Walking with the Patriarchs
A Boutique Israel In-Depth Study Tour
Boutique and unique may rhyme, and one is very much a part of the other when it comes to this tour. Unique size: all Under The Fig Tree tours are a single bus experience, but our “Walking with The Patriarchs Tour” is limited to only 20 participants! Unique sites: up to 15 of Israel’s World Heritage sites such as Old City Jerusalem, Masada, Qumran and sites in the Galilee are on the itinerary! We have also added sites most tour groups never see, like Dothan, Shechem, Shilo, Bethel! Unique accommodations: over-nighting at Boutique hotels in Be’ersheva, Akko, and Bethlehem with each providing their own distinctive flair. A favorite stop on our tour is our overnights in an authentic Galilean kibbutz: a “must” experience for all who journey to Israel. Unique faith lessons: our teacher and historian, George DeJong, offers his decades of experience and has structured this tour to follow the Biblical story as God unfolded it, from creation through the Hebrew Text, to Jesus and his disciples. Be one of the few to experience the uniqueness of our “Walking with The Patriarchs Boutique Tour”.
There are currently no scheduled tours at this point.
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*Tour amounts and durations can fluctuate slightly based on the season — this value represents a close approximation.
Travel provided by GTI Tours. Ask tour-specific questions about cost and dates by email or call 1 (800) 829-8234.
Are any of these true of you?
Do you find the Bible difficult to understand at times?
Do you desire to have a deeper relationship with God?
Do you struggle to find relevance in what you're reading in the Scripture?
Do you ever feel overwhelmed trying to study the Bible?
Do you ever wonder if you're missing out on what the Bible is saying?
Do you want to be more confident in your ability to interpret the Bible correctly?
If so, a study tour can help!
What to Expect on Your Study Tour
Under the Fig Tree study tours are not the typical "tours" where tourist sites drive the tour.
We view our study tour ministry as a message to be experienced, one from which God will seek fruit. Signing on to travel with George will involve going to a variety of key biblical sites along with ones not found on typical tours.
The daily itinerary is subject to change without notice from flight & hotel availability and other tour constraints.
The Timna Valley is located in southern Israel in the southwestern Arava/Arabah, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of the Gulf of Aqaba and the city of Eilat. The area is rich in copper ore and has been mined since the 5th millennium BCE. There is controversy whether the mines were active during the biblical united Kingdom of Israel and its second ruler, King Solomon.
Avdat also known as Abdah and Ovdat and Obodat, is a site of a ruined Nabataean city in the Negev desert in southern Israel. It was the most important city on the Incense Route after Petra, between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE. It was founded in the 3rd century BCE, and inhabited by Nabataeans, Romans, and Byzantines. Avdat was a seasonal camping ground for Nabataean caravans travelling along the early Petra–Gaza road (Darb es-Sultan) in the 3rd – late 2nd century BCE. The city's original name was changed to Avdat in honor of Nabataean King Obodas I, who, according to tradition, was revered as a deity and was buried there
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in Israel, the eighth most populous Israeli city with a population of 209,002, and the second largest city (after Jerusalem) with a total area of 117,500 dunams.
Ashdod is the sixth-largest city and the largest port in Israel accounting for 60% of the country's imported goods. Ashdod is located in the Southern District of the country, on the Mediterranean coast where it is situated between Tel Aviv to the north 32 kilometres (20 miles) away, and Ashkelon to the south 20 km (12 mi) away. Jerusalem is 53 km (33 mi) to the east. The city is also an important regional industrial center.
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the Southern District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Tel Aviv, and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Ancient Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hasmoneans, the Romans, the Persians, the Arabs and the Crusaders, until it was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270.
Gath, often referred to as Gath of the Philistines, was one of the five Philistine city-states, established in northeastern Philistia. Gath is often mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and its existence is confirmed by Egyptian inscriptions.
The town was mentioned in Egyptian sources and the Amarna letters as Yapu. Mythology says that it is named for Yafet, one of the sons of Noah, the one who built it after the Flood. The Hellenist tradition links the name to Iopeia, or Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda. An outcropping of rocks near the harbor is reputed to have been the place where Andromeda was rescued by Perseus. Pliny the Elder associated the name with Iopa, daughter of Aeolus, god of the wind. The medieval Arab geographer al-Muqaddasi referred to it as Yaffa.
Tel Megiddo is the site of the ancient city of Megiddo whose remains form a tell (archaeological mound), situated in northern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30 km south-east of Haifa. Megiddo is known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon. During the Bronze Age, Megiddo was an important Canaanite city-state and during the Iron Age, a royal city in the Kingdom of Israel. Megiddo drew much of its importance from its strategic location at the northern end of the Wadi Ara defile, which acts as a pass through the Carmel Ridge, and from its position overlooking the rich Jezreel Valley from the west. Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement
Montfort is a ruined Crusader castle in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of the city of Haifa and 10 miles (16 km) south of the border with Lebanon.
Banias is the Arabic and modern Hebrew name of an ancient site that developed around a spring once associated with the Greek god Pan. It is located at the foot of Mount Hermon, north of the Golan Heights. The spring is the source of the Banias River, one of the main tributaries of the Jordan River. Archaeologists uncovered a shrine dedicated to Pan and related deities, and the remains of an ancient city founded sometime after the conquest by Alexander the Great and inhabited until 1967; the ancient city was mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark by the name of Caesarea Philippi.
Dan is a city mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, described as the northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel, and belonging to the tribe of Dan. The city is identified with a tell located in northern Israel known as Tel Dan.
Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee, Lake Tiberias, Kinneret or Kinnereth, is a freshwater lake in Israel. It is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth and the second-lowest lake in the world (after the Dead Sea, a saltwater lake), at levels between 215 metres (705 ft) and 209 metres (686 ft) below sea level. It is approximately 53 km (33 mi) in circumference, about 21 km (13 mi) long, and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide. Its area is 166.7 km2 (64.4 sq mi) at its fullest, and its maximum depth is approximately 43 m (141 feet). The lake is fed partly by underground springs, but its main source is the Jordan River, which flows through it from north to south.
Mount Arbel is a mountain in The Lower Galilee near Tiberias in Israel, with high cliffs, views of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, trails to a cave-fortress, and ruins of an ancient synagogue. Mt. Arbel sits across from Mount Nitai; their cliffs were created as a result of the Jordan Rift Valley and the geological faults that produced the valleys.
Katzrin ancient village and synagogue was reconstructed and opened to the public as a "Talmudic village" set in a national park. The Golan Antiquities Museum in Katzrin houses archeological findings from the region and screens an audiovisual presentation about Gamla, a Jewish town in the Golan Heights that fought the Romans in the 1st century
Beit She'an is a city in the Northern District of Israel, which has played an important role in history due to its geographical location at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and the Jezreel Valley. In the Biblical account of the battle of the Israelites against the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, the bodies of King Saul and three of his sons were hung on the walls of Beit She'an (1 Samuel 31:10-12). In Roman times, Beit She'an was the leading city of the Decapolis, a league of pagan cities. In modern times, Beit She'an serves as a regional centre for the settlements in the Beit She'an Valley.
Nain is an Arab village in northern Israel. Located in the Lower Galilee, 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) south of Nazareth, Nein covers a land area of approximately 1,000 dunums and falls under the jurisdiction of Bustan al-Marj Regional Council, whose headquarters it hosts. Its total land area consisted of 3,737 dunums prior to 1962. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2018 it had a population of 1,845
Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is believed to have been regarded as the home of Saint Peter.
Chorazin was an ancient village in the Korazim Plateau in the Galilee, two and a half miles from Capernaum on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Bethsaida is a place mentioned in the New Testament. Historians have suggested that the name is also referenced in rabbinic literature under the epithet Ṣaidan.
Dothan is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 37:17) in connection with the history of Joseph, as the place where Jacob (Israel's) sons had moved their sheep and where, at the suggestion of Judah, the brothers sold Joseph to the Ishmaelite merchants (Gen. 37:17). It later appears as the residence of Elisha (2 Kings 6:13) and the scene of a vision of chariots and horses of fire surrounding the mountain on which the city stood. The city served as an Israelite administrative center during this period and archaeology has discovered a large complex and Hebrew inscriptions from the site.
Bethel is a toponym often used in the Hebrew Bible. At first, it was a place where Jacob dreamt of seeing angels and God, which he therefore named Bethel, which means "House of God." The name is further used for a border city located between the territory of the Israelite tribe of Benjamin and that of the tribe of Ephraim, which first belonged to the Benjaminites and was later conquered by the Ephraimites.
Shiloh, Shilo, or Silo is mainly known as the name of the biblical city which preceded Jerusalem as the central worship site of the early Israelites. One Bible line might indicate that it was also used as the personal name of a biblical figure.
Shechem was a Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an Israelite city of the tribe of Manasseh and the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel. Traditionally associated with Nablus, it is now identified with the nearby site of Tell Balata in Balata al-Balad in the West Bank.
The Dead Sea (lit. Sea of Salt) is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River
Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to a mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km (12 mi) east of Arad.
Ein Gedi literally "spring of the kid (young goat)" is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. Ein Gedi was listed in 2016 as one of the most popular nature sites in the country.
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank managed by Israel's Qumran National Park. It is located on a dry marl plateau about 1.5 km (1 mi) from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalya. The Hellenistic period settlement was constructed during the reign of John Hyrcanus (134–104 BCE) or somewhat later,, was occupied most of the time until 68 CE and was destroyed by the Romans possibly as late as 73 (see below under "The bronze coinage"). It is best known as the settlement nearest to the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden, caves in the sheer desert cliffs and beneath, in the marl terrace. The principal excavations at Qumran were conducted by Roland de Vaux in the 1950s, though several later unearthings at the site have since been carried out.
Jerusalem is the religious and historical epicenter of the world. A surreal and vibrant city, holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians – over one-third of all the people on earth. Jerusalem is as unique as she is special. Beyond her religious and historic significance, Jerusalem is the capital of modern-day Israel and an advanced, dynamic city.
Hebron is a Palestinian city in the southern West Bank, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all venerate Hebron for its association with Abraham; it includes the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs, within the Cave of the Patriarchs. Judaism ranks Hebron the second-holiest city after Jerusalem, while some Muslims regard it as one of the four holy cities.
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City. It is named for the olive groves that once covered its slopes. The southern part of the Mount was the Silwan necropolis, attributed to the ancient Judean kingdom. The mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves, making it central in the tradition of Jewish cemeteries. Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Acts of the Apostles it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of pilgrimage for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants.
Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It is dedicated to preserving the memory of the dead; honoring Jews who fought against their Nazi oppressors and Gentiles who selflessly aided Jews in need; and researching the phenomenon of the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, with the aim of avoiding such events in the future.
With great confidence I can say that there was never a day in the life of Jesus, our Messiah, when He did not lift His hands toward heaven and declare to the Father:
Shema Israel, Adonai elohenu, Adonai echad, Ve’ahavta et Adonai eloeikah, b’khol levavkah, uve’khol naphshekah, uve’khol m’odekah. Ve’ahavta re acha comocha.
Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone, love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength! Love your neighbor as yourself.
Would you please start hiding the Sh’ma away in your heart in Hebrew and English. We will be using this prayer many times throughout our experience.
Typical DayUsually our day begins with a 6:00 am wake up call, breakfast at 6:30, devotions at 7:00 am and by 7:15 we’re on our way. In order to accomplish what God sets out for us to experience, the majority of our days involve vigorous hiking. We travel to our various sites by bus where our hikes begin. It is at these locations where God’s word is studied in its context through onsite faith lessons. Lunch tends to fall between 2:00-3:00pm and will be served on location. At the end of the day, we will arrive at our hotel in the late evening for a wonderful dinner and welcomed sleep.
Hiking Boots!It is highly recommended that you purchase a good sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots which provide good support. Obtain them well in advance and break them in thoroughly before your departure. Having a high quality, well broken in footwear is essential in benefiting the most from this experience.
Physical PreparationsWe recommend you prepare for 4-7 miles of vigorous to strenuous hiking/climbing/walking most days of the trip. You will profit greatly by training long before departure for these physical fitness requirements. The trip will be more meaningful, educational and fun if you prepare in advance for the activity level you will experience. Helpful types of training:
- Hiking stairs for at least 30-45 minutes (with your boots) is most beneficial
- Daily walking/running 3-5 miles
- Weightlifting with legs
- Walking on treadmill with an incline (4 or higher)
Clothing & Modesty KitsCasual dress is recommended such as lightweight pants/shorts and t-shirts (shoulders must be covered at all times – men and women). Dry-wicking material is recommended. A lightweight hat is a must, preferably one that covers the neck and ears. If you prefer to dress up somewhat for dinner, that is certainly appropriate but not necessary. Many times we will eat in our hiking attire. At several sites Modesty Kits are required. A Modesty Kit for women includes either long pants or long skirts or Capri and shirts that cover the shoulder. For men this includes long pants, t-shirts/golf shirts covering the shoulders.
WeatherIt will be hot & sunny so don’t forget sun screen and a good pair of sun glasses. The rainy season is November through April. May through October temperatures will be warm and dry ranging from the 90’s up to 115 degrees. Lows are usually in the 60’s.
Gadgets & GearThe modern age has its blessings and its curses. With all the great toys out there, it is tempting to want the best, fastest and most sophisticated. I know – I’m one of them. Please think about bringing minimal electronic gear and gadgets (I know this will be hard for some). I am not saying forget the camera and all the rest – I’m just saying be careful. I will ask that NO cell phones (unless used as a camera) or Ipods be brought with us during the day. Sometimes people experience an entire trip through their modern gear and not with their God-given five senses. Please don’t miss out. Sorry, no electronic recording of faith lessons.
First AidBring first-aid supplies, including anti-diarrhea medication, sleeping aids, pain relievers, mole skin, foot powder, alcohol rubs. And anything else you might think appropriate.
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*Competitor prices were last checked in September, 2019
"What an amazing opportunity to visit less worn paths to pivotal locations found in the Biblical narrative!"
— John, Walking with the Patriarchs 2020
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