Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Biblical Geography: Coastal Plain – Overview


In the previous post of our study, I briefly introduced the three regions that together make up the Coastal Plain: the Plain of Asher, the Sharon Plain, and the Philistine Plain.  The picture above identifies each of these regions. (Click on the picture for a higher resolution.)

The Plain of Asher is the smallest of the three: approximately 25 miles from north to south.  The Plain of Sharon is about 40 miles in that direction and the Philistine Plain is another 40 miles.  These are relatively narrow strips of land with the Plain of Asher stretching less than 10 miles from east to west, the Plain of Sharon only about 10 miles, and the Philistine Plain only about 15 at its widest point. 

In ancient times, the international highway passed through the Sharon Plain and the Philistine Plain, so naturally those regions had a higher proportion of biblical events occur within them.  On the other hand, the Plain of Asher was tucked away in the northwestern corner of the country and is not frequently mentioned in the scriptures.  Part of the reason for this is that on its northern end, the hills of Galilee jut out and touch the sea at a site commonly called the Ladder of Tyre (also known as Rosh HaNiqra).  This elevated ridge made traffic difficult and effectively made the Plain of Asher a dead end, so it was a relatively quiet corner of the country.

In the next few posts of this series, we will examine each of these areas in turn.

Photo Courtesy of NASA's Visible Earth: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=65114.