As we know the First mention of Bethlehem according to Biblical Records is in the Bible in Genesis, when Rachel was giving birth to Benjamin, after she passed away Jacob went to settle there beyound the Tower, Migdal Eder Tower Genesis 35:21
Tower of the Flock – Migdal Eder Watch Tower
Now if we Read in Mich 4:8 it tells us that, And you, O tower of the flock, the hill of daughter Zion, to you it shall come, the former dominion shall come, the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.
As we can see that Migdal Eder Tower of the Flock was actually on a Hill that was Called Bat-Zion Daughter of Zion from the source of this Biblical Reference we can also tell that the Tower of the Flock is actually on a Hill and it was called BAT-ZION – Daughter of Zion and at that location where the tower overlooks the fields from the Hill and the sheep that have been used as Sacrificial Animals in Rituals of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Boaz and Ruth one of the Bible Love Stories
About 1250-1050 BC the fields of Beit Sahour – Bethlehem was love scene for these two Biblical Figures, the Old Rich Israelite and the Gentile Moabaite Widow, it all Started when Elimelech ( Means My God is King ), and Naomi which means a Blessing and she had two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Mahlon at the times of Feminine they went to the lands of Moab at the times of Judges, of course, the Bible doesn’t forget to mention that they were Ephrathites of Bethlehem of Judah.
And Actually it is very interesting to know that the Theological Story of Boaz and Ruth is Controversial with Eza and Nehemiah about intermarriage but for us as Christians and as messianic hope that it means the Message of God is for Everyone it is not for specific people we are all his children.
Elimelech was the Husband of Naomi , Mahlon Husband of Ruth and Chilion Husband of Orpha.
Also the Bible mention for us that it happend during the Barley Harvest so most likely it is the Middle of April, Barely of the First crop was ready for the Harvest by the time of the Passover, in the Middle of April.
Elimelech had a inheritance of land among his family but unless a family redeemer a Goel could be found , naomi would be compelled to sell it, but Elimelech a Relative and according to Levirate Law to Marry Mahlon’s Widow Ruth in order to carry on his family’s inheritance.
Boaz was attracted to Ruth, but informed her that there was a relative closed than him, he wwho had the first right to be the redeemer of the Estate of Elimelech and that it would be required for this kinsman to reject hsi right before Boaz could proceed in the matter.
Boaz Called this relative to the Gate of the City before the elders and told him that of ruth’s situation and his right to Redeem the estate to Marry Ruth, the Relative delcared that he did not desire to do so , and removed his sandal in Symbol that he had renounced high rights in favor of Boaz.
Boaz bought the Estate from Naomi and Married ruth , ruth became the parents of Obed, who became the father of Jesse , the Father of King David.
The Shepherds (the first evangelists)
Biblical texts preserve much evidence for a longstanding tradition of shepherding among the earliest peoples of the Bible.
Notable biblical figures (such as Abel, Abraham, Lot, Laban, and Moses) tended sheep, often by way of contrast with others, such as Cain (murder of Abel), the “tiller of the ground” (a farmer) (Gen 4:2)
Franciscan Catholic Shepherds Field Opening Hours 8:00 am – 16:45pm / Sunday 8:00-11:30/14:00-16:45pm
Catholic Shepherds Field is Located to the East of Bethlehem , South East of Bethlehem to be Exact, These Fields Mark the location Where the Angels first announced the Birth of Jesus Christ to the Shepherds also traditionally not only the Site of Annunciation to the Shepherds but also introduced in Ruth 2:2 where Ruth Gleaned in the Fields of Boaz for her self and Naomi.
Another Name the Locals Call this Area of the Fields are Siar El Ganem – which could be translated into two meanings the walking area of the Sheep or the Sheepfold, it can be easily reached by taking the first track on the left after Beit Sahour.
The Site was Partly Excavated in 1859 by Carlo Guarmani he was an offical from the French Embassy then later on Between 1889 and 1906 the Franciscans succeeded in buying the land and carrying out archaeological Research and Excavations.
However the only planned systematic excavations carried out only in 1951-1952 by Father Virgilio Canio Corbo and there they found a huge monastic agriculatural establishment with presses, cisterns, silos and Grottos.
The Ruins Beside the new Chapel are from Byzantine Period and as we know the First monastery was founded at the site by the End of the 4th Century AD on a site Occupied during the First century AD by nomadic shepherds so we can say this place was inhabited in the time of Jesus Christ for Sure.
The First Century Remains are represented by Oil Press, Grottoes , Pottery, Burial Niches.
The Byzantine Monasteries are represented by Church, Courtyards, Cisterns, Bakery, Rooms with Mosaics and Silos.
The Monastery was enlarged during the 6th Century the Apse of the Church being reconstructed with stones from the original polygonal apse of the Church of the Nativity.
This roman Catholic Site is mentioned as Khirbet Siyar el-Ghanem as Archeological Reference of the Site.
This Site was occupised during the First Century by most likely a nomadic Shepherds.
A New Church has been built 1953-54 by famous Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi or as we call him the Architect of the Holy Land.
According to Jerome Murphy-O’Connor the Writer of the Book The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700, he says that since the excavations did not bright to light a venerated cave, it is impossible to reconcile this site with the description given by Egeria, and also Jerome said that the site is as simple of many monasteries in the Judean desert during the Centuries when Byzantine monasticism was at its zenith.
- The Site Does Not Contain a Venerated Cave – Actually it Does the Cave just Next to the New Church is a Venerated Cave since the 4th Century
- Jerome Murphy, see it as simply of many monasteries built during the Byzantine period – With all Due respect to Jerome Murphy He is not Biblical Evidence or Archeological Evidence it was just assumption
- Its lack of special significance is shown by the fact that the site was not re-occupied after the Persian attack 614 – According to the Archeological informatin we have that this monastery actually flourished Between the 4th till the 8th Century.
Why I and many others Belive this Could be most likely the Location of the Shepherds Field?
- This Location have Cave that have been Partly Ecnlosed to Make the New Chapel of Antonio Barluzzi
- This Location Have been destroyed by the Time the First Crusade Came here but pilgrims continued to visit and commemorate this Site.
- in the 4th Century a Church has been built by the Cave
- This Location was HUGE a complex of Caves containing Tunnels, Rooms, Storage Rooms, and Most important Mikvah that trace back to the First Century at the Time of Jesus Christ.
If we compare this Location to other Places in the Area this is most likely the place of the Shepherds, would you follow Writings from 20th Century as evidence or Stone Evidence and archeological Evidence this location was indeed inhabited in the First Century by Shepherds that had Mikvah (Jewish Shepherds) most likely the probably for this site is more than others according to my understanding and research.
The New Church by Antonio Barluzzi The Holy Land Architect
in 1953 a New churh was built in the Site by the Famous Architecture Antonio Barluzzi and Dedicated to the Angels.
The church is Known as the New Shrine of (Excelsis Deo) which has a dodecagonal Shape – 12 Angels and 12 Sides with Five Apses having inclined plane that recall the structure of a field tent, even though most likely the Shepherds would have stayed in Cave’s not in Tents in Ancient times in this Area specially the First Century, but it was just Symbolic design.
The Religious Concept of the Shepherds Field
Some Shepherds amongst the most despised of the Jewish people went to Adore Jesus, Dazzled by a great light, an angel savior had been born, and they heard a host of Angels praising God who by send the Messiah to the earth, had shown his greatness to the celestial court and given salvation to men.
- The Sanctuary Designed by Holy land Architect that stands on a rock overlooking the Ruins.
- it Has a dodecagonal shape with five apses having an inclined plane, recalling the structure of a filed tent like the one that could have been used by the shepherds.
- The Light Penetrated the Concrete and Glass dome illuminating the interior calls to mind the divine light that appeared to the Shepherds.
- The Inside of the Church is divided into a nave and two aisles and five apses. in the middle part of the Dome stand 12 Angels around is the verse from Luke 2:14 that says:
“Glory to God in Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. “
- Inside the Church on Three Parts are three sceneries regarding the announcement of the angels, adoration of the shepherds and return of the shepherds.
- The Fresco of the Scene of the Announcement of the Angels to the Shepherds
- The Fresco of the ADoration of the shepherds
- The Fresco of the Scene of the Return of the Shepherds