September 18, 2016
We are currently loading our plane for the last air leg of this journey. We started in San Francisco some 16 hours ago and presently “enjoy” the Strauss “Blue Danube” playing in the background on the Austrian Airlines short haul carrier. The rendition loses something in these conditions of maximum loading. Nonetheless, I will try to place a smiley face on the situation.
We left our San Francisco airport hotel at 5:30 and plainlessly cleared security with Dick clearing the path for us in his wheelchair. The flight to Chicago went smoothly and we were prepared for United Airlines austerity. I was a bit unsettled by the Army Ranger sitting next to me who said Jordan was on their no fly list.
We enjoyed the madcap wheelchair driver who fast tracked Dick and us though the airport from the O’Hare domestic terminal to the international terminal. It was good to have a guide. We had to wait for the next leg and it wasn’t long before Pastor Matt was listening to the story of a lady from Albania who was attending a family funeral in Chicago. The rest of us prepared for the 9 hour flight across the Atlantic.
The long flight was just that – long. The Austrian Airlines big Boeing 777 was comfortable as economy seats go. We all enjoyed a very good chicken dinner. There were movies to watch and most of us got some sleep although Audrey was the champ in that department. Pastor Matt commented upon landing that this was his first flight over an ocean. None of us got wet. Our two hours in the Vienna airport were occupied with figuring out Euros and getting bottled water. The flight to Jordan is pretty diverse.
The young man next to me is from Qatar and not surprisingly works in the petroleum business. He is going to Amman where he has a house near the American Embassy. He actually lives with his American wife in Qatar. Both of his kids have dual Qatar-US citizenship. I asked him about the route of our flight. He assured me that we steer clear of Syria and reach Jordan by flying over Israel. It’s the little things. He hoped that we would enjoy Jordan and said that he would love to visit Israel. He said that there is no chance of getting an Israeli Visa with his Qatar citizenship. However, he said he wants to take a group tour which would make it possible to visit Israel. He told me he loves Texas as he goes there on business and still remembers the great steaks. I had the presence of mind to not ask about baby back ribs.
Amman is 10 hours ahead of California time. It will take some adjusting. I will try to add to this post after we get to our hotel.
Reclining in our AC conditioned room, listening to Simon and Garfunkel – a bit strange to be hearing two nice Jewish boys singing their song while the TV scrolls Arabic menu items – or perhaps it is a hopeful sign. Anyway, we are here in Amman after a 24 hour travel day. Everyone is pooped and resting like us. Some news of note: Sharon and I are still missing a piece of luggage. Sharon is ready to shop. They have located my bag and promise to have it here tomorrow. We shall see. We have our backup clothes in our carry on so we can make it.
The hotel security pats everyone down and they have a screening machine at the front door. No complaints from me. We did go buy some water from the friendly guy down the street. No tap water for us in Jordan. Peggy and I did a brief wander. We are passing on the Littlr Caesar’s Pizza across from the hotel. Great little bakery down the street. The cookies stuffed with pistachios were great. Need some local money to buy a bunch. Too tired to walk to the ATM. People are friendly and quite welcoming.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
September 18 (Day 2)
Modern Jordan and its ruler, King Hussein is one of America’s most consistent allies in the Middle East. Modern Jordan is the homeland of the Biblical Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites. In Genesis 19:30-38 we find that the Ammonites descended from Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and were considered to be a related nation. Today’s Arab population consider themselves to be more closely descended from Abraham through his son, Ishmael (Genesis 21:17-18).
Genesis explains that Lot’s daughters got him drunk and the resultant issues were named Ben-Ammi (“son of my father”) and Moab by their mothers. God told Moses and the Hebrews that the land east of the Jordan River was for the possession of “the descendant’s of Lot” (Deuteronomy 2:19). Their capital was called Rabbah or Rabbah-Ammon. The national god of the Ammonites was called Molech. In Judges 3:13 the alliance between the Ammonites and the Moabites result in the oppression of Israel until Jephthah as judge freed the Israelites.
During the time of the United Kingdom, Saul’s first act was to save the people of Jabesh Gilead from an Ammonite attack and is crowned king at Gilgal (1 Samuel 11). 1 Chronicles 19 relates the conflict between the Ammonites and David who sent Joab who defeated them at Medeba and besieged their capital of Rabbah (modern Ammon). David used this siege as a reason to send Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to meet his end during this siege (2 Samuel 11).
King Jehoshatphat found that God answered his prayers and delivered Judah from the combined forces of the Ammonites, Edomites and Moabites near En Gedi. The struggle between the Ammonites and the Hebrews would continue with God condemning the Ammonites for attacking Gilead (Amos 1:13-15).
During the period of the Babylonian Captivity the king of the Ammonites sent Ishmael to assassinate the Babylonian governor of Judah (Jeremiah 40:13-14; 41:2-15). Finally Jeremiah predicted that Rabbah would be destroyed and eventually restored. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Jerusalem rather than Rabbah (Ezekiel 21:18-27). For the Ammonites, their victory celebration over the destruction of their long time rival Jerusalem was misplaced as God would destroy them. Daniel predicted that Edom, Moab and Ammon would fall into the hands of the final world ruler before invading Israel just before the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 11:41).
After the Jews are returned to Israel, the Ammonites continue to harass the Jews who are working to rebuild Jerusalem and attempting to corrupt the Jewish population by intermarriage (Ezra 9:1; Nehemiah 4:7; 13-23.
A ruined Ammon is reestablished by the Greeks after the Egyptian conquests of Alexander in 332BC. The Greeks will rename Ammon as Philadelphia. Later under Roman rule, Ammon or Philadelphia will be part of the Decapolis League whose members resided in Roman Syria and Palestine. The ancient identities of the people are pretty much forgotten by this time as the people identify themselves as Arabs. The Arab Kingdom of the Nabatean people retains its independence from Rome until Trajan in 106 AD.