ATS Bible DictionaryPalestine
Denotes, in the Old Testament, the country of the Philistines, which was that part of the land of promise extending along the Mediterranean Sea on the varying western border of Simeon, Judah, and Dan, Exodus 15:14 Isaiah 14:29,31 Joel 3:4. Palestine, taken in later usage in a more general sense, signifies the whole country of Canaan, as well beyond as on this side of the Jordan; though frequently it is restricted to the country on this side that river; so that in later times the words Judea and Palestine were synonymous. We find also the name of Syria-Palestina given to the land of promise, and even sometimes this province is comprehended in Coele-Syria, or the Lower Syria. Herodotus is the most ancient writer known who speaks of SyriaPalestina. He places it between Phoenicia and Egypt. See CANAAN.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaGEOLOGY OF PALESTINE
je-ol'-o-ji, The geology of Palestine cannot be discussed intelligently without taking into consideration the surrounding regions. The accompanying map shows, with considerable freedom, the distribution of the superficial strata of Syria, Palestine and Sinai, with parts of Asia Minor, Arabia and Egypt. (Data for this map were obtained from the "Geological Map of Egypt" (1:1,000,000) and from the "Carte geologique internationale de l'Europe" (1:1,500,000).) It will be noted that Crystalline, or Archean, rocks (A) occupy extensive areas in Asia Minor, and that they are found in the South in Sinai, Western Arabia, and Eastern and Southern Egypt. Relatively small areas of Paleozoic rocks (P) adjoin the Crystalline rocks in Sinai and Arabia and East of Caesarea in Asia Minor. A notable area of Paleozoic occurs Southeast of the Dead Sea. This is also adjacent to Crystalline rocks, which could not be indicated on the map on account of their slight superficial extent. Bordering either the Crystalline or the Paleozoic rocks in Egypt, Sinai and Arabia are large areas of Nubian Sandstone (N). The Nubian Sandstone in turn is generally bounded by Upper Cretaceous limestone (C), and the last by Tertiary deposits (T). The Quaternary, or Recent, deposits (R) and also the Eruptive rocks (E) sustain no constant relations to any particular ones of the other formations. The Quaternary follows the great rivers and the seacoasts. The Eruptive rocks usually overlie the others. They occupy extensive areas in Asia Minor, Syria and Arabia.
If we concentrate our attention upon the Crystalline, Cretaceous, and Tertiary, which are the most extensive formations, we find that the Crystalline rocks are abundant in the South and in the North, that the Cretaceous are most widely spread in Palestine and Southern Syria, and the Tertiary in Northern Syria and Egypt. We may believe that the Crystalline areas of the North and South have been land since the end of the Archean age, and that what are now Syria, Palestine and most of Egypt remained sea for a long time afterward. The Paleozoic areas were lifted above the sea and added to the northern and southern land areas during or at the end of the Paleozoic era. The regions in which we find Nubian Sandstone or Upper Cretaceous limestone became land by the end of the Mesozoic era. Finally the Tertiary areas were lifted out of the sea. During the Quaternary period the Nile and the rivers of Mesopotamia have added large areas to the land surface.
1. Crystalline Rocks (A):
The Crystalline rocks consist mainly of granite and crystalline schists, frequently interrupted with dikes of porphyry, diorite and other eruptives. It will be seen by the map that the Crystalline rocks are nowhere adjacent to the Mediterranean, but that they touch the Nile at Acwan, where the river in pouring over these rocks makes the First Cataract, or rather did before the construction of the great dam. Granite quarried at Acwan could be loaded on boats and conveyed to any city on the shores of the Mediterranean, and it is the granite of Acwan of which are composed not only many of the monuments of Egypt, but also the pillars which adorned many temples in Syria and Palestine.
2. Paleozoic Rocks (P):
The Paleozoic rocks of Sinai and Arabia are of Carboniferous age, but do not include any beds of coal. Those East of Caesarea are Devonian. Those Southeast of the Dead Sea are the oldest of all, being of Cambrian age.
3. Triassic and Jurassic Rocks (Jahwist):
Several formations which are well developed in the British Islands, are not found in Palestine, but a small Triassic area is found near the Gulf of Alexandretta, while Jurassic strata are found in the region of Hermon and in Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. The small scale of the accompanying map makes it impossible to represent accurately the extent of these rocks.
4. Nubian Sandstone (N):
This name was given by Russegger, who in the middle of the 19th century followed and studied this formation from the Sudan to Syria. Wherever the Nubian Sandstone is found in contact with the Upper Cretaceous limestone it underlies the latter conformably. In Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon and Hermon (but not farther South) it is conformably underlaid by Jurassic limestone. It follows, therefore, that its upper strata (the only ones found in the North) must be of Lower or Middle Cretaceous age. In the South, however, the Jurassic limestone is entirely absent. In Western Sinai the Nubian Sandstone rests conformably on Carboniferous limestone, and by the Dead Sea on Cambrian limestone, while at Petra and at many other places it rests unconformably on Crystalline rocks. While the consideration of the age of the Nubian Sandstone presents no difficulty in Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon and Hermon, it is a very different matter in Western Sinai, and by the Dead Sea. Sandstone is generally supposed to be formed more rapidly than most other rocks. It is, therefore, rather staggering to try to conceive of even the 2,000 ft. of sandstone at the Southeast end of the Dead Sea as having been in process of formation from the Cambrian to the Cretaceous. The Nubian Sandstone is commonly brown or reddish, but in places shows great variety of color. The temples and tombs of Petra were all carved in this rock. It is in places very friable, and in others compact and hard. The sands of the Arabian deserts have been in the main derived from it, being carried by the prevailing west winds. Where it is covered by a sheet of eruptive rock (charrah), it is protected from erosion, with the result that the land to the East is not converted into a sandy desert (Hogarth, Penetration of Arabia). It frequently includes strata of clay and shale and thin seams of coal or lignite, and must have been deposited in seas which were at the time relatively shallow.
5. Upper Cretaceous Limestone (C):
This is the principal rock of Palestine, Lebanon, and Anti-Lebanon. Many of its strata are very fossiliferous, and no doubt exists as to its age. It furnishes the best of building stone and is a source of lime. The soils formed from it are fertile, and the mountain sides have been terraced by the patient labor of centuries.
6. Tertiary Rocks (T):
A notable Tertiary fossil is the Nummulite, which occurs in abundance in the rock of the pyramids of Gizeh and in other places. Relatively small masses of Tertiary strata (not shown on the map) are found on the coast at the mouths of the principal streams of Lebanon, showing that while the mass of Lebanon had risen from the sea by the beginning of the Tertiary, the elevation was not complete. The principal river courses had, however, already been formed, and the streams were already carrying into the sea the scourings of the rocks of early Lebanon, which were being laid down to form these Tertiary strata.
7. Quaternary and Recent Strata (R):
These consist mainly of the superficial deposits of the Nile, the Euphrates and other large streams. At various points along the coast of Syria and Palestine are extensive sand dunes. Frequently under the loose sand, or exposed, is found a sandstone which instead of being entirely siliceous, like most sandstones, is partly calcareous, containing from 15 to 25 per cent of calcium-carbonate. This is probably an aeolian formation, i.e. consolidated under the influence of the atmosphere, and not formed under the sea, like most stratified rocks. It is easily worked and is much used for building.
It may be gathered from the foregoing statements that the rocks of Palestine are mainly Cretaceous. The Jurassic limestone, which in Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon underlies the Nubian Sandstone, is absent in Palestine, but, at least in Eastern Palestine, as in Lebanon, we find the Upper Cretaceous limestone to be underlaid by the Nubian Sandstone. A striking feature of the geology of Palestine is the Jordan valley fault. At some time, probably at the beginning of the Tertiary period, when Lebanon, Anti-Lebanon, and the Judean hills were being lifted out of the sea, the earth's crust was rent for at least several hundred miles along a line nearly North and South, or more exactly from a little West of South to a little East of North. This line runs through the Gulf of `Aqabah, the Wadi-`Arabah, the Dead Sea, the Jordan valley, the Sea of Tiberias, the Chuleh, and the valley between Hermon and Anti-Lebanon on the one hand and Lebanon on the other. The resulting disturbance of the strata is most evident in the region of the Dead Sea. There is no evidence that the two walls of the fissure separated from one another, but the East wall slipped up and the West wall down for perhaps 2,000 ft, so that on the East shore of the Dead Sea and in the valleys entering the Jordan, Dead Sea, and `Arabah from the East, the Nubian Sandstone is exposed, underlying the Upper Cretaceous limestone, while on the West side, even down to the level of the Dead Sea, 1,290 ft. below the Mediterranean, the Nubian Sandstone is nowhere visible, although it may be presumed to exist there also below the upper limestone. (Seethe accompanying ideal section, after Lartet, through Judea, the Dead Sea and Moab.) The great fault and the subsidiary faults which accompany it occasioned the outpourings of igneous rock which are abundant along the line of the fault. The numerous hot springs (e.g. Tiberins, Wadi-Yarmuk, Wadi-Zarqa-Ma`in (Callirrhoe), Wadi-ul-Chisa) may be due to subterranean streams of water coming in contact with deeply buried and still heated masses of igneous rock.
Alfred Ely Day
pal'-es-tin (pelesheth; Phulistieim, Allophuloi; the King James Version Joel 3:4 (the Revised Version (British and American) "Philistia"), "Palestina"; the King James Version Exodus 15:14 Isaiah 14:29, 31; compare Psalm 60:8; Psalm 83:7; Psalm 87:4; 108:9):
I. PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
1. General Geographical Features
3. Geological Conditions
4. Fauna and Flora
7. Drought and Famine
II. PALESTINE IN THE PENTATEUCH
1. Places Visited by Abraham
2. Places Visited by Isaac
3. Places Visited by Jacob
4. Mentioned in Connection with Judah
5. Review of Geography of Genesis
6. Exodus and Leviticus
III. PALESTINE IN THE HISTORIC BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. Book of Joshua
2. Book of Judges
3. Book of Ruth
4. Books of Samuel
5. Books of Kings
6. Post-exilic Historical Books
IV. PALESTINE IN THE POETIC BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
1. Book of Job
2. Book of Psalms
3. Book of Proverbs
4. So of Songs
V. PALESTINE IN THE PROPHETS
4. Minor Prophets
VI. PALESTINE IN THE APOCRYPHA
1. Book of Judith
2. Book of Wisdom
3. 1 Maccabees
4. 2 Maccabees
VII. PALESTINE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
1. Synoptic Gospels
2. Fourth Gospel
3. Book of Acts
The word properly means "Philistia," but appears to be first used in the extended sense, as meaning all the "Land of Israel" or "Holy Land" (Zechariah 2:12), by Philo and by Ovid and later Roman authors (Reland, Palestine Illustr., I, 38-42).
I. Physical Conditions.
The Bible in general may be said to breathe air of Palestine; and it is here intended to show how important for sound criticism is the consideration of its geography, and of the numerous incidental allusions to the natural features, fauna, flora, cultivation, and climate of the land in which most of the Bible books were written. With the later history and topography of Palestine, after 70 A.D., we are not here concerned, but a short account of its present physical and geological conditions is needed for our purpose.
1. General Geographical Features:
Palestine West of the Jordan, between Dan and Beersheba, has an area of about 6,000 square miles, the length from Hermon southward being nearly 150 miles, and the width gradually increasing from 20 miles on the North to 60 miles on the South. It is thus about the size of Wales, and the height of the Palestinian mountains is about the same as that of the Welsh. East of the Jordan an area of about 4,000 square miles was included in the land of Israel. The general geographical features are familiar to all.
(1) The land is divided by the deep chasm of the Jordan valley-an ancient geological fault continuing in the Dead Sea, where its depth (at the bottom of the lake) is 2,600 ft. below the Mediterranean.
(2) West of the valley the mountain ridge, which is a continuation of Lebanon, has very steep slopes on the East and long spurs on the West, on which side the foothills (Hebrew shephelah or "lowland") form a distinct district, widening gradually southward, while between this region and the sea the plains of Sharon and Philistia stretch to the sandhills and low cliffs of a harborless coast.
(3) In Upper Galilee, on the North, the mountain ridge rises to 4,000 ft. above the Mediterranean. Lower Galilee, to the South, includes rounded hills less than 1,000 ft. above the sea, and the triangular plain of Esdraelon drained by the River Kishon between the Gilboa watershed on the East and the long spur of Carmel on the West.
(4) In Samaria the mountains are extremely rugged, but a small plain near Dothan adjoins that of Esdraelon, and another stretches East of Shechem, 2,500 ft. above the level of the Jordan valley. In Judea the main ridge rises toward Hebron and then sinks to the level of the Beersheba plains about 1,000 ft. above the sea. The desert of Judah forms a plateau (500 ft. above sea-level), between this ridge and the Dead Sea, and is throughout barren and waterless; but the mountains-which average about 3,000 ft. above the sea-are full of good springs and suitable for the cultivation of the vine, fig and olive. The richest lands are found in the shephelah region-especially in Judea-and in the corn plains of Esdraelon, Sharon, and Philistia.
(5) East of the Jordan the plateau of Bashan (averaging 1,500 ft. above the sea) is also a fine corn country. South of this, Gilead presents a mountain region rising to 3,600 ft. above sea-level at Jebel Osha`, and sloping gently on the East to the desert. The steep western slopes are watered by the Jabbok River, and by many perennial brooks. In North Gilead especially the wooded hills present some of the most picturesque scenery of the Holy Land. South of Gilead, the Moab plateau (about 2,700 ft. above sea-level) is now a desert, but is fitted for raising grain, and, in places, for vines. A lower shelf or plateau (about 500 to 1,000 ft. above sea-level) intervenes between the main plateau and the Dead Sea cliffs, and answers to the Desert of Judah West of the lake.
The water-supply of Palestine is abundant, except in the desert regions above noticed, which include only a small part of its area. The Jordan runs into the Dead Sea, which has no outlet and which maintains its level solely by evaporation, being consequently very salt; the surface is nearly 1,300 ft. below the Mediterranean, whereas the Sea of Galilee (680 ft. below sea-level) is sweet and full of fish. The Jordan is fed, not only by the snows of Hermon, but by many affluent streams from both sides. There are several streams also in Sharon, including the Crocodile River under Carmel. In the mountains, where the hard dolomite limestone is on the surface, perennial springs are numerous. In the lower hills, where this limestone is covered by a softer chalky stone, the supply depends on wells and cisterns. In the Beersheba plains the water, running under the surface, is reached by scooping shallow pits-especially those near Gerar, to be noticed later.
3. Geological Conditions:
The fertility and cultivation of any country depends mainly on its geological conditions. These are comparatively simple in Palestine, and have undergone no change since the age when man first appeared, or since the days of the Hebrew patriarchs. The country was first upheaved from the ocean in the Eocene age; and, in the subsequent Miocene age, the great crack in the earth's surface occurred, which formed a narrow gulf stretching from that of the `Aqabah on the South almost to the foot of Hermon. Further upheaval, accompanied by volcanic outbreaks which covered the plateaus of Golan, Bashan, and Lower Galilee with lava, cut off the Jordan valley from the Red Sea, and formed a long lake, the bottom of which continued to sink on the South to its present level during the Pleiocene and Pluvial periods, after which-its peculiar fauna having developed meanwhile-the lake gradually dried up, till it was represented only, as it now is, by the swampy Chuleh, the pear-shaped Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea. These changes all occurred long ages before the appearance of man. The beds upheaved include: (1) the Nubian Sandstone (of the Greensand period), which was sheared along the line of the Jordan fault East of the river, and which only appears on the western slopes of Hermon, Gilead, and Moab; (2) the limestones of the Cretaceous age, including the hard dolomite, and softer beds full of characteristic fossils; (3) the soft Eocene limestone, which appears chiefly on the western spurs and in the foothills, the angle of upheaval being less steep than that of the older main formation. On the shores of the Mediterranean a yet later sandy limestone forms the low cliffs of Sharon.
SeeGEOLOGY OF PALESTINE.
4. Fauna and Flora:
As regards fauna, flora and cultivation, it is sufficient here to say that they are still practically the same as described throughout the Bible. The lion and the wild bull (Bos primigenius) were exterminated within historic times, but have left their bones in the Jordan gravels, and in caves. The bear has gradually retreated to Hermon and Lebanon. The buffalo has been introduced since the Moslem conquest. Among trees the apple has fallen out of cultivation since the Middle Ages, and the cactus has been introduced; but Palestine is still a land of grain, wine and oil, and famous for its fruits. Its trees, shrubs and plants are those noticed in the Bible. Its woods have been thinned in Lower Galilee and Northern Sharon, but on the other hand the copse has often grown over the site of former vineyards and villages, and there is no reason to think that any general desiccation has occurred within the last 40 centuries, such as would affect the rainfall.
The climate of Palestine is similar to that of other Mediterranean lands, such as Cyprus, Sicily or Southern Italy; and, in spite of the fevers of mosquito districts in the plains, it is much better than that of the Delta in Egypt, or of Mesopotamia. The summer heat is oppressive only for a few days at a time, when (espescially in May) the dry wind-deficient in ozone-blows from the eastern desert. For most of the season a moisture-laden sea breeze, rising about 10 AM, blows till the evening, and fertilizes all the western slopes of the mountains. In the bare deserts the difference between 90? F. by day and 40? F. by night gives a refreshing cold. With the east wind the temperature rises to 105? F., and the nights are oppressive. In the Jordan valley, in autumn, the shade temperature reaches 120? F. In this season mists cover the mountains and swell the grapes. In winter the snow sometimes lies for several days on the watershed ridge and on the Edomite mountains, but in summer even Hermon is sometimes quite snowless at 9,000 ft. above the sea. There is perhaps no country in which such a range of climate can be found, from the Alpine to the tropical, and none in which the range of fauna and flora is consequently so large, from the European to the African.
The rainfall of Palestine is between 20 and 30 inches annually, and the rainy season is the same as in other Mediterranean countries. The "former rains" begin with the thunderstorms of November, and the "latter rains" cease with April showers. From December to February-except in years of drought-the rains are heavy. In most years the supply is quite sufficient for purposes of cultivation. The plowing begins in autumn, and the corn is rarely spoiled by storms in summer. The fruits ripen in autumn and suffer only from the occasional appearance of locust swarms. There appears to be no reason to suppose that climate or rainfall have undergone any change since the times of the Bible; and a consideration of Bible allusions confirms this view.
7. Drought and Famine:
Thus, the occurrence of drought, and of consequent famine, is mentioned in the Old Testament as occasional in all times (Genesis 12:10; Genesis 26:2; Genesis 41:50 Leviticus 26:20 2 Samuel 21:1 1 Kings 8:35 Isaiah 5:6 Jeremiah 14:1 Joel 1:10-12 Haggai 1:11 Zechariah 14:17), and droughts are also noticed in the Mishna (Ta`anith, i. 4-7) as occurring in autumn, and even lasting throughout the rainy season till spring. Good rains were a blessing from God, and drought was a sign of His displeasure, in Hebrew belief (Deuteronomy 11:14 Jeremiah 5:24 Joel 2:23). A thunderstorm in harvest time (May) was most unusual (1 Samuel 12:17, 18), yet such a storm does still occur as a very exceptional phenomenon. By "snow in harvest" (Proverbs 25:13) we are not to understand a snowstorm, for it is likened to a "faithful messenger," and the reference is to the use of snow for cooling wine, which is still usual at Damascus. The notice of fever on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:14) shows that this region was as unhealthy as it still is in summer. The decay of irrigation in Sharon may have rendered the plain more malarious than of old, but the identity of the Palestinian flora with that of the Bible indicates that the climate, generally speaking, is unchanged.
II. Palestine in the Pentateuch.
1. Places Visited by Abraham:
The Book of Genesis is full of allusions to sites sacred to the memory of the Hebrew patriarchs. In the time of Abraham the population consisted of tribes, mainly Semitic, who came originally from Babylonia, including Canaanites ("lowlanders") between Sidon and Gaza, and in the Jordan valley, and Amorites ("highlanders") in the mountains (Genesis 10:15-19 Numbers 13:29). Their language was akin to Hebrew, and it is only in Egypt that we read of an interpreter being needed (Genesis 42:23), while excavated remains of seal-cylinders, and other objects, show that the civilization of Palestine was similar to that of Babylonia.
The first place noticed is the shrine or "station" (maqom) of Shechem, with the Elon Moreh, the Septuagint "high oak"), where Jacob afterward buried the idols of his wives, and where Joshua set up a stone by the "holy place" (Genesis 12:6; Genesis 35:4 Joshua 24:26). Samaritan tradition showed the site near BalaTa ("the oak") at the foot of Mt. Gerizim. The "Canaanite was then in the land" (in Abraham's time), but was exterminated (Genesis 34:25) by Jacob's sons. From Shechem Abraham journeyed southward and raised an altar between Bethel (Beitin) and Hal (Chayan), East of the town of Luz, the name of which still survives hard-by at the spring of Lozeh (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3; Genesis 28:11, 19; 35:2).
(2) The Negeb.
But, on his return from Egypt with large flocks (Genesis 12:16), he settled in the pastoral region, between Beersheba and the western Kadesh (Genesis 13:1; Genesis 20:1), called in Hebrew the neghebh, "dry" country, on the edge of the cultivated lands. From East of Bethel there is a fine view of the lower Jordan valley, and here Lot "lifted up his eyes" (Genesis 13:10), and chose the rich grass lands of that valley for his flocks. The "cities of the Plain" (kikkar) were clearly in this valley, and Sodom must have been near the river, since Lot's journey to Zoar (Genesis 19:22) occupied only an hour or two (Genesis 19:15, 23) through the plain to the foot of the Moab mountains. These cities are not said to have been visible from near Hebron; but, from the hilltop East of the city, Abraham could have seen "the smoke of the land" (Genesis 19:28) rising up. The first land owned by him was the garden of Mamre (Genesis 13:18; Genesis 18:1; Genesis 23:19), with the cave-tomb which tradition still points out under the floor of the Hebron mosque. His tent was spread under the "oaks of Mamre" (Genesis 18:1), where his mysterious guests rested "under the tree" (Genesis 18:8). One aged oak still survives in the flat ground West of the city, but this tree is very uncommon in the mountains of Judah. In all these incidental touches we have evidence of the exact knowledge of Palestine which distinguishes the story of the patriarchs.
(3) Campaign of Amraphel.
Palestine appears to have been an outlying province of the empire of. Hammurabi, king of Babylon in Abraham's time; and the campaign of Amraphel resembled those of later Assyrian overlords exacting tribute of petty kings. The route (Genesis 14:5-8) lay through Bashan, Gilead and Moab to Kadesh (probably at Petra), and the return through the desert of Judah to the plains of Jericho. Thus Hebron was not attacked (see Genesis 14:13), and the pursuit by Abraham and his Amorite allies led up the Jordan valley to Dan, and thence North of Damascus (Genesis 14:15). The Salem whose king blessed Abraham on his return was thought by the Samaritans, and by Jerome, to be the city near the Jordan valley afterward visited by Jacob (Genesis 14:18; Genesis 33:18).
Abraham returned to the southern plains, and "sojourned in Gerar" (Genesis 20:1), now Umm Jerrar, 7 miles South of Gaza. The wells which he dug in this valley (Genesis 26:15) were no doubt shallow excavations like those from which the Arabs still obtain the water flowing under the surface in the same vicinity (SWP, III, 390), though that at Beersheba (Genesis 21:25-32), to which Isaac added another (Genesis 26:23-25), may have been more permanent. Three masonry wells now exist at Bir es Seba`, but the masonry is modern. The planting of a "tamarisk" at this place (Genesis 21:33) is an interesting touch, since the tree is distinctive of the dry lowlands. From Beersheba Abraham journeyed to "the land of Moriah" Septuagint "the high land") to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:2); and the mountain, according to Hebrew tradition (2 Chronicles 3:1), was at Jerusalem, but according to the Samaritans was Gerizim near the Elon Moreh-a summit which could certainly have been seen "afar off" (2 Chronicles 3:4) on "the third day."
2. Places Visited by Isaac:
Isaac, living in the same pastoral wilderness, at the western Kadesh (Genesis 25:11) and at Gerar (Genesis 26:2), suffered like his father in a year of drought, and had similar difficulties with the Philistines. At Gerar he sowed grain (Genesis 26:12), and the vicinity is still capable of such cultivation. Thence he retreated Southeast to Rehoboth (Rucheibeh), North of Kadesh, where ancient wells like those at Beersheba still exist (Genesis 26:22). To Beersheba he finally returned (Genesis 26:23).
3. Places Visited by Jacob:
When Jacob fled to Haran from Beersheba (Genesis 28:10) he slept at the "place" (or shrine) consecrated by Abraham's altar near Bethel, and like any modern Arab visitor to a shrine-erected a memorial stone (Genesis 28:18), which he renewed twenty years later (Genesis 35:14) when God appeared to him "again" (Genesis 35:9).
(1) Haran to Succoth.
His return journey from Haran to Gilead raises an interesting question. The distance is about 350 miles from Haran to the Galeed or "witness heap" (Genesis 31:48) at Mizpah-probably Suf in North Gilead. This distance Laban is said to have covered in 7 days (Genesis 31:23), which would be possible for a force mounted on riding camels. But the news of Jacob's flight reached Laban on the 3rd day (Genesis 31:22), and some time would elapse before he could gather his "brethren." Jacob with his flocks and herds must have needed 3 weeks for the journey. It is remarkable that the vicinity of Mizpah still presents ancient monuments like the "pillar" (Genesis 31:45) round which the "memorial cairn" (yeghar-sahadhutha) was formed. From this place Jacob journeyed to Mahanaim (probably Machmah), South of the Jabbok river-a place which afterward became the capital of South Gilead (Genesis 32:1 1 Kings 4:14); but, on hearing of the advance of Esau from Edom, he retreated across the river (Genesis 32:22) and then reached Succoth (Genesis 33:17), believed to be Tell Der`ala, North of the stream.
(2) From the Jordan to Hebron.
Crossing the Jordan by one of several fords in this vicinity, Jacob approached Shechem by the perennial stream of Wady Far`ah, and camped at Shalem (Salim) on the east side of the fertile plain which stretches thence to Shechem, and here he bought land of the Hivites (Genesis 33:18-20). We are not told that he dug a well, but the necessity for digging one in a region full of springs can only be explained by Hivite jealousy of water rights, and the well still exists East of Shechem (compare John 4:5), not far from the Elon Moreh where were buried the teraphim (Genesis 35:4) or "spirits" (Assyrian, tarpu) from Haran (Genesis 31:30) under the oak of Abraham. These no doubt were small images, such as are so often unearthed in Palestine. The further progress of Jacob led by Bethel and Bethlehem to Hebron (Genesis 35:6, 19, 27), but some of his elder sons seem to have remained at Shechem. Thus, Joseph was sent later from Hebron (Genesis 37:14) to visit his brethren there, but found them at Dothan.
Dothan (Genesis 37:17) lay in a plain on the main trade route from Egypt to Damascus, which crossed the low watershed at this point and led down the valley to Jezreel and over Jordan to Bashan. The "well of the pit" (SWP, II, 169) is still shown at Tell Dothan, and the Ishmaelites, from Midian and Gilead, chose this easy caravan route (Genesis 37:25, 28) for camels laden with the Gilead balm and spices. The plain was fitted for feeding Jacob's flocks. The products of Palestine then included also honey, pistachio nuts, and almonds (Genesis 43:11); and a few centuries later we find notice in a text of Thothmes III of honey and balsam, with oil, wine, wheat, spelt, barley and fruits, as rations of the Egyptian troops in Canaan (Brugsch, Hist Egypt, I, 332).
4. Mentioned in Connection with Judah:
The episode of Judah and Tamar is connected with a region in the Shephelah, or low hills of Judea. Adullam (`Aid-el-ma), Chezib (`Ain Kezbeh), and Timnath (Tibneh) are not far apart (Genesis 38:1, 5, 12), the latter being in a pastoral valley where Judah met his "sheep shearers." Tamar sat at "the entrance of Enaim" (compare Genesis 38:14, 22 the English Revised Version) or Enam (Joshua 15:34), perhaps at Kefr `Ana, 6 miles Northwest of Timnath. She was mistaken for a qedheshah, or votary (sacred prostitute) of Ashtoreth (Genesis 38:15, 21), and we know from Hammurabi's laws that such votaries were already recognized. The mention of Judah's signet and staff (Genesis 38:18) also reminds us of Babylonian customs as described by Herodotus (i.195), and signet-cylinders of Babylonian style, and of early date, have been unearthed in Palestine at Gezer and elsewhere (compare the "Babylonian garment," Joshua 7:21).
5. Review of the Geography of Genesis:
Generally speaking, the geography of Genesis presents no difficulties, and shows an intimate knowledge of the country, while the allusions to natural products and to customs are in accord with the results of scientific discovery. Only one difficulty needs notice, where Atad (Genesis 50:10) on the way from Egypt to Hebron is described as "beyond the Jordan." In this case the Assyrian language perhaps helps us, for in that tongue Yaur-danu means "the great river," and the reference may be to the Nile itself, which is called Yaur in Hebrew (ye'or) and Assyrian alike.
6. Exodus and Leviticus:
Exodus is concerned with Egypt and the Sinaitic desert, though it may be observed that its simple agricultural laws (Exodus 21-23), which so often recall those of Hammurabi, would have been needed at once on the conquest of Gilead and Bashan, before crossing the Jordan. In Leviticus 11 we have a list of animals most of which belong to the desert-as for instance the "coney" or hyrax (Leviticus 11:5 Psalm 104:18 Proverbs 30:26), but others-such as the swine (Leviticus 11:7), the stork and the heron (Leviticus 11:19)-to the `Arabah and the Jordan valley, while the hoopoe (the King James Version "lapwing," Leviticus 11:19) lives in Gilead and in Western Palestine. In Deuteronomy 14 the fallow deer and the roe (14:5) are now inhabitants of Tabor and Gilead, but the "wild goat" (ibex), "wild ox" (buball), "pygarg" (addax) and "chamois" (wild sheep), are found in the `Arabah and in the deserts.
In Numbers, the conquest of Eastern Palestine is described, and most of the towns mentioned are known (21:18-33); the notice of vineyards in Moab (21:22) agrees with the discovery of ancient rock-cut wine presses near Heshbon (SEP, I, 221). The view of Israel, in camp at Shittim by Balaam (22:41), standing on the top of Pisgah or Mt. Nebo, has been shown to be possible by the discovery of Jebel Neba, where also rude dolmens recalling Balak's altars have been found (SEP, I, 202). The plateau of Moab (32:3) is described as a "land for cattle," and still supports Arab flocks. The camps in which Israel left their cattle, women and children during the wars, for 6 months, stretched (33:49) from Beth-jeshimoth (Suweimeh), near the northeastern corner of the Dead Sea over Abel-shittim ("the acacia meadow"-a name it still bears) in a plain watered by several brooks, and having good herbage in spring.
(1) Physical Allusions.
The description of the "good land" in Deuteronomy (8:7) applies in some details with special force to Mt. Gilead, which possesses more perennial streams than Western Palestine throughout-"a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills"; a land also "of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates, a land of olive-trees and honey" is found in Gilead and Bashan. Palestine itself is not a mining country, but the words (8:9), "a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper," may be explained by the facts that iron mines existed near Beirut in the 10th century A.D., and copper mines at Punon North of Petra in the 4th century A.D., as described by Jerome (Onomasticon, under the word "Phinon"). In Deuteronomy also (11:29; compare 27:4; Joshua 8:30) Ebal and Gerizim are first noticed, as beside the "oaks of Moreh." Ebal the mountain of curses (3,077 ft. above sea-level) and Gerizim the mountain of blessings (2, 850 ft.) are the two highest tops in Samaria, and Shechem lies in a rich valley between them. The first sacred center of Israel was thus established at the place where Abraham built his first altar and Jacob dug his well, where Joseph was buried and where Joshua recognized a holy place at the foot of Gerizim (Joshua 24:26). The last chapters of Deuteronomy record the famous Pisgah view from Mt. Nebo (34:1-3), which answers in all respects to that from Jebel Neba, except as to Dan, and the utmost (or "western") sea, neither of which is visible. Here we should probably read "toward" rather than "to," and there is no other hill above the plains of Shittim whence a better view can be obtained of the Jordan valley, from Zoar to Jericho, of the watershed mountains as far North as Gilboa and Tabor, and of the slopes of Gilead.
But besides these physical allusions, the progress of exploration serves to illustrate the archaeology of Deuteronomy. Israel was commanded (12:3) to overthrow the Canaanite altars, to break the standing stones which were emblems of superstition, to burn the 'asherah poles (or artificial trees), and to hew down the graven images. That these commands were obeyed is clear. The rude altars and standing stones are now found only in Moab, and in remote parts of Gilead, Bashan, and Galilee, not reached by the power of reforming kings of Judah. The 'asherah poles have disappeared, the images are found, only deep under the surface. The carved tablets which remain at Damascus, and in Phoenicia and Syria, representing the gods of Canaan or of the Hittites, have no counterpart in the Holy Land. Again when we read of ancient "landmarks" (Deuteronomy 19:14 Proverbs 22:28; Proverbs 23:10)
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(as of 1915)
" Preliminary Consideration
I. ERA OF PREPARATION
1. Outside of Palestine
2. In Palestine
(1) Early Christian Period
(2) Period of Cursory Observation
(3) Beginning of Scientific Observation
II. ERA OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION
1. Period of Individual Enterprise
(1) First Trained Explorers
(2) The Climax of Individual Exploration
2. Scientific Cooperative Surface Exploration
3. Most Recent Results in Surface Exploration
III. ERA OF SCIENTIFIC EXCAVATION
1. Southern Palestine
(1) Tell el-Chesy
(2) Excavations in Jerusalem
(3) Excavations in the Shephelah
(4) Painted "Tombs of Marissa"
2. Northern Palestine
(1) Tell Ta`annek
(2) Tell el-Mutesellim
(3) Tell Chum
3. Eastern Palestine
4. Central Palestine
(3) `Ain Shems
Previous to the last century, almost the entire stock of knowledge concerning ancient Palestine, including its races, laws, languages, history and manners, was obtained from Josephus and the Bible, with a few brief additional references given by Greek and Roman authors; knowledge concerning modern Palestine was limited to the reports of chance travelers. The change has been due largely to the compelling interest taken in sacred history and the "Holy Oracles." This smallest country in the world has aroused the spirit of exploration as no other country has or could. It has largely stimulated many of the investigations carried on in other lands.
I. Era of Preparation.
1. Outside of Palestine:
Much direct information concerning ancient Palestine, absolutely essential to the success of modern exploration in that land, has come through discoveries in other countries; but due in many cases to Biblical influence. All the most important Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and versions of the Bible and most of the Jewish Talmud and apocryphal and Wisdom books were found outside of Palestine. The pictures of its population, cities, fortresses and armies give a color and perspective to its ancient history far more vivid than can be found on any of its own contemporary monuments. The records of Thothmes III (15th century B.C.) describing the capture of Megiddo in the plain of Esdraelon with its vast stores of "chariots wrought with gold," bronze armor, silver and ebony statues, ivory and ebony furniture, etc., and of his further capture of 118 other Canaanite towns, many of which are well known from the Bible, and from which he takes an enormous tribute of war materials, golden ornaments and golden dishes, "too many to be weighed," find no parallel in any indigenous record-such records even if written having been doomed to perish because of the soil, climate and character of the rocks West of the Jordan. So circa 1400 B.C., the Tell el-Amarna Letters (discovered in 1887) mention by name many Biblical cities, and give much direct information concerning the political and social conditions at that period, with at least 6 letters from the governor of Jerusalem, who writes to the Pharaoh news that the Egyptian fleet has left the coast, that all the neighboring cities have been lost to Egypt, and that Jerusalem will be lost unless help can be had quickly against the invasion of the Khabiri. The literature of the XIXth Dynasty contains many Hebrew names with much information concerning Goshen, Pithom, Canaan, etc., while in one huge stele of Menephtah the Israelites are mentioned by name. Later Egyptian Pharaohs give almost equally important knowledge concerning Palestine, while the Assyrian texts are even more direct. The black obelisk of Shalmancser II (9th century) catalogues and pictures the tribute received from Jehu; almost every king of the 8th century tells something of his relations with the rulers of Jerusalem or Damascus, throwing immense light on local politics, and the later Bah records give vividly the conditions previous to and during the exile, while the edict of Cyrus gives the very decree by virtue of which the Jews could return to their native land. Later discoveries, like the Code of Hammurabi at Susa (1901), the Sendjirli and other Aramaic texts from Northern Syria (1890, 1908), and the Elephantine papyri, some of which are addressed to the "sons of Sanballat" and describe a temple in Egypt erected to Yahu (Yahweh) in the 5th century B.C., may not give direct information concerning Palestine, but are important to present explorers because of the light thrown upon the laws of Palestine in patriarchal times; upon the thought and language of a neighboring Semitic community at the time of the Monarchy; upon the religious ritual and festivals of Nehemiah's day, and upon the general wealth and culture of the Jews of the 5th century; opening up also for the first time the intimate relations which existed between Jerusalem and Samaria and the Jews of the Dispersion. So the vast amounts of Greek papyri found recently in the Fayyum not only have preserved the "Logia" and "Lost Gospels" and fragments of Scripture texts, early Christian Egyptian ritual, etc., but have given to scholars for the first time contemporaneous examples of the colloquial language which the Jews of Palestine were using in the 1st century A.D., and in which they wrote the "memoirs" of the apostles and the Gospels of Jesus.
2. In Palestine:
(1) Early Christian Period.
At this time, during the first three or four centuries the ancient sites and holy places were identified, giving some valuable information as to the topographical memories of the earlier church. By far the most valuable of these carefully prepared summaries of ancient Bible places, with their modern sites, and the distances between them, was the Onomasticon of Eusebius, as it was enlarged by Jerome, which attempted seriously the identification of some 300 holy places, most of these being vitally important for the modern student of the Bible. While some of these identifications were "curiously incorrect" (Bliss) and the distances even at the best only approximate, yet few satisfactory additions were made to the list for 1,500 years; and it was certainly a splendid contribution to Palestinian topography, for the list as a whole has been confirmed by the scientific conclusions of recent investigators.
(2) Period of Cursory Observation.
The earliest traveler who has left a record of his journey into Palestine was Sinuhit, who, perhaps a century after Abraham, mentions a number of places known to us from the Bible and describes Canaan as a "land of figs and vines,.... where wine was more plentiful than Water,.... honey and oil in abundance.... all kinds of fruit upon its trees, barley and spelt in the fields, and cattle beyond number"; each day his table is laden with "bread, wine, cooked flesh and roasted fowl.... wild game from the hills and milk in every sort of cooked dish" (Breasted, Ancient Records, I, 496). A few other Egyptian visitors (1300-1000 B.C.) add little to our knowledge. The report of the Hebrew spies (Numbers 13) records important observations, although they can only humorously be called "genuine explorers" (Bliss), and Joshua's list of cities and tribes, although their boundaries are carefully described (Joshua 13-21), are naturally excluded from this review.
The record of early Christian travel begins with the Bordeaux Pilgrim (332 A.D.), and during the next two centuries scores of others write out their observations in the Holy Land, but for 1,000 years there is scarcely a single visitor who looks at the country except through the eyes of the monks. A woman traveler of the 4th century reports some interesting facts about the early ritual of the Jerusalem church and the catechumen teaching, and surprises us by locating Pithom correctly (although the site was totally forgotten and only recovered in 1883), and the Epitome of Eucherius (5th century) gives a clear description of the holy places in Jerusalem; but almost the only other significant sign that anyone at this era ever made serious observations of value comes from the very large, fine mosaic of the 5th century recently discovered at Madeba, which gives a good impression of ancient Jerusalem with its buildings, and a careful bird's-eye view of the surrounding country (see below II, 3). By the middle of the 6th century the old "Holy Places" were covered by churches, while new ones were manufactured or discovered in dreams, and relics of martyrs' bones began to engross so much attention that no time was left in which to make any ordinary geographical or natural-history observations. A little local color and a few facts in regard to the plan of early churches and the persecution of Christians by Moslems constitute almost the sum total of valus to be gathered from the multitude of pilgrims between the 6th and 12th centuries. In the 12th century John of Wurzburg gives a few geographical notes of value; Theoderich notices certain inscriptions and tombs, describes accurately the churches and hospitals he visits, with their pictures and decorations, and outlines intelligently the boundaries of Judea and the salient features of the mountains encompassing Jerusalem; the Abbot Daniel notices the wild beasts in the Jordan forests and the customs at church feasts, and his account is important because of the light it throws on conditions in Palestine just after its conquest by the Crusaders, while in the 13th century Burchard of Mt. Zion makes the earliest known medieval map of Palestine, mentions over 100 Scripture sites, and shows unexpected interest in the plant and animal life of the country-but this practically exhausts the valuable information from Christian sources in these centuries. The Moslem pilgrims and writers from the 9th to the 15th centuries show far more regard to geographical realities than the Christians. It is a Moslem, Istakhri, who in the 10th century makes the first effort at a systematic geography of Palestine, and in the 10th and 13th centuries, respectively, Muqaddasi, after 20 years of preparation, and Yaqut, in a "vast work," publish observations concerning climate, native customs, geographical divisions, etc., which are yet valuable, while Nacir-i-Qhusran, in the 11th century, also gave important information concerning Palestinian botany, gave dimensions of buildings and gates, and even noticed to some extent the ancient arches and ruins-though in all these there are pitiful inaccuracies of observation and induction. One of the best Moslem writers thinks the water of Lake Tiberias is not fit to drink because the city sewerage has ceased to flow into it, and Christian writers from the 7th century down to modern times continually mention the Jor and Dan as two fountains from which the Jordan rises, and continually report the most absurd stories about the Dead Sea and about its supernatural saltness never noticing the salt mountain near by and the other simple causes explaining this phenomenon.
In the 14th century Marino Sanuto gave a "most complete monograph" (Ritter) of Palestinian geography, his maps being really valuable, though, according to modern standards, quite inaccurate. The Jew, Estoai ben Moses ha-Phorhi, in this same century advanced beyond all Christian writers in a work of "real scientific knowledge" (Bliss), in which he correctly identified Megiddo and other ancient sites, though the value of his work was not recognized for 400 years. The great name of the 15th century is that of the Dominican, Father Felix Fabri, who in his large book, Wanderings in the Holy Land, was the first to notice monuments and ruins to which no Biblical traditions were attached (Bliss), and who, within a decade of the discovery of America, described most vividly the dangers and miseries of the sea voyages of that era, and in most modern fashion narrated his adventures among the Saracens; yet notwithstanding the literary value of the book and his better method of arranging his materials, Fabri actually explained the saltness of the Dead Sea as due to the sweat which flowed from the skin of the earth! In the 16th century travelers showed more interest in native customs, but the false traditional identification of sites was scarcely questioned; the route of travel was always the same, as it was absolutely impossible to get East of the Jordan, and even a short trip away from the caravan was dangerous.
(3) Beginning of Scientific Observation.
In the 17th century Michal Nau, for 30 years a missionary in Palestine, De la Roque and Hallifix showed a truly scientific veracity of observation and an increasing accuracy in the recording and verification of their notes, and Maundrell advanced beyond all his predecessors in noticing the antiquities on the seacoast, North of Beirut; but all of these, though possessing fine qualities as explorers, were forced to travel hastily and limit their study to a very narrow field.
II. Era of Scientific Exploration.
1. Period of Individual Enterprise:
(1) First Trained Explorers.
True scientific exploration opened with the 18th century, as men began to think of this as itself an important life-work and not merely as a short episode in a life devoted to more serious pursuits. Th. Shaw (1722) carefully fitted himself as a specialist in natural history and physical geography, and scientifically reported a number of new facts, e.g. conditions and results of evaporation, etc., in the Dead Sea. Bishop Pococke (1738) had been well trained, was free from the bondage of tradition, and did for the antiquities of Palestine what Maundrell had done for those of Syria, making a large number of successful identifications of sites and contributing much to the general knowledge of Palestine. Volney (1783) was a brilliant literary man, in full sympathy with the scientific spirit, who popularized results and made a considerable number of original researches, especially in the Lebanon. Seetzen (1800-1807) and Burckhardt (1810-1812) are called by Bliss "veritable pioneers in the exploration of the ruins of Eastern and Southern Palestine." The former opened Caesarea Philippi to light, visited a large unexplored district and made important observations in almost every field of knowledge, zoology, meteorology, archaeology; the latter, having become an Arab in looks and language, was able to go into many places where no European had ventured, one of his chief triumphs being the discovery of Petra and the scientific location of Mt. Sinai.
(2) The Climax of Individual Exploration.
The climax of the era of scientific observation, unassisted by learned societies, was reached by the American clergyman and teacher, Edward Robinson. He spent parts of two years in Palestine (1838 and 1852) and in 1856 published 3 volumes of Biblical Researches. He strictly employed the scientific method, and showed such rare insight that scarcely one of his conclusions has been found incorrect. His knowledge was as extensive as minute, and although he gave, in all, only five months of steady labor to the specific task of exploration, yet in that time he "reconstructed the map of Palestine" (Bliss), and his conclusions henceforth "formed the ground work of modern research" (Conder). He studied Jerusalem, being the first to show that the ancient fragment of an arch (now "Robinson's") had been part of the bridge connecting the temple with Mt. Zion, and was the first to trace with accuracy the windings of the tunnel leading from the Virgin's Fount to the Pool of Siloam. All Judea, Galilee and Samaria were very well covered by him. He was the first to notice that the ruined building at Tell Chum was a synagogue; from the top of one hill he recognized seven Biblical sites which had been lost for at least 1,500 years; he identified correctly at least 160 new sites, almost all being Biblical places. Robinson's results were phenomenal in number and variety, yet necessarily these have been constantly improved upon or added to in each generation since, for no man can cover the entire field or be a specialist in every department. W.M. Thomson in his Thomson, The Land and the Book (new edition, 1910) and G.E. Post, Flora of Syria, Palestine, and Sinai (1896), gave a needed popular resume of the manners, customs and folklore of the people, as these illustrated the Bible, and many books and articles since have added to this material.
In 1848 the United States sent an expedition under Lieutenant Lynch to the Dead Sea, which ascertained the exact width, depth, currents, temperature, etc., and many parties since have added to this knowledge (see e.g. DEAD SEA; and also PEFS, 1911, XII, 7). From 1854 to 1862 De Vogue thoroughly examined the monuments of Central Syria and remained the sole authority on this section down to the American Archaeological Expedition of 1899. Tabler (1845-63) scientifically described Jerusalem and its environs, and the districts lying between Jaffa and the Jordan, and between Jerusalem and Bethel. Guerin who studied Palestine during periods covering 23 years (1852-75), though limited by lack of funds, covered topographically, with a minuteness never before attempted, almost the whole of Judea, Samaria and Galilee, gathering also many new records of monuments and inscriptions, the record of which was invaluable because many of these had been completely destroyed before the arrival of the next scientific party. A most sensational discovery was that of F. Klein in 1868, when he found at Dibon the huge basalt tablet set up by Mesha, king of Moab (9th century B.C.), on which in a language closely resembling the Hebrew, he gave honor to his god Chemosh by describing his successful revolt against a successor of Omri, the latter being mentioned by name with many well-known Biblical places. In style, thought and language this inscription greatly resembles the early Old Testament records.
2. Scientific Cooperative Surface Exploration:
With the foundation of the Palestine Exploration Fund (1865) the work of exploration took on an entirely new phase, since in this case, not a single individual, but a large company of specialists entered the work, having behind them sufficient funds for adequate investigation in each necessary line of research, and with the British War Office furnishing its expert Royal Engineers to assist the enterprise. Under the auspices of this society during the next 15 years Jerusalem was explored as never before, and all Western Palestine was topographically surveyed (see below); a geological survey (1883-1884) of Sinai, Wady `Arabah and the Dead Sea, and later of Mt. Seir (1885) was accomplished under Professor Edward Hull; the natural history of the country was treated with great thoroughness by several specialists; Palmer and Drake in the dress of Syrian natives, without servants, risked the dangerous journey through the Desert of the Tih in order to locate so far as possible the route of the Exodus; Clermont-Ganneau, who had previously made the discovery of the Jewish placard from the Temple, forbidding strangers to enter the sacred enclosure, added greatly to archaeological knowledge by gathering and deciphering many ancient inscriptions, uncovering buried cemeteries, rock-cut tombs and other monuments. He also laid down important criteria for the age of stone masonry (yet see PEFS, 1897, LXI); identified various sites including Adullam, found the "stone of Bethphage," "Zoheleth," etc., and made innumerable plans of churches, mosques, tombs, etc., and did an incredible amount of other important work. Capt., afterward Col., C.R. Conder did an equally important work, and as the head of the archaeological party could finally report 10,000 place-names as having been gathered, and 172 new Bible sites successfully identified, while the boundaries of the tribes had been practially settled and many vitally important Bible locations for the first time fixed. The excavations in Jerusalem under the same auspices had meanwhile been carried out as planned. After an introductory examination by Sir Charles Wilson, including some little excavating, Sir Charles Warren (1867-1870) and, later, Col. Conder (1872-1875) made thorough excavations over a large area, sinking shafts and following ancient walls to a depth of 80-150 ft. They uncovered the Temple-area from its countless tons of debris and traced its approximate outline; examined underground rock chambers; opened ancient streets; discovered many thousand specimens of pottery, glass, tools, etc., from Jewish to Byzantine periods; found the pier in the Tyropoeon Valley, where Robinson's arch had rested, and also parts of the ancient bridge; traced the line of several important ancient walls, locating gates and towers, and fixed the date of one wall certainly as of the 8th century B.C., and probably of the age of Solomon (G.A. Smith), thus accomplishing an epoch-making work upon which all more recent explorers have safely rested-as Maudslay (1875), in his masterly discovery and examination of the Great Scarp, and Guthe (1881), who made fine additional discoveries at Ophel, as well as Warren and Conder in their work afterward (1884), when they published plans of the whole city with its streets churches, mosques, etc., 25 inches to the mile, which in that direction remains a basis for all later work.
Perhaps, however, the greatest work of all done by this society was the Topographical Survey (1881-1886), accomplished for Judea and Samaria by Col. Conder, and for Galilee by Lord Kitchener, resulting in a great map of Western Palestine in 26 sheets, on a scale of an inch to the mile (with several abridged additions), showing all previous identifications of ancient places. These maps, with the seven magnificent volumes of memoirs, etc., giving the other scientific work done by the various parties, marked such an epoch-making advance in knowledge that it has been called "the most important contribution to illustrate the Bible since its translation into the vulgar tongue."
In addition to the above the Palestine Exploration Fund established a Quarterly Statement and Society of Biblical Archaeology from which subscribers could keep in touch with the latest Biblical results, and published large quantities of translations of ancient texts and travels and of books reporting discoveries as these were made. Altogether more advance was made during these 15 years from 1865-1880 than in the 15 centuries before.
3. Most Recent Results in Surface Exploration:
The next ten years (1880-90) did not furnish as much new material from Palestine exploration, but in 1880 the Siloam Inscription (compare 2 Kings 20:20 2 Chronicles 32:30) was accidentally found in Jerusalem, showing the accuracy with which the engineers of Hezekiah's day could, at least occasionally, cut long tunnels through the rock (see also Clermont-Ganneau, Archaeological Researches, 313); and in 1881-1885 Conder and Schumacher attempted their difficult task of making a scientific topographical map of Eastern Palestine. In 1881 H. Clay Trumbull rediscovered and properly described Kadesh-barnea, settling authoritatively its location and thus making it possible to fix previously obscure places mentioned in the account of the Exodus wanderings. Since 1890 continued investigations in small districts not adequately described previously have taken place, new additions to the zoological, botanical, geological and meteorological knowledge of Palestine have been frequent; studies of irrigation and the water-supply have been made, as well as investigations into the customs, proverbs, folklore, etc., of the Arabs; many districts East of the Jordan and through Petra down into Sinai have yielded important results, and many discoveries of surface tombs, ossuaries, mosaics, seals and manuscripts have been made in many parts of Palestine. This has been done perhaps chiefly by the Palestine Exploration Fund, but much by individuals and some by the newly organized excavation societies (see below). The most surprising discoveries made by this method of surface exploration (a method which can never become completely obsolete) have been the finding at different times of the four Boundary Stones of Gezer (1874, 1881, 1889) by Clermont-Ganneau, and, in 1896, of the very large mosaic at Madeba by Father Cleopas, librarian of the Greek Patriarch.
The latter proved to be part of the pavement of a 6th-century basilica and is a "veritable map of Palestine," showing its chief cities, the boundaries of the tribes, and especially the city of Jerusalem with its walls, gates, chief buildings, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and chief streets, notably one long straight street intersecting the city and lined with colonnades. As Madeba lies near the foot of Mt. Nebo, it is thought the artist may have intended to represent ideally a modern (6th-cent.) vision of Moses. George Adam Smith (HGHL, 7th edition, 1901); Jerusalem (2 volumes, 1910), and E. Huntington, Palestine and Its Transformation (1911), have given fine studies illustrating the supreme importance of accurate topographical knowledge in order to understand correctly the Bible narratives and the social life and politics of the Hebrews.
III. Era of Scientific Excavation.
1. Southern Palestine:
(1) Tell el-Chesy.
(Palestine Exploration Fund).-Exploration must always continue, but excavation is a vast advance. The modern era in Palestinian study begins with Petrie at LACHISH (which see) in 1890. Though Renan was actually the first man to put a spade into the soil (1860), yet his results were practically confined to Phoenicia. From Renan's time to 1890 there had been no digging whatever, except some narrow but thorough work in Jerusalem, and a slight tickling of the ground at Jericho and at the so-called Tombs of the Kings. Nothing was more providential than this delay in beginning extensive excavations in Palestine, such as had been previously so profitably conducted in Egypt and elsewhere. The results could not have been interpreted even two years earlier, and even when these excavations were commenced, the only man living who could have understood what he found was the man who had been selected to do the work. Nearly two centuries before, a traveler in Palestine (Th. Shaw) had suggested the possibility of certain mounds ("tells") being artificial (compare Joshua 8:28 Jeremiah 30:18); but not even Robinson or Guerin had suspected that these were the cenotaphs of buried cities, but had believed them to be mere natural hills. The greatest hour in the history of exploration in Palestine, and perhaps in any land, was that in which on a day in April, 1890, W.M. Flinders Petrie climbed up the side of Tell el-Chesy, situated on the edge of the Philistine plain, circa 30 miles Southwest of Jerusalem, and 17 miles Northeast from Gaza, and by examining its strata, which had been exposed by the stream cutting down its side, determined before sunset the fact, from pieces of pottery he had seen, that the site marked a city covering 1,000 years of history, the limits of occupation being probably 1500 B.C. to 500 B.C. This ability to date the several occupations of a site without any inscription to assist him was due to the chronological scale of styles of pottery which he had originated earlier and worked out positively for the Greek epochs at Naukratis a year or two before, and for the epochs preceding 1100 B.C. at Illahun in the Fayyum only a month or two before. The potsherds were fortunately very numerous at Tell el-Chesy, and by the end of his six weeks' work he could date approximately some eight successive occupations of the city, each of these being mutually exclusive in certain important forms of pottery in common use. Given the surface date, depth of accumulation and rate of deposit as shown at Lachish, and a pretty sure estimate of the history of other sites was available. Not only was this pottery scale so brilliantly confirmed and elaborated at Tell el-Chesy that all excavators since have been able accurately to date the last settlement on a mound almost by walking over it; but by observations of the methods of stone dressing he was able to rectify many former guesses as to the age of buildings and to establish some valuable architectural signs of age. He proved that some of the walls at this site were built by "the same school of masons which built the Temple of Solomon," and also that the Ionic volute, which the Greeks borrowed from the Asiatics, went back in Palestine at least to the 10th century B.C., while on one pilaster he found the architectural motif of the "ram's horn" (compare Psalm 118:27). He also concluded, contrary to former belief, that this mound marked the site of Lachish (Joshua 10:31 2 Kings 18:14), as by a careful examination he found that no other ruins near could fill the known historic conditions of that city, and the inscription found by the next excavator and all more recent research make this conclusion practically sure. Lachish was a great fortress of the ancient world. The Egyptian Pharaohs often mention it, and it is represented in a picture on an Assyrian monument under which is written, "Sennacherib.... receives the spoil of Lachish" (see 2 Kings 18:14). It was strategically a strong position, the natural hill rising some 60 ft. above the valley and the fortification which Sennacherib probably attacked being over 10 ft. thick. The debris lay from 50-70 ft. deep on top of the hill. Petrie fixed the directions of the various walls, and settled the approximate dates of each city and of the imported pottery found in several of these. One of the most unexpected things was an iron knife dug up from a stratum indicating a period not far from the time when Israel must have entered Canaan, this being the earliest remnant of iron weapons ever found up to-this date (compare Joshua 17:16).
The next two years of scientific digging (1891-1892), admirably conducted by Dr. F.G. Bliss on this site, wholly confirmed Petrie's general inductions, though the limits of each occupation were more exactly fixed and the beginning of the oldest city was pushed back to 1700 B.C. The work was conducted under the usual dangers, not only from the Bedouin, but from excessive heat (104 degrees in the shade), from malaria which at one time prostrated 8 of the 9 members of the staff, scarcity of water, which had to be carried 6 miles, and from the sirocco (see my report, PEFS, XXI, 160-70 and Petrie's and Bliss's journal, XXI, 219-46; XXIII, 192, etc.). He excavated thoroughly one-third of the entire hill, moving nearly a million cubic feet of debris. He found that the wall of the oldest city was nearly 30 ft. thick, that of the next city 17 ft. thick, while the latest wall was thin and weak. The oldest city covered a space 1,300 ft. square, the latest one only about 200 ft. square. The oldest pottery had a richer color and higher polish than the later, and this art was indigenous, for at this level no Phoenician or Mycenaean styles were found. The late pre-Israelitish period (1550-800 B.C.) shows such importations and also local Cypriote imitations. In the "Jewish" period (800-300 B.C.) this influence is lost and the new styles are coarse and ungraceful, such degeneration not being connected with the entrance of Israel into Canaan, as many have supposed, but with a later period, most probably with the desolation which followed the exile of the ten tribes (Bliss and Petrie).
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Easton's Bible Dictionary
Originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan inhabited by the Philistines (Exodus 15:14
; Isaiah 14:29
, 31; Joel 3:4
), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth (rendered "Philistia" in Psalm 60:8
) occurs in the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Genesis 40:15). It is also called "the holy land" (Zechariah 2:12), the "land of Jehovah" (Hosea 9:3; Psalm 85:1), the "land of promise" (Hebrews 11:9), because promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan" (Genesis 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Samuel 13:19), and the "land of Judah" (Isaiah 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21; Numbers 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the "river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also by his son Solomon (2 Samuel 8; 1 Chronicles 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This vast empire was the Promised Land; but Palestine was only a part of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least of all lands." Western Palestine, on the south of Gaza, is only about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20 miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Palestine, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands, is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No single country of such an extent has so great a variety of climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability, much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills, fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs, olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil. Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water. Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 3:12-20; Comp. Numbers 1:17-46; Joshua 4:12-13). The remaining tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722, after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took possession of Palestine in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many privileges.
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Palestine was reduced by Pompey the Great to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed in it (Comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus, who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6, when Palestine became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or districts. This division was recognized so long as Palestine was under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea, the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1) Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2) Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5) Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7) Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The whole territory of Palestine, including the portions alloted to the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent, the size of the principality of Wales.
Strong's Hebrew3592. Kidon -- a place in Palestine...
Kidon or Kidon. 3593 >>. a place in Palestine
. Transliteration: Kidon or Kidon Phonetic
Spelling: (kee-dohn') Short Definition: Chidon. ...
Kidon, a place in Palestine ... /hebrew/3592.htm - 6k
5899. ir hattemarim -- Ir-hat-Temarim, a place in Palestine -- the ...
... Ir-hat-Temarim, a place in Palestine -- the city of palm trees. Transliteration:
ir hattemarim Phonetic Spelling: (eer hat-tem-aw-reem') Short Definition: palm. ...
/hebrew/5899.htm - 6k
1023. beth hammerchaq -- Beth-ham-Merchak, a place in Palestine ...
... Beth-ham-Merchak, a place in Palestine -- place that was far off. Transliteration:
beth hammerchaq Phonetic Spelling: (bayth ham-mer-khawk') Short Definition ...
/hebrew/1023.htm - 6k
3959. Leshem -- a place in Northern Palestine
... Leshem. 3960 >>. a place in Northern Palestine. Transliteration: Leshem Phonetic
Spelling: (leh'-shem) Short Definition: Leshem. ... Leshem, a place in Palestine. ...
/hebrew/3959.htm - 6k
5878. en Charod -- En-Charod, a place in Palestine -- well of ...
... en Charod. 5879 >>. En-Charod, a place in Palestine -- well of Harod. Transliteration:
en Charod Phonetic Spelling: (ane khar-ode') Short Definition: Harod. ...
/hebrew/5878.htm - 6k
694. Arab -- a city in Palestine
... Arab. 695 >>. a city in Palestine. Transliteration: Arab Phonetic Spelling:
(ar-awb') Short Definition: Arab. ... NASB Word Usage Arab (1). Arab, a place in Palestine ...
/hebrew/694.htm - 6k
1756. Dor -- a city in Palestine
... << 1755, 1756. Dor or Dor. 1757 >>. a city in Palestine. Transliteration: Dor or
Dor Phonetic Spelling: (dore) Short Definition: Dor. ... Dor, a place in Palestine. ...
/hebrew/1756.htm - 6k
1842. Dan Yaan -- a place in Palestine
Dan Yaan. << 1841, 1842. Dan Yaan. 1843 >>. a place in Palestine. Transliteration:
Dan Yaan Phonetic Spelling: (dawn yah'-an) Short Definition: Dan-jaan. ...
/hebrew/1842.htm - 6k
1190. Baal Shalishah -- "Baal of Shalishah," a place in Palestine
... "Baal of Shalishah," a place in Palestine. Transliteration: Baal Shalishah Phonetic
Spelling: (bah'-al shaw-lee-shaw') Short Definition: Baal-shalishah. ...
/hebrew/1190.htm - 6k
1174. Baal Hamon -- "possessor of abundance," a place in Palestine
... "possessor of abundance," a place in Palestine. Transliteration: Baal Hamon Phonetic
Spelling: (bah'-al haw-mone') Short Definition: Baal-hamon. ...
/hebrew/1174.htm - 6k