Location Map

The map below shows the location of Israel (at Canaan) 以色列在Canaan.

That area was called Canaan before the Israelites established their nation there, and it was called Palestine after the Romans expelled the Israelites (Jews) in AD 135.以色列原来叫迦南地,公园后135年之后叫巴勒斯定     Return to Quik Bible Survey

The following map shows Israel in a wider context:

The five maps below show Israel at five different occasions.

Map A. Canaan when Abraham moved there: 

When Abraham moved into the land around 2000 BC, it was called the land of Canaan, and the local people were called Canaanites.  The border to the left of Canaan marks the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea.  Notice the names of the seas and rivers that form the right-hand boundary: The Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea,. These features are on all five maps.


Abraham, his son Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons lived in this land.  The events of this time are in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

God gave Jacob another name: Israel.  The people at some point began to call themselves by his name: the people of Israel, or “Israelites.”

One of the twelve sons, Joseph, is sold as a slave and taken to Egypt, Joseph later invites the entire family to come to Egypt. At this point the book of Genesis ends.

The next book of the Bible, Exodus, tells us that the people of Israel lived in Egypt for 430 years and eventually became slaves there. Moses leads them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and they remain in Sinai for 40 years. Moses then dies.

Joshua leads the Israelites (people of Israel) into the land of Canaan. They conquer many of the tribes there and rename the land “Israel”  These events are told in the Bible book called “Joshua,”and shown on Map B.

They divide the land into twelve areas.Each area was meant for the descendants of one of the twelve sons of Jacob, with one exception: the descendants of Levi did not receive a land area, because they were the priests and were scattered around the country.  In order to reach the total of twelve areas, areas were given to each of the two sons of Joseph. Judah is named on map B because it contains the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

After Joshua dies, The Israelites are led by temporary leaders called Judges. During their time, by around 1200 BC, a group of Greek background called the “Philistines” invades and controls part of the coastline. The “judges” often had to fight against the Philistines and other nearby tribes. (in 135 AD,  when the Romans drive the people of Israel out of their land, the Romans call this area “Palestine.”  That is a Latin way to pronounce “Philistine.” Therefore the land where the Bible events happened has three names: Canaan, Israel, and Palestine, though the term “Palestine” is not used in the Bible).

Just before 1000 BC, a leader named Samuel appoints a man named Saul to be the first king of the Israelites. Saul fights the Philistines, and also attempmts to kill a man named David, whom Samuel has chosen to be the next king. These episodes are recorded in the book of First Samuel. At the end of the book, Saul dies.

The book of Second Samuel records the events of David as King of Israel. His kingomd is shown below on map C.

After the death of David, his son Solomon becomes king.
The events in his life are found in 1 Kings. After Solomon’s death, the Israelites divide into two kingdoms, as shown on  map D.

After the death of David’s king Solomon, the northern part of Israel refused to follow Solomon’s son, and created its own kingdom, which they named “Israel.”  Notice the name of their capital city: “Samaria.”

The people in the south continued to be ruled by the descendants of King David.  Their kingdom is named “Judah,” because Judah was the largest tribal area in the south.  The capital is Jerusalem.

The events of this time are in the Bible books called 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Most of the Bible books written by prophets also appear during this time.

In 722 BC the northern kingdom (Israel) was ended by the Assyrian empire, which was expanding from its capital in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq.)  Many of the people were deported to other parts of the Assyrian empire.

In 586 BC the southern kingdom (Judah) was ended by the Babylonian empire, which had defeated the Assyrians and was taking over their territory.  Most of the Israelite leaders were deported to Babylon, in Mesopotamia.  From this time it began to become more common to call the people of Israel by the term “Jews,” because they were from “Judah.” See maps of Assyrian and Babylonian empires.

In 536 BC, another empire, the Persians, defeated the Babylonians.  They permitted the Jews to return to their homeland, under Persian rule.  The events of this time are in the last three books of the history shelf of the Old Testament: Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. The final book written by a Prophet is the Book of Malachi, bringing the Old Testament to an end around 400 BC.

During the time period (about 400 years) in between the end of the New Testament and beginning of the New testament, The following events happened:

In 323 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire, and the Jewish people were then under Greek rule. In 165 BC the Jewish people formed an independent kingdom centered in Judah. In 63 BC the Romans conquered the area.  They placed a man named Herod as king of this area, under Roman control.  Herod was the king when Jesus was born.  The next map shows the situation at the time of Jesus.

Under Roman rule, there were three provinces.  The middle province is named after the city of Samaria, which had been the capital city of the northern kingdom on the map D. Israel at the time of Christ is shown on map E.

Judea is our English way to pronounce what the Romans calledJudah in their Latin language.  The star in the province of Judea is the city of Jerusalem.

Jesus died around 33 AD.  The lands shown on this map continued to be ruled by Roman governors and descendants of king Herod.  In 70 AD the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and made the Jews leave.

The Books of the New Testament were written in Greek. The first four books tell about the life of Jesus, and are called Gospels. The rest of the books are letters written by Christians in the first centuries. The Hebrew Old Testament plus the Greek New Testament is the Bible used in Protestant Churches

The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, along with the independent churches like Egypt and Ethiopia, all add additional books written in Greek in the years between the Old and New Testament. They are called “The Apocrypha,” which means “hidden (amongst the Old Testament books)” or the “deutero-canonical books” (which means “second list of authoritative books”).   Tto see these book, go to Bible Books and scroll down to OTHER BOOKS.)

link to colored maps, search by place-name: https://bibleatlas.org/

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