War & Highways

Hands OutAre You going to help the Israelites get through Edom now, or what’s next?

1. Kings Highway
There were two main highways in ancient times between Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the lower Arabian Peninsula: the King’s Highway and the Way of the Sea.
The King’s Highway was a trade route of vital importance in the ancient Near East, connecting Africa with Mesopotamia. It ran from Egypt across the Sinai Peninsula to Aqaba, from where it turned northward across Transjordan, leading to Damascus and the Euphrates River.
After the Muslim conquest of the Fertile Crescent in the 7th century AD and until the 16th century it served as the darb al-hajj or pilgrimage road for Muslims coming from Syria, Iraq and beyond and heading for the holy city of Mecca.[1]
In modern Jordan, Highway 35 and Highway 15 follow this route, connecting Irbid in the north with Aqaba in the south. The southern part crosses several deep wadis, making it a highly scenic if curvy and rather low-speed road.
The King’s Highway largely skirted the desert and served desert peoples.
It ran from Damascus to the Gulf of Aqabah, and from there it forked into a route that crossed the Sinai to Egypt and a route that ran the eastern coast of the Red Sea into the Hejaz, or western Arabic coastal region.
While the term appears often in historical records, it may have originally meant simply “royal road” or “principal highway”, with no connection to a particular king or kingdom.
The King’s Highway has always been an important road for pilgrims, traders, and conquerors.
The Bible records it as the route that Moses and the “children of Israel” might well have taken after they fled from ancient Egypt.
Most likely it was the path that Abraham used to pursue the desert kings who had taken his nephew Lot as hostage.
Throughout later history the King’s Highway was a crucial resource for kings and generals.
On this highway David and Solomon secured trade and leverage over their eastern neighbors, Moab and Edom.
When the Aramaeans arose under Ben-Hadad I and Hazael, they expanded southward by controlling this highway.
The people of Assyria took Damascus and the Transjordan by means of it, and centuries later the Nabataeans used the King’s Highway to ship their spices and luxury goods from their hideaway refuge in Petra to the markets of Damascus and beyond.
Around the turn of the millennium Rome entered the area and subjugated Nabatea a century later.
The Romans made the King’s Highway a part of their imperial road system, especially using it as a means of transport through the forbidding Arab deserts.
They called it the Via Nova Traiana (Trajan’s New Way) because of Trajan’s sponsorship. Its strategic value did not end when the area was traded off between Byzantines, Arabs, Persians, and Muslims.
“And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners. 

And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.

And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah. 

And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way” (Num 21:1-4).

The people, instead of asking Moses to talk to God about the food problem, they whined and complained against God. 

You would think they would know by now to watch their tongue, this is why God called them 1 stiffnecked.

“And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee (no kidding); pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.  And Moses prayed for the people.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 

And Moses made a 2 serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Num 21:5-9).

The people then went to Oboth and from there to Ije-abarim, in the wilderness before Moab.  Next they went to Zared, and from there to the other side of Arnon, which is by the coasts of the Amorites, bad people. 

From there they went to Beer.  There they dug a well, and from there they went to Mattanah.  Then to Nahaliel to Bemoth, which is in the country of Moab (the Moabites were bad people too). 

From there they went to the top of Pisgah, looking toward Jeshimon.  And Moses sent messengers to the King Sihon, king of the Amorites (more bad people). 

All these nationalities that the Israelites have to deal with make me think of the Apache and Comanche Indians, but worse. 

But these people are not the worst, wait until you meet the people of Nineveh. 

Nineveh was built by Nimrod, who also built Babylonia and instigated the Tower of Babel.  Nimrod is the grandson of Ham, the cursed son of Noah.

“And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,

Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king’s highway, until we be past thy borders.

And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 

And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. 

And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof” (Num 21:21-25).

“Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. 

And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.  

And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. 

So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land” (Num 21:31-35).

1 The term stiffnecked originated in ancient Israel.  The farmers would plow their fields by using oxen.  If the ox didn’t want to follow the guidance of the farmer it would stiffen the muscles in its neck.  This would make it impossible to guide the ox where it needed to go.  

The meaning is to be stubborn, obstinate, intractable, willful, or pigheaded. 

The Brass Serpent can be seen by some as contradictory to the second commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image…” (Ex 20:4), but it isn’t because it was God that commissioned the work.

2. Transjordan Kingdoms
Transjordan, the East Bank, or the Transjordanian Highlands (Arabic: شرق الأردن‎), is the part of the Southern Levant east of the Jordan River, mostly contained in present-day Jordan.
The region, known as Transjordan, was controlled by numerous powers throughout history. During the early modern era, the region of Transjordan was included under jurisdiction of Ottoman Syrian provinces.
During World War I, Transjordan region was taken by the British, who had temporarily included it in OETA. Initially, the area was directly governed by the British, who decided to divide Transjordan region into 3 administrative districts – Ajloun, Balqa and Karak, with only Ma’an and Tabuk granted under direct rule of the Hashemites; however shortly the Hashemite ruler Abdullah was granted nominal rule over all districts.
Central government was established in Transjordan in 1921 and in 1922 the region became known as the Emirate of Transjordan, receiving full autonomy in 1929. In 1946, the Emirate achieved independence from the British and in 1952 the country changed its name to the “Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”.

The Brass Serpent symbolizes Jesus Christ.  If you accept Jesus into your heart, just like looking at the Brass Serpent, your sins are forgiven and you will spend eternity with Him.  If you don’t, you spend eternity with Satan in the Lake of Fire.


The International Coast
Two major international highways connecting Egypt and Mesopotamia traversed Palestine. 

Until recently the most important international highway system was called the Via Maris or “way of the sea”, which extended from the northeastern Delta of Egypt into Mesopotamia.  

This name is still used in many books and articles, but recent work has demonstrated that the term Via Maris is a misnomer originating in the Middle Ages. 

A better name for this great trunk route is the “International Coast Highway.”  This artery carried trade goods vital to the economy of the Near East.  While the armies of powerful kingdoms marched along its length. 

The initial portions of the route hugged the coast of Sinai, passing through Gaza and the southern coast of Palestine.

Near Aphek, conditions forced the route further inland, skirting the Sharon Plain, to enter the Jezreel Valley through a vital pass (the Aruna Pass) controlled by Megiddo.  

Branches of the International Coastal Highway radiated out of the Jezreel Valley northwestward toward the Phoenician cities (Tyre, Sidon) and southeastward into the Jordan Valley near Beth-shan.  Another branch extended past the northwest shore of Damascus.

From Damascus, two main branches of the International Coast Highway continued into Mesopotamia.  The more difficult but shorter route crossed the desert by Tadmor (Palmyra) to Mari.

The longer, more secure branch headed north through Syria by way of Qatna, Hamath, and Aleppo, from whence the route turned southeast to the great cities Mari, Babylon, Ur – along the Euphrates. 

The importance of the International Coastal Highway can be gauged by the influence of the great cities located along its path.

King’s Highway
A second, less important interregional highway linked Arabia with Damascus.  This “King’s Highway” extended from Ezion-geber at the top of the Gulf of Aqabah through the Transjordan to Damascus. 

Important cities along this route included Kirharreseth, Dibon, Heshbon, Ramoth-gilead, Ashtaroth, and Karnaim. Caravans conveyed spices and perfumes as well as other goods from the Arabian Peninsula along this route.  

3. Sea People
Evidence unearthed at an ancient site in the Jordan Valley suggests that the Sea Peoples — a group which includes the ancient Israelites’ nemeses, the Philistines — settled as far inland as the Transjordan, a Swedish archaeologist argues. Not everyone in the archaeological community, however, is convinced by the finds.
The find, made by a team digging at Tell Abu al-Kharaz, also strengthens the ties connecting the Sea Peoples and the Aegean — reinforcing the theory that the Philistines were among a number of tribes of non-Semitic peoples who migrated across the Mediterranean and settled in Canaan in the early Iron Age alongside the emergent Israelites.
Evidence of Sea Peoples inhabiting areas east of the Jordan River would lend credence to a seeming anomaly in the Bible — the location of Philistines far from their historic homeland along the shores of southern Israel in I Samuel 31. According to the book of Samuel, the Philistines raided northern Israel and settled in the abandoned Israelite cities “that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were beyond the Jordan.”

Though of less importance militarily than the International Coastal Highway the economic potential of the King’s Highway occasioned many conflicts between Israel, Damascus, and other minor kingdoms of the Transjordan region.




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