah's as well!) in Deuteronomy Chapter 3 and elsewhere still exist and can be explored and even lived in, will probably feel incredulous.  With more than a billion Christians on the planet, a person might justifiably figure that it ought to be quite common knowledge that there is widespread archaeological evidence that there really were giant sized people in that area of the Middle East, just as the Bible says there was, if in fact such evidence really did exist. 

  Well, that sort of cynicism might be very reasonable and understandable, but even so there is widespread evidence that an extra large people - very much giant by today's standards - did build pleasingly fashioned and incredibly sturdy and enduring stone homes inside of relatively small sized stone-walled cities.  They can be found throughout the region anciently named Argob inside of the area where the equally ancient and Biblically mentioned kingdom of Bashan once lay.  

  I became curious just a few days before I wrote this article about whether any evidence could have survived that giants really had lived in Bashan.  To my surprise I found that if you do no more than a quick little internet search you can find excerpts from the annals and published books of a good number of explorers who traveled the region, and were themselves astonished to find that the locals were quite well aware that the cities of the ancient giants existed.  They reported that there, in that region of the world, the stone houses (I won't call them ruins because they apparently aren't all ruined) with their tall rooms and high doors  are so solidly built and of such fine strong heavy stone that a good many of the city walls still existed, and inside of those walls the houses were often in very good shape and even dwelled in like any more modern home in many cases.   And we're speaking of only 135 years ago!  There should be just about as many still standing as we speak! 

  The homes are about 3,500 years old at the least, but they are still standing.  Their design and the largeness of the stones apparently give them some resistance to earthquakes and other elemental forces.  As mentioned, the late 1800's are a time frame when some of these books were written which describe the homes.  That region - old Bashan - in the late 1800's was sparsely settled, so in many cases those houses of the giants sat unused in deserted towns of stone.  It was a very rural area.  In some instances a town had sprung up around one or another of the ancient stone cities and so the people of those particular small Syrian towns sometimes actually dwelt inside of a home once dwelt in by the giant Amorites in a neighborhood surrounded by a relatively modern town.  They lived in a home once owned by the Rephaim, perhaps, as the scriptures called one certain family of those giants from long ago.  There were other giant peoples living fairly nearby.  The Emim and Zuzummim are mentioned as being giants in that area at the same time.  How long ago?  About 3,500 years ago.  And the people of the Israelite half-tribe of Manasseh would have later lived in many of those homes also.  That Israelite tribe occupied that portion of the land after the Rephaim, the Amorites, and other giant occupants had been defeated and put to the sword.  South of the Manassites lived their fellow Israelites the Gadites, who conquered and settled that area.  And south of the Gadites another Israelite tribe called the Reubenites settled.   These three chose land grants east of the River Jordan.            

  Was it savage for the Israelites to almost wipe out the seed of the giants?  Yes, but God had ordered it.  For several hundred years he had watched the great wickedness of these peoples who occupied the promised land and its close surroundings.  They worshiped the false goddess Ashtoreth, who the Egyptians called Isis and others called Esther, or Artemis, etc.  They practiced wicked arts, they sacrificed their own children to their false gods, and giants in general throughout the world are described as cannibals in lore and legend.  Was that true also?  And they violated God's laws in other alluded to but unspecified ways in scripture.  So, God decided to give this rich choice land to His own personally chosen and purposefully formed nation of people...the Israelites.  When the time came He sent them in to destroy the wicked occupants of the Canaanite and East of Jordan lands, and to then claim and settle the land.  Of these peoples, scripture says that they had reached 'the fullness of their iniquity.'  Hundreds of years earlier Abraham had been shown this promised land, but was not allowed to occupy it at that time.  The residents had not yet reached the 'fullness of their iniquity' as it was described.    

  So, Bashan was a land of giants.  There were other places where giant men and women resided, but Bashan was one such place.  And as proof that a race of giants dwelled just where the Bible's pages said that they did, the city walls and giant sized homes are still standing today in the region once known as Bashan.  I am not talking about houses that are three or four times the height of a normal home today.  But, even the homes that appear to be for the common families are obviously super-sized!  They are homes that are described as having rooms with ceilings that can be 10' or 12' high (3.5 to 4 meters), and remember, these are made with large heavy stone.  How much bigger than necessary do you build a home that is so much work to construct?  They are homes in which the doors are sometimes a single slab of stone, still on its stone 'hinges', doors 10" thick, so incredibly heavy, with the doorway being mentioned as measuring 9' tall in one case.  The ancient King of Bashan was named Og when the Israelites warred against these giants, and it was mentioned in the Bible that his bedframe was preserved after he was killed, and it was 9 cubits long...probably longer than 13' depending on the cubit size used....and made of iron to support the heavy king.      

   

So, in a world where there are a billion Christians who might be at least mildly interested in this Bible supporting evidence, why is it that so few of us know about it?  I'm sure that a movie about it or a documentary about it might not be a run-away best seller or a super mega-hit, but I personally have never seen anything on the subject put to film. 

  With all of the news crews that have covered all of the middle east news in all these last 65 years or so, how come there hasn't been a few crews sent to walk around in the area of ancient Bashan to do a 'human interest' bit about all of these ancient super-sized stone homes?  I doubt it is 'strictly forbidden' by the non-Christian powers that be.  I think it is more a case that none of our news organizations are in the business of showcasing anything which is Bible supportive.  They simply  know it's not their corporate mission.  They can say, if they speak of it at all, that supporting the beliefs of one religion might alienate their viewers that belong to another religion.  In any case, they just seem to gravitate away from such stories.....purposely.  How many international reporters are devout Christians anyway?

  But, back to the subject:  it turns out that when the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy chap 3 that the Israelites conquered the kingdom of the giant named Og, King of Bashan, there in Bashan, land of the Giants, well.....there are a lot of very old stone homes there in that region, even today, that have 8' tall doorways, 9' tall doorways, and proportionately larger/taller 'everything else' designed into their architecture.  Og 's capitol city was dedicated, by the way, to Ashtoreth the false goddess known as the 'Queen of Heaven' in so many false religions.  She seems to have been a real queen and a wife to both Cush and later Cush's own son Nimrod.  It was just before and during the 'division of the languages' that she lived, so many cultures have fanned out into the world with their own name for her.  She is remembered as a builder of stepped pyramids (Ziggurats) during the years she reigned alone, after her son and husbands deaths.  Egyptian language preserved her memory as Isis, for a famous example, and Esther (related also to the source of the word 'Easter') is another name for her which is still remembered.  Astarte is a common name for her from that area of the middle east where these cities of the Giant's lay.   

  This area of the promised land - Bashan, and also Gilead - lay on the East side of the Jordan River.  The 12 tribes of Israel, who were descended from the 12 sons of Jacob, who was renamed from Jacob to Israel by God Himself, escaped Egypt as slaves and after a rocky and disobedient start that resulted in 40 years of wandering the Sinai, they formed a nation under God's guidance.  Once they had completed exactly 40 years of following God's cloud by day, or His pillar of fire by night, moving when the pillar or cloud moved....setting up camp when the pillar or cloud came to a stop...mostly eating the holy food called Manna which fell 6 days a week from the sky there in that calorie impoverished wilderness.....learning to trust God and be obedient to Him, once that period was over they were ready to claim their land inheritance.  They entered as an invading warrior band of a couple of million total people to displace the Canaanite residents that had so greatly offended God by their horrendous behaviors.  The exact allotted land area was very specifically described to them by God, and it constitutes the area of today's nation of Israel for the most part.  But three (well, 2 1/2) of the tribes liked this region of Bashan and Gilead on the Jordan's east side so well that they went to Moses prior to his death and said that they would like to live there, instead of in the land on the west side of the Jordan.  They said they would cross over with their brother tribes and help do the fighting on the west side of the river to ensure that the other tribes got to take possession of their allotments of land there, but after that was accomplished they would like to have tribal land claims back on the east side of the river.  This request was granted, and so the tribes of Reuben, and Gad, and half of the famously warlike tribe of Manasseh eventually took possession of land there on the east side of the Jordan River.  

  On that side, an Israelite war chief named Jair from the tribe of Manasseh led a force that defeated 60 walled cities in Bashan, the scripture says.  The region is not so large, maybe 10 to 20 plus miles by 20 to 30 something miles, so 60 walled cities sounds like a lot.  But, it turns out that the outlines of close to that many ancient walled cities/towns can easily be seen in that area even in our modern day.  Some are still dwelt in.  If you go to Google maps and find the sea of Galilee, in Israel, then pan to the east about 3 to 5 times the width of the Sea of Galilee, you will begin to see little ovals not too far apart.  These are ancient walled cities, and as best I was able to gather, this is the region in which the 60 ancient cities lay....it is ancient Bashan.  I did not search long enough to determine if there were 60 cities, but one of the explorers that I mentioned reports that he viewed about that number, not far apart from each other.  The Golan Heights lays in what was once called the Land of the Giants....another name for Bashan, and Mount Hermon is at its edge.   

  Today there is a lot of military conflict in portions of Syria, making it a little trickier to visit.  But perhaps some of you are acquainted with citizens of southern Syria.  Perhaps some of them could provide pictures.  I'd like to post some vettable pictures.  I am having trouble finding verifiable photos of these houses, but I haven't looked for very long yet at this point. 

  Here though are some eyewitness descriptions, some impressions by people looking at the structures with their own eyes.  It is an excerpt about exploring 'Bashan' from the annals of a British explorer from the late 1800's:           

 

Argob's Sixty Cities of the Giants
Deuteronomy 3:4 states that the Argob, which Jair seized from the giant King Og, contained sixty cities built by the huge Rephaim. To those who never saw it, it seemed incredible that an oval-shaped district only twenty-two miles long and fourteen wide could accommodate that many cities. But archaeologists and other travelers to that region can still vouch for it. For the ruins, even after all these centuries, not only remain, but, in fact, still stand in a great state of preservation. "The streets," observes Cyril Graham, "are perfect, the walls perfect, and, what seems more astonishing, the stone doors are still hanging on their hinges. . . . Some of these gates are large enough to admit of a camel passing through them, and the doors are of proportionate dimensions, some of the stones of which they are formed being eighteen inches in thickness. The roofs also are formed of huge stone slabs resting on the massive walls. All betoken the workmanship of a race endowed with powers far exceeding those of ordinary men; and [all] give credibility to the supposition that we have in them the dwellings of the giant race that occupied that district before it was invaded by the Israelites. We could not help being impressed with the belief that had we never known anything of the early portion of Scripture history before visiting this country, we should have been forced to the conclusion that its original inhabitants, the people who had constructed those cities, were not only a powerful and mighty nation, but individuals of greater strength than ourselves."

Continues Graham: "When we find one after another, great stone cities, walled and unwalled, with stone gates, and so crowded together that it becomes almost a matter of wonder how all the people could have lived in so small a place; when we see houses built of such huge and massive stones that no force which can be brought against them in that country could ever batter them down; when we find rooms in these houses so large and lofty that many of them would be considered fine rooms in a palace in Europe; and, lastly, when we find some of these towns bearing the very names which cities in that very country bore before the Israelites came out of Egypt, I think we cannot help feeling the strongest conviction that we have before us the cities of the Rephaim of which we read in the Book of Deuteronomy."
26


Another traveler to this area, professor J. L. Porter, agrees with Graham that giants built these cities. "Moses," he writes, "makes special mention of the strong cities of Bashan, and speaks of their high walls and gates. He tells us, too, in the same connection, that Bashan was called the land of the giants (or Rephaim, Deut. iii. 13), leaving us to conclude that the cities were built by giants. Now the houses of Kerioth and other towns in Bashan appear to be just such dwellings as a race of giants would build. The walls, the roofs, but especially the ponderous gates, doors, and bars, are in every way characteristic of a period when architecture was in its infancy, when giants were masons, and when strength and security were the grand requisites. I measured a door in Kerioth: it was nine feet high, four and a half feet wide, and ten inches thick,--one solid slab of stone. I saw the folding gates of another town in the mountains still larger and heavier. Time produces little effect on such buildings as these. The heavy stone slabs of the roofs resting on the massive walls make the structure as firm as if built of solid masonry; and the black basalt used is almost as hard as iron. There can scarcely be a doubt, therefore, that these are the very cities erected and inhabited by the Rephaim, the aboriginal occupants of Bashan."
27 (See Beit Jibrim; Rephaim Giants; Sihon's and Og's Overthrow) 

End quote.  I excerpted this from http://www.bibliotecpleyades.com  from the 'Giants in the middle east' section of the website.  You can find much more there if you are interested. 

Also, if you'd like to read more descriptions of what these houses of the giants look like, then search for "The Giant Houses of Bashan and Syria's Holy Places" by J.L. Porter   That book has portions available to read on-line which describe the author's late 1800's trip into Bashan, during which he stayed in an abandoned 'Giant's Home' and saw a couple of hundred other abandoned and empty ones, he says.

  Wouldn't it be fun to spend a day looking at some of them?  But more importantly, here is yet another largely uncelebrated proof of the Bible's reliability when it recounts historical events.  We men may not be so reliable, but the Word of God is always faithful to the truth.

 


 

 

 

 

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