This post continues our series about our trip to Israel and Jordan, and is more photo diary than the others—meant to really give you a sense of place. Jordan is one of the most unique and fascinating places I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. While it’s obviously its own nation today, much of its land was a part of the Israelite nation in biblical times, and all or almost all of it was part of the Promised Land.
You can also catch up on the other posts here. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend starting with the Introduction, which gives some helpful context to the geography, history, and politics of the region before we dive in.
Our friends dropped us off at the border in Eilat and we walked across, dealing with all the visas and security checkpoints. Once across (technically in Aqaba now), we waited for our taxi driver to arrive and some of the other taxi drivers shared their coffee with us while we waited.
The Land of Jordan in the Bible
Obviously that’s super broad, because the modern-day country of Jordan has even had significant boundary shifts over the last century or two. So here are just a few highlights on the ancient nations that help inform today’s Jordan.
When the kingdoms of Israel and Judah controlled the land of Canaan, the kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom ruled east of the Jordan. The bible tells us quite a lot about the origin of these peoples.
- The Edomites: In the Bible, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin and Isaac’s oldest son (Genesis 36). The Edomites controlled an area east of the Arabah, from the Zered to the Gulf of Aqaba. Their capital was Bozrah (modern Buseirah), which sat in the northern part of their territory.
- The Ammonites: In the Bible, they are described as being descendants of Ben-ammi, who was the son of Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and Lot’s younger daughter (Genesis 19:38). The capital of the Iron Age (roughly 1200-600 BCE) kingdom of Ammon was Rabbah, which is located at modern-day Amman, Jordan.
- The Moabites: In the Bible, the Moabites are said to have descended from Moab, the son of Lot and his oldest daughter (Genesis 19:37). The kingdom of Moab stretched “north and south of the Arnon River” with its capital at Dibon.
- Ruth was a Moabitess—it’s possible that Moab is given some slack in end-time prophecy because of her faith and her role in Christ’s geneaology
These people factor into end-time prophecies as well. Daniel tells us that “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (Dan 11:41).