9781558197091

Holman Bible Atlas A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History

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  • ISBN13:

    9781558197091

  • ISBN10:

    1558197095

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/1/1999
  • Publisher: Holman Reference
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Summary

The Holman Bible Atlas offers a visual feast through which the reader can explore the world of the Bible. Utilizing 140 full color maps key to biblical events and 140 full color photographs illustrating the land, sites, and archaeology of the biblical world, the Atlas draws the reader into the biblical story. The Holman Bible Atlas begins with an introduction to the geography of the biblical world emphasizing the major physical features of the Ancient Near East with special attention given to the geographical regions of Palestine. Information about daily life and the role of archaeology in recovering ancient cultures are discussed.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: The Biblical Setting 2(31)
Introduction 2(1)
Chapter One: The Face of the Ancient Near East
3(9)
The Fertile Crescent
3(2)
Mesopotamia: Home of Abraham
5(1)
Tigris and Euphrates
5(1)
North and South Mesopotamia
5(1)
Egypt: Land of Bondage
6(2)
The Two Lands
7(1)
The Gift of the Nile
7(1)
The Levant
8(2)
Syria and Lebanon
8(2)
International Highways
10(2)
The International Coastal Highway (Via Maris)
10(1)
The King's Highway
11(1)
Chapter Two: Natural Regions of Palestine
12(13)
Introduction
12(1)
Major Geographical Regions and Subdivisions
12(13)
The Coastal Plain
12(4)
Jezreel Valley (Valley of Esdraelon)
16(1)
The Western Mountains
16(2)
Shephelah
18(1)
Negeb
19(1)
The Southern Wilderness
20(1)
The Jordan Rift
20(3)
Eastern Plateau (Transjordan)
23(2)
Chapter Three: Life in Ancient Palestine
25(8)
Location of Settlements
25(1)
Climate
25(1)
Basic Economy and Food Supplies
26(1)
Field Crops
26(1)
Trees and Vines
27(1)
Pastoralism
27(1)
Cottage Industries
27(1)
The Agricultural Year
27(2)
Fall and Winter Activities
29(1)
Spring Activities
29(1)
Summer Activities
29(1)
Agriculture and Israel's Pilgrim Feasts
29(1)
Archaeology: Recovering Ancient Societies
29(2)
The Tell
30(1)
Identifying Place Names
30(1)
Stratigraphy and Typology
30(1)
Dating the Strata
30(1)
Archaeology and the Bible
31(2)
PART TWO: The old Testament Period 33(157)
Chapter Four: Before Abraham
33(8)
Beginnings
33(2)
Paleolithic Period
34(1)
Epipaleolithic Period
34(1)
Neolithic Period
34(1)
Chalcolithic Period
35(1)
The Rise and Decline of Early Civilizations (3300-2000 B.C.)
35(6)
The Urban Revolution
35(1)
Mesopotamia
35(3)
Egypt
38(2)
Palestine and Syria
40(1)
Chapter Five: The World of the Patriarchs
41(11)
The Middle Bronze Age In Mesopotamia and Egypt
41(2)
Mesopotamia
41(2)
Egypt
43(1)
Palestine in the Time of the Patriarchs
43(2)
The Patriarchal Journeys
45(7)
Migrations of Abraham
45(3)
The Travels of Jacob
48(1)
Joseph and the Entry into Egypt
49(3)
Chapter Six: The Egyptian Experience
52(11)
Historical Background: The XVIII and XIX Dynasties of Egypt
52(5)
The XVIII Dynasty and Palestine
53(1)
Decline of Canaanite City-States
54(2)
Akhenaten: Egypt's Heretic King
56(1)
XIX Dynasty and the Hittites
57(1)
Life in Egypt
57(6)
Egyptian Administration
58(2)
A Rural Society
60(2)
Egypt's Dark Side
62(1)
Chapter Seven: The Exodus
63(12)
Introduction
63(1)
Date of the Exodus
63(1)
Geography of the Sinai
64(2)
Northern Coastal Plain
65(1)
Central Plateau
65(1)
Southern Granite Mountains
65(1)
Route of the Exodus
66(3)
Location on Mount Sinai and Possible Route Theories
67(1)
The Exodus Route Described
68(1)
The Sojourn at Kadesh
69(2)
From Kadesh-barnea to the Plains of Moab
71(1)
Conquest of the Transjordan
72(3)
Chapter Eight: Conquest and Settlement
75(27)
Historical Background
76(1)
The Sea Peoples
76(1)
The Power Vacuum
77(1)
Joshua's Conquests
77(6)
Campaigns in Central Palestine
77(1)
Campaigns in the South
78(1)
The Northern Campaigns
79(1)
Joshua's Accomplishments
79(4)
The Tribes of Israel
83(6)
Distribution of the Land
83(1)
Levitical Cities
83(1)
Cities of Refuge
83(6)
The Days of the Judges
89(5)
The Judges and Oppressors of Israel
92(2)
The Philistine Menace
94(3)
Philistine Origins and Culture
95(1)
Samson and the Philistines
95(1)
The Ark of the Covenant
96(1)
Saul: King of Israel
97(5)
The Rise of Saul
97(1)
Saul and the Philistines
98(1)
Saul and David
98(3)
The Death of Saul
101(1)
Chapter Nine: The Kingdom of David and Solomon
102(13)
Introduction
102(1)
The Reign of David (1000-960)
102(5)
David's Consolidation of Power
102(3)
The Wars of David
105(2)
The Reign of Solomon (960-922)
107(3)
Solomon's Economic Policies
107(1)
Solomon's Building Program
108(2)
Solomon's Policies and Tribal Jealousy
110(1)
Jerusalem: City of David and Solomon
110(5)
Topography of Jerusalem
111(1)
Caananite and Jebusite Jerusalem
112(1)
David and Solomon's Jerusalem
112(1)
Solomon's Temple
113(2)
Chapter Ten: The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
115(27)
Introduction
115(1)
Israel, the Northern Kingdom
115(1)
Judah, the Southern Kingdom
115(1)
The Division of the Kingdom
115(7)
Early Conflicts and Invasions
122(3)
The Egyptian Threat
122(1)
The Aremean Threat
122(3)
The House of Omri
125(6)
The Policies of Omri and Ahab
125(1)
Omri and the Phoenicians
126(1)
Omri and Judah
126(1)
Omri and the Transjordan
126(1)
The Omrides' Building Achievements
127(2)
Omri and Assyria
129(2)
The Rise of the NeoAssyrian Empire
131(3)
Assyrian Military Objectives
131(1)
Ashur-Nasirpal II
132(1)
Shalmaneser III
132(2)
Assyria's Temporary Decline
134(1)
Recovery of Israel and Judah
134(1)
Renewed Assyrian Expansion
134(8)
Tiglath-pileser III
134(2)
Syro-Ephraimite War
136(3)
Fall of Samaria
139(3)
Chapter Eleven: Judah Alone Amid International Powers
142(16)
The Assyrian Threat
142(1)
Hezekiah's Independence Movement
142(8)
Hezekiah's Reform
142(1)
Hezekiah's Opportunity for Revolt
142(1)
Hezekiah's Preparation for War
142(2)
Hezekiah's Rebellion
144(1)
Assyrian Attacks on Judah
144(3)
The Seige of Jerusalem
147(3)
Manasseh's Long Rule
150(1)
Assyrian Supremacy Under Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal II
150(1)
Esarhaddon
150(1)
Ashurbanipal II
150(1)
Victory over Egypt
150(1)
Threats to the Assyrian Empire
150(1)
Assyria's Fall
150(2)
The Rival Powers and Assyria's Final Days
150(2)
Egyptian Ambitions
152(1)
The Kingdom of Josiah
153(1)
Book of the Law Found
154(1)
Josiah's Accomplishments
154(1)
Josiah's Death
154(1)
The Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Last Kings of Judah
154(4)
Judah's Dilemna
155(1)
First Campaign Against Jerusalem
156(1)
The End of Judah and Jerusalem
156(2)
Chapter Twelve: The Exile
158(6)
Introduction
158(1)
The Community in Judah
159(1)
The Community in Babylon
160(1)
The Community in Egypt
160(4)
Chapter Thirteen: The Persian Period
164(10)
Introduction
164(1)
The Rise of Persia
165(2)
Cyrus the Great
165(1)
The Fall of Babylon
165(2)
Darius I
167(1)
Xerxes I
167(1)
Artaxerxes I
167(1)
The Return of the Exiles to Judah
167(2)
First Return with Sheshbazzar
168(1)
Zerubbabel and Joshua
169(5)
Persian Administration
169(5)
Judah, Samaria, and Their Neighbors
170(1)
Province of Yehud
170(2)
Renewal under Ezra and Nehemiah
172(2)
Chapter Fourteen: The Hellenistic Period
174(16)
Introduction
174(2)
The Influx and Influence of Greek Culture
175(1)
The Challenge of Hellenism
175(1)
Campaigns of Alexander the Great
176(1)
The Egyptian Phase
177(1)
The Mesopotamian Phase
177(1)
The Division of Alexander's Empire
177(1)
Ptolemaic Rule in Palestine (301-200 B.C.)
178(2)
Ptolemaic Policies
179(1)
Alexandria
179(1)
Palestine
179(1)
The Seleucid Dynasty
180(2)
Seleucid Policies
180(1)
Antiochus III
181(1)
Palestine Under Seleucid Rule
182(3)
War with Rome
182(1)
Antiochus IV
183(1)
The Maccabean Revolt
183(2)
The Hasmonean Dynasty
185(5)
John Hyrcanus
187(1)
Aristobulus I
187(1)
Alexander Jannaeus
187(1)
The End of Independence
187(3)
PART THREE: The New Testament Era: The World of Jesus and the Early Church 190(87)
Chapter Fifteen: Rome's Emergence as a World Power
190(8)
Introduction
190(1)
Rise of Rome
190(1)
The Republican Period
190(5)
Rome Gains Control of the Italian Peninsula
192(1)
The Wars with Carthage (The Punic Wars)
192(1)
Gaul
193(1)
Eastward Expansion
193(1)
Roman Civil Wars and the Rise of Augustus
193(2)
The Age of Augustus: Foundation of an Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 14)
195(3)
Organization of an Empire
196(1)
The Augustan Peace
196(2)
Chapter Sixteen: The Romans, Palestine, and Herod the Great
198(9)
Roman Intervention in Palestine (63-40 B.C.)
198(1)
Pompey and the Conquest of Jerusalem
198(1)
Roman Administration of Palestine
198(1)
The Parthian Invasion
199(1)
Herod the Great: Client King of Rome
199(8)
Herod's Struggle for His Kingdom
199(1)
Consolidation of Power
199(1)
Herod's Building Program
199(2)
Herod's Building Projects in Jerusalem
201(1)
Herod's Final Years
201(6)
Chapter Seventeen: The World of Jesus
207(9)
The Roman Empire During Jesus' Ministry: The Reign of Tiberius
207(1)
Politics of Palestine
207(5)
Herod's Successors
207(3)
The First Procuratorship A.D. 6-41
210(2)
Jewish Religious Groups in the Roman Period
212(4)
Pharisees
212(1)
Sadducees
213(1)
The Dead Sea Scroll Community
213(3)
Chapter Eighteen: The Life and Ministry of Jesus
216(20)
Introduction
216(1)
The Birth of Jesus and His Childhood
217(1)
John the Baptist's Message and Ministry
218(1)
Galilee in Jesus' Day
219(1)
Jesus' Early Ministry
220(3)
Nazareth
220(1)
Capernaum and Bethsaida
221(1)
Villages Beyond the Sea of Galilee
222(1)
Jesus Outside Galilee
223(1)
The Way to Jerusalem
223(3)
Samaria
223(3)
Perean Ministry
226(1)
Jesus in Judea and Jerusalem
226(7)
The Last Week of Jesus
233(3)
Chapter Nineteen: Early Expansion of the Church
236(22)
The Roman Empire during the Early Expansion of the Church
236(1)
Gaius Caligula (A.D. 37-41)
236(1)
Claudius (A.D. 41-54)
236(1)
Nero (A.D. 54-68)
236(1)
The Politics of Palestine A.D. 41-66
237(4)
The Kingdom of Herod Agrippa I
237(2)
Agrippa II
239(1)
Prelude to Revolution: The Second Procuratorship
239(2)
Acts and the Progress of the Gospel in Palestine
241(2)
Jewish Opposition in Jerusalem
242(1)
Expansion beyond Jerusalem
243(1)
The Ministry of Paul
243(15)
Conversion and Early Years
243(1)
The Church at Antioch
244(1)
The Missionary Journeys
244(12)
Paul's Voyage to Rome
256(2)
Chapter Twenty: The First Jewish Revolt
258(5)
Introduction
258(1)
The Opposing Armies
258(2)
The Campaign in Galilee
260(1)
Unrest in Rome
260(1)
The Campaign of Titus against Jerusalem
260(2)
Final Jewish Resistance
262(1)
Consequences of the Jewish Revolt
262(1)
Chapter Twenty-One: The Christian Church from A.D. 70 to A.D. 300
263(14)
The Emperors of Rome from A.D. 69 to 138
263(7)
The Flavian Dynasty
263(5)
Successors to the Flavian Dynasty
268(2)
Life in Palestine and the Growth of the Church
270(4)
The Bar Kokhba Revolt
274(1)
Hadrian's New Jerusalem
275(1)
The Expansion of Christianity into the Second Century
275(2)
Factors Enchancing the Expansion of the Church
276(1)
Asia Minor
276(1)
The Leading Churches
276(1)
Expansion of the Church of the East
276(1)
Glossary 277(2)
Bibliography 279(6)
Indexes 285

Excerpts

THE FACE OF 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. 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.

The Fertile Crescent

James Breasted coined the phrase "Fertile Crescent" to describe a band of land where conditions favored the establishment of early agricultural settlements. Water, either from rainfall or irrigation, and a favorable climate encouraged the development of village life. Stretching northwest from the Persian Gulf (the "Lower Sea"), the crescent includes the lands bordering the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers known as Mesopotamia. In southern Turkey the crescent bends south along the eastern Mediterranean coast. Here lies a narrow strip of land caught between the sea and desert called the Levant. Ancient Syria formed the northern half of the Levant, while Palestine occupied the southern portion. The intrusion of the Syro-Arabian Desert from the south gives the crescent its characteristic shape, while mountain ranges (Taurus, Kurdistan, and Zagros Mountains) mark the limits to the north and east.

Beyond the Sinai, south of the Fertile Crescent, lay Egypt. Favored by nature with the Nile River and its abundant water, Egypt played a vital part in the Ancient Near East. From about 3200 B.C., Egypt, like Mesopotamia, became a powerful center of civilization. Historically, the cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia dominated the history of the Ancient Near East, at least until the campaigns of Alexander the Great (334-323 B.C.).

The emergence of powerful and enduring civilizations in Egypt and Mesopotamia gave strategic importance to Palestine. Palestine was a "land bridge" linking the two great cultural centers. The major international route, the International Coastal Highway, crossed portions of Palestine. This geographical fact is crucial to the history of Palestine. As part of the corridor connecting Egypt and Mesopotamia, Palestine possessed a strategic importance far greater than its size or relatively few resources might suggest. Palestine sat astride the vital economic and military arteries of the Near East. Historically, this meant two things: (1) the people living in Palestine felt the imprint of many cultures, and (2) the major powers sought control of this small land.

Mesopotamia: Home of Abraham

Mesopotamia was an integral part of the biblical landscape in many periods. Genesis locates Abraham's homeland in Mesopotamia (Gen. 11-12). Mesopotamian kings from Assyria and Babylon appear frequently in the historical and prophetic books of the Old Testament. Jewish captives from Jerusalem spent many years in exile near Babylon. Descendants of those exiles were present at Pentecost.

Mesopotamia, literally the land "between the rivers," describes those lands bordering the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Today Iraq, northern Syria, and extreme southeastern Turkey occupy the area of ancient Mesopotamia. To the south and west the great expanse of the Syro-Arabian desert forms the border beyond which settled life based on agriculture is not possible. To the north and east, mountains ring Mesopotamia. In Bible times these mountains harbored less-advanced peoples who often threatened Mesopotamian kingdoms. Mesopotamia gave birth to many great civilizations, including the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian.

TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES

The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers dominate Mesopotamia. Both rivers originate in the high mountains of eastern Turkey and flow south-southeastward to the Persian Gulf. Large distances separate the rivers for most of their journey, but near Baghdad they converge to within twenty miles of each other before diverging again. Near the head of the Persian Gulf, the rivers merge into a marshland, a feature characteristic of both ancient and modern times. The Euphrates (1,780 miles long) is longer and slower than the Tigris, but more suited for transportation. Two major tributaries, the Balikh and Habor, join the Euphrates in northwest Mesopotamia. The Tigris (1,150 miles long) is much swifter, descending through the steppes running parallel to the Zagros Mountains. Four tributaries-the Greater and Lesser Zab, the Adhem, and the Diyala-enter the Tigris from these mountains. The influence of the Tigris and Euphrates, with their tributaries, is such that virtually all important cities of Mesopotamia can be found along their courses. Indeed, whenever a river changed its course, as the Euphrates on occasion did, it isolated the cities, which then declined or were abandoned for economic reasons.

Both the Tigris and Euphrates flooded annually. Autumn and winter rains in combination with melting snows of the high northern mountains produced a large volume of water that had to be harnessed. This inundation was unpredictable, at times being inadequate and at other times, violent. The timing of the flood in Mesopotamia was not as helpful for agriculture as in Egypt. Consequently, the inhabitants of central and southern Mesopotamia maintained a sophisticated system of canals, dikes, and dams from earliest times to protect their cities and to distribute water to thirsty fields. Ancient flood stories like the Gilgamesh Epic abounded in Mesopotamia. They expressed the ancients' fascination with and fear of these floods.

NORTH AND SOUTH MESOPOTAMIA

Northern and southern Mesopotamia differ in terms of geography, climate, and natural resources. The dividing line between the two sections is roughly near modern Baghdad. The southern portion from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf (approximately 350 miles by scale) is a flat plain formed by sediments deposited by the rivers and soil blown from the desert. Summers here are very hot (95F average in July), but winters are mild. Rainfall is scarce, decreasing the farther south one goes; thus crops have depended entirely on irrigation. Still visible from the air are the numerous irrigation canals, long since silted up, required for agriculture. This intense irrigation and flooding resulted in an increase in the salt content of the land (salinization), which eventually hindered crop production.

Southern Mesopotamia lacks many resources. Few building materials were available; houses, temples, and palaces were all built of mud brick. Metals and timber had to be imported. However, the irrigated fields produced excellent crops of barley, the basic staple used for cakes and beer, and some wheat. Dates, which grew in abundance, and sesame oil supplied essential carbohydrates for the diet. Fish from the marshlands and rivers provided much of the meat. Properly utilized, this land supported a significant population, with surpluses for export. Successively, the Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian civilizations arose in southern Mesopotamia, bequeathing a great cultural heritage to the Near East. Cities like Babylon and Ur testify to the land's vitality.

North of Baghdad, uplands and steppes contrast with the flat plain of the south. Rolling hills emerge from the high mountains that border Mesopotamia to the north. Rainfall amounts are higher here, with some sections receiving up to twenty inches annually, although many areas receive much less. The summers are somewhat milder than in the south, but winters are harsher due to higher elevations.

Near Mosul in the Middle Tigris Valley, Asshur, Nineveh, and Calah (Nimrud) mark the heartland of ancient Assyria. Timber and building stones offered royal architects materials for the impressive palaces, temples, and administrative centers of the Assyrian kings; however, common people used mud brick for their houses.

Portions of Assyria produced crops of barley and wheat, but seldom in quantities to be totally self-sufficient. Also, the metals necessary for weapons and implements-copper, iron, tin, zinc, and lead-had to be imported along with cedar and supplemental food supplies. This meant that the Assyrians often sought to expand their control southward to Babylonia or westward to the Mediterranean Sea to obtain vital commodities through major trade routes.

Due west of Assyria lay northwest Mesopotamia with its grassy steppes and fertile lands associated with the Balikh and Habor Rivers. Abundant winter rains, a high water table, and numerous small streams make this region especially attractive for raising cattle and sheep. The Bible associates Abraham closely with this region. The biblical term Aram-naharaim (Gen. 24:10; Deut. 23:4), often translated "Mesopotamia," refers to the land of the Balikh and Habor Rivers.

Egypt: Land of Bondage

As the home of one of the world's enduring civilizations, Egypt looms large on the biblical landscape. For over three thousand years Egyptian history unfolded, casting its spell over the ancient world. By the time Abraham journeyed to Egypt, the pharaohs had ruled for over a thousand years. With its close geographical proximity, this ancient culture left a deep impression on the people of Palestine. The biblical references concerning Joseph and Moses illustrate the interconnections between the lands. Egyptian kings repeatedly meddled in the affairs of Palestine, attempting to exploit key trade routes and maintain a buffer zone of security.

THE TWO LANDS

The land that spawned such a vital civilization is geographically unique. Egypt is "the gift of the Nile," observed the Greek historian Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. The waters of the Nile extend like a finger of life through the stone and sand of North Africa's deserts. From the first cataract near Aswan northward 750 miles to the Mediterranean Sea, ancient Egypt comprised the arable land touched by the Nile.

Geographically, Egypt consisted of two distinct parts, with the dividing line near modern Cairo. North of Cairo, the Nile formed a great Delta composed of deep alluvial sediments deposited through the millennia. Several branches of the Nile flowed through the Delta, or "Lower Egypt," in antiquity, although only two remain today. Dense undergrowth prevented development in earlier times, but eventually several key cities emerged, such as Sais, Bubastis, and the biblical store cities of Pithom and Raamses (Exod. 1:11). The northeastern Delta, the part of Egypt most readily accessible to Palestine, is the land of Goshen to which the patriarchs frequently traveled (Gen. 45:9-11; 46:31ff).

South of Cairo, the encroaching deserts restrict settlement to the Nile Valley, a narrow ribbon of land affected by the annual flood on either side of the river. The Nile Valley, or "Upper Egypt," never is more than a few miles wide. Scattered along the banks of the Nile, the great Egyptian cities with their monumental temples still inspire awe. Abydos, Edfu, and especially Thebes (biblical No-amon), with its temple of Amon-Re, embodied the power of Egypt in her era of greatest strength. Opposite Thebes in the cliffs of the western desert, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom carved their tombs in the Valley of the Kings. These Egyptian cities tended to be smaller than their Mesopotamian counterparts; in fact, most Egyptians lived in small villages. Still, through the centuries Egypt's monumental architecture, not normal village life, has gripped the imaginations of historian and poet alike.

THE GIFT OF THE NILE

Egypt's greatest resource was the Nile, which linked the cities and villages along its length. The Nile provided transportation and communication as the principal highway of the land. Natural currents carried traffic northward, while prevailing north winds permitted travel upriver (southward). The annual inundation of the Nile provided the river's chief benefit to the land. Each year, with uncanny regularity, the Nile flooded, replenishing the land with water and a thin layer of new soil. The causes of this unique phenomenon are found far to the south of Egypt.

The Nile is a composite river that draws water from several different streams. The White Nile provides a steady source of water from the lakes of equatorial Africa that are fed by constant rains. Near Khartoum in the Sudan, two other rivers-the Blue Nile and the Atbara-join the White Nile. During the spring, melting snows and rains in the Ethiopian highlands swell the Blue Nile and the Atbara with water, their swift currents carrying soil and organic materials. The Nile rises as their waters rush northward toward the Mediterranean.

From July to September the waters covered the land along the river's banks, soaking the fields and depositing a layer of rich silt. When the waters retreated, the Egyptian farmers reestablished the boundaries of their fields and prepared the land for planting. Since all agriculture depended on the annual flood, the Egyptians developed devices (Nilometers) to predict its height. A rise of seven to eight meters was ideal. A higher flood could be destructive, while a rise of less than six meters could provoke a famine like that mentioned in Genesis 41:53.

The annual inundation of the Nile was one of several factors that gave stability to Egyptian civilization. A favorable climate was another. Although rainfall is sparse throughout the land and summer temperatures can be very hot, the long sunny days and mild winters were ideal for growing crops. Egypt was immune from the storms and extreme variations of climate found in other parts of the Near East. Moreover, deserts bordered the land of Egypt on the east and west, while the Mediterranean Sea was an effective barrier to the north.

Six cataracts in the Nile River to the south, protected by strategically fortified garrisons, controlled any approach to Egypt from that direction. Access to Egypt came primarily through the northeast Delta. Here the great trade routes crossing the Sinai from Palestine entered Egypt, linking the land with the other cultures of the Near East. Those same trade routes could be used to attack Egypt as well. Consequently, the Egyptians repeatedly sought to extend their control beyond Sinai into Palestine and Syria, thereby ensuring security and an enduring connection to vital goods.

The Levant

The term "Levant" describes the habitable land along the eastern Mediterranean coast sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea on the west and the Syro-Arabian Desert to the east. Syria and Lebanon comprised the northern sections of the Levant while Palestine (see chap. 2) anchored the southern end.

Continue...

Excerpted from HOLMAN BIBLE ATLAS by Thomas C. Brisco Copyright 1998 by Thomas Brisco
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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