Saturday, June 11, 2016

Map 13

Map of the borders of the Promised Land that God
showed to Moses on Mt. Nebo, described in Deut. 34:1-3
© 2017 Dr. David E. Graves, ECM
Map representing the outside borders of the Promised Land that God showed to Moses on Mount Nebo, described in Deuteronomy 34:1-3. It is unlikely that es-Safi (Byzantine Zoar) is the location of the eastern boundary of the Promised Land, as it would lay in Moabite territory, south of the Arnon River. It is more likely that Serâbît el-Mushaqqar, located on the ascent to Mount Nebo, or another site nearby, was the OT Zoar and represents the eastern boundary of the Promised Land.

Moses’ panorama of the wasteland of the kikkār (Num 21:20, 22:1) and the Promised Land begins at Mt. Pisgah, near Mt. Nebo in Moab, east of Jericho.[1]  Then, facing the Mediterranean Sea, Moses begins on his right with (1) Gilead (east of the Jordan. See the numbers on the Map above) traveling north as far as (2) the city of Dan (N boundary, not to be confused with the tribe of Dan), where the Transjordan ends, then traveling from north to south along the Mediterranean Sea (W boundary)  ((3) Naphtali, (4) Manasseh,  (5) Ephraim, and  (6) Judah). Then in the south, the border is mentioned at  (7) the Negev (S boundary), followed by  (8) the kikkār, which he identified as the Valley of Jericho. This places the kikkār in the disk, north of the Dead Sea, connected with Jericho. Then having mentioned the northern ( (2) Dan), western ( (3) (4) (5) (6) Mediterranean), and southern ((7) Negev) borders, he identifies (9) Zoar as the Eastern boundary. Moses would have passed by the site of Serâbît el-Mushaqqar (OT Zoar?) on his climb up Mt. Nebo to view the Promised Land.

Power concludes that:
It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Ṣo’ar is at the foot of Mount Nebo, where the vision began, and at the eastern limit of the Round of the valley of Jericho, where it ended.[2]
Howard argues the same:
Since this scene begins with the most remote part of the kikkār it must end at the nearest, which places Zoar near the foot of Mount Nebo.[3]  Furthermore, the point is often made that the Byzantine-Arabic site of Zoar and the southern end of the Dead Sea are not visible from the Mount Nebo vicinity, the view being obstructed by the mountains of Moab.[4]
Driver point out that “v. 3 implies naturally that Zoar was at some distance off, not a place at the foot of Nebo.”[5]  Although if Zoar is at es-Safi, as the SST advocates propose,[6]  then the eastern border of the Promised Land is located in Moabite territory, south of the Arnon River, which never happened, as Reuben was north of the Arnon River. The Negev has already been identified as the southern boundary, so Zoar is not likely the southern boundary, but the eastern boundary. This passage would seem to favour the NST and place Zoar someplace near Mt. Nebo (See Fact 33).[7]

[1] Joel F. Drinkard Jr., “ʿAL PÉNÊ as ‘East of,’” Journal of Biblical Literature 98 (1978): 285–86
[2] E. Power, “The Site of the Pentapolis: Part 1,” Biblica 11 (1930): 42..
[3] Jan Jozef Simons, The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament: A Concise Commentary in Xxxii Chapters (Leiden: Brill, 1959), 406.
[4] David M. Howard, Jr., “Sodom and Gomorrah Revisited,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 27, no. 4 (1984), 390. Driver observes that there are many other locations mentioned here that were not visible from Mt. Nebo, including: Northern Gilead, Dan and, the Mediterranean Sea. Samuel R. Driver, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Deuteronomy, ICC 5 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1978), 419–21; Samuel R. Driver, “Zoar,” in A Dictionary of the Bible: Dealing with Its Language, Literature and Contents Including the Biblical Theology. 5 vols. ed. James Hastings and John A. Selbie, vol. 4 (New York, N.Y.: Scribner’s Sons, 1909), 4:986.
[5] Ibid, 4:986.
[6] Konstantinos D. Politis, “Death at the Dead Sea,” Biblical Archaeology Review 38, no. 2 (2013): 42
[7] Howard argues for a southern location from this passage, based on a chiastic reading of the text but this chiastic layout seems unnatural and forced on the text which is otherwise a natural reading of a geographic map. Howard, Jr., “Sodom and Gomorrah Revisited,” 391-92.

© 2017 Dr. David E. Graves, Electronic Christian Media

1 comment:

  1. Dr Graves,

    I am a Baptist Minister in England, and as I have been preparing for a sermon on Deuteronomy 34 this coming Sunday, I found your map above most helpful. I would very much like to share the map with the congregation on Sunday, by way of projecting it on to a screen during the sermon, and wondered whether you would give me permission? I will of course be happy to show the copyright information.