Mahanaim and Peniel

One of the most significant biblical locations that few Bible readers would recognize is the site of the twin fortresses of Mahanaim and Peniel. During the Old Testament these fortresses stood on opposite sides of the Jabbok River and guarded an important road leading from southern Gilead to the roads of the Jordan River valley. […]

Crete, Cyrene, and Syrtis

Though the Old Testament never directly mentions Crete (shown in inset), this island had a significant impact on the history of Israel. Crete was home to the ancient city of Knossos and the great Minoan civilization, the first advanced society in Europe, which flourished from before the time of Abraham until around the time of […]

Mesopotamia

The region commonly called Mesopotamia (“between the rivers”) was home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world and is often speculated to be the location of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-14). Located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Mesopotamia formed a large portion of what is often called the Fertile Crescent, and […]

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 (Genesis 13:18; 35:27; 37:12-14), and later several of them were buried in the family tomb there (Genesis 23:19; 25:9; 50:12-13). Likewise, David was […]

Nations Across the Jordan River

The small nations of Ammon, Moab, and Edom lay east of the Jordan River, and the people of these nations were distantly related to the Israelites. The Ammonites and Moabites were descended from Abraham’s nephew Lot (Genesis 19), and the Edomites were descended from Jacob’s twin brother Esau (Genesis 36). The Israelites had passed by […]