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Map of the Northern Negev
Map of the Negev in Ancient Israel
    (Enlarge) (PDF for Print) (Freely Distributed)

Map of the Negev also known as the "Dry Land"

This map shows the north part of the Negev region in ancient Israel. The Negev was referred to as the "dry land," and it was south below the hills of Judah. Israel was often referred to as extending from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south. Beersheba was in the heart of the Negev, and the Negev extends 15 mile to the north and south of Beersheba, and 40 miles from east to west.

The country of Israel was divided into 5 regions: The coastal plain, the Shephelah (lowlands near the coast), the Negev (southland), the hill country, and the wilderness. The area of the Negev is between the hills to the north and the hills to the south, therefore the season of heavy rains brought water down into the Negev causing rich alluvial soil which form fine particles of sand that blow in the strong winds.

"Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south."
-
Psalm 126:4

Since the rains are seasonal there are many droughts in the Negev. This area was better for raising animals rather than farming, and the locals provided caravan traffic.  Though Beersheba was not a commercial center it was a junction for many roads in all directions.

1 Samuel 3:20 - And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel [was] established [to be] a prophet of the LORD.

The Bible Mentions a lot Concerning the "desert"

Jeremiah 50:39 - Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell [there], and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.

Isaiah 34:14 - The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.

Isaiah 41:19 - I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, [and] the pine, and the box tree together:

Isaiah 51:3 - For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Isaiah 43:20 - The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.

Matthew 24:26 - Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not.

Numbers 27:14 - For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that [is] the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.

Jeremiah 25:24 - And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,

Exodus 3:1 - Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb.

Matthew 14:13 - When Jesus heard [of it], he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard [thereof], they followed him on foot out of the cities.

Ezekiel 47:8 - Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: [which being] brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed.

Psalms 28:4 - Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.

2 Chronicles 26:10 - Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen [also], and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.

Mark 1:45 - But he went out, and began to publish [it] much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

Exodus 5:3 - And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.

Exodus 23:31 - And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.

Job 24:5 - Behold, [as] wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness [yieldeth] food for them [and] for [their] children.

Luke 9:12 - And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

Numbers 20:1 - Then came the children of Israel, [even] the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.

Isaiah 13:21 - But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

Isaiah 35:6 - Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Jeremiah 17:6 - For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, [in] a salt land and not inhabited.

Jeremiah 50:12 - Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations [shall be] a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert.

Matthew 14:15 - And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

Luke 9:10 - And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

Acts 8:26 - And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

Exodus 19:2 - For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come [to] the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.

Isaiah 40:3 - The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Deuteronomy 32:10 - He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Isaiah 35:1 - The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.

 

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