Latrun is one of most important christian monastery in the Land of Israel, it is closed to Emmaus Nilopolis, one of most probably best candidates to be the Emmaus described in the gospel of Luke.
It Emmaus was also described in the battle between the forces of Maccabean army and the Seleucids army, when Judah the Maccabean has his first victory.
Latrun and Emmaus Nikopolis
There is still another site, much better known: Imwas (by Latrun), known also as Nicopolis probably since the time of Elagabulus (A.D. 218–22). It was prominent as the place of a great victory of Judas Maccabeus in the second century B.C., described in 1 Macc 3-4. The site continued to be well known throughout Christian history, and it naturally has been favored by many as the NT Emmaus. One serious problem is that it is not 60 but 160 stadia away (a problem Sinaiticus and other MSS seem to have addressed by changing the number to 160). This distance, however, seems long, though not impossible, for the two disciples to have traveled in both directions (cf. v.33) It would have meant a round trip total of 30 miles in one busy day, with the return trip started no later than early evening. It is possible that there were actually two places known as Emmaus in Jesus’ day: the village, hardly known, 3 1/2 miles or 30 stadia away, and the city, 160 stadia or 19 miles away. It was perhaps the former to which the disciples went on the Resurrection day. See J. Monson, A Survey of the Geographical and Historical Setting of the Bible (Jerusalem: Institute for Holy Land Studies, 1977), pp. 3f., of Benjamin Field Study section; R.M. Mackowski, “Where Is Biblical Emmaus?” Science et Esprit 32 (1980): 93-103.
Monastery of the Silent Monks at Latrun. The site where the monastery of the silent monks stands today served as a way station for pilgrims from Jaffa to Jerusalem in the 19th century. After being sold to the Order of Saint Benedict, the monastery known as the monastery of the silent monks was built in 1890, and until 1960 its articles included a vow to refrain from idle talk and to uphold silence at all times except during prayer. A large church and living quarters sit on the monastery grounds, with a beautiful garden and a modest the yard.
Information of Israel Tourism Ministry
EMMAUS (Gk. Emmaoús)
Emmaus was a village ca. 11 km. (7 mi.) from Jerusalem (30 km. [19 mi.] according to some ancient witnesses). The risen Jesus appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Several modern sites have been proposed for the NT Emmaus, including ʿAmwâs (Khirbet Imwas, ancient Nicopolis; 149138) for the farther site, el-Quibeibeh (Crusader Castellum Emmaus, 163138), Abu Ghosh (160134), or Qalôniyeh (ancient Colonia; Motza, j. Sukk. 54b; 165134) for the nearer, but none has gained widespread approval.
An instance of the ancient recognition story, the Emmaus account occurs only in Luke and thus conveys a distinctive Lucan emphasis on the appearance of Jesus: Luke combines Jesus’ appearance with a meal and prophecy. Jesus appears without being recognized, and the disciples’ eyes are opened only when Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and distributes bread (cf. Luke 9:16; 22:19; also 24:41–43). Yet Jesus does not share the meal; he vanishes when the pair recognizes him. Other Lucan passages also show Jesus attending meals (Luke 9:10-17; 22:14-38; Acts 10:41), and the table provides a key gathering place for the Church (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7; 27:33-36).
The Emmaus account also emphasizes the importance of prophecy. The disciples remember Jesus as a prophet mighty in deed and word and recall their disappointment that he had been killed. But Jesus rebukes them, explaining that the Messiah’s suffering had been indicated by Moses and the prophets.
Significantly, the Emmaus story begins and ends in Jerusalem. Alone among the Synoptic Gospels, the book of Luke locates Jesus’ appearances and the Church’s beginnings in that city.
Bibliography. R. J. Dillon, From Eye-Witnesses to Ministers of the Word. AnBib 82 (Rome, 1978).
“EMMAUS,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 405.
The name Latrun is derived from the ruins of a french medieval castle called La Toron. There are two theories regarding the origin of the name. One is that it is a corruption of the French, Le toron des chevaliers (The Castle of the Knights), named by the Crusaders. The other is that it is from the Latin, Domus boni Latronis (The House of the Good Thief), a name given by 14th century Christian pilgrims after the penitent thief who was crucified by the Romans alongside Jesus (Luke 23:40–43).
Latrun and the Valley of Ayalon is also near to biblical city of Gezer.
A city attested in biblical, Egyptian, and Assyrian sources. It is to be located at Tell Jezer (Tell el-Jazari; 1425.1407), a 13.3-ha. (33 a.) mound prominently situated at the junction of the northern Shephelah and the Judean foothills, overlooking the Ayalon Valley. The site was extensively excavated in 1902–1909 by R. A. S. Macalister, briefly in 1934 by Alan Rowe; in 1964–1974 by a large multidisciplinary project directed by William G. Dever with H. Darrell Lance and Joe D. Seger; and finally by Dever in 1984 and 1990.
The principal literary references to Gezer are found first in Egyptian sources: in the annals of Thutmose III (ca. 1468 B.C.; no. 104 on the Karnak Temple inscription), in 10 of the 14th-century Amarna Letters, and in Pharaoh Merneptah’s “Victory Stela” (ca. 1207). Mesopotamian references include an inscription and relief of Tiglath-pileser III, who destroyed Gezer ca. 733. Biblical references reflect the facts that Gezer remained in Canaanite hands during the period of the Judges (Josh. 10:33; 12:12), was a territorial city (21:21, an Ephraimite town allotted to the Kohathite Levites), and finally came under Israelite control through an Egyptian treaty in Solomon’s day, being built up and/or fortified thereafter along with Jerusalem, Hazor, and Megiddo (1 Kgs. 9:15-17).
“GEZER,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 499.