Pella (Pehel) was an important city during the Late Bronze Age, leading a revolt against the Egyptians in the late 14th century. The site was occupied continuously for several millennia but never enters the biblical record. Eusebius, however, records that Jewish Christians fled here from Jerusalem during the Jewish Revolt in AD 66-70.
Pella Late Bronze Temple
Succoth from East
The identification of Tell Deir Alla is disputed by scholars, but most believe that it is biblical Succoth. Jacob gave the name to this place when he stopped here and erected booths (succoth; Gen 33). Later Gideon chased the Midianites past Succoth but did not receive help from the town elders (they later regretted their decision). An important archaeological discovery found here is an 8th century BC inscription which mentions the prophet Balaam (cf. Num 22-24).
Plains of Moab
Just prior to entering the Promised Land, the twelve tribes of Israel camped on the “Plains of Moab” on the east side of the Jordan River opposite Jericho. Here Moses delivered his last messages (the Book of Deuteronomy). After his death, the nation remained here for one month to mourn his death. This is also the area where Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kgs 2).
The Lord forbade Moses from entering the Promised Land, but he granted him a spectacular view of it before his death. Climbing Mt. Nebo, Moses was able to see the length and breadth of the land of Canaan. When Moses died, Scripture notes that the Lord buried him and no man knew where exactly he was laid (Deut 34).
Bab edh-Dhra Shaft Grave
One interesting archaeological site near the southeastern shore of the Dead Sea is Bab edh-Dhra. More than 20,000(!) shaft tombs are estimated to have been dug at this site during the Early Bronze Age, space enough for 500,000 people. Apparently this was a regional burial center. The site was destroyed at the end of this period and some scholars believe that this site is biblical Sodom.
Though the Nahal Arnon is a two-mile-wide valley inland (see Moab), it exits into the Dead Sea in a narrow gorge. With red rock walls several hundred feet tall and water flowing through it, this gorge is one of the best places to hike and swim in all of the Middle East.
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The Jordan Valley (Daily Bible Study). Informative study providing facts about the Jordan River and the biblical events that happened there.
The Jordan Valley (The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan). Hosted by the Jordanian government, this site provides many facts about the Jordan Valley and the places within it, including the Jordan River, Deir ‘Alla, and Pella.
Pella, Jordan (Atlas Tours). Provides a good summary of the site’s history and archaeology.
The Jordan Valley (Jewish Virtual Library). An interesting analysis of the rift from an environmental perspective.
Succoth (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia). Brief summary of the site’s location and biblical references.
Balaam Inscription (Associates for Biblical Research). Informative discussion of the Balaam inscription found at Deir Alla.