Encyclopedia Biblica. Geography

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Kishon , the N. Kanah of Joshua and , the N. Rabin, one of the confluents of which, the W. Sukreir, into which opens the "valley of the terebinth" A. Ghazzeh, into which flows the W. The Scriptures mention likewise a few inland rivers, particularly two in the territory of Damascus : the Abana N. Deuteronomy describes Palestine as "a land of brooks and of waters and of fountains".

Many springs are mentioned in Scripture, and nearly all belong to Western Palestine. Going from north to south, and leaving aside those in the neighbourhood of cities to which they gave their names Engannim, Enhasor, etc. In places where the supply of water was scanty the ancient inhabitants constructed pools, either by damming up the neighbouring valley or by excavation. Of the former description were very likely the pools of Gabaon [A.

These pools, frequent in the East, are supplied either by natural drainage, or by springs, or by aqueducts bringing water from a distance. In its climate , as well as in everything else, Palestine is a land of contrasts. For six or seven months there is no rain; the dry wind from the desert and the scorching sun parch the land, especially on the plateaux. The first rains generally fall about the beginning of November; the "latter rain", in the month of April.

Plenty or famine depend particularly on the April rains. On clear nights, all the year round, there falls a copious dew; but in summer time there will be no dew if no westerly breeze, bringing moisture from the sea, springs up towards the evening. Snowfalls are only occasional during the winter, and usually they are light, and the snow soon melts; not seldom does the whole winter pass without snow as an average, one winter in three.

Owing to the neighbourhood of Lebanon and Hermon , the Upper Galilee enjoys a more temperate climate; but in the lowlands the mean temperature is much higher. Along the coast, however, it is relieved almost every evening by the breeze from the sea. The flora and fauna of the lowest portions are accordingly similar to those of India and Ethiopia. It is "a good land.

A land of wheat, and barley, and vineyards, wherein fig trees, and pomegranates, and olive yards grow: a land of oil and honey. Where without any want thou shalt eat thy bread, and enjoy abundance of all things" Deuteronomy Palestine, indeed, even now, but much more so in Biblical times, may be said fairly to repay the labour of its inhabitants. The north, on both sides of the Jordan , is a most fertile region; the plains of Esdrelon and of Saron A.

Even the land of Juda contains rich and pleasant dales, an ideal home for gardens, olive-groves, vineyards, and fig trees; and the high country, with the exception of the sun-baked and wind-parched desert , affords goodly pastures. Palestine seems to have been inhabited about the fourth millennium B. This population is designated in the Bible by the general name of Nephilim , a word which, for the Hebrews, conveyed the idea of dreadful, monstrous giants Numbers , But what were the ethnological relations of these various peoples, we are not able to state.

At any rate, the land must have been thinly inhabited in those early times, for about B. Towards the third millennium B.

Encyclopedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary...

From the twentieth century B. Palestine had thus, at the time of Abraham, become thickly inhabited; its many cities, united by no bond of political cohesion, were then moving in the wake of the rulers of Babylon or Susa, although the influence of Egypt , fostered by active commercial communications, is manifest in the Canaanite civilization of that period.

About the same epoch the Hethites came in from the North and some of their settlements were established as far south as the valley of Juda, while the Amorrhites were taking hold of the trans-Jordanic highland. Speaking generally, when the Hebrews appeared on the banks of the Jordan and the Philistines on the Mediterranean shore c. The Philistines drove the Canaanites from the coast and occupied the Sephela, whereas the Zakkala settled on the coast near Mount Carmel. We know in detail from the Bible the progress of the Hebrew conquest of the rest of the land: the remnant of the former settlers were absorbed little by little into the new race.

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Needless to tell here how the different tribes, at first without any other bond of unity than that of a common origin and faith , gradually were led by circumstances to join under a common head. The vicissitudes of these two tiny kingdoms fill several books of the Old Testament. But they were doomed to be merged into the mighty empires of the Euphrates and to share their fate.

A Babylonian province in , a Persian satrapy after Cyrus's victories, Palestine became for a few years part of Alexander's vast dominion. At the division of his empire the Land of Israel was allotted to Seleucus, but for fifteen years was a bone of contention between Syria and Egypt , the latter finally annexing it, until, in B. A short period of independence followed the rebellion of the Machabees, but finally Rome assumed over Palestine a protectorate which in time became more and more effectual and intrusive.

Josephus narrates how Palestine was divided at the death of Herod ; St. Luke iii, 1 likewise describes the political conditions of the country at the beginning of Christ's public life. It is very difficult to form an estimate of the population of Palestine, so conflicting are the indications supplied by the Bible. We are told in 2 Samuel , that in the census undertaken at David's command, there were found 1,, fighting men. These figures, which may represent a total population of from 4,, to 5,,, undoubtedly overshoot the mark.

From what may be gathered in various places of Holy Writ , the figures given in 2 Samuel might fairly represent the whole population at the beat epochs. In the foregoing portions of this article Palestine alone has been spoken of and described. However, as has been intimated above, Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, Esther, in the Old Testament , the Acts, the Epistles, and the first chapters of the Apocalypse, in the New, contain geographical indications of a much wider range.

On the other hand, it is certain that Palestine is the theatre where most, and those the most vital, of the events of sacred history took place. The following list, which gives the names of most places, within and without Palestine, mentioned in Holy Writ , briefly supplies the indications needed.

Encyclopaedia Biblica

From the variety of countries to which these places belonged the reader may form an idea of the range of geographical knowledge possessed by the Biblical writers, and acquired by them, either from personal experience or by hearsay. Cross-references to other titles in the list itself are given in the ordinary type. Abana: river of Damascus. Abarim q.

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Abdon Joshua , etc. Abel the great: 1 Samuel is a common name, "stone", as the D. Abes Joshua ; Issachar : prob. Abran Joshua ; Aser : perhaps a mistake for Abdon. Accad Achad; Akkad.

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  8. Accain Joshua : mtn. Accaron q. See ACRE. Achazib , 1 Joshua ; Aser : Ez-Zib, betw. Accho and Tyre. Juda : 'Ain el-Kezbeh.

    Encyclopaedia Biblica

    Achsaph Joshua , etc. See Achazib 2. Acrabatane: 1. Toparchy of Judea , including region betw. Acrabim Ascent of; D. Acron Joshua Adada Joshua ; S. Adadremmon Zechariah : in the plain of Esdrelon; in later times, Maximianopolis St.

    Adama Deuteronomy : city of the Pentapolis. The Jordan may be forded there. Adarsa 1 Maccabees , also Adazer 1 Maccabees : Kh. Adithaim Joshua -- text perhaps corrupt; as it stands, designates a place, hitherto unidentified, in the neighbourhood of Gaza. Adrumetum Acts : city and seaport in Mysia, over against the island of Lesbos; mod.

    Adramiti or Edremid, also Ydremid. Aduram 2 Chronicles , S. Juda , also Ador 1 Maccabees : Dora , W.

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    Ahalab Judges ; Aser : poss. Ahava: stream, or perhaps canal, in Babylonia , possibly not far W. Ahion 1 Kings , etc. Aialon , 1 Joshua etc. Ai: D. Aiath Isaiah : the same as Hai. Aila, Ailath: the same as Elath. Alexandria q. Alima 1 Maccabees : poss. Alus Numbers , encampment of the Israelites on their way to Sinai : poss. Amaad Joshua ; Aser : Kh. Amam Joshua ; S. Amana Canticles : poss. Hor of the N. Amona Ezekiel : if we should see in it the name of a town, might stand for Legio-Mageddo, mod.

    Amphipolis Acts : in Macedonia , 30 m. Amthar Joshua ; Zabulon : prob. Ana: a town in Babylonia , on the Euphrates, possibly 'Anah.