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Tuesday, February 28 2017
The Water Gate Readings
"He read therein before the street that was before the Water Gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the Book of the Law"
Jerusalem has known many gates over its long history (see the Fact Finder question below for a complete series of studies of the history of Jerusalem). The Book of Nehemiah (see Nehemiah's Prayer From Shushan and The Arrival Of Nehemiah's Cavalry), which was written when the people of Judah, as a nation, returned to Jerusalem (the original exiles had all died off during the 70 years away i.e. the people returned "home" to a place that they personally had never been before) provides a list of the gates and their relative locations (Nehemiah 3:1-32).
Jerusalem at that time was still in ruins from the devastation that the LORD had brought upon it at the hand of the Babylonians (see Why Was It Desolate For Seventy Years?). The city was rebuilt in stages after that return (see Zerubbabel's Return and Bricks and Swords). Among the gates that were rebuilt was the Water Gate. An excerpt from the gate list to locate its location in relation to the others:
"3:15 But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David. 3:16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty.
The Water Gate was the place where Ezra (see Ezra's Journey From Babylon) declared the Law of the LORD to the nation upon its restoration.
"8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
The readings continued on through the observance of the Christian Feast of Tabernacles (see Why Christians Observe The Messiah's Feast Of Tabernacles).
"8:13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 8:14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 8:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
Fact Finder: When did Jerusalem become an Israelite city? When did Jerusalem become the capital of the Kingdom of Judah alone?
This Day In History, February 28
202 BC: Liu Bang became Emperor Gaozu of Han, beginning four centuries of the Han Dynasty of China (see also The First Chinese American War).
628 Persian King Khosrau II was assassinated (see also The Decrees Of The Persian Kings).
1066: Westminster Abbey opened. Originally an abbey church of Benedictine monks, it became a national shrine of Britain.
1525: Aztec King Cuauhtemoc was executed by the invasion forces of Hernan Cortes.
1638: The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.
1692: The Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria began (see also What Is Sorcery?).
1759: Pope Clement XIII granted permission for the Bible to be translated into the languages of the Roman Catholic states - provided that it was read and "interpreted" only by Catholic priests.
1784: John Wesley of the Church of England established his "Methodist Church" (also known as "the Wesleyan faith" or "the Methodists").
1825: A treaty was signed between King George IV of Britain and Czar Nicholas I of Russia to establish the border between Canada and Russian America (the official Russian term for what is today known as Alaska). Russia sold the wilderness area to the U.S. in 1867, thereby making it the only U.S. territory in North America to not be seized by rebellion or military conquest.
1843: The Great March Comet of 1843 made its closest approach to the sun, only 120,000 km., less than a tenth of the solar diameter. For a few hours that day, the comet outshone any comet seen in the previous 7 centuries. Burning in the daytime sky like a brilliant, tailed star less than 1 degree from the limb of the sun, the comet's astronomical magnitude may have reached -17, more than 60 times brighter than the full moon. The tail eventually reached a length of 68 degrees, 3 weeks after perihelion, estimated to have stretched 300,000,000 km. across the inner solar system. The last time a comet was seen that close to the sun was in 1106.
1844: On the Potomac River, the U.S. navy was demonstrating its new frigate Princeton when one of its guns exploded, killing Secretary of State Abel Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas Gilmer and some other government officials.
1917: During the First World War (1914-1918), total ships sunk for the month by German submarines: 212.
1940: British Colonial Secretary MacDonald terminated all further land sales to Jews in "Palestine" (see Where Is Palestine?). The move was officially intended to prevent arousing the Arabs, thereby destabilizing the region, which would have benefited Nazi Germany.
1940: The superliner Queen Elizabeth was launched in Britain.
1948: The last British troops left India which had then become independent.
1954: The U.S. detonated its second hydrogen bomb, at Bikini atoll. The expected yield of the weapon of mass destruction was 8 megatons; the actual yield turned out to be 15 megatons (see also Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?).
1969: A Los Angeles court refused Robert Kennedy's assassin Sirhan Sirhan's request to be executed.
1974: The U.S. and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after 7 years.
1993: The siege at Waco, Texas, began after U.S. federal agents tried to serve an arrest warrant for weapons charges on Branch Davidian sect leader David Koresh.
1996: Russia entered as the 39th member of the Council of Europe.
1997: An earthquake in northern Iran killed over 3,000 people.
2013: Pope Benedict XVI resigned - the first pope to do so since 1415.