As part of his spiritual quest, Hunt traveled to Palestine (then a province of the Ottoman Empire) four times, spending over seven years there. In Jerusalem he occupied himself with local culture, engaged leaders of various religions, studied archaeological sites, painted the landscape, and collected textiles and artifacts in his search for historical accuracy. During his second visit, from 1869 to 1872, he conceived and executed The Shadow of Death, in which Christ is portrayed as a working man. In late 1875 Hunt returned to Jerusalem with his second wife, Edith, and stayed until 1878. Inspired by a Canadian, Henry Wentworth Monk, Hunt supported the Zionist cause of securing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. He hoped the three revealed religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—could coexist peacefully.