Journey from Egypt to Caanan & The Ancient Near East

ThinkingI bet the Israelites were happy now, right?1. Map 1

Now that the Israelites had cattle I  guess they looked around and found some land that was good for cattle, but it wasn’t the land that You gave them, they didn’t want what You gave them.

“And the LORD’S anger was kindled the same time, and he swear, saying,

Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I swear unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:

Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD. 

And the LORD’S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed” (Num 32:10-13).

2. Ancient Jordan
Ad Deir (“The Monastery”; Arabic: الدير ), also known as El Deir, is a monumental building carved out of rock in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra.[1] Built by the Nabataeans in the 1st century and measuring 50 metres (160 ft) wide by approximately 45 metres (148 ft) high, architecturally the Monastery is an example of the Nabatean Classical style. It is the second most visited building in Petra after Al Khazneh.

The people didn’t want to go to Jordan but Moses told them that if they did God would forgive them, but

“…if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23).

The Israelites began to travel again.  They left Rameses, and set up their tents in Succoth; then to Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness; then Pi-ahiroth, which is before Baal-zephon; then Marah; then Elim, which had 12 fountains of water and 70 palm trees; then by the Red Sea; then in the wilderness of Sin; then Dophkah. 

From there they went to Alush to Rephidim to Sinai to Kibroth-hattaavah to Hazeroth to Rithmah to Rimmon-parez to Libnah to Rissah to Kehelathah to Shapher to Haradah to Makheloth to Tahath to Tarah to Mithcah to Hashmonah to Mosroth to Bene-kaakan to Hor-hagidgad to Jotbathah to Ebronah to Ezion-gaber to the wilderness of Zin which is Kadesh to Mount Hor in the edge of the land of Edom.

King Arad of the Canaanites heard of their coming. The Israelites then left Mount Hor and went to Zalmonah to Punon to Oboth to Ije-abarim, in the border of Moab, to Lim to Dibon-gad to Almon-diblathaim to Abarim, before Nebo, to the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.

These 40 years in the wilderness is known as “The Exodus Route” because exodus means “going out.”

God then told Moses,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;

Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:

3. Map
Their goal was the land of Canaan, yet Moses did not take the shortest route—about 250 miles [400 km] along the sandy coast—which would have led straight through Philistia, enemy territory.
Nor did he head across the vast center of the Sinai Peninsula, where intense heat baked the gravel and limestone plateau. No, Moses led the people south, down the narrow coastal plain. The first camp was at Marah, where Jehovah made bitter water turn sweet. After leaving Elim, the people murmured for food; God sent quail and then manna. At Rephidim, water was again an issue, attacking Amalekites were vanquished, and Moses’ father-in-law urged him to get help from capable men.—Ex, chaps. 15-18.
Moses then led Israel toward the mountains farther south, camping at Mount Sinai. There God’s people received the Law, built the tabernacle, and offered sacrifices. In the second year, they went north through a “great and fear-inspiring wilderness,” the journey to the area of Kadesh (Kadesh-barnea) apparently taking 11 days. (De 1:1, 2, 19; 8:15) Because of becoming fearful over a negative report from ten spies, the people had to wander for 38 years. (Nu 13:1–14:34) Among their stops were Abronah and Ezion-geber, and then they went back to Kadesh.—Nu 33:33-36.
And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them” (Num 33:51-56).

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:). 

Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward.

And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadesh-barnea, and shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass on to Azmon:

And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea. 

And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.

And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: 

From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:

And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazar-enan: this shall be your north border.

And ye shall point out your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham:

And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward: 

And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about” (Num 34:1-12).

The Ancient Near East

Most of the biblical drama unfolded in the Ancient Near East.  Today the modern states of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey occupy that area. 

4. Cradle of Civilization
The Cradle of Civilization
Some of the earliest complex urban centers can be found in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (early cities also arose in the Indus Valley and ancient China). The history of Mesopotamia, however, is inextricably tied to the greater region, which is comprised of the modern nations of Egypt, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, the Gulf states and Turkey. We often refer to this region as the Near or Middle East.

The Ancient Near East has been called the “Cradle of Civilization” because many important cultural and technological advances took place there.  We now know that comparable innovations occurred in other parts of the world, yet the Near East retains a central place in human history.  There the influence of three continents – Africa, Asia, and Europe – converge.

Ancient Jordan
Evidence of human activity in Jordan dates back to the Paleolithic period (500000 – 17000 B.C.

While there is no architectural evidence from this era, archaeologists have found tools, such as flint and basalt hand-axes, knives and scraping implements.

In the Neolithic period (8500-4500 B.C.), three major shifts occurred.

First, people became sedentary, living in small villages, and discovering and domesticating new food sources such as cereal grains, peas and lentils, as well as goats.

The human population increased to tens of thousands.

Second, this shift in settlement patterns appears to have been catalyzed by a marked change in climate.

The eastern desert, in particular, grew warmer and drier, eventually to the point where it became uninhabitable for most of year. This watershed climate change is believed to have occurred between 6500 and 5500 B.C.

Third, beginning sometime between 5500 and 4500 B.C., the inhabitants began to make pottery from clay rather than plaster Pottery-making technologies were probably introduced to the area by craftsmen from Mesopotamia.

The largest Neolithic site in Jordan is at Ein Ghazal in Amman The many buildings were divided into three distinct districts Houses were rectangular and had several rooms, some with plastered floors.

5. Ein Ghazal statues
Ein Ghazal statues found here and kept at the archeological museum Amman
The picture with the title Ein Ghazal statues found here and kept at the archeological museum Amman was taken by the photographer khaled Al-Bajjali on 21 July 2007 and published over Panoramio. Ein Ghazal statues found here and kept at the archeological museum Amman is next to Sayl az Zarqā’ and is located in Amman, Jordan

Archaeologists have unearthed skulls covered with plaster and with bitumen in the eye sockets at sites throughout Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Syria.

A statue discovered at Ein Ghazal is thought to be 8,000 years old. Just over one meter high, it depicts a woman with huge eyes, skinny arms, knobby knees and a detailed rendering of her toes.

During the Chalcolithic period (4500-3200 B.C.), copper began to be smelted and used to make axes, arrowheads and hooks. The cultivation of barley, dates, olives and lentils, and the domestication of sheep and goats, rather than hunting, predominated. The lifestyle in the desert was probably very similar to that of modern Bedouins.

Tuleitat Ghassul is a large Chalcolithic era village located in the Jordan Valley. The walls of its houses were made of sun-dried mud bricks; its roofs of wood, reeds and mud. Some had stone foundations, and many had large central courtyards. The walls are often painted with bright images of masked men, stars, and geometric motifs, which may have been connected to religious beliefs.

Many of the villages built during the Early Bronze Age (3200-1950 B.C.) included simple water infrastructures, as well as defensive fortifications probably designed to protect against raids by neighboring nomadic tribes.

At Bab al-Dhra in Wadi Araba, archaeologists discovered more than 20,000 shaft tombs with multiple chambers as well as houses of mud-brick containing human bones, pots, jewelry and weapons.

Hundreds of dolmens scattered throughout the mountains have been dated to the late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Ages.

Although writing was developed before 3000 B.C. in Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was generally not used in Jordan, Canaan and Syria until some thousand years later, even though archaeological evidence indicates that the Jordanians were trading with Egypt and Mesopotamia.

6. Bab al Dhra in Wadi
Bab edh-Dhra (Arabic: باب الذراع‎) is the site of an Early Bronze Age city located near the Dead Sea, on the south bank of Wadi Kerak. Artifacts from Bab edh-Dhra are on display at Karak Archaeological Museum in Jordan; the Kelso Bible Lands Museum housed at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The Gustav Jeeninga Museum of Bible and Near Eastern Studies in Anderson, IN, USA; and the British Museum in London.

Between 2300 an. 1950 B.C., many of the large, fortified hilltop towns were abandoned in favor of either small, unfortified villages or a pastoral lifestyle.

There is no consensus on what caused this shift, though it is thought to have been a combination of climatic and political changes that brought an end to the city-state network.

During the Middle Bronze Age (1950-1550 B.C.), migration across the Middle East increased.

Trading continued to develop between Egypt, Syria, Arabia, Canaan and Jordan, resulting in the spread of technology and other hallmarks of civilization.

Bronze, forged from copper and tin, enabled the production of more durable axes, knives, and other tools and weapons.

Large, distinct communities seem to have arisen in northern and central Jordan, while the south was populated by a nomadic, Bedouin-type of people known as the Shasu.

New fortifications appeared at sites like Amman’s Citadel, Irbid, and Tabaqat Fahl (or Pella)Towns were surrounded by ramparts made of earth embankments, and the slopes were covered in hard plaster, making the climb slippery and difficult.

Pella was enclosed by massive walls and watch towers.

Archaeologists usually date the end of the Middle Bronze Age to about 1550 B.C., when the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt during the 17th and 18th Dynasties.

A number of Middle Bronze Age towns in Canaan and Jordan were destroyed during this time.

Iron Age
The most prominent Iron Age kingdoms in Jordan were Ammon, Moab, and Edom.

7. Qasr Al Adb
Qasr Al Adb was built by the governor of Ammon in 200 BC
Ammon (Hebrew: עַמּוֹן‬, Modern Ammon, Tiberian ʻAmmôn; Arabic: عمّون‎, translit. ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torrent valleys of Arnon and Jabbok, in present-day Jordan.[1][2] The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan’s capital. Milcom and Molech (who may be one and the same) are named in the Hebrew Bible as the gods of Ammon. The people of this kingdom are called “Children of Ammon” or “Ammonites”.
The Ammonites had their capital in Rabbath Ammon. The Moabites settled Kerak Governorate with their capital at Kir of Moab (Kerak), and the kingdom of Edom settled in southern Jordan and southern Israel, and their capital was in Bozrah in Tafilah Governorate.The kingdom of Ammon maintained its independence from the Assyrian empire, unlike all other kingdoms in the region which were conquered.In about 840 BC, Meshe, the King of the Moabites, revolted against the “House of David.” ‘Moab was a Jordanian tribe that lived east of the Dead Sea and about 70 kilometers south of Amman. This battle is recorded in 2 Kgs 3.

The Bible’s story is corroborated by the Mesha Stele, the Moabite Stone that was found in the Jordanian town of Dhiban in 1868.

This find indicated that the Moabites worked with inscriptions on bluish basalt stone.

Classic period.
Later antiquity saw the rise of the Nabatean kingdom with its capital at Petra, which was a border, client state of the Roman Empire absorbed into the Empire in 106 CE, and the ancient city of Saltus.

During the Greco-Roman period of influence, a number of semi-independent city-states also developed in Jordan, grouped as a Decapolis including: Gerasa (Jerash), Philadelphia (Amman), Raphana (Abila), Dion (Capitolias), Gadara (Umm Qays), and Pella.

Middle Ages
 In the early 7th century, the area of modern Jordan became integrated into the new Arab-Islamic Umayyad Empire (the first Muslim dynasty), which ruled much of the Middle East from 661 until 750 CE.

At the time, Amman, now the capital of the Kingdom of Jordan, became a major town in “Jund Dimashq” (the military district of Damascus) and became the seat of the provincial governor.

In fact, the name “Al-Urdun” (Jordan) was used on Umayyad post-reform copper coins beginning in the early 8th century and represent the earliest official usage of the name for the modern state.

8. Baghdad University
Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad opened in the 13th century.

Additionally, lead seals with the Arabic phrase “Halahil Ardth Al-Urdun” (Master of the Land of Jordan), dating from the late 7th to early 8th century CE, have been found in Jordan as well.

Additionally, Arab-Byzantine “Standing Caliph” coins minted under the Umayyads also have been found bearing the mint-mark of “Amman.”

Thus, usage of the names Al-Urdun/Jordan and Amman date back, to at least, the early decades of the Arab-Muslim takeover of the region.

Under the Umayyad’s successors, the Abbasids (750-1258), Jordan was neglected and began to languish due to the geo-political shift that occurred when the Abassids moved their capital from Damascus to Kufa and later to Baghdad.

After the decline of the Abbasids, parts of Jordan were ruled by various powers and empires including the Mongols, the Crusaders, the Ayyubids, the Mamlukes as well as the Ottomans, who captured major parts of the Arab World around 1517.

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