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A Monk Investigates the Cave of Machpelah, 1150

Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.

More than 350 years pass before we hear of another journey into the cave—this time by a monk who came to the Holy Land with the Crusaders. In an inner cave, he found at first only “earth dyed the color of blood”, but when he dug up the earth, “he came upon the bones of the saintly Jacob”, to quote from a contemporaneous Latin description of the monk’s descent into the cave. Then the monk cleared a passage in which he discovered the remains of Abraham himself, and, at his feet, the bones of Isaac-

“Arnulf had found a marvelous treasure beyond price. He hurried out of the cavern and told the prior and the monks that he had indeed discovered the remains of the venerable patriarchs. Thereupon they all praised God for what He had done. Arnulf washed the sacred relics in water and wine, and then set them on separate wooden boards prepared for the occasion, and went away.

Hershel Shanks, “Reading Robert Payne Without Embarrassment,” BAR, Sep 1977.

See also-

Patriarchal Burial Site Explored for First Time in 700 Years, Nancy Miller, BAR 11-03, May-Jun 1985.

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