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From Dan to Beersheba ... and back again

Eight times the Old Testament uses the phrase "from Dan to Beersheba"  - and once, "Beersheba to Dan" - to define the territory of Israel.

Indeed, most of the Bible's stories occur between Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south and within a dozen miles or so of a straight line joining the two cities on a map. On this Google Earth flight, we will fly the approximately 150 miles (as the bird flies) from Dan at the base of Mt. Hermon, the highest peak in the region, to Beersheba, where Israel's hill country ends and the Negev (and Sinai, beyond) begins. We won't fly a straight line - we'll be weaving back and forth to see some important sites. We'll also fly back to Dan to view some other important biblical regions. The other sites we miss will have to be saved for another day.

dan_beersheba_overview.jpg (219333 bytes)In the north, our path will coincide in large part with the Great Trunk Highway - the ancient pathway linking Egypt and Mesopotamia. Abraham traveled it to come to this land, the armies of Assyria and Babylon traveled it in their conquests, the people of Israel and Judah traveled it when they marched into exile. The southern three-quarters of our flight will coincide with the "water-parting route" passing through the hill country of Samaria and Judea. This highway along the spine of the country was the most important internal route in the land. On our return, we'll fly along the "Judean moat" where the hill country of Judah meets the low-lying hills of the Shefelah. We'll work our way from there to the edge of the Golan Heights and on to Dan.

Click the play button on the image below to begin the flight from Dan to Beersheba and back. As designed, the flight takes slightly over two hours, although you can fast forward to complete it more quickly. The accompanying commentary is keyed to the flight's time code. The green line you will see is the as-the-bird-flies line between Dan and Beersheba - it's included to keep you oriented.

In addition to biblical sites, I have included the "Borders and Places" layer provided by Google Earth. It allows us to see the names of modern locations (marked with a red dot in a white circle). It also includes boundaries between nations and boundaries from the 1948 war. They are distracting for my taste, but having them included is the only way to be able to see the modern towns and villages. Our flight path - shown in red on the image to the right - does not display on the flight.

Note: Sometimes the place names do not display on the flight. The problem is intermittent and I have not yet solved it. If you push the pause button, the place-name labels will then display. Also, I recommend the use of Internet Explorer as your browser. Flights are not viewable with Firefox.