What Biblical Sites are in Jordan?
I remember the first time I traveled to the East coast in the US. I distinctly remember saying to myself, “Woah, this building was built in the 1700s!” Then I moved to Jordan where everything is old. We’ve got stuff from the book of Genesis for Heaven’s sake!
When considering a Jordan tour, most people interested in the Holy Land know that Jordan is biblically significant. Few, however, have any idea how much this land appears in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of biblical sites found in Jordan and their references in the Bible. If you are planning on visiting Jordan on a pilgrimage, or Holy Land tour, read over these passages before you come to prepare yourself for the significance of this place.
A List of Biblical Sites in Jordan
The following are Biblical sites found in the country of Jordan. This non exhaustive list will give you a robust foundation for understanding some of the Biblical events and personalities that were in this land.
Mt Nebo (the Mountain where Moses was shown the Holy Land and then passed away.)
- Deuteronomy 34
The Jordan River (The Jordan river and Jordan valley are referenced over 180 times in the Bible. Of particular significance is that the baptism site of Jesus is precisely the place where Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan to Jericho.)
- Mark 1:5; Joshua 3; 2 Kings 2:3-14
- Joshua 3 (the river parting and the sons of Jacob crossing to Jericho)
- 2 Kings 2:3-14 (Elijah’s crossing and being taken up)
- 2 Kings 5:8-14 (Elisha heals Naaman)
- 2 Samuel 16-19 (David and Absalom)
- Matthew 19:1; Mark 10:1; John 10:40-42 (Jesus ministered across the Jordan.)
Bethany beyond the Jordan (the site of Jesus’ baptism.)
- John 1; Luke 3:21-23; Matthew 3
The Dead Sea
- Genesis 14:3; Ezekiel 47:7-12
Cities of the Decapolis (including Pella, Gerasa, the below Gadara, Philadelphia, and others.)
- Matthew 4:25; Mark 5:20; 7:31
Um Qais (Gadara)
- Matthew 8:28–32
Amman (referred to as Philadelphia by the Romans, Ammon/Rabbah was originally the capital of the ancient Ammonites.)
- Genesis 19:38; Numbers 21:24; Deuteronomy 2:19; 2 Samuel 11; Ezekiel 25:5
Jabbok River (where Jacob wrestles with the angel. Now modern day Zarqa River.)
- Genesis 32:22; Deuteronomy 3:16
The King’s Way (ancient trade route taken by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea. Today this is still a highway, one of the most beautiful in Jordan.)
- Numbers 20:17; 21:22
- Numbers 21:30; Joshua 13:9; Isaiah 15:2
Edom (home to the descendants of Esau, patriarch of the Edomites later referred to in the New Testament by a Greek form of their name “Idumeans” )
- Genesis 32:3, 36, Numbers 20:14-21; 2 Samuel 8:13-14, Mark 3:8
Moab (homeland of the Moabite people including Ruth, the great grandmother of David)
- Deuteronomy 1:5, 29:1; Judges 11:18; Ruth 1; Numbers 22:1, 26:3, 31:12
- Genesis 19:30
Machaerus (fortress of Herod Antipas where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded)
- Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-27; Luke 9:9
Gilead (modern day Jelad) and the Ajloun region (where Tishbe, home of the prophet Elijah, and the Kerith Ravine are located)
- Genesis 37:25; Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 20:8, 21:38; 1 Chronicles 6:80; Jeremiah 8:22; Song of Solomon 6:5; Judges 10:8; 1 Kings 17:1-6
Wadi Mujib (where the Biblical Arnon river flows)
- Numbers 21:13-26; Deuteronomy 3:8; Judges 11:18
- Numbers 20:22-29, 33:38-39
Petra and the Nabataeans
- Matthew 2:11 (It is quite possible that the Magi purchased their frankincense and myrrh in Petra on their way to Bethlehem. Petra was renowned in the frankincense and myrrh trade and these valuable gifts are found in the Arabian gulf, not Persia, where the Magi traveled from. Petra is on the route to Bethlehem from Persia.)
- 2 Corinthians 11:32 (The reference is to King Aretas IV of Petra.)
- Galatians 1:17 (When Paul speaks of going into “Arabia” he is most likely referring to the Nabataean Kingdom.).
- 1 Maccabees 5:25
I know, that’s a lot!
Note that this list is not exhaustive. If you would like the exhaustive version, it can be found throughout the Bible.
Use the above references to shed light on the significance of this remarkable place. Being in these places gives you new eyes to see new meanings in the Biblical text as you discover the geography of this ancient land.