Saudi Arabia is Softly Releasing Sites of the Ancient Jewish Tribes


Living Passages’ newest Biblical destinations in Saudi also spans the area known as the Hejaz. While our background has been on teaching and leading expeditions to the sites of the Exodus, this blog post focuses on one of the areas of antiquity of the Jewish Tribes who lived at Mecca, Medina (Madinah), Tayma (Tema), Tabuk, and YanbuBeginning in 2024 our expeditions may include the beautiful new Volcano Camp outside of Khaybar (opened up with the resources of NEOM).

khaybar Volcano Camp Jewish Heritage Living Passages
Khaybar Volcano Camp

The Jewish tribes of the Hejaz have been seen as the offspring of the Hebrews. Their language was not Arabic – in many areas, it was either Hebrew or Persian. The Persian language suggests a connection to the Babylonian captivity of around 605 BC.  

BACKGROUND:  Medina “The city of Mennorah’s” had a considerable population that was Jewish, including its past leaders. 

Khaybar is 2.5 hours away from Jabal al-Lawz (Mount Sinai) and 2.5 hours from Medina.  In 2024 we will be taking our first group to this impressive ancient Jewish site as well as Tayma and Dedan. Our stay will be at the brand new 4* Volcano Camp.  

KhayBar Masada
Qamos Fortress at KhayBar

Khaybar – notably an awesome destination for our expedition.  It has a key site called the “Masada of Arabia”.  Internationally for 1300 years, the actions of the Jewish people protecting their family’s enslavement and death were made known – “remember the battle of Khaybar”.  It is at Khaybar where the Qamos Fortress and Nizar Fort of the Jewish Tribes were taken over by its Arabic tribal cousins.  Khaybar is also mentioned in the great find  – the Harran Inscription.  It was located in 1956 in Harran, Turkey – very close to Sanilurfa and Gobekli Tepe.  Qamos – aptly named “The Mountain of the Jews”.  It is here that the Jewish tribes of Levi and Judah lived and prospered for many centuries. In addition to the mighty fortress, we will visit the cemetery of these tribes in the low-lying area nearby. The Fortress of Qamos at Khaybar was the ancient center of Jewish life and law. Khaybar was ruled by various tribes. 

Tribal names in Arabia begin with Banu. The Jewish Tribe, Banu Nadir (Levites) migrated northward towards the other tribes after Khaybar and belong to the priestly Tribe of Levi where they claimed the Aaronic Priesthood. During the Islamic takeover, there was a young woman named Safiyyah who was of the Banu Nadir tribe near Khaybar. When her father was executed, Muhammed took her as his 10th wife. Today in Islamic literature they read many of her works. When Safiyyah died in the seventh century, she left a third of her amassed wealth to her nephew, who was still practicing Judaism near Khaybar during the time of Islamic rule. 

The less prestigious Jewish tribe was the Bani Qurayza. The Qurayza were said to have intermarried with the Ishmaelites and they acted as the tax collectors or “blood money” or “jizya” collectors once the Constitution of Medina was enacted. This form of ransom money took the greatest percentage of wealth from the Jews of Arabian tribes, including the Banu Nadir and the Banu Qainuqa.

The Banu Nadir were Levites and the Banu Quraysh were Ishmaelites from the line of Adnan. If you are ready to advance your learning of the history of The Book and its people, we are ready to show you something very special in 2024!  We will stay in luxury accommodations, including the beautiful new camp near the Qamos Fortress pictured above.

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