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Cities of Ancient Israel





Arnon River

G13 on the Map

Wadi Mojib. Arnon means "rushing torrent". The Arnon was a river rising in the mountains of Gilead, E of the Jordan, and reaching the Dead Sea through a stony and precipitous chasm of red and yellow sandstone. The name is also applied to the valley, or valleys, now known as 'Wady Mojib,' an enormous trench across the plateau of Moab. It is about 1700 feet deep, and two miles wide from edge to edge of the cliffs which bound it, but the floor of the valley over which the stream winds is only forty yards wide. About 13 miles from the Dead Sea the trench divides into two branches, one running NE, the other SE, and each of them again dividing into two. All of the country from Jabbok to Arnon belonged northward to Ammon, southward to Moab. But shortly before Israel's arrival, Sihon, an Amorite king from western Palestine, had crossed the Jordan and, driving Moab southward over Arnon and Ammon eastward to the sources of the Jabbok, had founded a kingdom for himself between the two rivers. Afterward it was taken possession of by Israel on its way to Palestine, and Arnon became the boundary between Israel and Moab (Num 21:13,26; Deut 3:8; Josh 12:1; Judg 11:22; Isa 16:2; Jer 48:20).


The modern city of Dhiban (Dibon) was the ancient capital of Moab, located north of the Arnon River in west-central Jordan. Excavations conducted there have uncovered the remains of several city walls, a square tower, and numerous buildings. The pottery found on the site dates from Early Bronze (3200-2300 BC) to Early Arabic (7th cent AD), although pottery dating from the Middle and Late Bronze ages (2300-1550 BC; 1550-1200 BC) is very rare.


One of the most important finds at Dibon was the discovery in 1868 of the Moabite Stone, bearing an inscription of Mesha, king of Moab, about the 9th century BC; its 34-line inscription commemorates a victory over the Israelites that reestablished the independence of Moab.




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