The story

The Temple of the Vessels, Chacchoben



Chacchoben Mayan Ruins – Costa Maya, Mexico

We disembarked the ship at Costa Maya, Mexico via a 5-10 minute walk on a fairly long pier. We showed our room key in order to enter the town. It was another short walk past the shops and a left hand turn around the corner where we gathered and were ushered to the buses. There were at least four buses to take people to the Ruins from the Fantasy. Our bus was very clean and the air conditioning felt good. One of the other buses had all sorts of problems with the A/C where it was so bad they ended up going back to the pickup spot and had to offload and board a different bus.

Our tour guide, Arteno was very funny, but had a strong accent. That was not a huge problem, as I understood most of what he said. The real problem was with the PA system on the bus. Probably the first six sets of seats could hear what Arteno said. Unfortunately, we sat about the twelfth row back, just opposite the back exit door on the bus. I caught about one word in three and at some point I blocked out what our guide was saying. However, the people in the front of the bus were laughing quite often.

The one hour bus trip was uneventful. The scenery is what I would describe as thin forest, scrubby and rather arid fields, and a few rural farm houses mixed between. It was mostly a forgettable bus ride, but the road was decent and they were in the process of building two more lanes. I found that hard to believe because there seemed to be very little traffic. Our bus was the first one in the parking lot at the Ruins. By the time we had finished our 75 minute tour, it occurred to me why they were building more lanes on the main road inland from Costa Maya. The parking lot was stacked full with tour buses, more were pulling in. The Ruins are a popular destination, not only for tourists from ships at Costa Maya, but also there were many Mexican bus services with local groups.

Arteno was a very good guide for this excursion. He gave us a lot of interesting information at each of our stops on the walking tour. He kept us informed as to how much time we had for picture taking at each stop, usually fifteen minutes. He also kept us together by the use of a type of whistle. It was not a very loud whistle it just had a very unique sound to it. It was good he did that because he was short in stature and with so many tour groups in a relatively small area, a few times I lost sight of him and once I found myself going with people not in our tour group! So he found a way to keep the people in his group together and on time with very little effort.

When we arrived at the site we could tell it had rained and the humidity was high. Our first stop was the gift shop and restrooms. Be warned, they are third world restrooms. You would never want to “rest” in there and feel free to bring your own antibacterial wipes, gel, or soap. Walking the wide jungle paths was not difficult. You had to watch where you walked because the trees have shallow roots and some of the paths were made with loose rocks. The roots snaked across the ground and you could trip easily. When we went, there were no mosquitoes, just a few flies. I thought it odd they referred to the Ruins as being in a jungle when there were few bugs. A friend of ours said she had gone to Chacchoben years ago and the mosquitoes were terrible. I guess the aliens ate them all.

There are two main visible buildings, or temples at the Chacchoben Ruins. They were built as perfectly square and as precise as the Pyramids in Egypt. We first viewed three sides and then walked the jungle path to the fourth side. Arteno showed us the site of the altar. This is where the high priest could speak to thousands of people without shouting. The acoustics were such that in a normal voice one could be heard a football field away. That was before the jungle grew up and swallowed the Ruins. They were rather recently discovered and the jungle was cleared out so people could see the temples.

We were told of underground paths that lead from this building to the second main temple building at the site. Some of these paths lead to nowhere and possibly were uncompleted. Some have fallen in, or are too dangerous to navigate through, I cannot remember which. The tour did not go underground. There was limited access to how high we were allowed to climb upon the buildings in order to take pictures.

Ancient Alien Theorists have strong beliefs regarding the connection between aliens from other planets and the Mayan people of the past. Mayans believed there were connections between the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. They placed altars where they felt the connections between the three were the strongest. They studied the stars and solar activities for centuries. They built temples in such precise locations that at the spring and autumn solstices the sun would rise at the indentations built at the temple’s tops. The Mayan calendar is more precise than our calendar with leap year could ever hope to be.

The Mayans held human sacrifices on their altars. It pretty much started when they were going through years of drought and the crops were getting increasingly scarce year after year. At first, they started sacrificing prisoners of war. They decided the gods were still not happy, so they started sacrificing the peasant people. The droughts continued despite the sacrifices and it got so bad that even children were not spared from being victims of the rituals. This fact is probably something that is left out of the tours for families. We were on the adult only tour.

We walked the path toward the second building. To see this you had to climb very steep steps up to that temple. No hand rails, 18-24” high steps on an uneven surface. It was a tough on people with foot, ankle, hip or knee problems. But at the top of those stairs the plateau opened up. To the left, there was a small building looking out over a grand mountain vista. The main temple stood to the right. At times the sun peeked in and out and there was a point when the sun shone on the temple in such a way that it was truly was an awe-inspiring sight. It made the whole area look so surreal, so beautiful, the views were majestic and ancient all rolled up into one.

The tour ended back at the gift shop and restroom area. By that time the parking lot was jammed. Arteno passed out bottles of water, which we all needed. Even a winter day in mid December gets quite hot and humid at the Chacchoben Ruins. I would have hated to see what it felt like in the summer. It rained on the bus ride back to the shopping area of Costa Maya. It seemed quiet on the ride back to the port as people were lost in their own thoughts. I would very much like to go back to Chacchoben Ruins. It was an affordable excursion and well worth the price considering the overall experience.


Chacchoben today

Only a small portion of the site is actually open to the public, with much of it still buried in jungle vegetation. The surrounding jungle is teeming with wildlife and it’s worth finding a guide to take you on a walk through it – it’s a truly enlightening experience. Be warned that cruise ships which dock on the Costa Maya often bring groups here, so you may well find the place deserted or teeming with tourists depending on your timing.

Bring mosquito repellent, water and sturdy shoes so you can climb the stone structures.


The Chacchoben Ruins Near Costa Maya

When the Maya civilization collapsed, Chacchoben remained as a ceremonial center where many rituals took place. However, the Caste War, which began in 1847 and lasted over 50 years, brought about drastic change. During this war, many Mayas lost their lives and their homes. The Chacchoben was abandoned as a result and eventually disappeared beneath the jungle.

The ruins re-emerged in 1942 when a local Maya man, Serviliano Cohuo, accidentally discovered them during his search for farmland. He built his home at the site and raised his family there. In 1972, his family welcomed Dr. Peter Harrison, an American archeologist, onto their land.

As the first professional to encounter the ancient ruins, Harrison made maps of the site and reported it to the Mexican government. Serviliano was designated guard of the ruins until his passing in 1991. In 1994, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) began to restore the site. Finally, in 2002, the restored complexes were officially open to the public.


Contents

There is evidence of Xunantunich being settled as early as the ceramic phase of the Preclassic period. The findings have been insubstantial to prove that Xunantunich was a site of importance. It was not until the Samal phase in AD 600–670 that Xunantunich began to grow significantly in size. Architectural constructions boomed in Hats’ Chaak phase (AD 670–750) when Xunantunich's connection with the polity Naranjo solidified. Left in a state of abandonment at approximately AD 750 due to an unknown violent event (see Euan MacKie's work in 1959–60, above, which may be relevant here), Xunantunich did not re-establish itself as a strong presence in the region until Tsak’ phase in AD 780–890. [1] [2]

The core of the city Xunantunich occupies about one square mile (2.6 km²), consisting of a series of six plazas surrounded by more than 26 temples and palaces. As a polity in whole, Xunantunich contains 140 mounds per square km, as discovered in the surveys done by the XSS. [1] One of Xunantunich's better known structures is the pyramid known as "El Castillo" (not to be confused with the El Castillo at Chichen Itza). The site is broken up into four sections – Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D, with Group A being central and most significant to the people. Prior to the seventh century, the site was mainly occupied by small houses, formulating the occasional village. With the architectural boom in the Samal phase, we see the extreme importance of cosmological and political placing of the monuments in relation to the axis mundi (the intersection cardinal axis of the site the heart of the site). [8]

El Castillo Edit

It is the second tallest structure in Belize (after the temple at Caracol), at some 130 feet (40 m) tall. El Castillo is the “axis mundi” of the site, or the intersection of the two cardinal lines. Evidence of construction suggests the temple was built in two stages (the earlier dubbed Structure A-6–2nd, which dates to around 800 AD, and the later Structure A-6–1st). Structure A-6–2nd had three doorways, whereas Structure A-6–1st only had doors on the north and south. The pyramid lays underneath a series of terraces. The fine stucco or "friezes" are located on the final stage. The northern and southern friezes have eroded, and the others were covered during the reconstruction and over time. There is a plaster mold on the Eastern wall frieze. The frieze depicts many things. Each section of the frieze is broken up by framing bands of plaited cloth or twisted cords (which represent celestial phenomena). [9] The frieze depicts the birth of a god associated with the royal family, gods of creation, as well as the tree of life (which extends from the underworld, the earth, and the heavens). [3] [10]

Structure A-1 Edit

Structure A-1 was built in the Late Classic, at around 800 AD. It bisected Plaza A-I, which had until then been the most important plaza in the site. It now lies on top of the original ball court of Xunantunich between Structure A-6 (El Castillo) and A-11. It became a ritual space solely for the rulers and elite, which doubled as an impediment to other public spaces. [10]

Burial chamber Edit

On July 19, 2016, a team led by Jaime Awe discovered an untouched burial chamber attached to a larger building. It is considered to be one of the largest Mayan burial chambers found within the last 100 years. The chamber contained the corpse of a male, aged between 20 and 30 years. The chamber also contained a number of ceramic vessels, obsidian knives, jade pearls, animal bones and some other artefacts made of stone. Osteologists believe the man was athletic and quite muscular when he died. [11] [12] [13]

During a time period when most of Mayan civilizations were crumbling, Xunantunich was managing to expand its city and its power over other areas within the valley. It lasted a century longer than most of the sites within the region. It is known that Xunantunich superseded Buenavista as the hub of sociopolitical administration for the upper valley, in addition to the main location for elite ancestral and funeral rites and ceremonies. One theory is the move was made due to political strife in the lowlands due to neighbors vying for control over Buenavista, and that Xunantunich was a much more easily defensible site (located on top of a hill). [14]

There is evidence of trade and communication between other sites in abundance. First, there is the disbursement of pine. Pine naturally grows in the Mountain Pine Ridge, which is accessible via the Macal River. It was imported to Xunantunich, where the disbursement of this valuable commodity could be controlled by elites and rulers. This resource was used in ritualistic and building purposes for the upper class, which would sometimes be given to members of the lower class to strengthen socio-political strategies. [15] Similarities between pottery among different sites is a trait commonly looked for by archaeologists. The difference between qualities of pottery can accentuate gaps between social classes within a location, just as it can show the difference between classes of other polities. In the Terminal Classic period, equality in the distribution of pottery at Xunantunich can be seen as political currency across the Belize Valley. [16] Pottery types became uniform among sites found in the areas in Belize Valley around Xunantunich, further evidence of their strong relationships with the “Stone Woman” site. [2]

Naranjo Edit

Due to regional conflicts, Naranjo, a regional polity, began to disintegrate around the 9th century. It transformed from a regional authority to a smaller site, which eventually disappeared into the background. [5] For reasons not yet understood, documentary hieroglyphs rapidly disappeared in AD 820 at Naranjo which aligns with the earliest stela at Xunantunich, Stela 8. The stela, hieroglyphs and architecture are stylistically similar to Naranjo's in style [10] From here, there was a power shift to Xunantunich, although the influence of Naranjo prior to this is certain. The construction of the core site itself is extremely similar to the layout of Naranjo's Group B layout. The pronounced north-south axis (believed to be a link to royal authority and continuity) is shared between the two, the buildings are placed in similar spots, and the shapes of the buildings resemble one another.


Mayan Ruins in Mexico

But, did you know there are iterations and lookalikes that are dotted in the likes of Playa del Carmen, Chiapas, and even Mexico City itself.

Some are crowded with tourists. Some allow you to climb up them to get an amazing view of the landscape. Some are older than you might expect, and some look even better than Chichen Itza!

You may be familiar with Mexican stereotypes but not have heard of many of the ruins in Mexico, so below you’ll find some favorites.

Without further ado, let’s start by looking at Palenque ruins!

Palenque Ruins

The first pick of Mayan ruins in this all-encompassing list is the ancient ruins of Palenque, which stand ironically at the precise point where the first hills rise out of the Gulf coastal plain.

The incredibly dense jungle covering these hills forms an incandescent backdrop to Palenque’s exquisite Mayan-built architecture.

Hundreds of ruin sites are spread over 15 sq/km, but only a small area has been actually excavated.

Everything you see here was built without the use of metal tools, pack animals, or even the wheel!

“The main point of interest about Palenque is not its size and [or] age, as other sites, are larger and likely much older,”

“Its importance lies rather in its naturalistic sculpture, architectural inventiveness, and detailed epigraphic record.”

Says Michael D. Carrasco, an assistant professor of art history at Florida State University.

Calakmul

Calakmul sometimes falls under the radar as a prime spot, but many should reconsider whether the top popular spots are right for them!

The many excavations at Calakmul and Uxul have revealed stucco friezes and mural paintings in some of the massive temple pyramids and palaces.

As well as burials of kings and other members of nobility, containing a rich variety of body ornaments among other incredible finds.

These include elaborate jade masks, ear spools, and polychrome pottery vessels.

The hieroglyphic inscriptions on stelae, altars, and building elements reveal important facts about the history of the area.

Some epigraphic records even provide information that has not been found anywhere else in the Maya Area.

Tulum Mayan Ruins

Located 100 miles (62 km) to the south of Playa del Carmen, the magical ruins of Tulum are walled into the east to face the threat of the Caribbean Sea to the west.

According to archaeological findings at the Tulum Ruins, the site began to be inhabited as early as 564 A.D.!

Always sitting at around 1,600 inhabitants, the site remained occupied until shortly before the end of the 16th century.

That’s when disease brought by the Spanish eliminated the majority of the population.

It’s just colonial history! Over a period of 7 centuries, rulers came and left their mark.

The city we know as Tulum was transformed by each new generation of inhabitants and their variations of style blending into each other.

Monte Alban

One of the most significant archaeological sites in the Oaxaca Valley, Monte Alban was an ancient Zapotec metropolis back in the day.

Founded in the sixth century B.C. on a low mountainous range overlooking the city of Oaxaca, it functioned as their capital.

For almost 13 centuries between 500 B.C. and 800 A.D, it was a huge deal. Its impressive architectural remains—terraces, pyramids, and canals—extend over some four miles (6.5 square kilometers).

It also includes structures built around the Great Plaza, the north and south ends of which are anchored by massive platform mounds.

Chacchoben Mayan Ruins

The first human settlements in the area of Chacchoben have been carbon-dated at around 1000 B.C.!

That’s a lot older than hundreds of cities in Europe, right?

By 360 A.D Chacchoben had become the largest community in the region of the lakes. It bunched up the local settlements as the most prestigious ceremonial center.

Today, Temple One, soaring above the canopy of the tropical forest, still expresses the glory of Chacchoben’s ancient sophistication.

When you consider how much is there at the historical site, only a portion of the site is even open to the public!

Many temples of Chacchoben are still in their natural condition covered with vegetation awaiting for their turn to be restored and reveal their secrets. Maybe you could discover something?

El Tajin

North of the city of Veracruz, is the town of Papantla. Just outside of Papantla are some mysterious and fascinating archaeological ruins known as El Tajin.

The term has the meaning “thunder” in the Toltec language, but other records link the name etymology of the site to mean “place of the dead” or “place of the invisible spirits”.

The large ancient complex is believed to have once been a ceremonial and administrative center that peaked sometime between 600 and 1200 AD its construction has been attributed to a tribe related to the Maya.

Over 150 buildings have been identified on the site, although so far only around twenty have been excavated and restored. More than most sites in Mexico.

About two hours north of Mexico City is one of the most northern sites on this list. The archaeological site of Tula was at one time the capital city of the Toltec Empire.

For many visitors to Tula, the four basalt statues of Toltec warriors set on the top of a pyramid are the most striking features of the whole site.

Enjoy Tula as a quick day trip from Mexico City, that’s our recommendation. What Tula lacks in size and pomp, as at nearby Teotihuacán, it makes up for in charm and atmosphere.

Although a relatively small archaeological site, it is situated on a hill overlooking the Tula Valley and the historic town of Tula de Allende.

The views of the archaeological sites and the surrounding area from the top of one of the pyramids, what was the Temple of Quetzalcóatl, are some of the best in Mexico.

Chichen Itza

If you haven’t heard of these Mayan ruins, that would be very surprising. This sacred site was one of the greatest Mayan centers of the entire Yucatán peninsula.

Throughout its nearly 1,000-year history, different peoples have left their mark on the city.

This includes the fact that for a very long time it was overgrown with plant life to the point where it had to be ‘re-discovered.

The Mayans and the Toltecs had grips on Chichen, each leaving different features to the famous structures.

With the fusion of Mayan construction techniques and new elements from central Mexico makes Chichen so unique.

Several buildings have survived, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo, and the circular observatory known as El Caracol.

Compare the Chichen Itza vs Tulum ruins if you find yourself in Cancun and are undecided on which to visit.

Ek Balam

Ek Balam ruins have become more and more popular in recent years because they are new to the tourism scene.

The Ek Balam Mayan ruins offer something new for people wanting to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and learn about history.

These ruins started to be restored in 1997 when the spot was largely viewed as not worth a tourist’s time compared with the likes of Chichen Itza. The name means “black jaguar” in Mayan.

The ancient city was used from 600 B.C. to 1600 A.D. and its heyday was between 770 A.D. and 900 A.D..

The site is actually 15 square kilometers in size but the core of the site was a walled city and contained about 40 buildings.

Yaxchilan

Yaxchilan is an ancient Mayan city located on the banks of the Usumacinta River in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico.

This classic example of Mayan culture lies near the border with Guatemala.

Yaxchilan was a large metropolitan area, important throughout the Classic era back in the day. It was known as the dominant power of the Usumacinta River area.

It’s a site known particularly for its well-preserved sculptured stone lintels set above the doorways of the main structures.

These lintels, together with the stelae (stone tablets) erected before the major buildings, contain hieroglyphic texts describing the dynastic history of the city.

Some of the lintels are on display in European museums, but there’s no better feeling than seeing them where they belong.

Coba Mayan Ruins

Coba is an ancient Mayan city, and during the classic period (600 A.D. to 900 A.D.) the site was an important center connecting the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world.

Coba completely dominated the area, with there being evidence that the city was in touch with other large Mayan cities, not only in the reach of just Mexico.

At its peak, Coba had more than 50,000 inhabitants, but numbers changed irreversibly after the arrival of the Spanish in the 1600s.

Uxmal Ruins

Uxmal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, same as Chichen Itza. However, there are much fewer crowds here.

This is one of the best things to do in Merida for visitors looking for cultural experiences. Uxmal was once one of the most famous and powerful Mayan cities not only on the Yucatan but in the entire empire.

Most of the construction work took place in the classic period between the 7th and 9th century, and at its peak, around 25,000 people lived here.

The name Uxmal comes from the term ‘Oxmal’, which means ‘three times built’. It suggests that the place has been rebuilt numerous times down the centuries.

Edzna Ruins

The term Edzna comes from “House of the Itzas”, which has led archaeologists to believe that this Mayan city was influenced by the family Itza.

This was the infamous brood that founded the world-famous Chichen Itza, but they founded Edzna long before it.

It has also been documented that the layout of Edzna mimicked that of Teotihuacán near Mexico City.

This Mayan site is as intriguing as it sounds and is a great trip through the Yucatan Peninsula.

Adventure awaits at Edzná. The history of the Edzná ruins is fascinating, the archaeological site a wondrous existing testament to Mexican history.


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Non-Jewish sources do not paint a very flattering picture of the ruler, either. The historian Polybius, who was a contemporary of Antiochus, referred to the king as Epimanes (“the Insane One”), a play on his epitaph. He told many tales of Antiochus’s drunken eccentric behavior, including sneaking out of the palace to feast at parties with commoners and play his flute. Apparently he was such a bad musician, or just such an annoying buffoon, that most people fled the parties (Histories XXVI.10).

Today Antiochus isn’t a household name for two main reasons. First, the biblical books that mention him by name (1 and 2 Maccabees) are no longer present within the canons of the Jewish and Protestant Bibles. And second, in the canonical book where he is mentioned, the Book of Daniel, it is not by name. His infamous legacy is present, however, within the yearly celebration of Hanukkah and within the archaeological record. Though the imposing Acra fortress was systematically demolished by the Hasmoneon rulers who soon followed Antiochus, its remains were reportedly discovered in 2015 during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority (The Seleucid Akra). Among the remains were discovered several artifacts of interest, including sling shots, ballista stones, and arrowheads stamped with a trident—a royal symbol of Antiochus’s reign.

Like many of his peers, bad memories and a few artifacts are all that remain of one of the Bible’s most notorious villains.

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Modi’in: Where the Maccabees Lived Modi’in was the hometown of the Maccabees, the heroes of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid king who ruled over Judea. Have excavations conducted within the modern Israeli city of Modi’in finally exposed the Jewish village that the Maccabees called home?

Ancient Antioch: Mapping Political and Trade Networks with Google Earth Researcher Kristina Neumann created an interactive map illustrating ancient Antioch’s changing political and economic relationships over time using Google Earth software.

Hanukkah, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and the Apocrypha by Jonathan Klawans The fullest accounts of Hanukkah are not found in the Hebrew Bible at all. The Talmud has a bit more to say—including the famous story of the small, miraculous cruse of oil that lasted a full eight days. But even the Talmud stops short of telling the full story: Who was Syrian Greek Antiochus? Why did he crack down on Jerusalem’s Temple? Who were the Maccabees, and how were they successful in their rebellion against their enemies? For answers to these questions, we must look beyond traditional Jewish sources, to the books 1 and 2 Maccabees, most conveniently found in editions of the Apocrypha.

Hasmonean Jerusalem Exposed in Time for Hanukkah Hasmonean era no longer absent from Jerusalem’s archaeological record as archaeologists uncover a large structure in the City of David.

1,600-Year-Old Bracelet Stamped with Menorah Motifs Uncovered in Dig The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced this week, during the final days of Hanukkah, that a piece of a glass bracelet engraved with symbols of the seven-branched menorah from the Second Temple was recently discovered during archaeological work in Mount Carmel National Park in Israel.


The Temple of the Vessels, Chacchoben - History

New International Version
So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.

New Living Translation
So they brought these gold cups taken from the Temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.

English Standard Version
Then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.

Berean Study Bible
Thus they brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king drank from them, along with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines.

King James Bible
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

New King James Version
Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.

New American Standard Bible
Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank out of them.

NASB 1995
Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.

NASB 1977
Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem and the king and his nobles, his wives, and his concubines drank from them.

Amplified Bible
Then they brought in the gold and silver vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.

Christian Standard Bible
So they brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So they brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them.

American Standard Version
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, drank from them.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Then they brought the vessels of gold he had brought forth from the temple of God that is in Jerusalem, and the King and his Princes and his wives and his concubines drank with them

Brenton Septuagint Translation
So the gold and silver vessels were brought which Nabuchodonosor had taken out of the temple of God in Jerusalem and the king, and his nobles, and his mistresses, and his concubines, drank out of them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Then were the golden and silver vessels brought, which he had brought away out of the temple that was in Jerusalem: and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines, drank in them.

English Revised Version
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, drank in them.

Good News Translation
At once the gold cups and bowls were brought in, and they all drank wine out of them

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So the servants brought the gold utensils that had been taken from God's temple in Jerusalem. The king, his nobles, wives, and concubines drank from them.

International Standard Version
As ordered, they brought in the gold vessels that had been taken from the sanctuary of God's Temple in Jerusalem, and the king, his officials, his wives, and mistresses drank from them.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king, and his lords, his consorts and his concubines, drank in them.

Literal Standard Version
Then they have brought in the vessels of gold that had been taken out of the temple of the house of God that [is] in Jerusalem, and the king and his great men, his wives and his concubines, have drunk with them

NET Bible
So they brought the gold and silver vessels that had been confiscated from the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, together with his wives and concubines, drank from them.

New Heart English Bible
Then they brought the gold and silver vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king and his lords, his wives and his secondary wives, drank from them.

World English Bible
Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king and his lords, his wives and his concubines, drank from them.

Young's Literal Translation
Then they have brought in the vessels of gold that had been taken out of the temple of the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and drunk with them have the king and his great men, his wives and his concubines

Daniel 5:2
Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar gave orders to bring in the gold and silver vessels that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king could drink from them, along with his nobles, his wives, and his concubines.

Daniel 5:4
As they drank the wine, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

Daniel 5:23
Instead, you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven. The vessels from His house were brought to you, and as you drank wine from them with your nobles, wives, and concubines, you praised your gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you have failed to glorify the God who holds in His hand your very breath and all your ways.

Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

No references listed for this verse.

Verses 3, 4. - Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. The corresponding verses in the Septuagint differ in several points from those above the Septuagint third verse contains, condensed, the Massoretic third and fourth verses, but adds new matter in its fourth verse: "(3) And they were brought, and they drank in them, and blessed their idols made with hands (4) and the God the eternal, who hath dominion over their spirit ('breath,' πνεῦμα ), they did not bless." In the introductory portion, which contains, as we think, marginal readings, we have the second and fourth verses brought into connection, "In that day Baltasar, being uplifted with wine, and boasting himself, praised in his drink all the gods of the nations, the molten and the carved, but to God the Highest he gave not praise." The reading of the latter portion of this seems better than the text, as it is briefer the description of God as he that has power "over their breath," is a preparation for what we find in ver. 23, "and thy breath is in his hand." Theodotion is, as usual, much nearer the Massoretic text, but while the Massoretic only mentions the "golden" vessels being brought, Theodotion mentions the silver also, and the verb hanpiqoo is translated singular, as if it were hanpayq , and "Nebuchadnezzar" understood. A various reading adds, "and the God of eternity, who hath power of their breath, did they not bless," according to the Alexandrine and Vatican codices. In both these cases Jerome follows Theodotion. The Peshitta agrees only in the latter, putting the verb in the singular. Modern translators, as Luther and Ewald, the Authorized and Revised English Versions, retain the plural, but make the verb passive, as if it were written honpaqoo. Calvin alone preserves both number and voice. The French Version, which makes it impersonal, is probably as good as any. It is, however, not impossible that the true reading is huphal that seems better than Calvin's suggestion, that what Nebuchadnezzar had done is now transferred to all the Babylonians. The praises of the gods being sung was especially natural, if this were a dedication of a palace. In such a case the various elemental deities would be invoked to bless the residence of the king. The fact that the vessels belonging to the temple of the God of the Jews were brought forward from the treasury of Bel would afford an occasion for praising Bel, the god who had given them the victory. While they praised these god, of the nations, they did not even mention Jehovah - an addition in the text of Theodotion and the LXX., both text and margin, and therefore one that, we think, ought, in some form, to lie in the text. It is singular that in the Cyrus Cylinder, 17, the overthrow of Nabunahid is attributed to Marduk, "whom Nabunahid did not fear." The reason of Belshazzar thus ostentatiously praising the gods might be to get over the reputation of unfaithfulness to the gods, which was weakening them, father and son , in their struggle with Cyrus. Belshazzar most likely was, at this very time, carrying on war against Cyrus. The object of this festive gathering of his nobles might be to hearten them in their struggle against the King of Persia.

from
מִן־ (min-)
Preposition
Strong's 4481: From, out of, by, by reason of, at, more than


Soaring rise, savage fall

Over hundreds of years, the Templars had evolved from a small, rag-tag order of devout warriors and bodyguards, to one of the most powerful organisations on Earth. They may have officially been the ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ’, but the order had effectively become a multinational business empire, controlling fleets of ships and vast tracts of land, including farms, water mills and vineyards.

The Templars built up their incredible wealth through numerous income streams. Famously, they established an early banking network which crisscrossed Europe and the Middle East. Pilgrims heading to the Holy Land would deposit their money with one Templar house and receive a letter of credit which would let them withdraw their funds at another ‘branch’ elsewhere on their journey. The exact wording of these letters of credit, and how they prevented fraud by unscrupulous pilgrims, remains a great historical riddle. It’s likely the letters contained secret cyphers that only Templars could understand, proving they were authentic.

The Templars even operated as banks and brokers for the richest and most powerful people in Christendom

The order also made money from booty they captured on the front lines, and – more importantly – received many grand donations from patrons who wanted to confirm their Christian credentials. As an essay on the Templars in the American Historical Review put it in 1902, ‘Gifts to the order had been considered acts of piety calculated to promote the eternal welfare of the giver’s soul, a subject in which the average man of the Middle Ages was most deeply interested.’

The Templars even operated as banks and brokers for the richest and most powerful people in Christendom. Royals would deposit their wealth in Templar coffers, and they would use Templars as their intermediaries when purchasing land (England’s Henry III bought an island off the coast of France by sending the money through his Templar representatives).

It’s also been speculated the Templars had their sights on ancient treasures in the Holy Land. The order’s first base was the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which had been captured and repurposed by the Crusaders. This building is located on the Temple Mount, where King Solomon’s Temple once stood, and it’s said the Templars dug beneath the mosque on the hunt for long-lost Christian relics like the Spear of Destiny and the Ark of the Covenant. Archaeologists in the Victorian period excavated the Temple Mount and did find what seemed to be Templar artefacts, such as a sword and a cross, indicating the knights had indeed been on a treasure hunt there.

Could treasure hunters Carl Cookson and Hamilton White be on the verge of unlocking the secrets of the world’s most fascinating and enigmatic military order? #LostRelics pic.twitter.com/Od5EF5MghZ

— HISTORY UK (@HISTORYUK) April 6, 2020

But all of this came to a brutal end in 1307. Rumours circulated of the order conducting secret, diabolical rituals, and Philip IV of France – who was in debt to the Templars – used this example of medieval ‘fake news’ as an excuse to crack down on the order. Mass arrests and executions of Templars across France and the rest of Europe followed, with the entire organisation being abolished several years later. But a major mystery remains from this chapter of history: what became of the money and mythical treasures which the Templars allegedly amassed?


History of the Holy Temple Menorah

The menorah which stands today in Jerusalem's old city Jewish Quarter, overlooking the Temple Mount, is the work of the Temple Institute. It was created exclusively to be used in the new Holy Temple. The menorah was painstakingly crafted after years of extensive research by the Temple Institute's full time staff of researchers. The conclusions upon which the construction of the menorah was based took into account archeological evidence and, of course, the halachic (Jewish law) requirements of materials, dimensions, ornamental affects and manner of manufacture as first delineated in the Book of Exodus, and further explicated by Jewish sages throughout the millennia.

The menorah weighs one-half ton. It contains forty five kilograms of twenty four karat gold. Its estimated value is approximately three million dollars. The construction of the menorah was made possible through the generosity of Vadim Rabinovitch, a leader of the Jewish community of Ukraine.

Since the menorah was moved from its former location in the old city's Roman Cardo to its current location alongside the Yehudah HaLevi steps leading down to the Western Wall Plaza and the Temple Mount, it has become a place where thousands of people stop daily, meet friends, learn about the menorah, marvel at its beauty and envision its ultimate standing place in the Kodesh Sanctuary of the rebuilt Holy Temple.

Building the Menorah

"And you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The menorah shall be made of hammered work its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall all be one piece with it. And six branches coming out of its sides: three menorah branches from its one side and three menorah branches from its second side. Three decorated goblets on one branch, a knob and a flower, and three decorated goblets on one branch, a knob and a flower so for the six branches that come out of the menorah. And on the stem of the menorah shall be four decorated goblets, its knobs and its flowers. And a knob under the two branches from it, and a knob under the two branches from it, and a knob under the two branches from it so for the six branches that come out of the menorah. Their knobs and their branches shall all be one piece with it all of it shall be one hammered mass of pure gold. And you shall make its lamps seven, and he shall kindle its lamps so that they shed light toward its face. And its tongs and its scoops shall be of pure gold. He shall make it of a talent of pure gold, with all these implements. Now see and make according to their pattern, which you are shown on the mountain." (Exodus 25:31-40)

Torah describes the menorah in great detail: what is should be made of, its ornamental features, and how it should be made. According to Midrash, Moshe rabbenu (Moses our master), in spite of all the details, or perhaps, because of all the details, was perplexed as to the construction of the menorah. The Midrash suggests that the making of the menorah in the desert was miraculous. Yet other commentators try to solve the mystery be proposing different methods by which the menorah could have been constructed.

The painting show the menorah being manufactured by beaten work, the hammering of the gold into the prescribed shape. This interpretation is based on a close reading of the expression, "hammered work." The photos show stages of the construction of the present day menorah. The photo on the right shows artisans preparing the menorah's substructure.

Building the Menorah: Cast in a Mold? Among our sages are those that opine that the menorah which was constructed in the Sinai wilderness was done using the method of casting molten gold. A special field oven was built. The gold would have to be heated up to a temperature of over 1000 degrees Celsius. The molten gold was then transferred to a mold prepared in advance by Betzalel, the artisan assigned by G-d to oversee the creation of all the vessels. After the gold cooled, the mold would be broken and the cast menorah would be removed from it. Much work remained for the artisans, cleaning and refining the cast menorah in order to bring it to a proper finish.

The painting depicts the process described above as it might have looked in the desert. The photo in the top left corner shows a mold prepared for the seven vessels which hold the oil and the wicks for the seven menorah lights. These vessels are separate pieces from the menorah. They would be removed, cleaned, refilled and rekindled each day by the kohanim, as we will learn later.

Building the Menorah: A Third Method

A third method is proposed to understand how the menorah was built by Bnei Yisrael in the desert: A large form was created by carving out of stone half of a menorah. A twin (bookend) form was also created. Gold was then beaten very thin so that it could take on the shape of the mold. The two half menorahs were then removed from the forms and the connected together forming the completed menorah.

Pharaonic Egypt, from which Israel emerged, was awash in gold. The tombs of the pharaohs have revealed that the gold ornamentation and jewelry possessed by the pharaohs was made by beating gold to a paper thin thickness and then shaping it and affixing it to a substructure to give it strength. It is reasonable to assume that Betzalel, the Israelite artisan who oversaw the manufacture of the Temple vessels in the desert, was expert at the craft that he learned as a slave in Egypt, and would employ the same principles when constructing the menorah.

It is also possible that, as opposed to the method described above, Betzalel would have created an armature, perhaps out of wood, and then beaten gold sheets to conform to the shape of the armature.

Gold is a very heavy material, an a very soft material. A menorah made of solid pure gold would not be able to support itself. A thin gold menorah supported by an internal "skeleton" would be able to support itself.

Another physical property of gold is that two separate pieces of gold, when beaten together, molecularly become a single piece. In this manner, a menorah made from separate sheets of gold could be beaten into one indivisible piece of gold, "one hammered mass of pure gold - מקשה אחת זהב" in the language of Torah. (Exodus 25:36)

The painting depicts the method proposed above of a double mold. The photo on the top left show a detail of ancient Egyptian gold. On the right is an engraving showing a goldsmith beating gold.

Building the Menorah in Our Day After more than ten years of research and investigation, including an exhaustive study of the halachot concerning the design and construction of the menorah, referencing all the extant sources beginning with the Torah description itself, and including all rabbinical commentary, both halachic, midrashic and aggadic, up to and including contemporary texts examining archaeological and historical evidence, including extra-rabbinic references and descriptions, (ie. Josephus Flavius) consulting metallurgical experts, goldsmiths, metal workers and electroplating experts, the Temple Institute produced a golden menorah halachically fit and ready for use in the Holy Temple, employing the following basic principles:

A metal armature (substructure)was made, ensuring structural strength and stability.

A thick, unified, ("one hammered mass of pure gold - מקשה אחת זהב"), surface of gold, adhered to the armature by a gold-plating process especially developed for the creation of the golden menorah.

We will include more details later.

Photograph: Clockwise from top left: Rabbis Yisrael Ariel and Menachem Makover "eyeballing" the menorah machinists on a metal lathe Rabbi Ariel examining the menorah Chaim Odem, (designer of the menorah), working on a mock-up Rabbi Ariel taking a tape-measure to the menorah Rabbi Ariel lending a hand in the preparation on the menorah (Center) detail of he menorah branches as they extend from the main stem.

Building the Menorah: Applying the Gold

After the artisans of the Temple Institute had completed a bronze menorah in complete accord with the Torah description and halachic proportions and details, the menorah was prepared to receive a one millimeter coating of pure gold via an electroplating process. A special bath was prepared into which the menorah was submerged for one week.

One Kikar (43 kilos - 95 pounds) of pure gold was electroplated onto the bronze menorah, creating a single, seamless surface one millimeter thick - "one hammered mass of pure gold - מקשה אחת זהב" For the first time in 2000 years a golden menorah, created in complete accordance with halacha and the biblical commandment, "And you shall make a menorah of pure gold," (Exodus 25:31) was ready for use in the Holy Temple!

Photo from top left, clockwise: The bronze menorah, fastened to a steel frame for stability, ready to be submerged in the electroplating bath. The next two photos show the pulley system rigged to lower and then lift the menorah up out of the bath. A second view of the bronze menorah ready to be submerged. Close-up of the menorah submerged in the bath, coated with gold. Lifting the menorah out of the bath and rinsing it down. Next two photos: The menorah - gold-plated with 43 kilos of gold. A detail of the menorah knobs and flowers. (To the right): Detail of the menorah still submerged. The final two photos show the outside of the specially designed submersion tank as the electroplating is taking place inside.

The Menorah: Straight or Rounded Branches?

"And you shall make a menorah of pure gold. The menorah shall be made of hammered work its base and its stem, its goblets, its knobs, and its flowers shall all be one piece with it. And six branches coming out of its sides: three menorah branches from its one side and three menorah branches from its second side. Three decorated goblets on one branch, a knob and a flower, and three decorated goblets on one branch, a knob and a flower so for the six branches that come out of the menorah. And on the stem of the menorah shall be four decorated goblets, its knobs and its flowers.And a knob under the two branches from it, and a knob under the two branches from it, and a knob under the two branches from it so for the six branches that come out of the menorah. Their knobs and their branches shall all be [one piece] with it all of it shall be one hammered mass of pure gold. And you shall make its lamps seven, and he shall kindle its lamps so that they shed light toward its face. And its tongs and its scoops shall be of pure gold. He shall make it of a talent of pure gold, with all these implements. Now see and make according to their pattern, which you are shown on the mountain." (Exodus 25:31-40)

The menorah is described by Torah in exquisite detail. But one detail is not explicitly mentioned: the shape of the six branches which extend from the main stem of the menorah: Are the six branches straight, or are they curved.? While many of our sages are of the opinion that the six branches are rounded, there is a minority of sages who opine that the six branches are straight.

On what do they base their determinations?

  • Is one side right and one side wrong?
  • What was the shape of the menorah that stood in the Holy Temple: straight or rounded?

We will explore all these questions.

The picture shows the kohen kindling the seven lamps of the menorah in the Temple sanctuary, part of the daily Tamid service. On the left he is kindling a straight-branched menorah. On the right he is kindling a round-branched menorah.


Watch the video: Zona Arqueológica de Chacchoben, Quintana Roo. (November 2021).