1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

 

Lesson 12: Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, The Geopolitical Districts of the Promised Land, Continued

 

 

Transjordanian geopolitical areas

 

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene

 

From north to south those included Bashan, Gilead, Mishor, Moab, and Edom. (B, G, Mi, Mo, In alphabetical order from north to south except for Edom)

 

BASHAN (Bay' shan) Ė (smooth land) northernmost area occupied by Israel

 

During New Testament times, the region north of the Yarmuk consisted basically of the provinces that made up the tetrarchy of Philip, brother of Herod Antipas: Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Auranitis, Batanea, and Iturea.

 

Gaulanitis (Golan Heights) mountains that rise sharply just to the east of the Hula valley and the Sea of Galilee.

 

Trachonitis means stony ground

 

Auranitis was coveted by the Romans because its fertile soil was capable of producing vast supplies of wheat, which rendered the district an important granary for Palestine and Syria.

 

Batanea is the Greek form for Bashan(Bay' shan); but as a province, it was distinguished from the other sectors of Philipís rule. 

 

Jewish pilgrims passed from Babylon to Jerusalem on a major road through Batenea and according to Eusebius the cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei mentioned in Joshua 12:4, were both a part of Batanea

 

GILEAD (gihl' ih uhd) Transjordanís second basic Geopolitical entity was Gilead.

 

It is the north-central section of the transjordanian highlands.

 

In contrast to the name Bashan which is the area to the north which means smooth land, and the area to the south Mishor which means tableland, or plateau (a flat area of land higher than the adjacent land), Gilead means rugged or raw land.

 

It occupies the mountain slopes and tableland east of the Jordan, northeast of the Dead Sea.

 

The area is occasionally referred to in the Bible as the Hill Country of Gilead. 

 

Gilead is bisected by the Jabbok River; in Old Testament times the kingdom of Ammon (the Ammonites) occupied its eastern fringe.

 

It was often contested by other nations (Amos 1:3).

 

Gilead extends about 50 miles from southern Heshbon not quite to the Yarmuk River in the north.

 

Its east-west extent is about twenty miles.

 

Physically, Gilead is a rugged country.

 

Some of its peaks reach over 3500 feet. It also has plains with grassland suitable for cattle, and in antiquity the northern half of the region particularly was heavily forested.

 

The Kings Highway, an important international trade route, passed through Gilead.

 

Gilead was an agriculturally significant region as well.

 

Gilead was famous especially for its flocks and herds, and also for the balm of Gilead, an aromatic and medicinal preparation, probably derived from the resin of a small balsam tree.   

 

Jeremiah in Jeremiah 8:22 cried as he lamented the state of his people. 

 

The harvest had not yielded her fruits, the harvest is passed, the summer is ended and we are not saved. 

 

No fruit had been stored for the winter: 

 

Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? 

 

Many famous persons and events are associated with Gilead.

 

The judges Jair and Jephthah (Judg. 11:1), Israelís King Jehu, and the prophet Elijah were all Gileadites.

 

Judges 10:3-5,  And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.  And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.

 

Judges 11:1-3,   Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah. And Gileadís wife bare him sons; and his wifeís sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our fatherís house; for thou art the son of a strange woman. Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.

 

Jacob and Laban met at its northeastern border (Gen. 31:22-23).

 

Genesis 31:22,23,  And it was told Laban on the third day that Jacob was fled. And he took his brethren with him, and pursued after him seven daysí journey; and they overtook him in the mount Gilead.

 

Jacob encountered the angel of God at Peniel in Gilead (Gen. 32:30).

 

Saulís son Ish-bosheth (2 Sam. 2:8), David (2 Sam. 17:24), and Jesus all retreated to Gilead for a time.

 

2 Sam 2:8,9,  But Abner the son of Ner, captain of Saulís host, took Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahanaim; And made him king over Gilead, and over the Ashurites, and over Jezreel, and over Ephraim, and over Benjamin, and over all Israel.

 

Old Testament cities of importance were Heshbon in the south, Rabboth-ammon on the eastern desert fringe (present day capital of Jordan), Jabesh-gilead (Jabesh of Gilead), and Ramoth-gilead (Ramoth of Gilead),. 

 

Moab Ė Geographers sometimes divide Moab into two halves, the northern part of Moab called the Mishor, between the Wadi Hesban and the Arnon River, whereas southern Moab, called the heartland, lies between the Arnon and the Zered Rivers.

 

One reason for this is that the Mishor represented part of Israelís inheritance, occupied by the Reubanites, whereas the heartland of Moab lay beyond the Israelís perimeter

 

Mishor Ė Means Tableland, and stretched in the north from Heshbon and Medeba about 25 miles south to the cities of Aroer and Dibon located just north of the Arnonís canyon and near the Kingís highway. 

 

The towns of Nebo and Beth-peor, near to where Moses was buried, are in Mishor. 

 

This is also the area where Balaam uttered his untoward blessings. 

 

Shittum, where Israelites entered into illicit sexual relations with Moabite women and Bezer the city of refuge were also nearby.

 

Moab and Israel contested repeatedly for the Mishor, as early as the period of the judges (Judges 3:12-30) and in the times of Saul and David (1 Sam 14:47, 2 Sam 8:2,12).

 

One of Solomonís many marriages, designed to cement political alliances, was with a Moabite princess (1 Kings 11:1).

 

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