A day in Perea (Jordan Valley)

Yesterday we spent a large part of the day in the Jordan Valley. This area was called Perea by the Romans. We typically divide the ministry of Jesus into the Early Judean, Galilean, Perean, and Later Judean. You probably will not find the word Perea in an English translation of the Bible. The Greek word peran is translated “beyond” in passages such as Matthew 19:1 and Mark 10:1.

We visited mostly Old Testament sites, but there is considerable disagreement among scholars about the precise identification of most of these sites. Here are some possible sites we saw: Abel-Shittim, Succoth, Zarethan (or Zaphon). We also visited Tell Mazar, and the area of Tell Dhahab (possible sites of Penuel, and nearby Mahanaim). There are no road signs to these places and the locals in the nearby villages provided little help. This is the vicinity where Jacob settled for a while on his trek from Padan-Aram to Shechem.

One of our most interesting stops was at Tell Kafrein. This site had not yet been identified, but a team of archaeologists from a Greek university were working there. We met the director and received a good tour of the site and of the pottery lab.

Today we will probably go to the area south of Amman, including Heshbon, Dibon, and other sites.

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