Judah and Its Towns

The land of Judah in southern Israel was home to many important leaders throughout Israel’s history. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all lived in the hill town of Hebron for a time, and later several of them were buried in the family tomb there. Likewise, David was born in the Judean town of Bethlehem, and while he was on the run from Saul, he traveled from hideout to hideout throughout Judah, which was no doubt familiar terrain for him. Various strongholds near the oasis of En-gedi in the barren Judean wilderness served as some of David’s hideouts, and Masada (which means “stronghold”) was likely among them. When David first became king, he reigned over Judah from the town of Hebron and moved to Jerusalem only after he gained control over all Israel. His son Absalom later staged a rebellion against him from Hebron. Hundreds of years later Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and Masada became the final holdout for a group of Jewish zealots during their revolt against the Romans.

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