Images & Art: Judah
The Philistines who migrated to the coastal plain of Israel about 1200 B.C. settled in five major cities. Three of these were along the coastal branch of the International Highway leading from Egypt, but because of the presence of sand dunes, only Ashkelon was built on the shore. At 150 acres, the tell of Ashkelon is the largest Philistine city and one of the largest tells in all of ancient Israel.
Near the outer gate of the city is a well and a tamarisk tree. Both are later than the time of the patriarchs, but they remind one of the well Abraham dug and the tree he planted (Gen 21). The tamarisk tree is well suited to life in the Negev with its deep root system and its ability to survive on brackish water. It secretes salt on its leaves and drips water in the morning.[Bible Places]
A border city between Judah and Dan, Beth Shemesh was given to the Levites. Beth Shemesh was the most important Israelite city in the Sorek Valley as it watched both east-west traffic through the Sorek Valley and north-south traffic along the "Diagonal Route." Recent excavations have shown a thriving city here from the Middle Bronze Age through the Iron II period.[Bible Places]
Known in the Bible as the "Salt Sea" or the "Sea of the Arabah," this inland body of water is appropriately named because its high mineral content allows nothing to live in its waters. Other post-biblical names for the Dead Sea include the "Sea of Sodom," the "Sea of Lot," the "Sea of Asphalt" and the "Stinking Sea." In the Crusader period, it was sometimes called the "Devil's Sea." All of these names reflect something of the nature of this lake.[Bible Places]
The southern tip of modern Israel, ancient Elath was outside the prescribed boundaries of the Promised Land for the children of Israel. It was one of the stops on the wilderness travels (Deut 2:8). The relationship of Elath to Ezion Geber is unclear; the Bible says that these two places were near each other by the Red Sea but the exact location of these ancient sites is still uncertain.
Situated near the International Coastal Highway and guarding the primary route into the Israelite hill country, Gezer was one of the most strategic cities in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. Gezer is a prominent 33-acre site that overlooked the Aijalon Valley and the road leading through it to Jerusalem. The tell was identified as biblical Gezer in 1871 by C. Clermont-Ganneau who two years later found the first of many boundary stones inscribed with the city's name.[Bible Places]
Genesis 23 records the purchase by Abraham of a plot of ground in Hebron for a burial cave for his wife Sarah. In a deal that foreshadows many such other Middle Eastern deals, Abraham paid an outrageous 400 shekels of silver to Ephron the Hittite.
Later Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah would be buried here.
Herodium is 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and 8 miles south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2460 feet above sea level.
Herod built or re-built eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the location of his victory over Antigonus in 40 B.C.[Bible Places]
Identified first as Lachish by Albright in 1929, the tell was excavated by James Leslie Starkey 1932-38 and by Tel Aviv University 1973-87.
Lachish is generally regarded as the second most important city in the southern kingdom of Judah. It enters the biblical narrative in the battle accounts of Joshua, Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar.
160 feet above sea level and 1307 feet above Dead Sea.
1950 feet long, 650 feet wide at widest place, 4250 feet in circumference.
Snake path climb: 900 feet.
From west, difference in height is 225 feet.
At Timna Park, 20 miles north of Eilat in the Arabah, a lifesize replica of the biblical tabernacle has been constructed. While no original materials (e.g., gold, silver, bronze) have been used, the model is accurate in every other way based upon the biblical description.
The model is located at the base of Solomon's Pillars but will be moved soon.[Bible Places]
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