The World of the Old Testament
- Mount Ararat The traditional site where Noah’s ark landed (Gen. 8:4). The exact location is unknown.
- Ur First residence of Abraham, near the mouth of the Euphrates, where he was almost a victim of human sacrifice, saw the angel of Jehovah, and received the Urim and Thummim (Gen. 11:28–12:1; Abr. 1; 3:1). (Note also a possible alternate site for Ur in northern Mesopotamia.)
- Babylon, Babel (Shinar) First settled by Cush, the son of Ham, and by Nimrod. Area of origin of Jaredites at the time of the Tower of Babel in the plains of Shinar. Later provincial capital of Babylonia and residence of Babylonian kings, including Nebuchadnezzar who carried many Jews captive to this city following the destruction of Jerusalem (587 B.C.). The Jews remained in captivity in Babylon for 70 years until the time of King Cyrus, who permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Daniel the prophet also resided here under Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius Ⅰ (Gen. 10:10; 11:1–9; 2 Kgs. 24–25; Jer. 27:1–29:10; Ezek. 1:1; Dan. 1–12; Omni 1:22; Ether 1:33–43).
- Shushan (Susa) Capital city of the Persian Empire under the reigns of Darius Ⅰ (Darius the Great), Xerxes (Ahasuerus), and Artaxerxes. Residence of Queen Esther, whose courage and faith saved the Jews. Daniel and later Nehemiah served here (Neh. 1:1; 2:1; Esth. 1:1; Dan. 8:2).
- Plain of Dura Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were cast into a fiery furnace when they refused to worship a golden image created by Nebuchadnezzar; the Son of God preserved them, and they emerged from the furnace unharmed (Dan. 3).
- Assyria Asshur was Assyria’s first capital, followed by Nineveh. Assyrian rulers Shalmaneser Ⅴ and Sargon Ⅱ conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and carried away the ten tribes captive in 721 B.C. (2 Kgs. 14–15; 17–19). Assyria was a threat to Judah until 612 B.C., when Assyria was conquered by Babylon.
- Nineveh The capital of Assyria. Assyria attacked the land of Judah during the reign of Hezekiah and the ministry of the prophet Isaiah. Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah, was miraculously saved when an angel smote 185,000 Assyrian soldiers (2 Kgs. 19:32–37). The Lord told the prophet Jonah to call this city to repentance (Jonah 1:2; 3:1–4).
- Haran Abraham settled here for a time before going to Canaan. Abraham’s father and brother remained here. Rebekah (Isaac’s wife), and Rachel, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah (Jacob’s wives), came from this area (Gen. 11:31–32; 24:10; 29:4–6; Abr. 2:4–5).
- Carchemish Pharaoh Necho was defeated here by Nebuchadnezzar, which ended Egyptian power in Canaan (2 Chr. 35:20–36:6).
- Sidon This city was founded by Sidon, a grandson of Ham, and is the northernmost Canaanite city (Gen. 10:15–20). It was the home of Jezebel, who introduced Baal worship into Israel (1 Kgs. 16:30–33).
- Tyre This was an important commercial and seaport city in Syria. Hiram of Tyre sent cedar and gold and workmen to aid Solomon in building his temple (1 Kgs. 5:1–10, 18; 9:11).
- Damascus Abraham rescued Lot near here. It was the chief city of Syria. During King David’s reign, the Israelites conquered the city. Elijah anointed Hazael to be king over Damascus (Gen. 14:14–15; 2 Sam. 8:5–6; 1 Kgs. 19:15).
- Canaan Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants were given this land for an everlasting possession (Gen. 17:8; 28).
- Mount Sinai (Horeb) The Lord spoke to Moses from a burning bush (Ex. 3:1–2). Moses was given the Law and the Ten Commandments (Ex. 19–20). The Lord spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice (1 Kgs. 19:8–12).
- Ezion-geber King Solomon built a “navy of ships” in Ezion-geber (1 Kgs. 9:26). Probably at this port the queen of Sheba, after hearing of the fame of Solomon, landed to see him (1 Kgs. 10:1–13).
- Egypt Abraham traveled here because of a great famine in Ur (Abr. 2:1, 21). The Lord told Abraham to teach the Egyptians what He had revealed to him (Abr. 3:15). After Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Gen. 37:28), Joseph became a ruler of Potiphar’s house here. He was cast into prison. He interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and was given a position of authority in Egypt. Joseph and his brothers were brought together. Jacob and his family moved here (Gen. 39–46). The children of Israel dwelt in Goshen during their sojourn in Egypt (Gen. 47:6). The Israelites multiplied “and waxed exceeding mighty”; they were then placed in bondage by the Egyptians (Ex. 1:7–14). After a series of plagues Pharaoh allowed Israel to leave Egypt (Ex. 12:31–41). Jeremiah was taken to Egypt (Jer. 43:4–7).
- Caphtor (Crete) The ancient land of the Minoans.
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