Reactions to the Risen Dead

Jesus of Nazareth raised three people from the dead, according to the Gospels, each under very different circumstances. Two are uniquely recounted by a Gospel author and one was documented by three Gospels. No comments are recorded from those who received back their life; instead, reactions to the risen dead came from the witnesses.

Nain is a small town a few miles southeast of Nazareth, identified in Luke for a great miracle Jesus performed there.[1] Followed by his Disciples and a large throng, they encountered a long funeral procession leaving through the city gate.

Upon the funeral bier was the body of the only son of a widow. Seeing the most sad situation, Jesus felt compassion and comforted the distraught mother telling her not to cry.[2] Touching the bier, the funeral procession stopped and Jesus commanded, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”

Sitting up, the young man began to talk and Jesus handed him back to his mother. [1] Fear struck the crowds yet they shouted praises, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited His people.”[4]

Crossing back across the Sea of Galilee from the region of Gerasenes after casting out the demon named Legion from a man, Jesus was met by another man asking to heal his dying daughter who was 12 years old.[5] Mark and Luke identify the man as a synagogue ruler named Jairus whereas Matthew does not mention his specific name.[6]

Heading toward the house of Jairus, the crowd pressed against Jesus.[7] A woman with a worsening 12-year long hemorrhage worked her way through the throng believing that if she could just touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed…[8]

Immediately when she touched his outer garment, she was indeed healed and Jesus could feel it. With the masses around him, he asked, “Who touched My clothes?”[9] Answering a question with a question, his Disciples asked how it was possible to know this because of the surging crowd?

Realizing she could not escape without notice, fearful and trembling the woman fell down at the feet of Jesus confessing what she had done.[10] Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.”[11]

As these words were being spoken, people arrived from the house of Jairus to report his daughter had died suggesting that Jesus should no longer be bothered because it was too late.[12] Hearing the comments, Jesus said, “”Do not be afraid; only believe.”[13]

Arriving at the house, Jesus declared the girl was only asleep. Those who heard it derided him for saying such a thing.[14] Everyone was sent out of the house excepting Jairus, his wife, Peter, James and John.

Taking the hand of the girl, Jesus commanded her to get up. The girl got up, began walking around the room and Jesus instructed that she be given something to eat. (Similarly, when the resurrected Jesus suddenly appeared to his followers inside a locked room, he ate some fish to prove to them he was not a spirit).[15] The witnesses, Jairus and his wife, were completely “astonished.”[16]

John solely chronicles one of the most famous miracles of Jesus, one that served to be the catalyst for his crucifixion. While in another town, probably across the Jordan River east of Jericho, Jesus received a message from his friends in Bethany, sisters Mary and Martha, that their brother Lazarus was sick.[17] Commenting that his sickness would not lead to death; instead, it would serve to glorify God. Jesus then stayed two more days at his present location.

No further message was received from Bethany, still Jesus informed his Disciples that Lazarus had “fallen asleep” and he wanted to go awaken him.[18] Worried that enemies wanted to kill Jesus, they urged him not to go to Bethany, a small hamlet suburb of Jerusalem.[19] It was an unnecessary risk, they thought, because Lazarus would wake-up and recover on his own.[20]

Seeing that the Disciples didn’t understand what he meant, Jesus plainly told them, “Lazarus is dead.” Explaining further, he said the reason he must go there now was go give people yet another opportunity to believe.[21]

Approaching Bethany, Jesus was met outside the village by Martha who was very upset with Jesus complaining that if he had been there earlier, her brother would not have died.[22] Martha sent word to Mary asking her sister go come out to meet Jesus, too.

Mary, along with other people from their family’s house, joined Martha outside of Bethany. She, too, candidly blamed Jesus for her brother’s death because he had not been there earlier.[23] Some people grumbled aloud that if Jesus could heal a blind man, he certainly could have saved Lazarus.[24]

Deeply moved by the great sorrow of his friends, Jesus himself wept and went to the tomb of Lazarus. It was covered by a stone that he asked to be removed. Martha pointed out the obvious – by now, after four days, the body of Lazarus would have the bad smell of death.[15]

Addressing the people, he told those gathered at the tomb they would now witness the glory of God. Looking toward Heaven, Jesus thanked God for the miracle He was about to perform because it would demonstrate that he was sent to them by God.

Standing outside the tomb, in a loud voice Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus emerged from the tomb alive still wrapped and bound in the burial strips of cloth with the facial cloth over his head. Jesus told them to unwrap Lazarus to free him.

Many believed Jesus was sent by God testifying to what they had witnessed that day. They were still talking about it days later when Jesus returned to Jerusalem for the Passover.[26]

Some told the Pharisees who, it is clear as evidenced by their words and actions, that they too believed Lazarus had been raised from the dead.[27] The Pharisees worried the celebrity status of Jesus would now be even greater because of this – they would believe Jesus is their savior and if they didn’t do something, then Rome would take action against them for circumventing the government. It prompted High Priest Caiaphas to say it was better for one man to die than the entire nation.[28]

Going to Ephraim north of Jerusalem, the public ministry of Jesus ended with the resurrection of Lazarus.[29] Six days before the Passover, Jesus returned to Bethany for dinner when none other than Lazarus joined the dinner party.[30]

To see Lazarus for themselves, the man who had been raised from the dead, a large group of people gathered in Bethany. When word got back to the Jewish leadership, they decided they wanted to kill Lazarus, too.[31] The next day, a large portion of the crowd who had come to Bethany greeted Jesus when he entered Jerusalem, known in Christianity as Palm Sunday.[32]

If Jesus could raise others from the dead with power granted by God, is it conceivable Jesus would then have the same power to rise from the dead himself if that power was granted by God, the creator of all life?

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] “Nain.” The Free Dictionary by Farlex. 2021. <https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Nain> “Nain.” Bible History. 2020. <https://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/nain.html>
[2] Luke 7:13.
[3] Luke 7:14-15. NASB, NRSV, NKJV.
[4] Luke 7:16. NASB, NJKV.
[5] Mark 5:42; Luke 8:42.
[6] Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-24, 38-42; Luke 8:40-56
[7] Mark 5:24: Luke 8:42.
[8] Mark 5:28. CR Luke 8:44.
[9] Mark 5:30; Luke 8:45.
[10] Mark 5:33; Luke 8:47.
[11] Mark 5:34. CR Luke 8:48.
[12] Luke 8:49.
[13] Mark 5:36.
[14] Mark 5:40.
[15] Luke 24:36-43. CR Luke 24:28.
[16] Mark 5:42; Luke 8:56; John 21:9-14.
[17] John 10:40, 11:7-8.
[18] John 11:11-12.
[19] “Bethany.” Encyclopædia Britannica.. 2021. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Bethany-village-West-Bank>  “Bethany.” Bible History. 2020. <https://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/bethany.html>
[20] John 11:8, 16.
[21] John 11:1; 14.
[22] John 11:21.
[23] John 11:32.
[24] John 11:37.
[25] John 11:39.
[26] John 11:45-53; 12:19.
[27] John 11:45-53; 12:19.
[28] John 11:45-53.
[29] “Map of New Testament Israel.” Bible History. Map. 2020. <https://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/israel-first-century.html>  “Ephriaim.” BibleHub. n.d. <https://bibleatlas.org/ephraim.htm>  “Ephraim in the wilderness.” Wikipedia. 2020. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephraim_in_the_wilderness>
[30] John 12:2.
[31] John 12:10.
[32] John 12:17.

Roman Encounters with Jesus

Celebrity status of Jesus of Nazareth quickly spread making it inevitable that news of his famous miraculous healing abilities would extend outside of Judea.[1] Many people, including those who were not Jewish, trusted enough in what they had heard or witnessed that they too believed Jesus could help them.

Soon after delivering the celebrated sermon of the Beatitudes, Jesus was in Capernaum.[2] It was the town where Jesus made his new home after being run out of Nazareth when he proclaimed in a local synagogue that he was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy foretelling of the arrival of the Messiah.[3]

Using his political connections, a Roman military official sent some Jewish elders to approach Jesus with his request to heal his beloved servant.[4] Still at the Roman’s home, the servant was paralyzed in terrible pain and near death.

Original Greek text word hekatontarches is most frequently translated as “centurion” although it is not the specific Greek word for “centurion,” kenturion.[5] Another meaning of hekatontarches is simply a generic reference to “an officer in the Roman army.”[6]

As Jesus neared his home, the Roman commander sent friends to tell Jesus he was not worthy to allow him into his house. In fact, the reason he sent others to ask Jesus for help instead of asking himself was because he did not feel worthy to even talk to Jesus.

A common trait they both shared was recognized by the Roman military officer, each having “authority” to command. Because of this authority, he believed Jesus could heal his servant by merely saying it.

MT 8:8-10: “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.

Marveling at the commander, Jesus told the crowd he had never seen such faith as this in Israel. Jesus told his friends the Roman officer’s servant would be healed just as he believed and it was confirmed he was healed immediately.

MT 8:10, 13 “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed that very moment.” (NASB)[7]

Next encounter with Roman authority was Procurator Pilate who served as the Roman government judge weighing the charges leveled against Jesus by the Jewish leadership. No friend of the Jews, Pilate had twice offended the nation; once by bringing Roman ensigns with effigies of Caesar into Jerusalem and the other by using the “sacred money” of the Jews to construct a Jerusalem aqueduct.

Pilate had to walk a fine line to avoid drawing the negative attention of Tiberius who had committed to honor the decrees of Augustus even though Tiberius himself detained the Jews.[8] Previously, Caesar Augustus had issued a standing decree chiseled into a pillar to treat the Jews with moderation where anyone who transgressed the decree would be severely punished.[9]

On the surface, it would seem that Pilate would relish being able to crucify a Jew, no less at the behest of the Jewish leaders themselves. Instead, Pilate repeatedly tried to free Jesus who had been handed over to him by them as a prisoner under the accusation of insurrection and tax evasion.[10] Crucifixion of Jews was commonplace by the Romans making his treatment of the case of Jesus highly unusual.

Taking the accused aside, Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?”[11] Jesus explained that he is a King, but not one of this world. Pilate went back to the Jewish leadership, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders, however, continued to press Pilate.

Hearing that Galilee Tetrarch Herod, a son of the late King Herod, happened to be visiting Jerusalem, Pilate sent Jesus of Nazareth to him to be judged under Galilean authority. Interrogating Jesus for a considerable length of time while the Jewish legal experts “vehemently” accused him, Herod determined that Jesus had committed no crime and sent him back to Pilate. Addressing the Jewish leadership again, Pilate said:

LK 23:15-16 “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.” (NASB)

Traditionally at the Passover, Rome would pardon a prisoner and as such Pilate represented a choice to the Jewish crowd – a robber, plunderer and murderer named Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah, Christ.[12] The crowd shouted back they wanted Barabbas released. Not having any crime to charge, Pilate asked what was to be done with Jesus?[13]

Crying out, “crucify him,” Pilate pushed back on the crowd’s demands again asking, “Why, what evil has He done?”[14] Reaching the point he had no other choice to avoid a riot, Pilate made one more public statement to absolve himself of the mob-motivated killing of an innocent man:[15]

MT 27:24 “So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’” (NRSV)

Jewish chief priests succeeded in getting what they sought, the execution of Jesus; yet upon seeing the sign on the cross announcing the charge for which Jesus was being crucified, they dislike the sign’s verbiage. Written in the three prevalent languages of Judea – Latin, Arabic and Greek – it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.”[16] Complaining to Pilate, they wanted him to add “he said” to the sign, but Pilate refused.

Supervising the crucifixion of Jesus, the Roman centurion, kenturion, in charge of the execution squad twice became the central figure in two key events.[17] So moved by the behavior and words of Jesus being crucified, ending with the sun failing and an earthquake, the hardcore Roman centurion made an excited utterance at the death of Jesus, “Truly this was the Son of God!”[18]

Surprised that Jesus was already dead when Joseph of Arimathea asked for the body of Jesus, Pilate first wanted confirmation. The centurion officially reported to Pilate that Jesus was, in fact, dead.[19]

Romans typically despised Jews, yet three witnessing Roman government authorities said otherwise. One military commander recognized the authority of Jesus to miraculously heal; another serving as a Roman judge found no guilt in Jesus; and the centurion in charge of his crucifixion exclaimed Jesus was truly the Son of God, killed by crucifixion.

Are the statements of these Romans consistent with the Gospel’s teaching that Jesus is the Messiah?

 

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[i] Matthew 4:24-25.
[ii] Matthew 5-7, 8:5; Luke 7:1.
[iii] Isaiah 61:1-2; Matthew 4:13; Luke 4:16-30.
[iv] Matthew 8:6; Luke 7:2-10.
[v] Mark 15:44. kenturion <2760> Net.Bible.org. n.d. <http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=2760>  “G2760.” Lexicon-Concordance Online Bible. n.d. <http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/2760.html> CR Luke 23.47.
[vi] hekatontarches <1543> Net.Bible.org. <http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=1543>  “G1543.” Lexicon-Concordance Online Bible. n.d. <http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/1543.html>
[vii] CR Luke 7:10.
[viii] Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. Book XVIII, Chapter III.1-2. n.d. <https://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=Augustus&f=false>  Josephus, Flavius. Wars of the Jews. Book II, Chapter IX.3-4. n.d. <https://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=Augustus&f=false>  Calmet, Augustin. Calmet’s Great Dictionary of the Holy Bible. Pilate. 1813. <https://books.google.com/books?id=FgM2AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP305&lpg=PP305&dq=Pilate+banished,+Vienne&source=bl&ots=fIZ2ZHY3xl&sig=ACfU3U101WIrN_RVsnslwXcQIHIdEdILGw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiJxYrQpYbnAhUJOisKHZ5HB1gQ6AEwEHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=Pilate%20banished%2C%20Vienne&f=false>
[ix] Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities. Book XVI, Chapter VI.2.
[x] Luke 23:2-5, 22; John 18:37; 19:12.
[xi] Matthew 27:11; John 18:33.
[xii] Matthew 27:15-21; Mark 15:6-11; Luke 23:18-19; John 18:39-40.
[xiii] John 18:38-40.
[xiv] Matthew 27:23.
[xv] Matthew 27:24; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:22; John 19:1.
[xvi] John 19:19-22. CR Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38.
[xvii] Mark 15:44. kenturion <2760> Net.Bible.org. n.d. <http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=2760>  “G2760.” Lexicon-Concordance Online Bible. n.d. <http://lexiconcordance.com/greek/2760.html>  CR Luke 23.47.
[xviii] Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39.
[xix] Mark 15:44-45. CR Luke 23:52.

The Arabian Desert – Two Passages to Bethlehem?

Matthew’s Nativity account of the wise men, the Magi, establishes that they traveled two different routes during their quest to find the newborn “King of the Jews,” ultimately to and from Bethlehem. Travel from Persia required facing the hardships and challenges posed by the great Arabian Desert.[1]

Magi were well-known by reputation for their origins in Persia east of Judea by hundreds of miles. Marco Polo, famed thirteenth century explorer, wrote in 1298 of his travels to the Province of Persia searching for information about the Magi.[2]

Writing of a city called Saba, Marco Polo wrote that he first visited the burial place of the “magi who came to adore Christ in Bethlehem.” Today the city is known as Saveh located about 50 miles southwest of Tehran, Iran.[3] From Saba, his pursuit to find the location where the Magi had lived took him on a 3-day trek to the castle of “Palasata, which means the castle of fire-worshippers.”[4]

Visiting with the residents of the Palasata castle, they told the story of three renowned Magi whose home towns were given as Dyava, Saba and the castle of Palasata. While Matthew’s account neither discloses the number of Magi nor that they were kings, Marco Polo recounts being told of “three offerings” made by three kings:[5]

“…anciently, three kings of that country went to adore a certain king who was newly born, and carried with them three offerings, namely, gold, frankincense, and myrrh:  gold, that they might know if he were an earthly king; frankincense, that they might know if he were God; and myrrh, that they might know if he were a mortal man.” [6]

Travel from Persia to Judea offered only two realistic choices when confronted with the second largest desert in the world. One option was around the edges of the northern half of the Arabian Desert. The other option, was the longer southern route through the desert by way of Petra south of the Dead Sea.

 

Arabian Desert Parthian Empire’s trade routes 2nd BC – 1st AD

Shorter of the two trade routes to Jerusalem, the first destination of the Magi, was approximately 700 miles.[7] The route coursed from Seleucia near present day Bagdad, north through the populous area east of the Euphrates River, on to Edessa in southeast Turkey, turned west to Damascus, Syria, then turned south following the ancient King’s Highway paralleling the east side of the Jordan River in Jordan.

Trade route spurs off the King’s Highway across the Jordan River were limited to only three. When traveling from the north, the first two were not logical choices for a Jerusalem destination. The last crossing opportunity was to ford the Jordan just above the Dead Sea heading west by Jericho, then onward to Jerusalem.

A longer trek to Jerusalem was by way of the southern half of the Parthian loop some 100 miles longer at around 800 miles. This southern trade route ran southwest from Seleucia in central Persia, west across the Arabian Desert to Petra, then turned north joining the King’s Highway south of the Dead (Salt) Sea, then to the Jordan River crossing near Jericho.

King Herod’s winter palace was located in Jericho where he would soon travel for the futile treatment of his horrible bowel disease.[8] It was this same crossing point near Jericho where the Israelites entered into the Promised Land after their wonderings in the Sinai wilderness.[9]

Erza 7:9 mentions how a similar journey from Babylon to Jerusalem took four months. On the timeline of history, Ezra was written after the Jew’s release from the Babylonian captivity while they were still under Persian rule in the late 300 BC era.[10]

Scrolling forward a century to the last quarter of the 200s BC, trade routes had been established by the Parthian Empire making travel relatively much faster.[11] Commonly referred to as “caravan routes,” these trade routes were busy – the interstate highways of the day dotted with trading posts making them the best practical means for land travel.[12]

First, the Magi traveled to Jerusalem where they sought guidance from ruler of the land, King Herod. Jerusalem was not located on the common caravan routes making their arrival newsworthy in the city were everyone seemed to be aware of their arrival.[13]

Perhaps it was their conspicuous caravan of camels; their foreign grandiose attire; or that they were regarded as kings from Persia.[14] Nevertheless, it is obvious the Magi were recognized on the highest social hierarchy as King Herod who granted the Magi immediate access to his palace.

Herod directed the Magi to go to Bethlehem after consulting with Jewish religious experts in exchange for revealing the location of the child after they found him. Bethlehem was only 5 miles to the south of Jerusalem accessible directly by a north-south road. Matthew’s account then provides a key detail:

MT 2:12 “And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (NIV)

Avoiding King Herod presented a logistical challenge. Herod would assuredly know if the Magi were back in the City of Jerusalem; undoubtedly he would know if they were passing by the much smaller Jericho where area local contacts to the King’s winter palace were certain.

A return route back to Persia that avoided Jerusalem and Jericho left only one option across the Arabian Desert the southern Parthian loop. The catch was how to reach it from Bethlehem.[15]

Palestine Trade Routes

Copied with permission: Biblewalks.com.

Access to the southern Parthian trade route out was literally at their doorstep. The Central Ridge Road ran south out of Bethlehem to the Spice Road, then passed under the Dead Sea and rejoined the southern Parthian route at Petra.[16] The other less traveled minor route spurs off the Central Ridge Road may have shortened the southward path, but the trade-off was a more difficult passage, few trading posts, and greater risks.

Many secular historical accounts confirm the information about the Magi – who they were, their reputation, from where they came as well as two well-known geographically established caravan trade routes from Persia to Judea. Marco Polo’s account affirms the Magi arrived safely back to their home country. Do these historical accounts corroborate and add credibility to Matthew’s about the Magi and the Nativity of Jesus of Nazareth?

 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Matthew 2:1, 12. “Arabian Desert.” New World Encyclopedia. n.d. <https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Arabian_Desert>  “Arabian Desert.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2020. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Arabian-Desert>
[2] Polo, Marco.  The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian.  1818.  Ed. Ernest Rhys. 1908 Edition.  Chapter XI. p 50. <http://archive.org/stream/marcopolo00polouoft#page/50/mode/2up> “Marco Polo.” Bibliography.com. 2020 <https://www.biography.com/explorer/marco-polo>  
“Marco Polo and his travels.” Silk-Road.com. n.d. <http://www.silk-road.com/artl/marcopolo.shtml
[3] Saveh, Iran (untitled). Bing.com/maps. Map. 2020. <https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=caeb94c6-d007-42ed-a5c8-19628ce0cebc&cp=35.411126~50.908664&lvl=9&v=2&sV=2&form=S00027> Hartinger, J. A. “Saba and Sabeans.” Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 13. 1912.  NewAdvent.org. 2009. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13285c.htm>
[4] Strabo. Geography. Chapter III. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0239:book=15:chapter=3&highlight=magi>Stillwell, Richard, et. al. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. “Hatra Iraq.” n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=hatra&highlight=caravan>
[5] Matthew 2:11.
[6] Polo. The Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian.  p 50.
[7] II Kings 25:1-17; Jeremiah 52:3-30. Middle East. Bing.com. Map. 2020. <https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=a2a3d404-6095-4abc-9ac8-b6d695d42293&cp=34.13455~41.097873&lvl=7&v=2&sV=2&form=S00027>  “Spice Ways.”  Israel Antiquities Authority.  Map.  n.d.  2014.  <http://www.mnemotrix.com/avdat/spiceroute2.gif>  “Trade Routes of Palestine.” Bible Odyssey. Map. 2019. <https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/tools/map-gallery/v/map-trade_routes-g-01>
[8] Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews.  Trans. and commentary.  William Whitson.  The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. Book XVII. Chapter VI. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>   Geva, Hillel. “Archaeology in Israel: Jericho – The Winter Palace of King Herod.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2020. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jericho-the-winter-palace-of-king-herod> “Herodian Jericho.” Oxford Bible Studies Online. 2020. <http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t393/e57>
[9] Numbers 20:19, 22:1; Deuteronomy 32:48, 34:1-4; Joshua 3:14-17. “Roads in Israel.” Bible History Online. Map.  n.d.  <http://www.bible-history.com/maps/ancient-roads-in-israel.html>
[10] “Ezra and Nehemiah, Books of.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2020. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ezra-and-nehemiah-books-of> “Ezra.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2020. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ezra-Hebrew-religious-leader>
[11] “Trade between the Romans and the Empires of Asia.” MetMuseum.org. 2020. <https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/silk/hd_silk.htm> “Map of Roman & Parthian Trade Routes.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. 2020. <https://www.ancient.eu/image/11763/map-of-roman–parthian-trade-routes>  Hopkins, Edward C. D. “History of Parthia.”  Parthia.com. 2008. <http://www.parthia.com/parthia_history.htm>  “Parthian Empire.” Iran Chamber Society. 2020. <http://www.iranchamber.com/history/parthians/parthians.php>
[12] Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Bernice or Pernicide Portum (Madinet el-Haras) Egypt.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=berenice-1&highlight=caravan>  Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Beroea (Aleppo) Syria.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=beroea&highlight=caravan> Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Dura Europos Syria.”  The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=dura-europos&highlight=caravan> Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Palmyra (Tadmor) Syria.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=palmyra&highlight=caravan> “Trade Routes/” National Museum of American History. n.d. <https://web.archive.org/web/20160618154742/http://americanhistory.si.edu/numismatics/parthia/frames/pamaec.htm>  “Chapter 4. Iran Historical Maps Arsacid Parthian Empire, Armenian Kingdom.” “Iran Historical Maps Arsacid Parthian Empire, Armenian Kingdom.” Iran Politics Club. n.d. <http://iranpoliticsclub.net/maps/maps04/index.htm>  “Roads in Israel – 1st Century AD.” Bible-History.com. Map. n.d. <https://www.bible-history.com/maps/first-century-roads-israel2.jpg>
[13] Matthew 2:3.
[14] Strabo. Geography. Chapters II-III. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0239:book=1:chapter=2&highlight=magi> <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0239:book=15:chapter=3&highlight=magi>  Diogenes Laertius. Lives of Eminent Philosophers. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0258:book=1:chapter=prologue&highlight=magi>  Stillwell, Richard et. al. “Gaza Israel.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=gaza&highlight=caravan>
[15] Josephus, Flavius. Wars of the Jews. Trans. and commentary. William Whitson. The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. 4.451. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0148:book=4:section=451&highlight=petra>
[16] “Major Trade Routes.” Bibarch.com. Map. n.d. <http://www.bibarch.com/images/Map-Regions.jpg> Ancient Israel trade routes (untitled).  BibleWalks.com. Map. 2011. <https://web.archive.org/web/20190414151021/https://biblewalks.com/Photos72/IncenseRoute.JPG> “Ancient Palestine.” The History of Israel. Map. n.d. <http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/images/AncientRoadsandCities2.jpg>  “Old Testament Map & History.” The History of Israel.  “Palestine.” Map. n.d.  <http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/old-testament-map.html>  “The Geographical, Historical, & Spiritual Significance of Shechem.” Bible.org. 2020. <https://bible.org/article/geographical-historical-spiritual-significance-shechem> “Spice Ways.” Israel Antiquities Authority. Map. n.d. Mnemotrix Systems, Inc. 2014.  <http://www.mnemotrix.com/avdat/spiceroute2.gif>  “The Urantia Papers’ First Century Palestine.” The Urantia Book Fellowship. Map. n.d. 2013. <http://web.archive.org/web/20070820230158/http://www.urantiabook.org/graphics/gifmap1.htm>  Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Petra (Selah) Jordan.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=petra-2&highlight=caravan> Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Elusa (El-Khalasa) Israel.” The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites.. n.d. <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=elusa-2&highlight=caravan>