The Palestinian Covenant & Moab

Finger Pointing UpThat’s scary because those blessings and curses 1 pertain to us today.

Moses reminds them that they have seen all that God can and did do, so they should back down from any temptations that are against God.

1. Macherus
Macherus is famous as the location of the beheading of John the Baptist.

This location is mentioned only in Josephus (War VII.6.1-2) and not in the Bible. Herod the Great rebuilt the Hasmonean fortress here and constructed an elaborate palace, most of which has not yet been excavated.

When the Jewish Revolt broke out in 66 A.D., the Romans abandoned the site and it was held by Jewish rebels until 72 (like Herodium and Masada).

Lucilius Bassus built siege works around the fortress.

Those in the upper city surrendered; the lower city was captured and burned.

A remnant of the Roman siege ramp is on west side, and the Roman camps are visible on the hill to the west.

Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;

But with him that standeth here with us this day before the LORD our God, and 2 also with him that is not here with us this day (Deut 29:14-15).

And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:).

Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood. 

And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:

The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. 

And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law (Deut 29:17-21).

Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land?  What meaneth the heat of this great anger?  hen men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 

For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them.

And the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book:

And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. 

The 3 secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deut 29:24-29).

2. Nahal Arnon
Nahal Arnon
The Arnon is a two-mile-wide valley that divides the land between the Israelite tribes to the north and the land of Moab to the south.

Ancient Moabites would dispute this border, and sometimes in biblical history the Moabites crossed the Arnon and captured land of the tribe of Gad on the Medeba Plateau.

The Arnon is mentioned many times in Scripture because of its geographical prominence.

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,

And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul (Deut 30:1-2).

And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 

3. Bozrah
The modern city of Buseirah preserves the name and location of ancient Bozrah.

Bozrah was the ancient capital of the Edomites.

The earliest significant remains at Buseireh are from 800 BC.

Bozrah has the largest Iron Age buildings from Transjordan, and it may have been the king’s palace.

The city is mentioned in several passages from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah).

And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee (Deut 30:6-7).

I had mentioned this in the first footnote in the box titled: Circumcision.  When God had Moses have all the men circumcised it was symbolizing the circumcision of the heart, which is done only by faith in Jesus.

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved (Act 15:1).

Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment (Act 15:24).

And he [God] gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs (Acts 7:8).

4. Kings Highway
King’s Highway
Two highways run north-south through southern Transjordan.

The King’s Highway runs through the important cities of Heshbon, Medeba, Dibon, Kerak, Bozrah and Petra.

The Way of the Wilderness (of Moab and Edom) runs parallel to the King’s Highway but to the east, on the seam between the Arabian desert and the arable Transjordan Plateau.

The Israelites wanted to pass through Transjordan on the King’s Highway, but the Edomites would not allow them to do so.

Instead, the Israelites were forced to go around Edom’s south and eastern sides, utilizing the Way of the Wilderness .

Remember, God had a covenant with all three of them, and Jacob’s 12 sons.  Not because they were medically circumcised, but because they were circumcised in the heart to God; they obeyed His words and commandments.

For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ (Col 2:9-11).

For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law (God’s), thy circumcision is made uncircumcision (Rom 2:25).

Is he the God of the Jews only?  Is he not also of the Gentiles?  Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith (Rom 3:29-30).

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promise made unto the fathers (Rom 15:8). 

5. Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum
This beautiful area in the southern end of Jordan is regarded by locals as more scenic than Petra.

It formed the backdrop for many of the scenes in the movie Lawrence of Arabia.

And the fathers are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. 

It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 

Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 

But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

6. Aqaba is the city on the Jordanian side of the Red Sea.
Aqaba is the city on the Jordanian side of the Red Sea.

In biblical times, there were two cities in this area: Elath and Ezion Geber.

The Israelites under Moses passed by this area on their wilderness travels.

Three kings in Jerusalem established a port in this area: Solomon; Jehoshaphat; and Uzziah.

In the late 8th century, Syria-Edom took Elath away from Israel .

The fort pictured was constructed in the Turkish period.

In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD swear unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them (Deut 30:11-20).

10. Rabbah Moab Roman Temple
Rabbah Moab Roman Temple
The modern town of er-Rabbah preserves the ancient name of Rabbah Moab.

In the Roman and Byzantine period, the city was known as Areopolis (City of [the god] Mars).

According to an inscription, this Roman temple was dedicated to the emperors Diocletian and Maximian, who ruled jointly from 286-305 A.D.

1 & 2 Anything that God said before Jesus came still stands today, unless Jesus changed it, like He did with divorce.  Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering he end of their conversation.  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb 13:7-8).

3 Act 1:7, Rom 8:33, 1 Cor 2:7-9, Is 64:4.


7. Moab and Edom Fertile Moab
Moab and Edom
Fertile Moab
Moab is the land where Ruth lived.

She married one of the sons of Elimelech and Naomi, before following her mother-in-law to Bethlehem.

At the time Judah was experiencing a severe famine, but Moab was apparently receiving more rainfall.

This may be explained by the elevated plateau that Moab is on and/or the response of the Lord to the faithlessness of the Judeans during the days of the Judges.

Surprisingly little is known of Moab, a neighbor and frequent enemy of Israel. The information we have can be summarized succinctly:

Moabite Territory
Moab proper (see Gen 19:30-38 for origins of Moab) lay between the deep gorges of the Arnon River in the north and the Zered River in the south.

Moabite territory also included the “plains of Moab,” sit­uated in the Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea.

Numerous Biblical events related to Moab are connected to yet another area, the table­land north of the Arnon.

This fertile agricul­tural zone was highly contested and regularly changed hands. Thus, with few exceptions, Moabites and Israelites remained in almost steady conflict over the land.

Moabite History and Culture

Moabites were closely related to the Israelites, as attested by the Biblical account linking Moab to Lot. The Moabite language was similar to Biblical Hebrew.

Moabite territory was known and recog­nized from the time of Moses. The Moabite king at the time of the conquest was Balak.

A Moabite ruler, Eglon, oppressed Israel during the Judges period.

Moabite territory was at times under Israelite control, but the inhabitants were known to rebel and break free of Israelite influence.

8. modern village of Dhiban
The modern village of Dhiban preserves the name of ancient Dibon.

Excavations at this site have uncovered a large Nabatean temple (pictured).

In biblical history, Dibon was captured by Sihon the Amorite before it was taken and settled by the tribe of Gad.

Archaeological excavations have not uncovered remains at Dhiban from this time (Late Bronze), leading to either 1) a rejection of the biblical history or 2) the rejection of this as the site of Dibon.

The latter is more likely given the mention of Dibon in Late Bronze Egyptian texts.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Moab was dominated by Assyria during the 8th century B.C.

Moab was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar around 582 B.C., after which it ceased to exist as an identifiable entity.

The land was subsequently occupied by other peoples, such as the Nabatean Arabs.

The Moabite national god was Chemosh, but the people were thoroughly polytheistic.

9. Capital of Moab
Capital of Moab
Known in the Bible as as Kir, Kir Moab, Kir-Heres(eth), and Hereseth, this site (today Kerak) was the capital city of Moab.

It is situated on an isolated hilltop, with a view in all directions.

The Crusaders recognized the defensible aspect of the site and made Kerak one of their strongest fortresses in the Middle East in 1140 A.D. (pictured).

Archaeology and Moab

There is evidence of an increase in Moabite settlement during the Iron I period (1200— 1000 B.C.), particularly in the form of small fortified farmsteads.

However, it is difficult to make precise historical connections to the Moabites or to Israelite settlements in Trans­jordan.

In contrast, the Mesha Inscription from the 9th century B.C. provides clear information about the wars between Israel and Moab.

This inscription attests to the regional importance of Moab during Israel’s monarchy and is the most significant archaeological arti­fact discovered to date from Moab.

Assyrian, and possibly Egyptian, texts also mention Moab.

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