OLD TESTAMENT MAP OF KING DAVID was born in Bethlehem, in the south of Judah to Jesse, the son of Obed (Matthew 1:5). David was the youngest son of Jesse’s and grew up tending the sheep. However, it was as a youth in the Valley of Elah where David showed what was to come. He fearlessly fought and killed the Philistine giant-champion Goliath, cutting off his head after sinking a stone from his sling in the giant’s forehead.
King Saul took David in, only to turn against him out of jealousy and “an evil spirit”. The old prophet Samuel had anointed Saul king years earlier, only to have him disobey the word of the Lord. Thus a new king was to be anointed, and God had chosen His servant David.
Samuel aided David in his flight from Saul. Earlier he had condemned Saul per God’s instruction. Saul had been rejected, and thus David’s rise to the throne was ordained by Yahweh making David the righteous and chosen king. Indeed his kingdom would usher in the golden era of Israelite/Jewish history. The kingdom established by he and his son Solomon stretched from the Red Sea in the south to the Euphrates River in the extreme north.
EDEN Scholars have sought for centuries to locate the Garden of Eden. The below map provides a look at what many feel may have represented the Bible’s description in Genesis 2:10-14. Though this cannot be verified to any degree of certainty, it is interesting to note that geologists and scholars have concluded the Persian Gulf was at one time a dry river bed. The southern location is just one theory, however, concerning the location of the Garden of Eden.
THE PISHON & HAVILAH The Pishon is said to have flowed through the whole land of Havilah. Genesis 2:12 makes special mention of Havilah’s gold being of the finest quality. Interestingly, the river bed detected through new satellite imagery ran through an ancient site known as Mahd adh Dhahab. This ancient mine was one of antiquity’s most well known and profitable gold mines.
THE HOLY LAND Many of the events on any Old Testament map took place in modern day Israel and Jordan. The ancient kings Og and Sihon , defeated by Moses, ruled kingdoms occupying much of modern day Jordan. The West Bank has been an area of dispute since Abraham. The history of Jerusalem is dominated by conflict.
TABLE OF NATIONS An Old Testament map of Genesis 9, commonly referred to as The Table of Nations. The events in Genesis 6 and I Enoch triggered God’s judgment of the flood. After the flood, it was up to Noah and his three sons to re-populate the earth. The above map shows their migration; Ham’s descendants are seen in green. Shem’s clans are in red.Japheth’s kin are seen in black. Notice the tendency to stay relatively close to immediate family. The Old Testament map below shows some other clans, those that migrated further away.
THE SONS OF NOAH & THEIR DESCENDANTS SPREAD UPON THE EARTH FROM ARARAT. THESE MAPS DEMONSTRATE THEIR MIGRATION & SETTLEMENT. SHEM AND HAM TENDED TO DWELL AMONGST EACH OTHER MORESO THAN JAPHETH & HAM.
PALESTINE Palestine was occupied long before the Israelites arrived in the land, and even long before the patriarch Abraham arrived. An Old Testament map of Palestine, also called the land of Canaan, shows a diverse landscape. Every known geographical region exists in Canaan. From the coast of the Mediterranean, to the desert regions of Judah and the Negev; from the lowlands of the Shephelah, to the mountains of the Central Highlands, Palestine covers the spectrum of geography.
An Old Testament map may list the Western Mountains as the Central Highlands. The Hill Country of Ephraim was also located in this region. Jerusalem and Shechem dominated the Western Mountains. Shechem became the capital of the Northern Kingdom, while Jerusalem became the capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The Central Ridge Route ran along the top of the plateau, and was a vital road in antiquity, as it remains today. Abraham spent much of his time in the southern Negev country. Beersheba was a major city of the Negev, and was home to Abraham for a time. Much of the Abraham narrative, and that ofIsaac as well, takes place between Beersheba in the Negev, and Mamre, near Hebron, both located south of Jerusalem.
||The writer of Revelation foresaw the last battle, the Battle of Armageddon, as being fought in this area. Along the Western Mountains ran the Central Ridge Route. This route pierced the heart of Jerusalem, and connected the ancient city to Shechem, in Samaria. The two cities were Canaanite rivals for control of this ancient route before Abraham arrived.|
East of the Jordan, in what would become known as the Transjordan region, The Kings Highway ran from north to south. This route is mentioned in Numbers 21:22 by name. This route ran from Ezion-geber, at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba, northward to Damascus. Caravans ran this route carrying spices and perfumes, along with other products from the Arabian Peninsula.
ABRAHAM was called from the land of Ur, in southern Mesopotamia. The Old Testament map of Israel began with Abraham’s journey into Canaan. It is believed by some scholars Ur was suffering a depression of sorts near the end of the third millennium B.C., which would have explained God’s call to leave Ur. Abraham and his father, Terah, along with his nephew Lot, and their wives, left their home and journeyed to Haran. It is widely held they made this trip around 2000 B.C., though the exact dates vary from scholar to scholar. Haran is likely named after Abraham’s brother, who had died unexpectedly in Ur, leaving his only son Lot behind for Abraham to raise. The most likely route they took from Ur led through the ancient city of Mari.
ARAM-NAHARAIM This Old Testament map of the Land of the Patriarchs shows the importance this area played in shaping the early narratives in Genesis. It is from this region Abraham’s family lived. Scholars have noted at least two cities, Haran and Nahor, which bear names of Abraham’s kin. Abraham sent his servant to this region to fetch a wife for his son, Isaac. Purity was essential to the ancient Hebrews, later to be Israelites. Intermarriage was forbidden, and oftentimes led to conflict and unrest. It was to this area Jacob, Isaac’s youngest son, fled in haste to escape the wrath of Esau, the oldest of the twin boys. Jacob spent twenty years in the region, before returning to Canaan with two wives from among his kin. The Old Testament map is crisscrossed with journeys by different patriarchs to the same areas.
ABRAHAM entered Canaan by way of the Jabbok River. He crossed the Jordan where the two rivers meet. This Old Testament map shows how Abraham and party followed the Wadi Farah into the Central Highlands. Genesis 12:6records Abraham stopping near Shechem at “the oak of Moreh”. Shechem, thus, became a significant part of the early history of Israel. Two of Jacob’s sons would put to death the residents of Shechem in retaliation for the rape of their sister. After stopping at the oak of Moreh, the Lord appeared to Abraham in an act of reassurance. Abraham built an altar to commemorate the occasion.
EARLY CANAAN was a diverse and busy land. Any Old Testament map attests to the number of cities, towns, and villages which sprang up near ancient trade routes, intersections, water sources, hill tops, and valleys. As Abraham entered Canaan, the Central Ridge Route would have led southward to Jerusalem. Bethel, Ai, and Gibbeon sat along this route. Jericho lay 18 miles to the east of Jerusalem. Continuing along the same route to the south of Jerusalem sat Hebron, and Beersheba in the Negev lay to the southwest of Hebron. This Old Testament map makes evident the choice of Joshua to invade Canaan through Jericho . Before crossing the Jordan, Joshua and the Israelites encamped at Abel-shittim. Jericho was a strategic city, as the Israelites would have been able to access the Central Highlands by way of three routes, if the city could be taken. Upon seizing Jericho, Joshua chose the route leading northwest, to Ai and Bethel. They were defeated initially at Ai; a consequence of the sin of Achan. However, the second attempt delivered a fatal blow. This began the southern campaign of the Conquest.
OLD TESTAMENT MAP
JACOB & ESAU grew up in the Negev, in and around Beersheba and Hebron. The Central Ridge Route connected the two cities. Esau was an outdoorsman, and sought the wild game found nearby. Jacob, however, preferred to stay with the tents.
JACOB took flight on a route which must have been very familiar to the Patriarchs; the route to Aram-Naharaim, some 500 plus miles to the Northeast of Canaan. This route is engraved on the Old Testament map of the early Patriarch’s. Jacob took out in haste, fleeing the wrath of Esau. It is interesting to keep in mind Scripture’s description of Jacob as a quiet man, a man that chose to stay among the tents. He was not an out doors type. This journey, taken in haste, would have tested him in ways he had never been tested before. This Old Testament map of Jacob’s flight illuminates the route he would have most likely taken. As stated above, this route was well known by Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob. Jacob would not return this way for another twenty years.
THE EXODUS After the miraculous crossing, helped by a strong Eastern wind sent by God Almighty, the Israelites escaped into the Sinai. Old Testament Bible maps depict various routes as being taken by the Israelites. A Byzantine tradition claims Jebul Musa, in the southern Sinai, is Mt. Sinai. A monastery was built on the site. This site, however, is unlikely the Mt. Sinai of Moses. Old Testament Bible maps differ on the location of Mt. Sinai as well.
MOSES moved the Israelites northward from Hazeroth to the Wilderness of Paran, as told in Numbers 13. Previously, in Hazeroth, “the anger of the Lord burned” against Miriam and Aaron for speaking against Moses. From their camp in Paran, God instructed Moses to send 12 spies into the land of Canaan. One spy was to come from each tribe, and they were to scout out the land, obtaining samples of produce, and assessing the size and fortifications of the cities. Joshua was one of the spies, representing the tribe of Ephraim . Caleb was another spy, representing the tribe of Judah. These two great men would play instrumental roles in the upcoming Conquest. Their tribes were blessed because of their faith in God.
NUMBERS 13:21 tells how the Israelite spies searched out the land as far as “Lebo-hamath”, which translates as “the entrance of Hamath”. The spies are said to have cut down a cluster of grapes in the valley of Eshcol, a single cluster which they had to carry on a pole between two men. Eshcol was also the name of an ally of Abraham, in Genesis 14:13. Abraham dwelt near the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol.
Near Hebron, the spies encountered the sons of Anak, reported in Numbers 13:33 to be a part of the Nephilim . All but two of them reported; “the land through which we have gone in spying out, is a land that devours its inhabitants…”. Only Joshua and Caleb remained faithful, and encouraged the people to go up and take the land God will give them. As a result, God gave Caleb the land of the Anakim. It was during the campaigns of Caleb the Anakim were driven to the Coastal Plain.
THE LAND OF GIANTS may sound somewhat fantastical when describing the ancient land of Canaan. However, the Bible paints such a picture. The sons of Anak, the Anakim, are said in Numbers 13 to have been occupying Hebron, and likely the Central Highlands north of Jerusalem. In Deuteronomy 2 the land of Ammon is said to belong to the Rephaim , a people as great as the Anakim, and also connected to the Nephilim giants in Genesis. Og, the giant king of Bashan, was the last of the Rephaim, and king of the Amorites.
Deuteronomy 3:11 gives the dimensions of Og’s bed as over 14 feet long, and over 6 feet wide! I Samuel 17:40 depicts the battle between David and Goliath, the giant Philistine from Gath. Caleb drove the sons of Anak from their land, and forced them to migrate west, where they merged and assimilated with the Philistines. I Chronicles 20:6-7 speaks of another Philistine giant, “a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot – twenty-four in all.”
OG & SIHON were the “kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan” (Josh. 2:10). The Israelites encountered these two Amorite kings in Numbers 21. Moses sent messengers to Sihon, king of Moab, seeking permission to pass through his land. Moses assured Sihon the Israelites would not disturb the land nor the people. Sihon, however, refused and gathered his troops for battle. This proved a fatal mistake, as God gave the Israelites victory over Sihon.
Scripture records his brother, Og, king of Bashan, then gathered his troops. The Lord assured Moses victory, and handed Og over to the Israelites. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh asked Moses for this land east of the Jordan. These tribes became known as the Transjordan Tribes of Israel.
|JERICHO As Moses died, and Joshua rose to leadership, God was ready to advance His people into the Holy Land. Old Testament Bible maps attest to the importance Jericho played in the Conquest. The city was not chosen randomly. If Jericho were taken, the Israelites would control three routes leading into Canaan. After the battle of Jericho , Joshua would move northwest and take Ai. Thus began the Southern Invasion of Israel.|
THE BATTLE OF JERICHO Old Testament Bible maps shed light on the strategy involved with taking Jericho first. Joshua encamped at Abel-shittim, a natural spot to camp before crossing the Jordan. It was from Abel-shittim the spies were sent out to Jericho. There they encountered Rahab the harlot. After the spies returned safely back to camp, Joshua moved the Israelite camp to the shores of the Jordan. For three days the Israelites camped here. God, then, stopped the flow of the Jordan in Adam, north of the Israelites, and provided a miraculous crossing on dry ground.
||JOSHUA SENT SPIES AHEAD FIRST. THEY ENCOUNTERED RAHAB, WHO SAVE THEIR LIVES.|
||JERICHO WAS ON THE JORDAN PLAINS, AND LED INTO CANAAN. IT’S LESS THAN 20 MILES FROM JERUSALEM.JERICHO BECAME JOSHUA’S MAIN BASE.|
||After crossing the Jordan, Joshua moved the Israelites to Gilgal. Before going into battle, however, the Israelites had to consecrate themselves to God, thus, they were circumcised as a nation for the first time in forty years. It was also in Gilgal Joshua encountered a visitor, an angel of the Lord’s, perhaps the archangel Michael. From Gilgal, the Israelites marched on Jericho. The city fell to Joshua, and opened up the way into Canaan.|
Old Testament Bible maps, such as the one below, portray the importance of roads such as The Central Ridge Route. Shechem, Bethel, and Jerusalem all rested on this route, and control of this route was essential.
THE BATTLE OF HAZOR The ancient city of Hazor was a key Canaanite city in the north of Canaan. Joshua 11 depicts the Israelite victory over the Canaanite forces at the nearby Waters of Merom. Hazor, according to Joshua 11:10, was the “head of all those kingdoms”.
This victory severely crippled the Canaanite ability to resist the Israelite invasion in the north, and opened up this territory for occupation. The Bible records Joshua and the invading army of Israelites burned Hazor with fire. Excavations have shown that shortly before 1200 B.C., the Upper and Lower cities of Hazor were violently destroyed by fire. Old Testament Bible maps make mention of the Battle of Hazor due to its significance in the Northern Campaign of the Conquest.
THE NORTHERN TRIBES OF ISRAEL would eventually constitute the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Old Testament Bible maps clearly show the size and scope of the Northern Kingdom surpassed that of the south. After the death of Solomon, the Northern Tribes split from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. The southern throne remained with the tribe of Judah in the south, and was headquartered in Jerusalem. The Northern Tribes elected Jeroboam I as their king.
Israel tended towards idolatry more so than their southern brethren. The Northern kings set up places of worship at Dan and Bethel, profaning the name of the Lord. Though much larger and more powerful than the Southern Kingdom of Judah , Israel fell to the Assyrians nearly two hundred years before the kingdom of Judah would fall to the Babylonians.
THE SOUTHERN TRIBES OF ISRAEL were centered around the tribe of Judah, by far the largest and most prestigious of the three tribes. The tribes of Benjamin and Simeon rounded out the remaining tribes. Old Testament Bible maps sometimes group these three tribes under the Southern Kingdom of Judah. In a remarkable testament to longevity, the throne of the southern kingdom never passed from the family of David, in the tribe of Judah. For nearly five centuries the house of David sat on the throne of Judah. The Southern Kingdom fell to Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 B.C.
|VALLEY OF ELAH Old Testament Bible maps track the exploits of David from his youth to the days of his kingship. It was in this region many conflicts took place between the Philistines and the Israelites. The Israelite and Philistine armies were encamped across the valley from each other, perhaps the intersection between Azekah and Socoh. Goliath would emerge each morning from the Philistine encampment and stand in the valley shouting his challenge to the Israelite army cowered on the opposite hillside.||
|I SAMUEL 17 records the encounter between David and Goliath. The young shepherd boy David rose to meet Goliath’s challenge. He slew the giant from Gath with a slingshot. His victory inspired the Israelite army, and they set out in pursuit of the fleeing Philistines. Scripture records the Israelites pursued the Philistines as far as Ekron. Old Testament Bible maps capture the geography of these stories, and shed a light of understanding on the Biblical narrative.||
Old Testament Bible maps help shed light on the events and people found throughout the Old Testament. It is difficult to understand the Old Testament at times, and the different place names and locations are often hard to pronounce in their English translations. We hope these maps help shed light on the Old Testament, and the power of God.