We got a late start this morning from Jerusalem. Our evening destination was the southern end of the Dead Sea (near Sodom) at En Boqeq. We took the long way to get here by traveling south around Bethlehem, then west to the Elah Valley, Bethshemesh, and Gath. Eventually we got on Highway 6, a wonderful toll road named in honor of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The road runs south ending a few miles north of Beersheba. From there we went down past Arad to the Dead Sea.
We saw numerous camels along the way. This is the region known in the Bible as the Negeb (Negev, South).
And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. (Gen 12:9-10 ESV)
There are nice vineyards a few miles southwest of Bethlehem that remind me of Isaiah 5 and Matthew 21:33-46.
Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. (Isaiah 5:1-3 ESV)
The sun was low as we approached the Dead Sea. This is the view from the Sodom-Arad Road. The rugged bad lands (the wilderness of Judea) begins a few miles north of Jericho and continues south until it finally blends with the Sinai peninsula.