Physical Settings of the Bible
Jerusalem University College
Dr. Paul Wright
October 8, 2003

I.   Joseph's Tribe
A.   The blessing of Jacob would have naturally gone to the oldest son of the women he loved the most = Joseph
B.   GalileeNotes1Jospeh got the best of the land with portions going to Ehraim and Manasseh and Judah got Judah
C.   These were the two brothers that fought continuously until the destruction of Israel (Gen 49:26, 33:13-17)
II.   Judges 19
III.   Succoth originated from the Canaanites and the Israelites took it on (Judges 21:19-25)
IV.   Archeology tells us that Shiloh was destroyed by the Philistines
V.   Shechem was the center of the North
A.   Wheel and it's spoke
1.   Wadi Faria leading to the north
2.   Salim Valley leading to the east
3.   Michmethah Valley leading to the south
4.   N. Shechem leading to the west
5.   Mt. Ebal & Mt. Gerezim surrounded it
B.   This is the place where Jacob came to
C.   There is where Jeroboam set as his capital but it was too much in the open (dangerous) so he moved it to Tirzah
VI.   Sharon Plain
A.   Along the coast from Joppa to Caesarea
B.   Characterized by a series of sand dune ridges that have solidified
1.   Sand stone ridges called Kurkar
2.   The kurkar act as damn for the water coming from the mountains which creates a swampy, sloppy area that caused just wild growth
3.   The place had very little settlement and no agriculture
a.   Very sloppy, and hard to live in
b.   Israel never really felt drawn to the sea even when the area was a "good" land to live in
i.   Joppa, Ashkelon were used as a port city by the Philistines (Sea People)
ii.   Philistines came from Aegea (Greece) so they knew they could tame the sea
iii.   Israel were desert people and felt no desire to take up the sea even if the Philistines had already established mini-Sea ports
C.   Herod wanted to essentially turn Israel into a mini-Rome
1.   Built a harbor at Caesarea
2.   Had to build roads to "bend" from the coastal highway to the coastal city of Caesarea
3.   The Israelite kings relied on Phoenicia (Tyre and Sidon) through the marriage of Jezebel
4.   Herod said, "nope that is not good enough" - I want my own
VII.   Jezreel Valley
A.   Takes the shape of a spearhead with a shaft coming off
B.   Spearhead - Jezreel
1.   Biblical names
a.   Zech 12:11 - Plain of Megiddo
b.   Psalm 83:12 - "Pasture lands of God"
c.   Rev 16:16 - Armageddon - Paul says the Bible does not connect this area with Armageddon, but popular literature seems to
d.   Esdraelon - Greek form of the word Jezreel
2.   Named after the town of Jezreel (lit. means "God sows seed")
C.   Shaft - Harod Valley
1.   Not named after Herod, named after a spring
2.   Connects tot he Beth-Shean valley
D.   Surrounded by Mountains
1.   The valley itself is never above 100 ft of elevation
2.   Mt. Carmel
a.   To the west (270")
b.   Cenonmanian limestone
c.   Rises out of the sea
d.   Elev. 1790 feet (Significantly less than Jerusalem @ 2694 feet, but looks more dramatic since it is out of the Sea)
3.   Nazareth Ridge
a.   To the north (360")
b.   Cenomanian limestone
c.   Elev. 1744 feet
4.   Mt Tabor
a.   To the north-northeast (30")
b.   Cenomanian limestone
c.   Elev. 1929 feet
5.   Mt. Moreh
a.   To the east-northeast (45")
b.   Basalt
6.   Mt. Gilboa (135")
a.   To the east-southeast
b.   Eocene limestone
E.   The Natural routes
1.   Into valley (from south - Aphek)
a.   Megiddo Pass - the most narrow, but most direct
b.   Jokneam Pass - furthest west
c.   Dothan Pass - not quite on Coastal highway, but veers east
2.   Out of valley (from south)
a.   Kishon Pass - named after the Wadi, furthest west
b.   Shimron Pass - goes directly North (360¡) out of valley
c.   Tabor Pass - goes around Mt. Tabor
d.   Harod Pass - follows the Harod valley
3.   Contemporary explanation of the natural passes: McDonalds are located at Jokneam, Kishon Pass entrance (Haifa), Shimron, Tabor, Harod Pass entrace - essentially 5 out of the 7
F.   Jezreel valley is very swampy except for one area essentially connecting Megiddo and the entrance to Mt. Tabor Pass
1.   This is like the 10, 60, 405 interchange in Los Angeles
2.   It connects all seven "spokes" of the wheel in the area
VIII.   Upper Galilee
A.   High elevation - higher than 1600 feet
B.   Closed/tight
C.   No sycamore trees
IX.   Lower Galilee
A.   Lower elevation
B.   Broader Valleys
C.   Better access
D.   More open/connected
E.   Two parts
1.   Eastern
a.   Basalt
b.   Northwest/Southest Ridges
2.   Western
a.   Cenomanian Limestone
b.   East/West Ridges
c.   More fertile because of better rainfall and it is flatter
d.   Jesus' area