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pageId="iii"Oxford Bible Atlas Contextualizes the stories and lands of the Bible through user-friendly maps and illustrations.

Main Roads

It has already been noted that the region forms part of a land‐bridge between Africa and Arabia on the one hand, and Anatolia and Mesopotamia on the other. Through the region passed important roads, whose route was determined by the lie of the land. The most important road was the ‘Way of the Sea’ (Isa. 9: 1 ). From Egypt it made for Gaza and then passed through the Plain of Philistia, following the line of the coast then moving further inland skirting the edge of the hill country. The hills eventually formed a barrier as they came closer to the coastline at the Carmel promontory, so the road cut through the Megiddo pass to enter the Plain of Megiddo or Esdraelon. Thence it made its way towards the northern end of the Sea of Galilee, crossed the Jordan in the vicinity of Hazor, south of Lake Huleh, and headed towards Damascus, skirting the foothills of Mount Hermon.

The other major south‐north route of the region was the ‘King's High‐way’ (Num. 20: 17; 21: 22 ), which led from the Gulf of Aqaba, though the hill country of Edom, Moab, and Ammon into Gilead, and thence towards Damascus.

There was also another road which ran through the central hills, linking a number of important cities: Beer‐sheba, Hebron, Jerusalem, Bethel, and Shechem. It then formed two branches, one heading via Samaria and Ibleam into the Plain of Megiddo (Esdraelon), the other heading into the Jordan Valley via Beth‐shan. Linking these north‐south routes and the coast were a number of east‐west roads, often following the lines of valleys through the hill country. Many important towns were established at crossroads or at strategic points controlling valley routes into the hills.

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