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Bible maps of Israel and the Middle East

Bible overview
Maps showing key regions mentioned in the Bible.
The Jordan River is fed by headwaters that start near the base of Mount Hermon, on what is now the Syria-Lebanon border. After descending into the Sea of Galilee, it continues south to the Dead Sea. The river winds through 124 miles of the Rift Valley, which is an average of 6 miles wide and mostly dry apart from the river. – Slide 1
Elevations vary greatly throughout the region. Jerusalem sits atop the hills of Judah at 2,474 feet above sea level, whereas the surface of the nearby Dead Sea is 1,378 feet below sea level (the lowest point on Earth). On the east side of the Dead Sea, the elevation quickly rises back up to 2,680 feet at Mount Nebo. From Jerusalem to the west, the elevation drops more gradually through foothills, called the Shephelah in Hebrew, to the coastal plains and the shores of the Mediterranean. – Slide 2
There were two major arteries for international trade that traversed the land. The coastal highway, or Via Maris, followed along the coast of the Mediterranean and cut through the Jezreel Valley and along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, before heading north into Damascus. The other major route, the King’s Highway, was located to the east along the high fertile plain beyond the Dead Sea and the Jordan River. The two routes converged on Damascus, where the route splits toward Antioch to the north, and towards Mesopotamia to the east. – Slide 3
The shaded areas in this map represent the 12 tribal territories. Levi did not receive land and the territory of Joseph was divided between his two sons. The cities included in the map are mentioned in the Bible as important during the pre-monarchic period, and many of them were used to define boundaries between tribes. – Slide 4
After the death of King Solomon, the kingdom was divided in two. The southern kingdom consisted only of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and thus became the kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as its capital. The northern kingdom consisted of the remaining tribes and was called Israel. – Slide 5
The area shaded in pink is Moab. A flat and arid plain extends east from the banks of the Dead Sea before ascending sharply some 4,000 feet, to the plain above. The upper plain is a more fertile stretch of land that extends about 15 miles from the escarpment east to the Arabian Desert. Dibon, the capital city of Moab in the biblical era, is located in the northern region of the upper plain. – Slide 6
Upon his death in 4 B.C.E., the kingdom of Herod the Great was divided among three of his surviving sons. Antipas was given the region to the east of the Jordan known as Perea, along with Galilee. Philip was given the region to the northeast of the Sea of Galilee, known as Gaulanitis. Archelaus was given the regions of Idumea, Samaria, and Judah but his tumultuous rule would last only two years, until the Romans deposed him and transformed his territory into a Roman province known as Judea. – Slide 7
The region of Galilee includes the Sea of Galilee (about 13 miles long and 8 miles wide) and the surrounding areas to the west. Lower Galilee is characterized by sprawling valleys, whereas upper Galilee is characterized by higher elevations. The tallest peak of upper Galilee, Mount Meron, rises to almost 4,000 feet. Important settlements were concentrated mostly in lower Galilee, in the mountains and valleys and along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. – Slide 8
Capernaum was a small fishing village located along the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. While there, Jesus healed several people and taught in the town synagogue. – Slide 9
Samaria was the capital of the nothern kingdom of Israel, built by King Omri in the ninth century B.C. The city was situated atop a hill rising some 300 feet above the surrounding valleys below. – Slide 10
Jericho of the Old Testament is located on the modern-day mound known as Tell es-Sultan. Most references to Jericho in the New Testament refer to the area southwest of Tell es-Sultan that developed around a huge palace complex first built by the Hasmoneans and later rebuilt and expanded by Herod the Great. – Slide 11
Bethlehem is located less than 5 miles from Jerusalem, in the hills of Judah. King David and his family were from this small shepherding village and Jesus was born here. – Slide 12
This map highlights many of the important locations in Egypt during biblical times. Memphis (located south of modern-day Cairo) was the capital of the Egyptian Old Kingdom and was succeeded by Thebes in later times. – Slide 13
Alexander the Great founded his namesake city, Alexandria, in 331 B.C.E. in Egypt. A very large Jewish population quickly began to develop at Alexandria and at the time of the early church there were as many as one million Jews living in Egypt. – Slide 14
Antioch of Syria is located along the Orontes River. The city also became a centre for early Christianity. It was at Antioch that followers of Jesus were first called 'Christians' (Acts 11:26). – Slide 15
Corinth is located along the Peloponnesian coast of Greece, about 48 miles from Athens. Its proximity to the Isthmus of Corinth put Corinth at a very strategic crossroads. After the apostle Paul left Athens, he spent a year and a half preaching here, where he met Aquila and Priscilla. Paul would later pen two letters to the church at Corinth. – Slide 16
Rome is located near the Mediterranean coast on the western side of central Italy, along the Tiber River. The site was inhabited as early as 753 B.C. and became the capital of the Roman Empire in the latter part of the first century B.C. One of the Pauline Epistles is addressed to the Christian church at Rome and the record of Paul’s missionary activities ends with Paul under house arrest in Rome. – Slide 17
Mesopotamia, 'the land between rivers,' (modern day Iraq) is the birthplace of the earliest civilisations on the planet. Ultimately, these nations developed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire, which dominated the early first millennium B.C. – Slide 18
Nineveh is located in Upper Mesopotamia, along the Tigris River, in the modern-day city of Mosul, Iraq. The site was settled in prehistoric times, in an agriculturally rich area located along the major trade routes of ancient Mesopotamia. The book of Jonah describes the Assyrian capital as 'an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across' (Jonah 3:3). – Slide 19
These maps have been kindly made available to FreeBibleimages by the Society of Biblical Literature. – Slide 20