Moses was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure. According to the Hebrew Bible, he was adopted by an Egyptian princess, in life became the leader of the Israelites and lawgiver, to whom the authorship of the Torah, or acquisition of the Torah from Heaven is traditionally attributed. Called Moshe Rabbenu in Hebrew, he is the most important prophet in Judaism, he is an important prophet in Christianity, the Bahá'í Faith, a number of other Abrahamic religions. According to the Book of Exodus, Moses was born in a time when his people, the Israelites, an enslaved minority, were increasing in numbers and the Egyptian Pharaoh was worried that they might ally themselves with Egypt's enemies. Moses' Hebrew mother, secretly hid him when the Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed in order to reduce the population of the Israelites. Through the Pharaoh's daughter, the child was adopted as a foundling from the Nile river and grew up with the Egyptian royal family.
After killing an Egyptian slavemaster, Moses fled across the Red Sea to Midian, where he encountered The Angel of the Lord, speaking to him from within a burning bush on Mount Horeb. God sent Moses back to Egypt to demand the release of the Israelites from slavery. Moses said that he could not speak eloquently, so God allowed Aaron, his brother, to become his spokesperson. After the Ten Plagues, Moses led the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died within sight of the Promised Land on Mount Nebo. Jerome gives 1592 BCE, James Ussher 1571 BCE as Moses' birth year. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses was called "the man of God". Several etymologies have been proposed. An Egyptian root msy, "child of", has been considered as a possible etymology, arguably an abbreviation of a theophoric name, as for example in Egyptian names like Thutmoses and Ramesses, with the god's name omitted.
Abraham Yahuda, based on the spelling given in the Tanakh, argues that it combines "water" or "seed" and "pond, expanse of water", thus yielding the sense of "child of the Nile". The Biblical account of Moses' birth provides him with a folk etymology to explain the ostensible meaning of his name, he is said to have received it from the Pharaoh's daughter: "he became her son. She named him Moses, saying,'I drew him out of the water.'" This explanation links it to a verb mashah, meaning "to draw out", which makes the Pharaoh's daughter's declaration a play on words. The princess made a grammatical mistake, prophetic of his future role in legend, as someone who will "draw the people of Israel out of Egypt through the waters of the Red Sea."The Hebrew etymology in the Biblical story may reflect an attempt to cancel out traces of Moses' Egyptian origins. The Egyptian character of his name was recognized as such by ancient Jewish writers like Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Philo linked Mōēsēs to the Egyptian word for water, while Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, claimed that the second element, -esês, meant'those who are saved'.
The problem of how an Egyptian princess, known to Josephus as Thermutis and in Jewish tradition as Bithiah, could have known Hebrew puzzled medieval Jewish commentators like Abraham ibn Ezra and Hezekiah ben Manoah. Hezekiah suggested she either took a tip from Jochebed; the Israelites had settled in the Land of Goshen in the time of Joseph and Jacob, but a new pharaoh arose who oppressed the children of Israel. At this time Moses was born to his father Amram, son of Kehath the Levite, who entered Egypt with Jacob's household. Moses had one older sister and one older brother, Aaron; the Pharaoh had commanded that all male Hebrew children born would be drowned in the river Nile, but Moses' mother placed him in an ark and concealed the ark in the bulrushes by the riverbank, where the baby was discovered and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, raised as an Egyptian. One day after Moses had reached adulthood he killed an Egyptian, beating a Hebrew. Moses, in order to escape the Pharaoh's death penalty, fled to Midian.
There, on Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses as a burning bush, revealed to Moses his name YHWH and commanded him to return to Egypt and bring his chosen people out of bondage and into the Promised Land. During the journey, God tried to kill Moses because he had not circumcised his son, but Zipporah saved his life. Moses returned to carry out God's command, but God caused the Pharaoh to refuse, only after God had subjected Egypt to ten plagues did the Pharaoh relent. Moses led the Israelites to the border of Egypt, but there God hardened the Pharaoh's heart once more, so that he could destroy the Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea Crossing as a sign of his power to Israel and the nations. After defeating the Amalekites in Rephidim, Moses led the Israelites to biblical Mount Sinai, where he was given the Ten Commandments from God, written on stone tablets. However, since Moses remained a long time on the mountain, some of the people feared that he might be dead, so they made a statue of a golden calf and worshiped it, thus disobeying and angering God and Moses.
Moses, out of anger, bro
Kohen or cohen is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic priesthood. Levitical priests or kohanim are traditionally believed and halakhically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the biblical Aaron, brother of Moses. During the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, kohanim performed the daily and holiday duties of sacrificial offerings. Today, kohanim retain a lesser though distinct status within Rabbinic and Karaite Judaism, are bound by additional restrictions according to Orthodox Judaism. In the Samaritan community, the kohanim have remained the primary religious leaders. Ethiopian Jewish religious leaders are sometimes called kahen, a form of the same word, but the position is not hereditary and their duties are more like those of rabbis than kohanim in most Jewish communities; the noun kohen is used in the Torah to refer to priests, whether Jewish or pagan, such as the kohanim of Baal or Dagon, though Christian priests are referred to in Hebrew by the term komer.
Kohanim can refer to the Jewish nation as a whole, as in Exodus 19:6, part of the Parshath Yithro, where the whole of Israel is addressed as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation". The word derives from a Semitic root common at least to the Central Semitic languages. Translations in the paraphrase of the Aramaic Targumic interpretations include "friend" in Targum Yonathan to 2 Kings 10:11, "master" in Targum to Amos 7:10, "minister" in Mechilta to Parshah Jethro; as a starkly different translation the title "worker" and "servant", have been offered as a translation as well. The status of priest kohen was conferred on Aaron, the brother of Moses, his sons as an everlasting covenant or a covenant of salt. During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and until the Holy Temple was built in Jerusalem, the priests performed their priestly service in the portable Tabernacle, their duties involved offering the daily and Jewish holiday sacrifices, blessing the people in a Priestly Blessing also known as Nesiat Kapayim.
In a broader sense, since Aaron was a descendant of the Tribe of Levi, priests are sometimes included in the term Levites, by direct patrilineal descent. However, not all Levites are priests; when the Temple existed, most sacrifices and offerings could only be conducted by priests. Non-priest Levites performed a variety of other Temple roles, including ritual slaughter of animals, song service by use of voice and musical instruments, various tasks in assisting the priests in performing their service; the Torah mentions Melchizedek king of Salem, identified by Rashi as being Shem the son of Noah, as a "priest" kohen to El Elyon Genesis 14:18. The second is Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis Jethro, priest of Midian both pagan priests of their era; when Esau sold the birthright of the first born to Jacob, Rashi explains that the priesthood was sold along with it, because by right the priesthood belongs to the first-born. Only when the first-born sinned in the incident of the golden calf, the priesthood was given to the Tribe of Levi, which had not been tainted by this incident.
Moses was supposed to receive the priesthood along with the leadership of the Jewish people, but when he argued with God that he should not be the leader, God chose Aaron as the recipient of the priesthood. Moses is, referred to as a priest in Psalms 99:6 - according to tradition, this refers to his service in the first seven days of the dedication of the Tabernacle. Aaron received the priesthood along with his children and any descendants that would be born subsequently. However, his grandson Phinehas had been born, did not receive the priesthood until he killed the prince of the Tribe of Simeon and the princess of the Midianites. Thereafter, the priesthood has remained with the descendants of Aaron; the Torah provides for specific vestments to be worn by the priests when they are ministering in the Tabernacle: "And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for dignity and for beauty". These garments are described in detail in Exodus 28, Exodus 39 and Leviticus 8; the high priest wore eight holy garments.
Of these, four were of the same type worn by all priests, four were unique to the Kohen Gadol. Those vestments which were common to all priests, were: Priestly undergarments: linen pants reaching from the waist to the knees "to cover their nakedness" Priestly tunic: made of pure linen, covering the entire body from the neck to the feet, with sleeves reaching to the wrists; that of the high priest was embroidered. Priestly sash: that of the high priest was of fine linen with "embroidered work" in blue and purple and scarlet. Priestly turban: that of the high priest was much larger than that of the priests and wound so that it formed a broad, flat-topped turban; the vestments that were unique to the high priest were: Priestly robe: a sleeveless, blue robe, the lower hem of, fringed with
Amalek is a nation described in the Hebrew Bible as enemies of the Israelites. The name "Amalek" can refer to a grandson of Esau. According to the Bible, Amalek was Eliphaz' concubine Timna. Timna was a sister of Lotan. Amalek is described as the "chief of Amalek" among the "chiefs of the sons of Esau", from which it is surmised that he ruled a clan or territory named after him; the Amalekite people were considered to be Amalek's descendants through the genealogy of Esau. In the chant of Balaam, Amalek was called the'first of the nations'. One modern scholar believes this attests to Amalek's high antiquity, while traditional commentator Rashi states: "He came before all of them to make war with Israel". First-century Roman-Jewish scholar and historian Flavius Josephus refers to Amalek as a'bastard' in a derogatory sense. According to the Bible, the Amalekites inhabited the Negev, they appear to have lived a nomadic or seminomadic lifestyle along the fringes of southern Canaan's agricultural zone.
This is based on the association of this tribal group with the steppe region of ancient Israel and the area of Kadesh. As a people, the Amalekites were identified as a recurrent enemy of the Israelites; this role appears in several stories: In Exodus 17:8–16, Amalek makes war against Israel in the wilderness. Joshua is ordered by Moses to lead Israel in battle, Moses watches from a hillside; when Moses' hand is raised, Israel prevails. So he keeps his hand raised through the entire battle having assistants hold him up, so that the battle will go to Israel. According to 1 Samuel 30:1–2, the Amalekites invaded the Negev and Ziklag in the Judean/Philistine border area towards the end of the reign of King Saul, burning Ziklag and taking its citizens away into captivity; the future king David led a successful mission against the Amalekites to recover "all that the Amalekites had carried away". In 2 Samuel 1:5–10, an Amalekite tells David that he found Saul leaning on his spear after the battle of Gilboa and killed him and removed his crown.
The intention behind the removal of the crown was for the Amalekite to present it to David to earn some kind of reward from him. David, condemns the Amalekite for killing the anointed king, using his own testimony as reference, orders his men to execute him. In some rabbinical interpretations, Amalek is etymologised as am lak, a people who lick, but most specialists regard the origin to be unknown. In Genesis 14:7, the "field of the Amalekites" is mentioned, though the person Amalek had not yet been born; some commentators explain this as a reference to the territory, on inhabited by the Amalekites. C. Knight elaborates this concept by making a comparison: one might say "Caesar went into France", though Gaul only became known as France. Alternatively, during the Islamic Golden Age, certain Arabic writings claimed that the Amalekites existed long before Abraham; some Muslim historians claimed that the Amalekites who fought Joshua were descendants of the inhabitants of North Africa. Ebn Arabshah purported that Amalek was a descendant of son of Noah.
It is, possible that the name Amalek may have been given to two different nations. The Arabians mention Imlik, Amalik, or Ameleka among the aborigines of Arabia, the remains of which were mingled with the descendants of Joktan and Adnan and became Mostarabs or Mocarabes, that is, Arabians mixed with foreigners. By the 19th century, there was strong support by Western theologians for the idea that the nation of Amalek could have flourished before the time of Abraham. Matthew George Easton advocated that the Amalekites were not descendants of Amalek by taking a literal approach to Genesis 14:7. However, the modern biblical scholar David Freedman uses textual analysis to glean that the use of Amalekite in Genesis 14:7 is an anachronism, in the early 19th century, Richard Watson enumerated several speculative reasons for having a "more ancient Amalek" than Abraham. In the exegesis of Numbers 24:20 concerning Balaam's utterance: "Amalek was the first one of the nations, but his end afterward will be his perishing", Richard Watson attempts to associate this passage to the "first one of the nations" that developed post-Flood.
According to Samuel Cox, the Amalekites were the "first" in their hostility toward the Israelites. Although Egyptian and Assyrian monumental inscriptions and records of the period survive which list various tribes and peoples of the area, no reference has been found to Amalek or the Amalekites. Therefore, the archaeologist and historian Hugo Winckler suggested in 1895 that there were never any such people and the Biblical stories concerning them are mythological and ahistorical. While considerable knowledge about nomadic Arabs has been recovered through archeological research, no specific artifacts or sites have been linked to Amalek with any certainty. However, it is possible that some of the fortified settlements in the Negev highlands and Tel Masos have Amalek connections. Easton claims that the Babylonian inscription Sute and the Egyptian term Sittiu refer to the Amalekites. Easton claims that the Amarna tablets refer to the Amalekites under the general name Khabbatti, or "plunderers". In Judaism, the Amalekites came to represent the archetypal enemy of the Jews.
In Jewish folklore the Amalekites are considered to be the symbol of evil. Nur Masalha, Elliot Horowitz and Josef Stern suggest that Amalekites have come to represent an "eternally irreconcilable ene
The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites. Spread over the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, it tells of the enslavement that befell the children of Israel in Egypt, their liberation through the hand of Yahweh and the revelations at Sinai, their wanderings in the wilderness up to borders of Canaan, the land their God has given them, its message is that Israel was delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belongs to him through the Mosaic covenant, the terms of which are that Yahweh will protect his chosen people for all time, so long as they will keep his laws and worship only him. The narrative and its laws remain central to Judaism, recounted daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated in festivals such as Passover, as well as serving as an inspiration and model for non-Jewish groups from early Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe to African-Americans striving for freedom and civil rights. Scholars are broadly agreed that the Exodus story was composed in the 5th century BCE.
The traditions behind it can be traced in the writings of the 8th-century BCE prophets, but it has no historical basis. Instead, archaeology suggests a native Canaanite origin for ancient Israel; the story of the Exodus is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the last four of the five books of the Torah. It begins with the Israelites in slavery, their prophet Moses leads them out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh reveals himself to his people and establishes the Mosaic covenant: they are to keep his torah, in return he will give them the land of Canaan. The Israelites accept the covenant and receive their laws, with Yahweh now present in their midst, journey on from Sinai, towards the promised land, but when told that the land is filled with giants they refuse to go on, Yahweh condemns them to remain in the desert until the generation that left Egypt passes away. After thirty-eight years at the oasis of Kadesh Barnea the next generation travel on to the borders of Canaan, where Moses addresses them for the final time, reviewing their travels and giving them further laws.
The Exodus ends with the death of Moses on Mount Nebo and his burial by Yahweh, while the Israelites prepare for the conquest of the land. The climax of the Exodus is the covenant between God and Israel mediated by Moses at Sinai: Yahweh will protect Israel as his chosen people for all time, Israel will keep Yahweh's laws and worship only him; the covenant is described in stages: at Exodus 24:3–8 the Israelites agree to abide by the "book of the covenant" that Moses has just read to them. The laws are set out in a number of codes: Ethical Decalogue, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Scholars are broadly agreed that the publication of the Torah took place in the mid-Persian period, echoing a traditional Jewish view which gives Ezra, the leader of the Jewish community on its return from Babylon, a pivotal role in its promulgation; the first trace of the traditions behind it appears in the northern prophets Amos and Hosea, both active in the 8th century BCE in northern Israel, but their southern contemporaries Isaiah and Micah show no knowledge of an exodus.
The story may, have originated a few centuries earlier the 9th or 10th BCE, there are signs that it took different forms in Israel, in the Transjordan region, in the southern Kingdom of Judah before being unified in the Persian era. Many theories have been advanced to explain the composition of the Torah, but two have been influential; the first of these, Persian Imperial authorisation, advanced by Peter Frei in 1985, holds that the Persian authorities required the Jews of Jerusalem to present a single body of law as the price of local autonomy. Frei's theory was demolished at an interdisciplinary symposium held in 2000, but the relationship between the Persian authorities and Jerusalem remains a crucial question; the second theory, associated with Joel P. Weinberg and called the "Citizen-Temple Community", proposes that the Exodus story was composed to serve the needs of a post-exilic Jewish community organised around the Temple, which acted in effect as a bank for those who belonged to it.
The Torah served as an "identity card" defining who belonged to this community, thus reinforcing Israel's unity through its new institutions. The Exodus is at the centre of Jewish identity, it is remembered daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated each year at the feasts of Pesach and Shavuot, the two being known as "the time of our freedom" and "the time our Torah was given". The two are linked, with Pesach announcing that the freedom it introduces is only realised with the giving of the law. A third Jewish festival, the Festival of Booths, commemorates how the Israelites lived in booths following the exodus from their previous homes in Egypt; the Exodus roots Jewish religion in history, in contrast to pagan religions which are oriented towards nature. The festivals now associated with the exodus (Passove
Ma'ale Adumim is an urban Israeli settlement and a city in the West Bank, seven kilometers from Jerusalem. Ma'ale Adumim achieved city status in 1991. In 2015 its population was 37,817. Located along Highway 1, which connects it to Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area; the international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. The town name "Ma'ale Adumim" is taken from the Joshua 15:7 and Joshua 18:17: The boundary ascended from the Valley of Achor to Debir and turned north to Gilgal, facing the Ascent of Adumim, south of the wadi. "Ascent of Red", it takes its name from the red rock lining the ascent from the Dead Sea. Ma'ale Adumim was a Nahal outpost, or Israeli labourers' camp, in 1977, designed to become a planned community and suburban commuter town for nearby Jerusalem, to which many residents would commute daily. In the early 1970s, Israel's Labor government discussed a plan to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem eastward by founding an industrial zone and a workers' village on the Jericho road on lands which the displaced Bedouins of the'Arab al-Jahalin tribe had negotiated with Palestinian landowners in the 1950s to use as pastures for their flocks and a settled base for their families.
In the winter of 1975, on the seventh night of Hanukkah, a Gush Emunim group of 23 families and six singles erected a prefabricated concrete structure and two wooden huts at the site now known as "Founder's Circle" The group was evicted several times. In 1977, after Menachem Begin took office, Ma'ale Adumim was granted official status as a permanent settlement, In the late 1990s 1,050 Palestinian Jahalin Bedouins were forced to move from land that now forms part of the settlement. Court orders required compensation by the Israeli government and they received cash and water supplies. According to the residents, they had to sell most of their livestock and their Bedouin way of life ended; the chief urban planner was architect Rachel Walden. In March 1979, Maaleh Adumim achieved local council status; the urban plan for Ma'ale Adumim, finalized in 1983, encompasses a total of 35 square kilometres, of which 3.7 square kilometres have been built so far, in a bloc that includes Ma'ale Adumim, Mishor Adumim, Kfar Adumim, Allon.
The mayor of Ma'ale Adumim is Benny Kashriel, elected to a third term by a large majority. The city is surrounded on four sides by the Judean Desert and is linked to Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area via Highway 1. Due to its strategic location between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank, Palestinians see this as a threat to the territorial continuity of a future Palestinian state; this claim is disputed by mayor Benny Kashriel, who claims that continuity would be attained by circling Ma'ale Adumim to the east. Israeli drivers use a bypass road that exits the city to the west, entering Jerusalem through the French Hill Junction or a tunnel that goes under Mt. Scopus; these routes were built in the wake of the First and Second Intifadas when Palestinian militants shot at motorists and cars were stoned. The previous road passed through Abu Dis. According to ARIJ, Israel confiscated land from the following Palestinian villages in order to construct Ma'ale Adumim: 406 dunams were taken from az-Za'ayyem, 1,031 dunams were taken from Abu Dis, 4,217 dunams were taken from al-EizariyaPeace Now claimed that 86.4% of Ma'ale Adumim was owned Palestinian land, basing the figure on data leaked from a government report.
After Peace Now petitioned the Israeli courts to have the official data released, the group revised the figure to 0.5 percent of the settlement is built on private land. Israel claim that Maale Adumin was built on what Israel defines as "state lands," or areas not registered in anyone's name, that no private property was being seized for building. Palestinians claim lands from the villages of Abu Dis, al-Eizariya, Al-Issawiya, At-Tur and'Anata were expropriated for building in Ma'aleh Adumim. According to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, "The expropriation procedure used in Ma'ale Adummim is unprecedented in the settlement enterprise. Expropriation of land for settlement purposes is forbidden, not only under international law but according to the long-standing, official position of Israeli governments. Most settlements were built on area, declared state land or on land, requisitioned - ostensibly temporarily - for military purposes, it appears that in Ma'ale Adummim, the government decided to permanently expropriate the land because it viewed the area as an integral part of Jerusalem that would forever remain under Israeli control."
Many residents of Maaleh Adumim are employed in Jerusalem. Others work in Mishor Adumim, Ma'ale Adumim's industrial park, located on the road to the Dead Sea, about ten minutes from Jerusalem; the industrial zone houses 220 businesses, among them textile plants, food manufacturers and metalworking factories, printing companies. In 2004, over seventy percent of the residents were secular. According to the municipal spokesman, the overwhelming majority moved to the city not for ideological reasons but for lower-cost housing and higher living standards. In 2004, 48 percent of residents were under the age of 18. Ma'aleh Adumim's unemployment rate was 2.1 percent, far below the national average. In 2011, Ma'ale Adumim had 80 kindergartens. A large portion of Ma'ale Adumim's budget is spent on education. Schools offer after-school programs, class trips, tutoring where needed. A special program has been de
The Jordan River or River Jordan is a 251-kilometre-long river in the Middle East that flows north to south through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea. Jordan and the Golan Heights border the river to the east, while the West Bank and Israel lie to its west. Both Jordan and the West Bank take their names from the river; the river has a major significance in Judaism and Christianity since many believe that the Israelites crossed it into the Promised Land and that Jesus of Nazareth was baptised by John the Baptist in it. The Jordan River has an upper course from its sources to the Sea of Galilee, a lower course south of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea. In traditional terminology, the upper course is referred to as passing through the "Hula Valley", as opposed to "Upper Jordan Valley". Over its upper course, fed by the Hasbani River in Banias and Dan, the river drops in a 75-kilometre run to the once large and swampy Lake Hula, above sea level. Exiting the now much-diminished lake, it goes through an steeper drop over the 25 kilometres down to the Sea of Galilee, which it enters at its northern end.
The Jordan deposits much of the silt it is carrying within the lake, which it leaves again near its southern tip. At that point, the river is situated about 210 metres below sea level; the last 120-kilometre -long section follows what is termed the "Jordan Valley", which has less gradient so that the river meanders before entering the Dead Sea, a terminal lake about 422 metres below sea level with no outlet. Two major tributaries enter from the east during this last section: the Yarmouk River and Zarqa River, its section north of the Sea of Galilee is within the boundaries of Israel and forms the western boundary of the Golan Heights. South of the lake, it forms the border between the Kingdom of Jordan, Israel; the streams coming together to create the River Jordan in its upper basin are, west to east: Iyyon, a stream which flows from Lebanon. Hasbani, a stream which flows from the north-western foot of Mount Hermon in Lebanon. Dan, a stream whose source is at the base of Mount Hermon. Banias, a stream arising from a spring at Banias at the foot of Mount Hermon.
South of the Sea of Galilee the Jordan River receives the waters of further tributaries, the main ones being Yarmouk River Zarqa RiverSmaller tributaries in this segment are Wadi al-Far'a Wadi Qelt While several hypotheses for the origin of the river's name have been proposed, the most accepted is that it comes from Semitic Yard|on'flow down' <√ירד reflecting the river's declivity. Cognates of the word are found in Aramaic and other Semitic languages; the first recorded use of the name appears as Yārdon in Anastasi I, an ancient Egyptian papyrus that dates to the time of Rameses II. Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as Al-Urdunn. In the 19th century the River Jordan and the Dead Sea were explored by boat by Christopher Costigan in 1835, Thomas Howard Molyneux in 1847, William Francis Lynch in 1848, John MacGregor in 1869; the full text of W. F. Lynch's 1849 book Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea is available online. In 1964, Israel began operating a pumping station that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee to the National Water Carrier.
In 1964, Jordan constructed a channel that diverted water from the Yarmouk River, another main tributary of the Jordan River to the East Ghor Canal. Syria has built reservoirs that catch the Yarmouk's waters. Environmentalists blame Israel and Syria for extensive damage to the Jordan River ecosystem. In modern times, the waters are 70% to 90% used for human purposes and the flow is reduced; because of this and the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea, as well as industrial extraction of salts through evaporation ponds, the sea is shrinking. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained in modern times and are now salt flats. A small section of the northernmost portion of the Lower Jordan, the first ca. 3-kilometre below the Sea of Galilee, has been kept pristine for local tourism. Most polluted is the 100-kilometre downstream stretch—a meandering stream from above the confluence with the Yarmouk to the Dead Sea. Environmentalists say the practice of letting sewage and brackish water flow into the river has destroyed its ecosystem.
Rescuing the Jordan could take decades, according to environmentalists. In 2007, Friends of the Earth Middle East named the Jordan River as one of the world's 100 most endangered ecological sites, due in part to lack of cooperation between Israel and neighboring Arab states; the same environmentalist organization had said in a report that the Jordan River could dry up by 2011 unless the decay was stopped. The flow rate of the Jordan River once was 1.3 billion cubic metres per year. Recent literature sho
The Madaba Map known as the Madaba Mosaic Map, is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba Map is of the Middle East, part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and Jerusalem, it dates to the 6th century AD. The Madaba Mosaic Map depicts Jerusalem with the New Church of the Theotokos, dedicated on November 20, 542. Buildings erected in Jerusalem after 570 are absent from the depiction, thus limiting the date range of its creation to the period between 542 and 570; the mosaic was made by unknown artists for the Christian community of Madaba, the seat of a bishop at that time. In 614, Madaba was conquered by the Sasanian Empire. In the eighth century, the ruling Muslim Umayyad Caliphate had some figural motifs removed from the mosaic. In 746, Madaba was destroyed by an earthquake and subsequently abandoned; the mosaic was rediscovered in 1884, during the construction of a new Greek Orthodox church on the site of its ancient predecessor.
Patriarch Nicodemus I of Jerusalem was informed, but no research was carried out until 1896. In the following decades, large portions of the mosaic map were damaged by fires, activities in the new church and by the effects of moisture. In December 1964, the Volkswagen Foundation gave the Deutscher Verein für die Erforschung Palästinas 90,000 DM to save the mosaic. In 1965, the archaeologists Heinz Cüppers and Herbert Donner undertook the restoration and conservation of the remaining parts of the mosaic; the floor mosaic is located in the apse of the church of Saint George at Madaba. It is not oriented northwards, like modern maps, but faces east towards the altar in such a fashion that the position of places on the map coincides with the actual compass directions, it measured 21 by 7 m and contained over two million tesserae. Its current dimensions are 16 by 5 m; the mosaic map depicts an area from Lebanon in the north to the Nile Delta in the south, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Eastern Desert.
Among other features, it depicts the Dead Sea with two fishing boats, a variety of bridges linking the banks of the Jordan, fish swimming in the river and receding from the Dead Sea. The map may have served to facilitate pilgrims' orientation in the Holy Land. All landscape units are labelled with explanations in Greek. A combination of folding perspective and aerial view depicts about 150 towns and villages, all of them labelled; the largest and most detailed element of the topographic depiction is Jerusalem, at the centre of the map. The mosaic shows a number of significant structures in the Old City of Jerusalem: the Damascus Gate, the Lions' Gate, the Golden Gate, the Zion Gate, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the New Church of the Theotokos, the Tower of David and the Cardo Maximus; the recognisable depiction of the urban topography makes the mosaic a key source on Byzantine Jerusalem. Unique are the detailed depictions of cities such as Neapolis, Gaza and Charachmoba, all of them nearly detailed enough to be described as street maps.
The mosaic map of Madaba is the oldest known geographic floor mosaic in art history. It is used for the localisation and verification of biblical sites. Study of the map played a major role in answering the question of the topographical location of Askalon. In 1967, excavations in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem revealed the Nea Church and the Cardo Maximus in the locations suggested by the Madaba Map. In February 2010, excavations further substantiated its accuracy with the discovery of a road depicted in the map that runs through the center of Jerusalem. According to the map, the main entrance to the city was through a large gate opening into a wide central street; until the discovery, archaeologists were not able to excavate this site due to heavy pedestrian traffic. In the wake of infrastructure work near the Jaffa Gate, large paving stones were discovered at a depth of 4 meters below ground that prove such a road existed. A copy of the map is in the collection of the Archaeological Institute at Göttingen University.
It was produced during the conservation work at Madaba in 1965 by archaeologists of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Trier. A copy produced by students of the Madaba Mosaic School is in the foyer of the Akademisches Kunstmuseum at Bonn; the lobby of the YMCA in Jerusalem has a replica of the map incorporated in the floor. M.-J. Lagrange. "JÉRUSALEM D'APRÈS LA MOSAÏQUE DE MADABA". Revue Biblique. Peeters Publishers. 6: 450–458. JSTOR 44101959. Leal, Beatrice. "A Reconsideration of the Madaba Map." Gesta 57, no. 2: 123-143. Madden, Andrew M. "A New Form of Evidence to Date the Madaba Map Mosaic," Liber Annuus 62, 495-513. Hepper, Nigel. Herbert Donner: The Mosaic Map of Madaba. Kok Pharos Publishing House, Kampen 1992, ISBN 90-390-0011-5 Herbert Donner. Die Mosaikkarte von Madeba: Tafelband. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-447-01866-1. Michael Avi-Yonah: The Madaba mosaic map. Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem 1954 Michele Piccirillo: Chiese e mosaici di Madaba. Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Collectio maior 34, Jerusalem 1989 Kenneth Nebenzahl: Maps of the Holy Land, images of Terra Sancta t