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A geographical name of rather loose application. Etymological strictness would require it to denote exclusively the narrow strip of coast-land once occupied by the Philistines, from whose name it is derived. It is, however, conventionally used as a name for the territory which, in the Old Testament, is claimed as the inheritance of the pre-exilic Hebrews; thus it may be said generally to denote the southern third of the province of Syria.

Except in the west, where the country is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the limit of this territory cannot be laid down on the map as a definite line. The modern subdivisions under the jurisdiction of the Ottoman Empire are in no sense conterminous with those of antiquity, and hence do not afford a boundary by which Palestine can be separated exactly from the rest of Syria in the north, or from the Sinaitic and Arabian deserts in the south and east; nor are the records of ancient boundaries sufficiently full and definite to make possible the complete demarcation of the country. Even the convention above referred to is inexact: it includes the Philistine territory, claimed but never settled by the Hebrews, and excludes the outlying parts of the large area claimed in Num. xxxiv. as the Hebrew possession (from the " River of Egypt " to Hamath). However, the Hebrews themselves have preserved, in the proverbial expression " from Dan to Beersheba " (Judg. xx.i, &c.), an indication of the normal north-and-south limits of their land; and in defining the area of the country under discussion it is this indication which is generally followed.

Taking as a guide the natural features most nearly corresponding to these outlying points, we may describe Palestine as the strip of land extending along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea from the mouth of the Litany or Kasimiya River (33° 20' N.) southward to the mouth of the Wadi Ghuzza; the latter joins the sea in 31° 28' N., a short distance south of Gaza, and runs thence in a south-easterly direction so as to include on its northern side the site of Beersheba.

Eastward there is no such definite border. The River Jordan, it is true, marks a line of delimitation between Western and Eastern Palestine; but it is practically impossible to say where the latter ends and the Arabian desert begins. Perhaps the line of the pilgrim road from Damascus to Mecca is the most convenient possible boundary. The total length of the region is about 140 m.; its breadth west of the Jordan ranges from about 23 m. in the north to about 80 m. in the south.

According to the English engineers who surveyed the country on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund, the area of this part of the country is about 6040 sq. m. East of the Jordan, owing to the want of a proper survey, no figures so definite as these are available. The limits adopted are from the south border of Hermon to the mouth of the Mojib (Arnon), a distance of about 140 m.: the whole area has been calculated to be about 3800 sq. m. The territory of Palestine, Eastern and Western, is thus equal to rather more than one-sixth the size of England.

There is no ancient geographical term that covers all this area. Till the period of the Roman occupation it was subdivided into independent provinces or kingdoms, different at different times (such as Philistia, Canaan, Judah, Israel, Bashan, &c.), but never united under one collective designation. The extension of the name of Palestine beyond the limits of Philistia proper is not older than the Byzantine Period.

1 Physical Features

2 Geology

3 Fauna

4 Flora

5 Population

5.1 Notes

6 Political Divisions

7 Communications

8 Industries

9 3. Colonization

10 Journals.

Physical Features

Notwithstanding its small size, Palestine presents a variety of geographical detail so unusual as to be in itself sufficient to mark it out as a country of especial interest. The bordering regions, moreover, are as varied in character as is the country itself - sea to the west, a mountainous and sandy desert to the south, a lofty steppe plateau to the east, and the great masses of Lebanon to the north.

In describing the general physical features of the country, the most significant point to notice is that (though it falls westward to the sea and rises eastward to an elevated plain) the rise from west to east is not continuous, but is sharply interrupted by the deep fissure of the Ghor or Jordan valley; which, running from north to south - for the greater part of its length depressed below sea-level - forms a division in the country of both physical and political importance.

In this respect the function of the river Jordan in Palestine offers a strange contrast, often remarked upon, to that of the Nile in Egypt. The former is of no use for irrigation, except in the immediate neighbourhood of its banks, and is a barrier to cross which involves the labour of a considerable ascent at any point except its most northern section. The latter is at once the great fertilizer and the great highway of the country which it serves.

Western Palestine is a region intersected by groups of mountain peaks and ranges, forming a southern extension of the Lebanon system and running southward till they finally lose themselves in the desert. The watershed of this system is so placed that from two-thirds to three-fourths of the country is on its western side. This fact, taken in connexion with the great depth of the depression of the Ghor below the Mediterranean - already 682 ft. at the Sea of Galilee - has a peculiar effect on the configuration of the country. On the west side the slope is gradual, especially in the broad plain that skirts the coast for the greater part cf its length; on the east side it is steep - precipitous indeed, towards the southern end - and intersected by valleys worn to a tremendous depth by the force of the torrents that once ran down them.

This territory of Western Palestine divides naturally into two longitudinal strips - the maritime plain and the mountain region. These it will be convenient to consider separately.

I. The Maritime Plain, which, with a few interruptions, extends along the Mediterranean coast from Lebanon to Egypt, is a strip of land of remarkable fertility. It is formed of raised beaches and sea-beds, ranging from the Pliocene period downwards, and resting on Upper Eocene sandstone. It varies greatly in width. At the mouth of the Kasimiya it is some 4 m. across, and this breadth it maintains to a short distance south of Tyre, where it suddenly narrows; until, at Ras el-Abiad, it has been necessary to cut a passage in the precipitous face of the cliff to allow the coastroad to be carried past it.

This ancient work is the well-known. Ladder of Tyre." South of this promontory the plain begins to widen again; on the latitude of Acre (Akka), from which this part of the plain takes its name, it is from 4 to 5 m. across; while farther south, at Haifa, it is of still greater width, and opens into the extensive Merj Ibn `Amir (Plain of Esdraelon) by which almost the whole of Western Palestine is intersected. South of Haifa the promontory of Carmel once more effaces the plain; here the passage along the coast is barely .200 yds. in width. At 'Athlit, 9 m. to the south, it is about 2 m.; from this point it expands uniformly to about 20 m., which is the breadth at the latitude of Ascalon.

South of this it is shut in and broken up by groups of low hills. From the Kasimiya southwards the maritime plain is crossed by numerous river-beds, with a few exceptions winter torrents only. Among the perennial streams may be mentioned the Na'aman, south of Acre; the Mukatta`

Kishon, at Haifa; the Nahr ez-Zerka, sometimes called the Crocodile River - so named from the crocodiles still occasionally to be seen in it; the Nahr el-Falik; the `Aujeh a few miles north of Jaffa and the Nahr Rubin. The surface of the plain rises gradually from the coast inland to an altitude of about 200 ft. It is here and there diversified by small hills.

II. The Mountain Region, the great plain of Esdraelon, which forms what from the earliest times has been recognized to be the easiest entrance to the interior of the country, cuts abruptly through the mountain system, and so divides it into two groups. Each of these may be subdivided into two regions presenting their own special peculiarities.

a. The Galilean Mountains, north of the plain of Esdraelon, fall into two regions, divided by a line joining Acre with the north end of the Sea of Galilee. The northern region (Upper Galilee) is virtually an outlier of the Lebanon Mountains. At the north end is an elevated plateau, draining into the Kasimiya. The mountains are intersected by a complex system of valleys, of which some thirty run down to the Mediterranean. The face toward the Jordan valley is lofty and steep. The highest point is Jebel Jermak, 3934 ft. above the sea; about it, on the eastern and northern sides, are lofty plateaus. The region is fruitful, and in places well wooded; it is beyond question the most picturesque part of Palestine.

The southern region (Lower Galilee) shows somewhat different characteristics. It consists of chains of comparatively low hills, for the greater part running east and west, enclosing a number of elevated plains. The principal of these plains is El-Buttauf, a tract 400 to 500 ft. above sea-level, enclosed within hills 1700 ft. high and measuring 9 m. east to west and 2 m. north to south. It is marshy at its eastern end and very fertile. This is the plain of Zebulun or Asochis, of antiquity. The plain of Tur`an, southeast of El-Buttauf, is smaller, but equally fertile.

Among the principal mountains of this district may be named Jebel Tur`an, 1774 ft. and Jebel et-Tur (Tabor) 1843 ft.; the latter is an isolated mass of regular shape which commands the plain of Esdraelon. Eastward the country falls to the level of the Ghor by a succession of steps, among which the lava-covered Sahel el-Ahma may be mentioned, which lies west of the cliffs overhanging the Sea of Galilee. The chief valleys of this region are the Nahr Na'aman and its branches, which runs into the sea south of Acre, and the Wadi Mukatta`, or Kishon, which joins the sea at Haifa. On the east may be mentioned the Wadi er-Rubadiya, Wadi el-Hamam and Wadi Fajjas, flowing into the Sea of Galilee or else into the Jordan.

b. The great plain of Esdraelon is one of the most important and striking of the natural features of Western Palestine. It is a large triangle, having its corners at Jenin, Jebel et-Tur, and the outlet of the Wadi Mukatta`, by which last it communicates with the sea-coast. On the south-west it is bounded by the range of hills that terminates in the spur of Carmel. The modern name, as above-mentioned, is Merj Ibn `Amir (" the meadow-land of the son of `Amir "); in ancient times it was known as the Valley of Jezreel, of which name Esdraelon is a Greek corruption; and by another name (Har-Magedon) derived from that of the important town of Megiddo - it is referred to symbolically in Rev. xvi. 16. It is the great highway, and also the great battlefield, of Palestine.

At the village of Afuleh its altitude is 260 ft. above the sea-level. In winter it is swampy, and in places almost impassable. The fertility of this region is proverbial. There are several small subsidiary plains that extend from it both north and south into the surrounding mountain region; of these we need only mention a broad valley running north-eastwards between Jebel Duhi, a range 15 m. long and 1690 ft. high, on the one side, and Mt Tabor and the hills of Nazareth on the other side. East of the watershed are a number of valleys running to the Ghor; the most remarkable of these are the Wadi el-Bireh and the Wadi Jalud, the latter containing the river that flows from the fine spring called 'Ain Jalud.

c. The second of the divisions into which we have grouped the mountain system lies south of the plain of Esdraelon. This is divisible into the districts of Samaria and Judaea. In the first of these the mountain ranges are complex, appearing to radiate from a centre at which lies Merj el-Ghuruk, a small plain about 4 m. east to west and 2 m. north to south. This plain has no outlet and is marshy in the rainy season. Connected with it are other small plains unnecessary to enumerate. For the greater part the principal mountains are near the watershed; they include Jebel Fuku`a (Gilboa), a range that forms the watershed at the eastern extremity of the plain of Esdraelon. The range of Carmel (highest point 1810 ft.) must also be included in this district; it runs from the central point above mentioned - though interrupted by many passes - to the end of the promontory which makes the harbour of Haifa, at its foot, the best on the Palestine coast. The highest mountains in the Samaria district are, however, in the neighbourhood of Nablus (Shechem). They include the rugged bare mass of Gerizim (2849 ft.), the smoother cactus-clad cone of Ebal (3077), and farther south Tell `Asur (3318) at which point begins the Judaean range.

On the eastern side of the watershed the most important feature is perhaps the great valley system that connects the Mukhnah (the plain south of Nablus) with the Ghor - beginning with the impressive Wadi Bilan and proceeding through the important and abundantly watered Wadi Far`a. Tell `Asur stands a short distance north of Beitein (Bethel). South of it is the long zigzag range known as Jebel el-Kuds, named from Jerusalem (el-Kuds) the chief town built upon it. The highest point is Neby Samwil (Mizpah), 2 935 ft. above the sea, north of Jerusalem. This city itself stands at an altitude of 2500 ft. To the south of it begins the subdivision of the Judaean mountains now known as Jebel el-Khalil, from Hebron (el-Khalil), which stands in an elevated basin some 500 ft. above the altitude of Jerusalem; it is here that the Judaean Mountains attain their greatest height. South of Hebron the ridge gradually becomes lower, and finally breaks up and loses itself in the southern desert.

On the west side of the watershed the mountainous district extends about half way to the sea, broken by deep valleys and passes. Among these the most important are the Wadi Selman (Valley of Aijalon) which seems to have been the principal route to Jerusalem in ancient times; the Wadi Isma`in south of this, along which runs the modern carriage road from Jaffa to Jerusalem; and the Wadi es-Surar, a higher section of the bed of the Nahr Rubin, along which now runs the railway line; farther to the south we may mention the Wadi es-Sunt, which opens up the country from Tell es-Safi (Gath?) eastward.

Between the mountainous country of J udaea and the maritime plain is an undulating region anciently known as the Shephelah. It is composed of horizontal strata of limestone, forming groups of hills intersected by a network of small and fertile valleys. In this region, which is of great historical importance, are the remains of many ancient cities. The adjacent part of the maritime plain is composed of a rich, light brown loamy soil. Although cultivated with most primitive appliances, and with little or no attempt at irrigation or artificial fertilization, the average yield is eightto twelve-fold annually. This part of the plain is (in European nomenclature) divided into two at about the latitude of Jaffa, that to the north being the plain of Sarona (Sharon), the southern half being the plain of the Philistines.

On the east side of the watershed the ground slopes rapidly from its height of 2500 ft. above sea-level to a maximum depth of 1300 ft. below sea-level, within a distance of about 20 m. It is a waste, destitute of water and with but scanty vegetation. It has never been brought into cultivation; but in the first Christian centuries the caves in its valleys were the chosen refuge of Christian monasticism. It descends to the level of the Ghor by terraces, deeply cut through by profound ravines such as the Wadi es-Suweinit, Wadi Kelt, Wadi ed-Dabr, Wadi en-Nar (Kedron) and Wadi el `Areijeh.

The southern district, which includes the white marl region of Beersheba, was in ancient times called the Negeb. It is a wide steppe region which (though it contains many remains of ancient towns and settlements, and was evidently at one time a terri tory of great importance) is now almost entirely inhabited by nomads. It should, however, be mentioned that the Turkish government has developed a town at Beersheba, under the jurisdiction of a Kaimmakam (lieutenant-governor), since the beginning of the 20th century.

The Ghor or Jordan valley is treated in a separate article (see Jordan). There has been no systematic survey of Eastern Palestine such as was carried out in Western Palestine between 1875 and 1880 by the officers of the Palestine Exploration Fund. A good deal of work has been done by individual travellers, but the material for a full description of its physical character is as yet lacking. Two great rivers, the Yarmuk (Hieromax) and the Zerka (Jabbok), divide Eastern Palestine into three sections, namely Hauran (Bashan, q.v.) with the Jaulan west of it; Jebel Ajlun (Gilead, q.v.); and the Belk'a (the southern portion of Gilead and the ancient territory of the tribe of Reuben). The latter extends southward to the Mojib, which, as we have already seen, is the southern boundary of Eastern Palestine.

It is a matter of dispute whether Hauran should be included within Palestine proper, accepting its definition as the " ancient Hebrew territory." It is a large volcanic region, entirely covered with lava and other igneous rocks. Two remarkable rows of these run in lines from north to south, through the region of the Jaulan parallel to the Ghor, and from a long distance are conspicuous features in the landscape. The soil is fertile, and there are many remains of ancient wealth and civilization scattered over its surface.

South of the Yarmuk the formation is Cretaceous, Hauran basalt being found only in the eastern portion. That region is much more mountainous than Hauran. South of the Zerka the country culminates in Jebel `Osha, a peak of Jebel Jil`ad (" the mountain of Gilead "), 359 6 ft. high. From this point southward the country assumes the appearance which is familiar to those who have visited Jerusalem - an elevated plateau, bounded on the west by the precipitous cliffs known as the mountains of Moab, with but a few peaks, such as Jebel Shihan (2781 ft.) and Jebel Neba (Nebo, 2643 ft.), conspicuous above the level of the ridge by reason of superior height.


The oldest rocks consist of gneiss and schist, penetrated by dikes and bosses of granite, syenite, porphyry and other intrusive rocks. All of these are pre-Carboniferous in age and most of them probably belong to the Archean period. They are generally concealed by later deposits, but are exposed to view along the eastern margin of the Wadi Araba, at the foot of the plateau of Edom. Similar rocks occur also at one or two places in the desert of et-Tih, while towards the south they attain a greater extension, forming nearly the whole of Sinai and of the hills on the east side of the Gulf of Akaba.

These ancient rocks, which form the foundation of the country, are overlaid unconformably by a series of conglomerates and sandstones, generally unfossiliferous and often red or purple in colour, very similar in character to the Nubian sandstone of Upper Egypt. In the midst of this series there is an inconstant band of fossiliferous limestone, which has been found in the Wadi Nasb and at other places on the southern border of et-Tih, and also along the western escarpment of the Edom plateau. The fossils include Syringopora, Zaphrentis, Productus, Spirifer, &c., and belong to the Carboniferous. The sandstone which lies below the limestone is also, no doubt, of Carboniferous age; but the sandstone above is conformably overlaid by Upper Cretaceous beds and is generally referred to the Lower Cretaceous.

No unconformity, however, has yet been detected anywhere in the sandstone series, and in the absence of fossils the upper sandstone may represent any period from the Carboniferous to the Cretaceous. The Upper Cretaceous is represented by limestones with bands of chert, and contains Ammonites, Baculites, Hippurites and other fossils. It covers by far the greater part of Palestine, capping the table-lands of Moab and Edom, and forming most of the high land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. It is overlaid towards the west by similar limestones, which contain nummulites and belong to the Eocene period; and these are followed near the coast by the calcareous sandstone of Philistia, which is referred by Hull to the Upper Eocene.

Lava flows of basic character, belonging to the Tertiary period, cover extensive areas in Jaulan and Hauran; and smaller patches occur in the land of Moab and also west of the Jordan, especially near the Sea of Gennesareth. Of Recent deposits the most interesting are the raised beaches near the coast and the terraces of the Jordan-Araba depression. The latter indicate that at one period nearly the whole of this depression was filled with water up to a level somewhat above that of the Mediterranean.

The geological structure of the country is very simple in its broad features, but of exceptional interest. In general the stratified deposits lie nearly flat and in regular conformable succession, the lowest resting upon the floor of ancient crystalline rocks. There is, however, a slight dip towards the west, so that the newest deposits lie near the coast. Moreover, along the eastern side of the JordanAraba valley there is a great fault, and on the eastern side of this fault the whole series of rocks stands at a much higher level than on the west.

Consequently, west of the Jordan almost the whole country is formed of the newer beds (Upper Cretaceous and later), while east of the Jordan the older rocks, sometimes down to the Archean floor, are exposed at the foot of the plateau. The western margin of the valley is possibly defined by another fault which has not yet been detected; but in any case it is clear that the great depression owes its extraordinary depth to faulting. A line of depressions of similar character has been traced by E. Suess as far south as Lake Nyasa.' 1 See Lortet, La Mer Morte (Paris, 1877) E. Hull, Mount Seir, Sinai and Western Palestine (London, 1885); and Memoir on the Climate. - Palestine belongs to the sub-tropical zone: at the summer solstice the sun is ten degrees south of the zenith.

The length of the day ranges from ten to fourteen hours. The great variety of altitude and of surface characteristics gives rise to a considerable number of local climatic peculiarities. On the maritime-plain the mean annual temperature is 70° F., the normal extremes being about 50° to about 90°. The harvest ripens about a fortnight earlier than among the mountains. Citrons and oranges flourish, as do melons and palms: the latter do not fruit abundantly, but this is less the fault of climate than of carelessness in fertilization. The rainfall is rather lower than among the mountains. In the mountainous regions the mean annual temperature is about 62°, but there is a great range of variation.

In winter there are often several degrees of frost, though snow very rarely lies for more than a day or two. In summer the thermometer occasionally registers as much as 100° in the shade, or even a degree or two more: this however is exceptional, and 80 0 -90° is a more normal maximum for the year. The rainfall is about 28 in., sometimes less, and in exceptional years as much as 10 in. in excess of this figure has been registered. The vine, fig and olive grow well in this region. The climate of the Ghor, again, is different. Here the thermometer may rise as high as 130°.

The rainfall is scanty, but as no civilized person inhabits the southern end of the Jordan valley throughout the year, and it has hitherto proved impossible to establish self-registering instruments, no systematic meteorological observations have been taken. In Eastern Palestine there is even a greater range of temperature; the loftier heights are covered in winter with snow. The thermometer may range within twenty-four hours from freezing-point to 80°.

The rainy season begins about the end of November, usually with a heavy thunderstorm: the rain at this part of the year is the " former rain " of the Old Testament. The earth, baked hard by the summer heat, is thus softened, and ploughing begins at once. The wettest month, as indicated by meteorological observation, is January; February is second to it, and December third; March is also a very wet month. In April the rains come to an end (the " latter rains ") and the winter crops receive their final fertilization. The winter crops (barley and wheat) are harvested from April to June. The summer crops (millet, sesame, figs, melons, grapes, olives, &c.) are fertilized by the heavy " dews " which are one of the most remarkable climatic features of the country and to a large extent atone for the total lack of rain for one half the year. These crops are harvested from August to October.

Water Supply. - Notwithstanding the long drought, it must not be supposed that Palestine is a waterless country, except in certain districts. There are very few spots from which a spring of some sort is not accessible. Perennial streams are, and in the recent geological ages always have been, rare in the country. The whole face of the land is pitted with ancient cisterns; indeed, many hillsides and fields are on that account most dangerous to walk over by night, except for those who are thoroughly familiar with the landmarks. These cisterns are bell-shaped or bottle-shaped excavations, with a narrow circular shaft in the top, hollowed in the rock and lined with cement.

Besides these, more ambitious works are to be found, all now more or less ruined, in various parts of the country (see Aqueducts: Ancient). Such are the aqueducts, of which remains exist at Jericho, Caesarea and other places east and west of the Jordan; but especially must be mentioned the enormous reservoirs known as Solomon's Pools, in a valley between Jerusalem and Hebron, by which the former city was supplied with water through an elaborate system of conduits. Many of these aqueducts, as well as countless numbers of now leaky cisterns, could with but little trouble be brought into use again, and would greatly enhance the fertility of the country.

The most abundant springs in Palestine are the sources of the Jordan at Banias and at Tell el-Kadi. A considerable number of springs in the country are brackish, being impregnated with chemicals of various kinds or (when near a town) with sewage. The latter is the case of the Virgin's Fountain (Ain Umm ed-Daraj), which is the only natural source of water in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

Hot springs are found in various parts of the country, especially at El-Hamma, about 1 m. south of Tiberias, where the water has a temperature of 140° F. This is still used for curative purposes, as it was in the days of Herod, but it is neglected and dirty. The spring of the Zerka Main (Calirrhoe) has a temperature of 142° F. There are also hot sulphur springs on the west side of the Dead Sea. Those of El-Hamma, below Gadara, are from 104° to 120° F. in temperature.


It has been calculated that about 595 different species of vertebrate animals are recorded or still to be found in Palestine - about 113 being mammals (including a few now extinct), 348 birds (including 30 species peculiar to the country), 91 reptiles and 43 fishes. Of the invertebrata the number is unknown, but it must be enormous. The most important domestic animals are the sheep and the goat; the breed of oxen is small and poor. The camel, the horse and the donkey are the draught animals; the flesh of the first Geology and Geography of Arabia Petraea, Palestine and adjoining Districts (London, 1886).

Eaten by the poorer classes, as is also occasionally that of the second. The dogs, which prowl in large numbers round the streets of towns and villages, are scarcely domesticated; much the same is true of the cats. Wild cats, cheetahs and leopards are found, but they are now rare, especially the latter. The lion, which inhabited the country in the time of the Hebrews, is now extinct. The most important wild animals are the hyena, wolf (now comparatively rare), fox and jackal. Bats, various species of rodents, and gazelles are very common, as is the ibex in the valleys of the Dead Sea. Among the most characteristic birds may be mentioned eagles, vultures, owls, partridges, bee-eaters and hoopoes; singing birds are on the whole uncommon. Snakes - many of them venomous - are numerous, and there are many varieties of lizards. The crocodile is seen (but now very rarely) in the Nahr ez-Zerka. Scorpions and large spiders are a universal pest.


The flora of Palestine has a considerable range and variety, owing to the variation in local climatic conditions. In the Jordan valley the vegetation has a semi-tropical character, consonant with the great heat, which here is normal. The coast-plain has another type, i.e. the ordinary vegetation of the Mediterranean littoral. In the mountains the flora is, naturally, scantier than in these two more favoured regions, but even here there is a rich variety. In all parts of the country the contrast between the landscape in early spring and later, when the cessation of rains and the increase of heat has burnt up the vegetation, is very remarkable.


The inhabitants of Palestine are composed of a large number of elements, differing widely in ethnological affinities, language and religion. It may be interesting to mention, as an illustration of their heterogeneousness, that early in the 20th century a list of no less than fifty languages, spoken in Jerusalem as vernaculars, was there drawn up by a party of men whose various official positions enabled them to possess accurate information on the subject.1 It is therefore no easy task to write concisely and at the same time with sufficient fullness on the ethnology of Palestine.

There are two classes into which the population of Palestine can be divided - the nomadic and the sedentary. The former is especially characteristic of Eastern Palestine, though Western Palestine also contains its full share. The pure Arab origin of the Bedouins is recognized in common conversation in the country, the word " Arab " being almost restricted to denote these wanderers, and seldom applied to the dwellers in towns and villages. It should be mentioned that there is another, entirely independent, nomad race, .the despised Nowar, who correspond to the gipsies or tinkers of European countries. These people live under the poorest conditions, by doing smith's work; they speak among themselves a Romani dialect, much contaminated with Arabic in its vocabulary.

The sedentary population of the country villages - the fellahin, or agriculturists - is, on the whole, comparatively unmixed; but traces of various intrusive strains assert themselves. It is by no means unreasonable to suppose that there is a fundamental Canaanite element in this population: the " hewers of wood and drawers of water " often remain undisturbed through successive occupations of a land; and there is a remarkable correspondence of type between many of the modern fellahin and skeletons of ancient inhabitants which have been recovered in the course of excavation. New elements no doubt came in under the Assyrian, Persian and Roman dominations, and in more recent times there has been much contamination. The spread of Islam introduced a very considerable Neo-Arabian infusion. Those from southern Arabia were known as the Yaman tribe, those from northern Arabia the Kais (Qais). These two divisions absorbed the previous peasant population, and still nominally exist; down to the middle of the 10th century they were a fruitful source of quarrels and of bloodshed. The two great clans were further subdivided into families, but these minor divisions are also being gradually broken down. In the 10th century the short-lived Egyptian government introduced into the population an element from that country which still persists in the villages. These newcomers have not been completely assimilated with the villagers among whom they have found a home; the latter despise them, and discourage intermarriage.

Some of the larger villages - notably Bethlehem - which have always been leavened by Christianity, and with the development of industry have become comparatively prosperous, show tangible results of these happier circumstances in a higher standard of physique among the men and of personal appearance among the women. It is not uncommon in popular writings to attribute this superiority to a crusader strain - a theory which no one can possibly countenance who knows what miserable degenerates the half-breed descendants of the crusaders rapidly became, as a result of their immoral life and their ignorance of the sanitary precautions necessary in a trying climate.

The population of the larger towns is of a much more complex nature. In each there is primarily a large Arab element, consisting for the greater part of members of important and wealthy families. Thus, in Jerusalem, much of the local influence is in the hands of the families of El-Khalidi, El-Husseini and one or two others, who derive their descent from the heroes of the early days of Islam. The Turkish element is small, consisting exclusively of officials sent individually from Constantinople. There are very large contingents from the Mediterranean countries, especially Armenia, Greece and Italy, principally engaged in trade. The extraordinary development of Jewish colonization has since 1870 effected a revolution in the balance of population in some parts of the country, notably in Jerusalem.

There are few residents in the country from the more eastern parts of Asia - if we except the Turkoman settlements in the Jaulan, a number of Persians, and a fairly large Afghan colony that since 1905 has established itself in Jaffa. The Mutawileh (Motawila), who form the majority of the inhabitants of the villages north-west of Galilee, are probably long-settled immigrants from Persia. Some tribes of Kurds live in tents and huts near Lake Huleh. If the inmates of the countless monastic establishments be excluded, comparatively few from northern or western Europe will remain: the German "Templar" colonies being perhaps the most important.

There must also be mentioned a Bosnian colony established at Caesarea Palestina, and the Circassian settlements placed in certain centres of Eastern Palestine by the Turkish government in order to keep a restraint on the Bedouin: the latter are also found in Galilee. There was formerly a large Sudanese and Algerian element in the population of some of the large towns, but these have been much reduced in numbers since the beginning of the 20th century: the Algerians however still maintain themselves in parts of Galilee.

The most interesting of all the non-Arab communities in the country, however, is without doubt the Samaritan sect in Nablus (Shechem); a gradually disappearing body, which has maintained an independent existence from the time when they were first settled by the Assyrians to occupy the land left waste by the captivity of the kingdom of Israel.

The total population of the country is roughly estimated at 650,000, but no authentic official census exists from which satisfactory information on this point is obtainable. Some two-thirds of this number are Moslems, the rest Christians of various sects, and Jews. The largest town in Palestine is Jerusalem, estimated to contain a population of about 60,000. The other towns of above Io,000 inhabitants are Jaffa (45,000), Gaza (35,000), Safed (30,000), Nablus (25,000), Kerak (20,000), Hebron (18,500), Es-Salt (15,000), Acre (11,000), Nazareth (11,000).

The above remarks apply to the permanent population. They would be incomplete without a passing word on the non-permanent elements which at certain seasons of the year are in the principal centres the most conspicuous. Especially in winter and early spring crowds of European and American tourists, Russian pilgrims and Bokharan devotees jostle one another in the streets in picturesque incongruity.


1 This list was intentionally made as exhaustive as possible, and included some languages (such as Welsh) spoken by one or two individual residents only. But even if, by omitting these accidental items, the list be reduced to thirty, a sufficient number will be lef t to indicate the cosmopolitan character of the city.

Political Divisions

Under the Ottoman jurisdiction Palestine has no independent existence. West of the Jordan, and to about half-way between Nablus and Jerusalem, is the southern portion of the vilayet or province of Beirut. South of this point is the sanjak1 of Jerusalem, to which Nazareth with its immediate neighbourhood is added, so as to bring all the principal " Holy Places " under one jurisdiction. East of the Jordan the country forms part of the large vilayet of Syria, whose centre is at Damascus.


Until 1892 communication through the country was entirely by caravan, and this primitive method is still followed over the greater part of its area. On the 26th of September of that year a railway between Jaffa and Jerusalem, with five intermediate stations, was opened, and has much facilitated transit between the coast and the mountains of Judaea. A railway from Haifa to Damascus was opened in 2905; it runs across the Plain of Esdraelon, enters the Ghor at Beisan, then, turning northwards, impinges on the Sea of Galilee at Samakh, and runs up the valley of the Yarmuk to join, at ed-Der`a, the line of the third railway. This was undertaken in 2901 to connect Damascus with Mecca; in 1906 it was finished as far as Ma'an, and in 1908 the section to Medina was completed. Carriage-roads also began to be constructed during the last decade of the 19th century.

They are on the whole carelessly made and maintained, and are liable to go badly and more or less permanently out of repair in heavy rain. Of completed roads the most important are from Jaffa to Haifa, Jaffa to Nablus, Jaffa to Jerusalem, Jaffa to Gaza; Jerusalem to Jericho, Jerusalem to Bethlehem with a branch to Hebron, Jerusalem to Khan Labban - ultimately to be extended to Nablus; and Gaza to Beersheba. Other roads have been begun in Galilee (e.g. Haifa to Tiberias and to Jenin); but in this respect the northern province is far behind the southern. For the rest there is a network of tracks, all practically impassable by wheeled vehicles, extending over the country and connecting the towns and villages one with another.


There are no mines and few manufactures of importance in Palestine: the country is entirely agricultural. Although the processes are primitive and improvements are discouraged, both by the policy of the government and by an indolence and suspiciousness of innovation natural to the people themselves, fine crops of cereals are yielded, especially in the large wheat-lands of Hauran. Besides wheat, the following crops are to a greater or less extent cultivated - barley, millet, sesame, maize, beans, peas, lentils, kursenni (a species of vetch used as camel-food) and, in some parts of the country, tobacco. The agriculturist has many enemies to contend with, the tax-gatherer being perhaps the most deadly; and drought, earthquakes, rats and locusts have at all periods been responsible for barren years.

The fruit trade is very considerable. The value of the oranges exported from Jaffa in 1906 was £162,000; this amount increases annually, and of course in addition a considerable quantity is retained for home consumption. Besides these are grown melons, mulberries, bananas, apricots, quinces, walnuts, lemons and citron. The culture of the vine - formerly an important staple, as is proved by the countless ancient wine-presses scattered over the rocky hillsides of the whole country - fell to some extent into desuetude, no doubt owing to the Moslem prohibition of wine-drinking. It is, however, rapidly returning to favour, principally under Jewish auspices, and numerous vineyards now exist at different centres.

All over the country are olive-trees, the fruit and oil of which are a staple product of the country; the trade is however hampered by an excessive tax on trees, which not only discourages plantation, but has the unfortunate effect of encouraging destruction. Other fruit trees are abundant, though less so than those we have men - tioned: such are pomegranates, pears, almonds, peaches, and, in the warmer part of the country, palms. Apples are few and poor in quality. The kharrub (carob ) is common and yields a fruit eaten by the poorer classes. 2 Of ordinary table vegetables a considerable quantity and variety are grown: such are the cabbage, cauliflower, solanum (egg-plant), cucumber, hibiscus (bamieh), lettuce, carrot, artichoke, &c. The potato is also grown in considerable quantities.

Beside the agricultural there is a considerable pastoral industry, though it is principally confined to production for home consumption. Sheep and goats are bred throughout the country; but the breeding of the beasts of burden (donkeys, horses, camels) is chiefly in the hands of the Bedouin.

Of the manufactures the following call for mention: pottery (at Gaza, Ramleh and Jerusalem); soap (from olive oil, principally at Nablus); we may perhaps also extend the term to include the collecting of salt (from the Dead Sea). This last is a government monopoly, but illicit manufacture and smuggling are highly organized. Some of the minor industries, such as bee-keeping, are practised with success by a few individuals. Other industries of less importance are basket-making, weaving, and silk and cotton 1 A sanjak is usually a subordinate division of a vilayet, but that of Jerusalem has been independent ever since the Crimean War. This change was made on account of the trouble involved in referring all complications (arising from questions relating to the political standing of the holy places) to the superior officials of Beirut or Damascus, as had formerly been necessary.

Sometimes imagined to be the " locusts " eaten by John the Baptist, on which account the tree is often called the locust-tree. But it was the insect which John used to eat; it is still eaten by the fellahin.

manufacture. Stone-quarrying has been fostered since 1900 by the great development of building at Jerusalem and other places. Wine is manufactured by several of the German and Jewish colonies, and by some of the monastic establishments. Regular industrial work is however handicapped by competition with the tourist trade in its several branches - acting as guides and camp servants, manufacture and sale of " souvenirs ' (carved toys and trinklets in mother - of-pearl and olive-wood, forged antiquities and the like), and the analogous trade in objets de piete (rosaries, crosses, crude religious pictures, &c.) for pilgrims. Travellers in the country squander their money recklessly, and these trades, at once easy and lucrative, are thus fatally attractive to the indolent Syrian and prejudicial to the best interests of the country. (R. A. S. M.) History 1. - Old Testament History.

Palestine is essentially a land of small divisions, and its configuration does not fit it to form a separate entity; it " has never belonged to one nation and probably never will." 3 Its position gives the key to its history. Along the west coast ran the great road for traders and for the campaigns which have made the land famous. The seaports (more especially in Syria, including Phoenicia), were well known to the pirates, traders and sea-powers of the Levant. The southernmost, Gaza, was joined by a road to the mixed peoples of the Egyptian Delta, and was also the port of the Arabian caravans. Arabia, in its turn, opens out into both Babylonia and Palestine, and a familiar route skirted the desert east of the Jordan into Syria to Damascus and Hamath.

Damascus is closely connected with Galilee and Gilead, and has always been in contact with Mesopotamia, Assyria, Asia Minor and Armenia. Thus Palestine lay at the gate of Arabia and Egypt, and at the tail end of a number of small states stretching up into Asia Minor; it was encircled by the famous ancient civilizations of Babylonia,. Assyria, South Arabia and Egypt, of the Hittites of Asia Minor, and of the Aegean peoples. Consequently its history cannot be isolated from that of the surrounding lands. Recent research in bringing to light considerable portions of long-forgotten ages is revolutionizing those impressions which were based upon the Old Testament - the sacred writings of a small fraction of this. great area; and a broad survey of the vicissitudes of this area furnishes a truer perspective of the few centuries which concern the biblical student.'

The history of the Israelites is only one. aspect of the history of Palestine, and this is part of the history of a very closely interrelated portion of a world sharing many similar forms of thought and custom. It will be necessary here to approach the subject from a point of view which is less. familiar to the biblical student, and to treat Palestine not merely as the land of the Bible, but as a land which has played a part in history for certainly more than 4000 years. The close of Old Testament history (the book of Nehemiah) in the Persian age forms a convenient division between ancient Palestine and the career of the land under non-oriental influence during the Greek and Roman ages. It also marks the culmination of a. lengthy historical and religious development in the establishment of Judaism and its inveterate rival Samaritanism.

The most important data bearing upon the first great period are given elsewhere in this work, and it is proposed to offer here a more general survey.5 To the prehistoric ages belong the palaeolithic and neolithic flints, from the distribution of which an attempt might be made to give a synthetic sketch of early Palestinian man.6 A burial cave at Gezer has revealed the existence of a race of slight build and stature, muscular, with elongated crania, and thick and heavy skull-bones. The G. A. Smith, Hist. Geog. of the Holy Land, p. 58. This and the author's art. " Trade and Commerce, Ency. Bib. vol. iv., and his Jerusalem (London, 1907), are invaluable for the relation between Palestinian geography and history. For the wider geographical relations, see especially D. G. Hogarth, Nearer East (London, 1902).

4 See especially the writings of H. Winckler, in the 3rd ed. of Schrader's Keilinschriften and das Alte Test. (Berlin, 1903); his Religionsgeschichtlicher U. geschichtlicher Orient (1906), &c.

5 See the articles on the surrounding countries and peoples, and, for the biblical traditions, art. Jews.

6 See H. Vincent, Canaan d'apres l'exploration recente (Paris, 1907), pp. 374 sqq

, also pp. 392-426.

people lived in caves or rude huts, and had domesticated animals (sheep, cow, pig, goat), the bones of which they fashioned into various implements. Physically they are quite distinct from the normal type, also found at Gezer, which was taller, of stronger build, with well-developed skulls, and is akin both to the Sinaitic and Palestinian type illustrated upon Egyptian monuments from c. 3000 B.C., and to the modern native. 1 The study of Oriental ethnology in the light of history is still very incomplete, but the regular trend of events points to a mixture of races from the south (the home of the Semites) and the north.

At what period Palestine first became the " Semitic " land, which it has always remained, is uncertain; nor can one decide whether the characteristic megalithic monuments, especially to the east of the Jordan, are due to the first wave which introduced the Semitic (Canaanite) dialect and the place-names. At all events during the last centuries of the third millennium B.C., remarkable for the high state of civilization in Babylonia, Egypt and Crete, Palestine shares in the active life and intercourse of the age; and while its fertile fields are visited by Egypt, Babylonia (under Gimil-Sin, Gudea and Sargon) claims some supremacy over the west as far as the Mediterranean.

A more definite stage is reached in the period of the Hyksos (c. 1700), the invaders of Egypt, whose Asiatic origin is suggested inter alia by the proper-names which include Jacob " and " Anath " as deities. 2 After their expulsion it is very significant to find that Egypt forthwith enters upon a series of campaigns in Palestine and Syria as far as the Euphrates, and its successes over a district whose political fate was bound up with Assyria and Asia Minor laid the foundation of a policy which became traditional. Apart from rather disconnected details which belong properly to the history of Babylonia and Egypt, it is not until about the 16th century B.C. that Palestine appears in the clear light of history, and henceforth its course can be traced with some sort of continuity. Of fundamental importance are the Amarna cuneiform tablets discovered in 1887, containing some of the political correspondence between Western Asia and Egypt for a few years of the reigns of Amenophis III. and IV. ( c. 1414-1360)

3 The first Babylonian dynasty, now well known for its Khammurabi, belonged to the past, but the cuneiform script and language are still used among the Hittites of Asia Minor (centring at Boghaz-keui) and the kings of Syria and Palestine. Egypt itself was now passing from its greatness, and the Hittites (q.v.) - the term is open to some criticism - were its rivals for the possession of the intervening lands. Peoples (apparently Iranian) of Hittite connexion from the powerful state of Mitanni (Northern Syria and Mesopotamia) had already left their mark as far south as Jerusalem, as may be inferred from the personal names, 4 and to the intercourse with (apparently) Aegean culture revealed by excavation, the letters add references to mercenaries and bands from Meluhlia (viz. Arabia), Mesopotamia and the Levant.

The diminutive cities of this cosmopolitan Palestine were ruled by kings, not necessarily of the native stock; some were appointed - and even anointed - by the Egyptian king, and the small extent of these city-states is obvious from the references to the kings of such near-lying sites as Jerusalem, Gezer, Ashkelon and Lachish. Torn by mutual jealousy and intrigue, and forming little confederations among 1 For fuller treatment of the data see R. A. S. Macalister's complete memoir of the Gezer excavations.

2 Reference may be made to Ed. Meyer's admirable survey of Oriental history down to this age, Gesch. d. Altertums (Berlim, 1909), also to J. H. Breasted, Hist. of Egypt (London, 2906), bks. i. - iv.; and L. W. King, Hist. of Bab. and Ass. vol. i. (London, 1910). Some knowledge of the culture, religion, history and interrelations over the area of which Palestine formed part is indispensable for any careful study of the ages upon which we now enter.

See the admirable edition by J. A. Knudtzon, with full notes by O. Weber (Leipzig, 1907 - 1910). For their bearing on Palestine, see especially P. Dhorme, Rev. biblique (2908), pp. 500 -529; (1909), pp - 5 0 -73, 368-385.

4 Dhorme, op. cit. (1909), pp. 60 sqq.; H. R. Hall, Proc. Soc. Bibl. Arch. (1909), xxxi. 233 seq.; Weber, op. cit., p. 1088 seq.; cf. A. H. Sayce, Arch. of Cuneiform Inscr. (1907), pp. 193 sqq.

themselves, they were united by their common recognition of the Egyptian suzerain, their court of appeal, or in some shortlived attempt to withstand him. Apart from Jerusalem and a few towns on the coast, the real weight lay to the north, and especially in the state of Amor.' It is an age of internal disorganization and of heavy pressure by land and by sea from Northern Syria and Asia Minor. The land seethes with excitement, and Palestine, wavering between allegiance to Egypt and intrigues with the great movements at its north, is unable to take any independent line of action. The letters vividly describe the approach of the enemy, and, in appealing to Egypt, abound in protestations of loyalty, complaints of the disloyalty of other kings and excuses for the writers' suspicious conduct.

Of exceptional interest are the letters from Jerusalem describing the hostility of the maritime coast and the disturbances of the IIabiru (" allies "), a name which, though often equated with that of the Hebrews, may have no ethnological or historical significance s But Egypt was unable to help the loyalists, even ancient Mitanni lost its political independence, and the supremacy of the Hittites was assured. The history of the age illustrated by the Amarna letters is continued in the tablets found at Boghaz-keui, the capital of the old Hittite Empire.' Subsequent Egyptian evidence records that Seti I. (c. 1320) of the XIXth Dynasty led an expedition into Palestine, but struggles with the Hittites continued until Rameses II. ( c. 1300) concluded with them an elaborate treaty which left him little more than Palestine. Even this province was with difficulty maintained: the disturbances in the Levant and in Asia Minor (which belong to Aegean and Hittite history) and the revival of Assyria were reshaping the political history of Western Asia.

Under Rameses III. (c. 1200-1169) we may recognize another age of disorganization in Palestine, in the movements with which the Philistines (q.v.) were concerned. Nevertheless, Egypt seems to have enjo y ed a fresh spell of extended supremacy, and Rameses apparently succeeded in recovering Palestine and some part of Syria. But it was the close of a lengthy period during which Egypt had endeavoured to keep Palestine detached from Asia, and Palestine had realized the significance of a powerful empire at its south-western border.

Somewhat later Tiglath-Pileser (c. 1 loo) pushed the limits of Assyrian suzerainty westwards over the lands formerly held by the great Hittite Empire. It is at this age, when the external evidence becomes extremely fragmentary, that new political movements were inaugurated and new confederations of states sprang into existence. Palestine had been politically part of Egypt or of the Hittite Empire; we now reach the stage where it becomes more closely identified with Israelite history.

Palestine had not as yet been absorbed by any of the great powers with whose history and culture it had been so closely bound up for so many centuries. In the " Amarna" age the little kings had a certain measure of inde pendence, provided they guarded the royal caravan routes, paid tribute, refrained from conspiracy, and generally supported their suzerain and his agents. However profound the influence of Babylonia may have been, excavation has discovered comparatively few specific traces of it. Although cuneiform was used, the Palestinian letters show that the native language, as in the case of earlier proper-names, was most nearly akin to the later " Canaanite " (Hebrew, Moabite and Phoenician).

In view of the relations subsisting among Palestine, Mitanni and the Hittites, it is evident that Babylonian 5 Amor (Ass. Amurru, Bibl. Amorite ), lay north of Lebanon and behind Phoenicia; but the term fluctuates (Weber, op. cit., 1132 sqq.). See art. Amorites, and A. T. Clay, Amurru (Philadelphia, 1909).

See H. Winckler, Altor. Forschung. (1902), iii. 22; W. M. Muller in I. Benninger, Heb. Archciol. (1907), p, 445; B. Eerdmans, Alttest. Stud. (2908), ii. 61 sqq.; Dhorme, op. cit. (1909), pp. 677 sqq. The movement of the Habiru cannot be isolated from that represented in other letters (where the enemy are not described by this term), and their steps do not agree with those of the invading Israelites in the hook of Joshua (q.v.).

H. Winckler, Mitteil. d. deutschen Orient-Gesell. z. Berlin (1907) No. 35; cf. J. Garstang, Land of Hittites (London, 1910), 326 sqq. influence could have entered indirectly; and until one can determine how much is specifically Babylonian the analogies and parallels cannot be made the ground for sweeping assertions. The influence of a superior power upon the culture of a people cannot of course be denied; but history proves that it depends upon the resemblance between the two peoples and their respective levels of thought, and that it is not necessarily either deep or lasting. A better case might be made for Egypt; yet notwithstanding the presence of its colonies, the cult of its gods, the erection of temples or shrines, and the numerous traces of intercourse exposed by excavation, Palestine was Asiatic rather than Egyptian.

Indeed Asiatic influence made itself felt in Egypt before the Hyksos age, and later, and more strongly, during the XVIIIth and following Dynasties, and deities of Syro-Palestinian fame (Resheph, Baal, Anath, the Baalath of Byblos, Kadesh, Astarte) found a hospitable welcome. On the whole, there was everywhere a common foundation of culture and thought, with local, tribal and national developments; and it is useful to observe the striking similarity of religious phraseology throughout the Semitic sources, and its similarity with the ideas in the Egyptian texts. And this becomes more instructive when comparison is made between cuneiform or Egyptian sources extending over many centuries and particular groups of evidence (Amarna letters, Canaanite and Aramaean inscriptions, the Old Testament and later Jewish literature to the Talmud), and pursued to the customs and beliefs of the same area to-day.

The result is to emphasize (a) the inveterate and indissoluble connexion between religious, social and political life, (b ) the differences between the ordinary current religious conceptions and specific positive developments of them, and (c ) the vicissitudes of these particular growths in their relation to history.' There is reason to believe that the religion of Palestine in the Amarna age was no inchoate or inarticulate belief; like the. material culture it had passed through the elementary stages and was a fully established though not, perhaps, a very advanced organism. There were doubtless then, as later, numerous local deities, closely connected with local districts, differing perhaps in name, but the centre of similar ideas as regards their relations to their worshippers. Commercial and political intercourse had also brought a knowledge of other deities, who were worth venerating, or who were the survivors of a former supremacy, or whose recognition was enforced.

It is particularly interesting to find in the Amarna letters that the supremacy of Egypt meant also that of the national god, and the loyal Palestinian kings acknowledge that their land belonged to Egypt's king and god. In accordance with what is now known to be a very widespread belief, the kingship was a semi-divine function, and the Pharaoh was the incarnation of Amon-Re. This would bring a greater coherence of worship among the chaos of local cults. The petty kings naturally recognize the identity of the Pharaoh, and they hail him as their god and identify him with the heads of their own pantheon. Thus he is called - in the cuneiform letters - their Shamash or their Addu. The former, the sun-deity, god of justice, &c., was already well known, to judge from Palestinian place-names (Beth-Shemesh, &c.). The latter, storm or weather god, or, in another aspect, god of rain and therefore of fertility, is specifically West Asiatic, and may be equated with Hadad and Ramman (see below).

He is presumably the Baal who is associated with thunder and lightning, and with the bull, and who was familiar to the Egyptians of the XIXth and XXth Dynasties in the adulations of their divine king. He is probably also " the lord of the gods " (the head of a pantheon) invoked in a private cuneiform tablet unearthed at Taanach. 2 Besides these gods, and others whose fame may be inferred (Dagon, 1 Much confusion can be and has been caused by disregarding"(b) and by supposing that the appearance of similar elements of thought or custom implied the presence of similar more complete organisms (e.g. totemism, astral religion, jurisprudence). Cf. p. 182, n. 4.

2 See, most recently, Ungnad's translation in H. Gressmann, Ausgrabungen in Pal. u. d. A. T. (Tubingen, 1908), p. 19 seq. The title " lord of heaven " - whether the Sun or Addu, there was a Nebo, Nergal, &c.); there were the closely-related goddesses Ashira and Ishtar-Astarte (the Old Testament Asherah and Ashtoreth). Possibly the name Yahweh (see Jehovah) had already entered Palestine, but it is not prominent, and if, as in the case of certain other deities, the extension of the name and cult went hand-in-hand with political circumstances, these must be sought in the problems of the Hebrew monarchy.3 At an age when there were no great external empires to control Palestine the Hebrew monarchy arose and claimed a premier place amid its neighbours ( c. i 000).

How the small rival districts with their petty kings were united Hebrew into a kingdom under a single head is a disputed question; the stages from the half-Hittite, half-Egyptian land to the independent Hebrew state with its national god are an unsolved problem. Biblical tradition quite plausibly represents a mighty invasion

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Palestine'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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