Best Bible Mapper Atlas Maps of 2023

Here are 10 of the best Bible Mapper Atlas maps released in 2023, based purely on the author’s personal opinion:

10. David Transports the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem
9. Saul Attacks the Amalekites
8. The Route of David’s Census Takers
7. The Ark of the Covenant in the Promised Land
6. The Israelites’ Journeys in the Wilderness
5. David Stengthens Southern Judah
4. Poster Map of Israel and Judah
3. Israel Battles Benjamin
2. The Route of the Exodus
1. The Battle at the Pool of Gibeon

Naaman Is Healed of Leprosy

2 Kings 5

Though it is difficult to discern exactly when the various stories of Elijah and Elisha took place, all of them occurred during an era of Aramean strength, roughly spanning the ninth century B.C. In this story, a man named Naaman, commander over the Aramean army, suffered from leprosy, and a captive Israelite girl in his household told him that a prophet in Samaria could cure him. Naaman received permission from the king of Aram to travel to Samaria, and the king sent a letter with Naaman, confirming that Naaman had come to be healed of his leprosy. Naaman arrived in Samaria and gave the letter to the king of Israel, but the king tore his clothes in anguish, because he believed this was impossible, and then the Arameans would attack him for his failure to cure Naaman. But Elisha heard about this and told the king to send Naaman to him. It is not clear whether Elisha was living in the city of Samaria at this time or in another place in the greater vicinity of Samaria such as Gilgal, where Elijah and Elisha appear to have led a school of prophets (2 Kings 2:1-2; 4:38). When Naaman arrived at Elisha’s house, Elisha simply sent a messenger to the door with instructions for Naaman to go and wash in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was initially incensed that Elisha did not come himself and instantly cure the leprosy, and he boasted that the rivers of Abana and Pharpar near Damascus were better than any of the rivers of Israel. He started to leave in anger, but his servants convinced him just to try this simple task. So Naaman went down to the Jordan River, perhaps near Jericho, and when he washed in the water he emerged with his skin free of leprosy. He returned to Elisha and declared that there is no god except the God of Israel. Naaman then offered Elisha a gift, but Elisha refused to accept it, so Naaman requested instead that he be allowed to take back two mule-loads of dirt to Aram so that he could offer sacrifices to the Lord. Naaman may have made this request because, in his pagan understanding of God, he believed that all gods were tied to a particular land or nation, so he needed to be on Israelite land to offer an acceptable sacrifice to the God of Israel. It appears that Elisha granted Naaman’s request and sent him on his way.

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Maps for Advent: The Hope of the World Enters History

Week 1 > The Historical Context: A People in Exile

· The Land of Exile
· Galilee throughout Bible Times

Week 2 > The Present Reality: The Fullness of Time

· Palestine under Roman Rule
· The Ministry of John the Baptist
· Nazareth and Its Surroundings

Week 3 > The Arrival of Hope: God with Us

· Jesus Is Born in Bethlehem
· Magi Worship Jesus
· Jesus’ Birth and Escape to Egypt

Week 4 > The Spread of the Good News: Disciples of All Nations

· Nations at Pentecost

Solomon’s Enemies

1 Kings 11

Solomon ruled over a powerful kingdom that brought him great wealth, but he allowed his many wives to lead his heart astray to worship the gods of other nations. Many of these wives were likely given to him by foreign rulers to seal political alliances (e.g., 1 Kings 3:1). Because of Solomon’s unfaithfulness to the God of Israel, the Lord declared that he would tear away much of the kingdom from Solomon and give it to one of his servants. The Bible then recounts the origins of a few adversaries of Solomon who must have caused trouble during his reign. It was actually events during David’s reign that precipitated the rise of two of these adversaries, though apparently it wasn’t until Solomon’s reign that these men became significant agents of opposition. The first adversary mentioned is Hadad the Edomite, who belonged to the royal court of Edom. Sometime during the time when David was in Edom (see 2 Samuel 8:13-14) his commander Joab tried to kill every male in Edom, but Hadad fled with some of his father’s servants. Apparently he fled first to Midian (see 1 Kings 11:18) and then made his way to Paran, where others joined him, and then they crossed the wilderness to Egypt. There Hadad was very favorably received by Pharaoh and given land, food, and even a wife from Pharaoh’s royal household. After David died, Hadad chose to return to Edom. The second adversary mentioned is Rezon, who had fled from King Hadadezer of Zobah and became the leader of a gang of rebels. After David defeated Hadadezer (2 Samuel 8-10; 1 Chronicles 18-19), Rezon and his men fled to Damascus, where they made him king over Aram. He continued to cause trouble for Solomon throughout his reign. The last adversary mentioned is Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s own officials, who had been put in charge of rebuilding a portion of Jerusalem. One day as Jeroboam was leaving the city, a prophet named Ahijah met him and told him that the Lord was going to tear away ten of the tribes of Israel and give them to him. Solomon must have heard about Ahijah’s prophecy, because he tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to King Shishak of Egypt. Later Jeroboam would return to Israel, and the ten northern tribes appointed him king after rejecting the rule of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon (1 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 10).

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The Route of David’s Census Takers

2 Samuel 24:1-10; 1 Chronicles 21:1-8

After David had secured his reign over all Israel and greatly expanded his rule over neighboring nations, he commissioned Joab, the commander of his army, to “count the people of Israel and Judah.” Though Scripture does not explicitly state the reason for this order, the report that Joab provided to David nearly ten months later at the conclusion of the census makes his intentions clear: David was seeking a tally of all troops he had at his disposal throughout his kingdom. Joab initially resisted David’s order, and after the census was completed David was stricken with guilt over his actions, and ultimately the Lord punished Israel for David’s census. Yet nowhere in Scripture is the counting of troops clearly condemned. In fact, during the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness the Lord commanded two different censuses to be taken of Israel’s troops (Numbers 1; 26), and many of the accounts of Israel’s battles throughout the Old Testament include a careful tally of the troops involved, so it must have been normal practice to take a census such as David commissioned. Most scholars explain this discrepancy by inferring that Joab and others must have discerned that David was wrongly looking to military might instead of the Lord’s promise to fight for his people (Deuteronomy 20:1-4) or that he was disobeying the law by including those under twenty years of age (see Exodus 30:11-16; 1 Chronicles 27:23-24). While this may be true, it does not fully explain what this author has found to be a curious peculiarity about David’s census: The census takers do not appear to have traveled hardly anywhere within the core settlement areas of Israel or Judah. Instead, the census takers followed a route almost entirely along the perimeter of Israel’s core area of initial settlement, as shown on this map. They started out at Aroer and “the town in the middle of the gorge,” probably referring to modern Mudaynet as-Saliya in the Arnon Gorge (see also Deuteronomy 2:36; Joshua 13:9, 16), which were located at the far corner of Israel’s allotted land. Then they headed north to Jazer and Gilead, likely following the King’s Highway, which ran along the outer edge of Israel’s lands. Then they came to Tahtim-hodshi, which this author suspects is referring to the “lowlands of Kedesh.” The Israelite city of Kedesh was situated among the hills of upper Galilee, but just to the east of it lay a valley occupied primarily by the people of Maacah, who fought against and were defeated by David earlier in his reign. Then the census takers traveled to Dan, which is often cited along with Beersheba as marking the distant boundary of Israel (Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20; 2 Samuel 3:10; 17:11; 1 Chronicles 21:2), and on to Sidon and Tyre. The Bible never indicates that Sidon and Tyre were subdued by David, but he appears to have wielded considerable influence over Tyre (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Chronicles 14:1; see also 1 Kings 5:2-11) and perhaps over Sidon as well. After this the census takers went to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites, likely indicating that they traveled through the coastal lands along the Mediterranean Sea. Lastly, they completed their route at the city of Beersheba in the Negev. This route along the perimeter of Israel’s core settlement areas suggests that, while David’s census takers were no doubt collecting troop information from the tribes of Israel (see 1 Chronicles 21:5-6), their primary focus appears to have been on David’s newly acquired lands, which would have been largely comprised of non-Israelites. This theory may also be supported by 2 Chronicles 2:17, which notes that “Solomon counted all the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, after the census of them that David his father had taken.” Thus, this author suspects that Joab may have been urging David not to rely on troops from these non-Israelites to protect Israel and instead called upon the Lord to increase the number of “the people” (perhaps meaning the Israelite people) a hundredfold. At the same time, however, the biblical account of the census takers’ route never uses any of the names for the subdued nations (e.g., Moab, Ammon, Aram, Maacah, Philistia, etc.), though it does use vague references to “Canaanites” and “Hivites.” This may reflect a tension that existed at the time between David’s efforts to integrate these new lands into one great empire (thus explaining the aversion to identifying people by their former national affiliation) and the convictions of those like Joab, who may have been opposed to such integration.

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