Understanding the Land of the Bible

Understanding the Land of the Bible—A Biblical-Theological Guide ★★★★
This is a short, very easy-to-read text that describes the land of the Bible in order to help one understand the biblical history and teaching from a perspective of understanding the lay of the land. Robertson briefly describes the geography of Israel, followed by various topics such as the climate, vegetation, and various cities/populations over the epochs of biblical times. This book is an enjoyable read, as Robertson is able to include in a meaningful fashion how the geology and land of the Old and New Testaments affected the understanding of various historical events that occurred. It has some deficits. It is a little too brief, and one has a hard time grasping the actual terrain without actually being there. While reading the text, I spent about half of the time on Google Maps, trying to get a better grasp of the geography of the area. It could have used more illustrations other than just maps. A brief chapter on the geology of Israel would have been nice in order to understand such geological deformities as the Jordan Valley/Dead Sea. The vegetation section describes various Mideast plants but leaves us wondering what those plants are, such as the Terebinth. A photo, if not a brief description, would have been quite helpful. Many locations are described, but one is left wondering where those locations fit on a modern map of Israel. Where is Shechem, Samaria, etc.? Why is Capernaum no longer in existence? What happened to it? Where does the city of David’s Jerusalem fit into modern Jerusalem? I could go on. The strongest chapter was the last, which describes five ways of viewing the land of Israel. Does the land of Israel belong to the Jews? Will they reoccupy the land someday? Were the crusaders correct in trying to re-conquer the Holy Lands for Christianity? Is it even proper to name the land of the Old and New Testament the “Holy Land”? All of these questions are answered in a most proper fashion. Through all the chapters, Robertson is able to add biblical insights that show how the land of Israel indeed was certainly created specifically as the stage for the appearance of our Lord. This is a worthy book to read, yet I hope that perhaps a second edition will remedy the deficits mentioned above.