Christian Books for Families
"Because We Believe In A God Who Loves Us All . . ."
by Arnold Ytreeide
Qumran was a real compound at the north end of the Dead Sea where the religious sect known as the Essenes lived and worked. In our stories, Nathan is part of this community, and Jotham, Bartholomew and Tabitha all end up there at some point.
As in the stories, there really was a scriptorium at Qumran -- a room where the Essenes made copies of the scriptures. They hid these copies in urns in about 45 caves outside the compound. These are the scrolls Jotham finds while hiding there with Nathan.
In 1947 a native of the area discovered the caves, and the urns containing the writings. These are what's known today as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Below are some artists' conceptions of what Qumran looked like, as well as photos of the cave and the site as it looks today.
Thanks to the UCLA Virtual Qumran Project for the above images. You can see many more at their website, VirtualQumran.com.
Our thanks to eBibleTeacher.com for these images. You'll find many such images and other church materials at their website.
Both Jotham and Bartholomew visted Jericho, and Jotham was born near there. Jericho was, of course, destroyed thousands of years before Jesus, but was later rebuilt. By the time Jotham and Bartholomew would have visited, there were actually two Jerichos near each other -- the second built as a royal city by Herod.
The appeal of Jericho has always been its supply of fresh water. While not far from the Jordan River, the city is fed by a freshwater spring, making it a lush and green area. In fact it is often referred to as the "City of Palms".