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Palestine

Source:
A Dictionary of the Bible What is This? Contains accessibly written entries for topics covering the religious, historical, and social aspects of the Bible.

    Palestine

    The traditional extremity of biblical Palestine was Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south (1 Sam. 3: 20), which are about 240 km. (150 miles) apart. There are two inland seas (Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea) and the River Jordan joins them, flowing through a deep valley, often flooded. The Sea of Galilee (also known as Gennesaret, or Tiberias) is about 21 km. (13 miles) long by 12.8 km. (8 miles) across, and has an abundant stock of edible fish. But the Dead Sea, much bigger, is in very inhospitable country, below sea level. The River Jordan rises in the Lebanon mountains and is fed by numerous small streams, such as the Cherith (1 Kgs. 17: 1–7).

    Two valleys run across the centre of the country from the Mediterranean Sea on the west to the River Jordan—the plain of Megiddo (or Esdraelon) and the valley of Jezreel.

    The main range of mountains runs from north to south just to the west of the Jordan, from upper Galilee to the desert. Beyond the mountains and by the Mediterranean, south of the plain of Megiddo, are the fertile plains of Philistia and Sharon, but at the northern end the plain is interrupted by the Carmel range of hills, in the middle of which is a pass at Megiddo. Here was the vital point to control military and commercial traffic between Egypt and Syria and the east. It was the scene of great battles, as when Josiah tried to resist the Egyptians (2 Kgs. 23: 29 f.).

    Other mountains mentioned in the Bible are Hermon, a few miles north of Dan, Tabor, west of the Sea of Galilee, and Sinai, south of Palestine and north of the Red Sea. The wilderness round Sinai is linked to Beersheba by a desert area known as the Negeb.

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