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Geography

The Table of Nations: The Geography of the World in Genesis 10

A window into the extent of ancient Israel’s knowledge of the geography of the world.

Prof.

John Day

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Wadi Zered

Crossing Wadi Zered marks the end of Israel’s 38-year sojourn in the wilderness and their entry into the land. Why does its location differ in Numbers and Deuteronomy?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Judah Meets Tamar “On the Road to Timnah”

Samson also meets a woman of questionable status in ​Timnah. Why do sexual encounters with foreign women take place in Timna?

Dr.

Mahri Leonard-Fleckman

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Gilgal: YHWH’s Footprints in the Land of Israel

This is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet... Ezekiel 43:7

Zvi Koenigsberg

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Waheb in Suphah, the Forgotten “Town in the Stream”

Describing the Israelites crossing the Arnon Stream into Amorite territory, the Torah quotes the Book of YHWH’s Battles that speaks of “Waheb in Suphah,” a phrase that appears nowhere else in the Bible. Many creative explanations have been given, but based on a survey on the ground we can identify it as the “Town in the Stream,” an ancient biblical town whose name had long been forgotten.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Pre-Biblical Aaron, Miriam, and Moses

In the Torah, Aaron, Miriam, and Moses are siblings; Aaron is the biological ancestor of all priests, Moses is the redeemer of Israel from Egypt, and Miriam, their sister, leads the Israelite women in song. But what can we reconstruct about who these ancient figures may have been?

Prof.

Mark Leuchter

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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If Jacob Is Returning to Canaan, Why Send Messengers to Esau in Seir?

Traditional commentators have grappled with why Jacob risks Esau’s wrath by sending him a message that he is on his way. Understanding the history of the text shows that in an older version of this story, Jacob had no choice: he was heading to his parents’ home in the Seir region.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Ur Kasdim: Where Is Abraham’s Birthplace?

Ur-Kasdim is generally identified with the great Sumerian city of Ur in southern Iraq. And yet, a look at the geography in Genesis 11 points to a different location much farther north.

Prof.

Gary Rendsburg

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The Daughters of Zelophehad: A Historical-Geographical Approach

The Samaria ostraca and a close look at biblical verses help us locate Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milkah, and Tirzah, in the territory of Manasseh.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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Dibon-Gad Between the Torah and the Mesha Stele

In the southern Transjordanian Mishor (plateau), an area that changed hands between Israelites and Moabites, there once lived two neighboring tribes, Gadites and Dibonites…

Prof.

Yigal Levin

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Navigating the Torah’s Rough Narrative Terrain into the Land

The route the Israelites take through the Transjordan in Numbers 21 is choppy: They are in the Negev then suddenly they are back in the Transjordan; they are moving south and suddenly they are north; they are in western Moab then suddenly they are in the eastern desert. Though traditional commentators attempt to tease out an overall route, it seems more likely we are looking at a palimpsest that includes contradictory versions of the story.

Dr.

Angela Roskop Erisman

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Jacob’s Journey to Mahanaim and Penuel in J and E

The merging of two different accounts of Jacob’s return home is reflected in the double etymologies for Mahanaim and Penuel. Why do both sources have Jacob pass through these two cities one after the other? The answer lies in geography.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Solving the Problem of “Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran”

Kadesh-barnea is in the Wilderness of Paran, and Kadesh is in the Wilderness of Zin; how are we to explain the Scouts’ return to “Kadesh in the Wilderness of Paran?”

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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The Geopolitical Context Behind the Boundaries in Numbers 34

Do the boundaries of the Land of Canaan in the Torah reflect a 13th century Egyptian province or a 7th century conquest by Pharaoh Necho?

Prof.

Yigal Levin

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Ancient Mapping: Israelite Versus Egyptian Orientation

God uses a qādîm “forward” wind to bring the locusts and blow back the sea – but what direction is qādîm? Did Israel and its neighbors answer this question the same way? Can ancient maps clarify this question?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Locating Beer-lahai-roi

When geography makes or breaks a storyline

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Defining the Borders of the Land of Canaan – Numbers 34

A tour of the borders and the problems.

Prof.

Yigal Levin

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Decoding the Table of Nations: Reading it as a Map

The key: Where was the author of the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 located?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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The Yam Suph in the Transjordan?

Deuteronomy describes the Israelites camped opposite Suph in the Transjordan. However, the Israelites cross a Yam Suph near Egypt. Moreover, King Solomon builds a fleet of ships on Yam Suph near Eilat. Where is Yam Suph?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Reading Biblical Genealogies

Genealogical lists are often overlooked, and yet they represent a distinct biblical literary genre with ideological content. What messages are these lists meant to convey?

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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What We Know about the Egyptian Places Mentioned in Exodus

Egyptian records and archaeological findings shed light on the toponyms (place names) that appear in the exodus account: Ramesses, Pithom, Pi-Hahiroth, Baal-Zephon, Migdol, Sukkot, and Yam Suf.

Dr.

David A. Falk

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Who Was “Shelah Son of Judah” and What Happened to Him?

The history and geography of the Judahite clan of Shelah as portrayed in the Bible and in the extra-biblical Sources.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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War at Yahatz: The Torah Versus the Mesha Stele

A border dispute between Northern Israel and Moab is recorded independently in the Torah and the Mesha Stele. Comparing these accounts uncovers the underlying issues that the Torah is addressing.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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The Three Biblical Maps of Israel: Small, Medium, and Large

The land God promises to Abraham, the land Moses is commanded to conquer, and the land upon which the Israelites actually dwelt.

Prof.

Yigal Levin

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