Day 3 – The Horns of Hattin & Nebi Shu’eib

The Crusader's last stand

The Crusader’s last stand

I got a late start today. The Kibbutz was so nice. The coffee so good that I didn’t leave until after 10 AM. I had to hustle to get to the Horns of Hattin – see above. This was the Crusader’s last stand in 1187. They had holed up here for a while before making their way to Tiberias, which is just below these peaks.


It didn’t take long to ascend. I had the place and the view to myself for almost an hour. The pictures can’t do it justice – I could see from Nazareth in the east to the Sea of Galilee in the west. Tiberias lay just south of me.

There has been a lot of blood split on these hills. One of the most decisive battles of the Crusades happened on the plains below in 1187. This is where the Frankish crusader, King Guy was defeated by Saladin. It marked a turning point in the crusades as from this point on, the Muslims steadily won their ground.

For what?  For what is all this blood split? I wondered as I scampered over the rocks in my descent to Nebi Shu’eib, a center of Druze worship and the site of Jethro’s tomb (Moses’ father-in-law).

The tomb of Jethro at the Druze site, Nebi Shu'eib

The tomb of Jethro at the Druze site, Nebi Shu’eib

You can think of Druze as the Unitarians of Middle Eastern religions. Not very scholarly, I know. But I think the analogy is right. The Druze believe in Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad.  Convenient in this part of the world, no? Politically, they serve whatever government they are living under. Most of the Druze live in Syria and Lebanon, with just over 120,000 in northern Israel.

And they believe Jethro, Moses father-in-law was the first Druze. Hum. This Jethro link has always been interesting to me  – he is a priest of Midion and it is his daughter Zipporah who marries Moses. In the Old Testament, Jethro eventually converts to Judaism. Yet, Jethro is also considered a prophet in Islam. I suppose Jethro is a uniting figure if we could allow ourselves to think of him like that.

It was fun to see Nebi Shu’eib. I finished my trail mix lunch sitting alone on the enormous plaza. As I finished, a large group of little Arab kids arrived. The kids rushed off their buses to the mosque-like worship space. In their wake were their teachers screaming, “Hajib! Hajib!” reminding them to cover their heads (and take off their shoes) before entering.

Dear God, children are the same the world over. Shoes were flung everywhere, lots of laughter and punching as shawls were draped over heads (boys and girls) as they entered the ‘unitarian temple of the middle east’.

The shoes outside Nebi Shu'eib

The shoes outside Nebi Shu’eib

If you are following, I’d appreciate some prayers tomorrow. It’s the last day of this hike from Nazareth to Capernaum. It’s the longest day. And it’s the hardest day. I don’t like edges and I don’t really like heights. Tomorrow’s hike has both. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight. I’ll just go to bed humming the Nothing can trouble song.

One thought on “Day 3 – The Horns of Hattin & Nebi Shu’eib

  1. Laura,
    I will definitely be praying for you today – for all the edges and heights. Go slow and breathe. You are brave!!

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