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Monday, December 19 2011

The Negev Of Israel

The Negev, or Negeb, as rendered into English, is from the Hebrew word pronounced neh-gheb, which although from a root word which means dry, is used for south. The apparent reason is that the south of the land of Israel is composed of a large desert - hence the reason that the dry, southern desert is called the "Negev."

The King James Version uses the word "south" (or "southern") for the Negev Desert, while some other translations render it as "Negev" or "Negeb." An example, from Genesis 12:9, in three translations:


"12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south." (King James Version)

"12:9 The Avram traveled on, continuing toward the Negev." (Complete Jewish Bible)

"12:9 Then Abram travelled on, still southward." (James Moffat Translation)

The Negev extends over half of the land of Israel (depending on what your definition of the borders of Israel are, whether as declared by the LORD, or present-day borders as shown on the map). The Negev is roughly triangular in shape, with the Sinai on its western side (see also Paul's Geography Lesson) and the Arabah valley to the east. As shown in the photographs below, the Negev is not merely a flat-sand desert; it has a wide range of geological features, from canyons to plains.

When Abraham arrived (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees) in the land that he was to establish as the homeland for the descendants of his Messianic line, he journeyed the entire length of what would become the land of Israel (named after Abraham's grandson Jacob, who the LORD renamed as "Israel"), from Galilee in the north, right to the extremity of the south, or the "Negev."

"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram [see Abraham The Christian], Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:

12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?] that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem [see Elelohe-Israel], unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south." (Genesis 12:1-9 KJV)

"And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south"

Hagar and Ishmael lived in, and then beyond the Negev, where the LORD appeared to Hagar and promised that, because he was also of the seed of Abraham, "I will make him a great nation" (see Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates).

The Negev

"21:14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

21:15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 21:18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

21:19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

21:20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21:21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt." (Genesis 21:14-21 KJV)

Abraham's son Isaac was living in the Negev when his new wife Rebekah arrived from Syria (see Who Chose Rebekah?).

"24:62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 24:63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 24:64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel [see also Camel Trains]. 24:65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?

And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself.

24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 24:67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death." (Genesis 24:62-67 KJV)

When the Israelites came out of Egypt in the Exodus (see Why Did They Go To Goshen? and Moses Of Midian), they first went south to Mount Sinai (see Paul's Geography Lesson), and then northward through the Sinai to the Negev. They were to have entered the Promised Land through the Negev, but when they rebelled (just as they had done at Mount Sinai; see The Mount Sinai Riot), the LORD turned them around and had them needlessly wander in the Sinai for the next forty years, until the original generation of the Exodus had all died off (see A Journey Without A Destination). It was their children who later entered the Promised Land, not through the south, but from the east, across the Jordan River - when the river had to be stopped to provide for them the dry ground that the Negev had naturally provided earlier.

The Negev Desert

"13:17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: 13:18 And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; 13:19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; 13:20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes." (Numbers 13:17-20 KJV)

"14:1 And all the congregation [see The Rock Of The Church and The First Christian Church] lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 14:3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt." (Numbers 14:1-4 KJV)

"14:26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 14:28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 14:30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 14:31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 14:33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. 14:34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. 14:35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die." (Numbers 14:26-35 KJV)

When the Israelites later entered the Promised Land, the Negev was first allotted to the tribe of Judah (see Who Were The First Jews?).

A Wadi In The Negev Desert

"15:1 This then was the lot of the tribe of the children of Judah by their families; even to the border of Edom the wilderness of Zin southward was the uttermost part of the south coast.

15:2 And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward: 15:3 And it went out to the south side to Maalehacrabbim, and passed along to Zin, and ascended up on the south side unto Kadeshbarnea, and passed along to Hezron, and went up to Adar, and fetched a compass to Karkaa: 15:4 From thence it passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast." (Joshua 15:1-4 KJV)

Part of the Negev was however allotted to the tribe of Simeon, "for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them" (see also Are Levites 'Jews'?).

"19:1 And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.

19:2 And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, and Sheba, and Moladah, 19:3 And Hazarshual, and Balah, and Azem, 19:4 And Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah, 19:5 And Ziklag, and Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusah, 19:6 And Bethlebaoth, and Sharuhen; thirteen cities and their villages: 19:7 Ain, Remmon, and Ether, and Ashan; four cities and their villages: 19:8 And all the villages that were round about these cities to Baalathbeer, Ramath of the south. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families.

19:9 Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them." (Joshua 19:1-9 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does the land of "milk and honey" mean? Was (and is) it merely a place?
See Milk and Honey

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This Day In History, December 19

211: Publius Septimius Geta, then co-emperor of Rome, was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard (see The Politics Of Rome and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire; also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).

1154: Henry II was crowned king of England.

1562: The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots (French Protestants) and the Catholics began at the Battle of Dreux.

1741: Vitus Bering, Danish navigator and explorer, died at age 60. The Bering Strait and the Bering Sea (located between Russia and Alaska - Alaska was then Russian territory) are named after him.

1793: French forces recaptured Toulon from the British.

1915: German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer died at age 51 of rheumatic fever and kidney failure brought on by a common cold or influenza infection. "Alzheimer's disease" was named after Alzheimer, from his professional studies of "presenile dementia" (i.e. dementia with onset before the age of 65).

1917: The first National Hockey League game was played on artificial ice, in Toronto.

1932: The BBC began transmitting overseas.

1941: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Japanese forces invaded British-held Hong Kong.

1946: War broke out in Indochina when Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh attacked French colonial forces in Hanoi. The French left in the 1960s (after dividing Vietnam into North and South, which resulted in the Vietnam civil war) and were replaced by the U.S. who remained until the 1970s.

1972: Apollo 17, the last manned lunar flight returned to Earth.

1986: Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, considered the father of the Soviet atomic bomb, was released from exile. He had been seized in January 1980 and sent to the closed city of Gorky, 400 kilometers east of Moscow where he was kept in isolation.

1998: During the Lewinsky scandal, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached ("Charge with a crime or misdemeanor") President Bill Clinton on 2 counts - perjury and obstruction of justice.


Copyright © Wayne Blank