In our northern trip to The Gilboa Mountain we explored one of the Northern approaches of the International Via Maris route that runs through the land of Canaan. In a separate trip we will set out to the North-Western segments of the Via Marris
and how see how it too effects the events of the Torah in that region (for example the events pertaining to Eliyahu and Achav). In The Bible Lands Museum we have also mapped out on a larger scale how The Via Maris and the nations that it connects play an important role in making the land of Canaan a perfect fit to become the land of Israel.
At a later date we will also explore another international route that effects our region- “The Kings Highway”.
This past tour brought us to a whole new place- The central Mountains. The international routes intentionally circumvent these mountains as they are incredibly inconvenient for anyone trying to travel between the large empires of the fertile crescent. On the other hand, anyone looking for a more open area where they are less likely to be troubled by the locals, will seek out these mountains specifically! Nevertheless, even when looking to stay in these mountains, traveling from town to town will still require comfortable routes. As such, the mountains have their own route. This as opposed to the others, is a local route rather than an international highway.
This being the case, traveling along the modern day route 60, which mostly overlaps or parallels the ancient route, is like traveling through the book of Breishit! Many events from other books happened here as well, but this is seen particularly clearly by Breishit.
When the Avraham and Yaakov enter the land coming from Mesopotamia the first place they encounter is Shechem (with Alon Moreh nearby). This is because there is a comfortable route heading up to the mountains via a valley known as Nachal Tirtzah- or “The Way of The setting sun”. More on this in the post on The Jordan Valley.
From there, one can head up into the mountains and along the way they will pass Beit- El and nearby ha’ai, on towards the area of Jerusalem with Mt. Moriah, down to Beit lechem and nearby Efrat, Chevron- Kiryat Arbah and Aloney Mamre, and all the way down to Be’er Sheva, which the route leads to though it is not in the mountains itself, but rather at the foot of them to the south. These are only the places relating to the book of Breishit, if we went through the other books we would mention many other places as well. This is why it is known as the “Biblical heartland”. While there is plenty that happens outside this area as well, those events generally surround and relate to this area as well! This is where it all comes back to – the heart of the land!
Our coming tours will deal with the southern approaches to the central mountains, and the North-western segments of the land. After which we will begin a new series of tours going book by book through the books of Navi! For more info on our tours or to request a specific area or event to explore based on analyzing the land, check out our upcoming tours, and please feel free to contact me!
Blessings from Yerushalayim!