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The following is part one of a five-part video series designed to supplement Gospel Doctrine lesson 8. 

The purpose of this five-part series of videos is to provide a brief introduction to some of the places linked in tradition to the lives of the family of Abraham and Sarah. Many, though not all, of the sites we will visit are in or near the city of Hebron. Hebron and surrounding areas served as somewhat of a hub for Abraham in his many journeys.

Although archaeology cannot directly substantiate the scriptural stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it can tell us something about the geography, settlements, and daily life of their contemporaries. Learning more about these places helps us get a more realistic sense of the setting in which the patriarchs lived.

Because the area surrounding Hebron is located in a part of the Palestinian-controlled West Bank that often has been the scene of violent dispute, it is not visited by tourists as frequently as some other places in Israel. Other sites such as Rachel’s tomb (near Bethlehem), as well as Jacob’s well and Joseph’s tomb further north are also in areas of the West Bank to which travel is sometimes complicated. It is hoped that this series of presentations will increase exposure to these lesser-known sites, so rich in biblical history.

Following this introduction, a second presentation will take us to the most well-known site connected with Abraham, the Tomb of the Patriarchs located in modern Hebron. In the Bible, this site is connected with the place names of Machpelah and Kiryat Arba. Here Abraham purchased a cave for the burial of Sarah from local residents. In the third presentation we will visit other areas in the West Bank: the traditional sites of Jacob’s well and Joseph’s tomb to the north, and the tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem.

In the fourth presentation, we will return to Hebron to see excavations of ancient Hebron at Tel Rumeida, also known as Tel Hebron. Tradition associates this area not only with Abraham but also with David, Ruth, and Jesse. Finally, the fifth presentation will bring us to two sites associated with the tree on the plains of Mamre where Abraham welcomed heavenly visitors who promised him a child through Sarah and announced the impending destruction of Sodom.