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

Lesson 19: Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Physical Topography - The Transjordanian Plateau and The Hydrology of the Holy Land
Transjordanian Plateau 

The elevated plateau flanking the Jordan rift and the Arabah (the area south of the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqabah) (the area south of Israel to the Gulf of Aqabah as the Negeb) is designated in the Bible as “beyond the Jordan”. 

Thus when Joseph came to bury Jacob:


Gen 50:10, And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.


Trans means on the other side of: 


As a whole, the physical topography of Transjordan is more uniform in character than that of Cisjordan. 


The high table land of Transjordan stretches about 250 miles from Mt. Hermon, to the Red Sea, is between 30 and 80 miles in width, and rises to heights of 5,000 ft above sea level.


It receives significant precipitation, creating deep gorges through which four rivers flow:  the Yarmuk, Jabbok, Arnon, and the Zered.


The underlying foundation of the Transjordanian Plateau is sandstone, and the surface on the highlands is chiefly limestone in the north with a thin basalt covering north of the Yarmuk. 


Therefore the northern regions are fertile, and the well watered soil can produce large supplies of various grains, especially wheat.


Ezek. 39:18, Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.


Psalm 22:12, Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.


In the Roman period, this northern region served as a breadbasket for the Syro-Palestinian province. 


Toward the east of the plateau which lies at a level of 3000 feet and a distance of 15-40 miles from the Jordan Rift, it rapidly transitions from grasslands to the eastern desert. 


Many parts of the western Giled dome (highlands), for instance, are rich in brooks and springs with good drinking water, whereas east of the watershed, cisterns are the order of the day.  


As one travels eastward the lush fiels of grain give way to intermittent shallow grasses foraged by migrating flocks of nomads.


Hydrology of the Holy Land


Men invent gods in hopes of taking care of problems that they face.  


It is no accident that the chief deity of Egypt was the sun god, Amon-re. 


The god that the Mesopotamian peoples worshipped was Marduk, another sun god. 


But the need for sun was not the overriding need to the Canaanites. 


Their god was Baal, a rain/fertility god.  


In this land where water was scarce the need was for a god that would provide water to bring fertility to the land. 


For it never needs to rain in Egypt or in Mesopotamia where the great rivers Nile, Euphrates and the Tigrus flow. 


Each of these rivers offered a vast supply of fresh water, more than ever could be consumed by the societies they fed and sustained.


And as long as the rains fell in the distant mountains water would come to Egypt and to Mesopotamia.  


But the story in Canaan was a different story. 


Canaan enjoyed no great rivers. 


What good was the Jordan River that lay at such a low altitude and was so heavily laden with chemicals?


Beyond the Jordan Canaan possessed only a trickle of river water. 


The Me Jarkon river rises from springs near Aphek, the Kishon river which drains much of the Jezreel Valley is little more than a brook for most of the year, and the Harod river which enters the Jordan opposite Beth-shan, flows from a single spring at the foot of Mt. Gilboa.


The Canaanites and God’s chosen people, would in this land, experience survival or death, crop success or failure, fertility or drought precisely as a consequence of storms that might deposit their rainfall upon a land that was otherwise incapable of sustaining human existence.


The land was made by God to demonstrate the primer lesson in faith. 


That faith produces blessing whereas disobedience results in condemnation. 


Near the beginning of Israel’s existence at Sinai, the Lord instructed the nation concerning the consequences of faith:


Lev 26:3-20, 3If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 13I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

14But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 15And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. 18And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 20And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.