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by Wayne Blank
In The Past
"So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley [see The Destruction Of Sodom], God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt. Now Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; so he dwelt in a cave with his two daughters." (Genesis 19:29-30 RSV)
One of the most famous caves in the world, today still fiercely contested between Jews and Arabs for possession, is the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob/Israel and Leah all are buried:
"So the field of Ephron in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field with the cave which was in it and all the trees that were in the field, throughout its whole area, was made over to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the Hittites, before all who went in at the gate of his city. After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre, that is, Hebron, in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 23:17-19 RSV)
"And The Lord [see Rock Of Ages] said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen." The Lord said to Moses, "Cut two tables of stone like the first; and I will write upon the tables the words that were on the first tables, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain." (Exodus 33:21-34:2 RSV)
Throughout Old Testament events:
"Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal. These five kings fled, and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah. And it was told Joshua, "The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah." And Joshua said, "Roll great stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them; but do not stay there yourselves, pursue your enemies, fall upon their rear, do not let them enter their cities; for The Lord your God has given them into your hand." (Joshua 10:15-19 RSV)
At least one of the Psalms by David (Psalm 142) was written in a cave.
"A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer. I cry with my voice to The Lord, with my voice I make supplication to The Lord, I pour out my complaint before Him, I tell my trouble before Him. When my spirit is faint, Thou knowest my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. I look to the right and watch, but there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me, no man cares for me. I cry to thee, O Lord; I say, Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Give heed to my cry; for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors; for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to Thy name! The righteous will surround me; for Thou wilt deal bountifully with me." (Psalm 142:1-7 RSV)
The New Testament:
"Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:38-40 RSV) (see Jesus Christ, Lazarus, Come Out! and Martha and Mary)
In The Future
Caves will, according to Prophecy, again be used by some humans in the end-time.
"And men shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of The Lord, and from the glory of His majesty, when He rises to terrify the earth. In that day men will cast forth their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship [see Images and Idols], to the moles and to the bats, to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of The Lord, and from the glory of His majesty, when He rises to terrify the earth." (Isaiah 2:19-21 RSV) (see The Return Of Jesus Christ and The Seven Seals)
Fact Finder: Were the Dead Sea Scrolls found in caves?