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Fertile Crescent

FERTILE CRESCENT. This term does not occur in Scripture but is a modern description of the territory that may roughly be described as reaching NW from the Persian Gulf through Mesopotamia, then west to the north of Syria, then SW through Syria and Palestine. In this crescent the land is mostly rich and fertile and is watered by the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Orontes, the Jordan, and numerous rivers descending the west side of Lebanon. In most of the region irrigation has also long been employed. Various grains such as wheat and barley, and fruits such as grapes, olives, figs, oranges, lemons, and pomegranates abound. A journey in a straight line across the crescent from one end to the other would go mostly through the great Syrian desert, with only an occasional oasis. This configuration of the land explains much of Bible history.

FERTILE CRESCENT. This term refers to that stretch of land beginning at the Persian Gulf, extending NW through the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley, continuing W to the NE coast of the Mediterranean Sea, turning S through Canaan, and (popularly) including the Nile River Valley. The area described is in the form of a crescent and is very fertile although the area the arc encloses is barren. The earliest records of civilization come from this area, and it was the center of civilization until the age of Greece. Egypt at the western tip, as well as Assyria and Babylonia in the E, developed in power and influence while the coastland at the E end of the Mediterranean developed commercially, but was often subjected to invading armies from either end. It is in this crossroads of humanity that God chose to place His people Israel and later to send His Son.


L. H. Grollenberg, Atlas of the Bible (1956), 11ff.