Physical Preparation For Israel In Palestine -- By: G. Frederick Wright

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 058:230 (Apr 1901)
Article: Physical Preparation For Israel In Palestine
Author: G. Frederick Wright

Physical Preparation For Israel In Palestine

G. Frederick Wright


During the months of December and January last, I have been permitted to traverse the entire length of Palestine under exceptionally favorable circumstances, and have had brought to my attention several points in which the physical features of the country have had an important bearing on its history. These I will briefly summarize, leaving the fuller discussion of them for a period of greater leisure. Our route led from Beirut, across the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains, to Damascus, thence over the south shoulder of Mount Hermon to Banias (Csesarea Philippi) and the ancient Dan, thence south to Lake Galilee, Nazareth, Jezreel, Samaria, Shechem, Shiloh, Jerusalem, Jericho, Mar Saba, Bethlehem, Hebron, the south end of the Dead Sea, Engedi, then back to Jerusalem and down to Joppa.

1. Isolation In A Central Locality.

The peculiar development of Israel demanded isolation in a peculiar country. Otherwise they would have been amalgamated with the more numerous, more powerful, and more civilized heathen around them, and their exclusive religious development would have been rendered extremely difficult, if not impossible. At the same time, if their religion was to become universal, the theater of historical

development must be at a pivotal point of the great national movements of the world’s development. Both these ends were secured in Palestine by a remarkable combination of geological and physical forces which has commanded the admiration of all profound students of the subject.

The “great fault of the Jordan Valley” was pronounced by Humboldt “the most remarkable geological feature anywhere to be found in the world”; while Karl Ritter, in his elaborate geographical publications ever returned to this cleft in the earth’s surface, as the most significant fact in the natural history of the globe. This “fault,” or crack in the crust of the earth, extends from Antioch on the Orontes River, in Syria, to the south end of the Gulf of Akaba, on the east side of the Sinaitic Peninsula, a distance of about one thousand miles. The Lebanon Mountains, Western Palestine, and the Desert of Sinai are on one side of it. The Anti-Lebanon Range and the elevated plains of Moab and Northern Arabia are on the other side. Along the whole dividing line the rocky strata were fractured, and the eastern edge of the western portion slipped down, while the western edge of the eastern mass was elevated.

The depression is most pronounced in the valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. Lake Huleh and the marshy plain extending north to Csesarea Philippi are almost exactly at sea-le...

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