The Dead Sea in the Bible (Hebrew: Jam haMelach or Salt Sea; Arabic: Bahr al-Mayyit or Bahr Lūt, “Sea of Death” or “Sea of Lot”) is a brainless lake fed by the Jordan River and known for its high salinity. It borders Israel, the Israeli-administered West Bank, and Jordan. The name probably goes back to Hieronymus from the 4th century. Previously, the lake was called the “Salt Sea” or “Asphalt Lake.” The Dead Sea forms a salt lake with no outflow and is around 600 square kilometers in size, which is the final lake in a depression. This is part of the Jordan Rift Valley, the northern continuation of the Great Rift Valley.
The water surface of the Dead Sea in the Bible is often given as 396 m below sea level; the water level has been less than 400 m below sea level for several years now due to progressive drying up. More recent information already mentions more than 420 m below sea level as the lake level. The shore of the lake is the lowest area on earth that is not covered by water or ice. This makes the Dead Sea in the Bible the deepest lake on earth. On the other hand, the lake with the deepest bottom is Lake Baikal at 1,182 m below sea level, while that of the Dead Sea is 794 m below sea level.
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The salinity level of the Dead Sea
The salinity of the Dead Sea in the Bible is up to 33%, on average around 28%. (For comparison: the saltiness of the Mediterranean Sea is around 3%). Only the Assal Sea in Djibouti with almost 35%, the Kara Bogas Gol in Turkmenistan with up to 34%, and parts of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. As well as, some lakes in the Dry Antarctic Valleys (Don Juan Sea, about 44%) are even saltier. Dead Sea salt’s mineral composition differs significantly from seawater’s salt composition. It contains approximately 50.8% magnesium chloride, 14.4% calcium chloride, 30.4% sodium chloride, and 4.4% potassium chloride based on anhydrous salts. The rest is made up of numerous trace elements. It contains little sulfate but a relatively large amount of bromide.
The Dead Sea in the Bible has no drain. Due to the desert climate, the water evaporates. Leaving behind minerals, salts, and other things that accumulate in the Dead Sea. Due to the inflow of water from the Jordan and the withdrawal of water through evaporation, the height of the water level levels out. The composition of the salts in the Dead Sea is hygroscopic. This means that water from the Dead Sea never fully evaporates at moderate temperatures, and no salt crusts or crystals form. Contrary to its name, the Dead Sea in the Bible is not biologically dead. But life is primarily limited to various microorganisms, particularly anaerobic bacteria that break down saltpeter, sulfur, and cellulose. Some plants with high salt tolerance, halophytes, can also survive in this extreme environment.
Oasis of the Dead Sea from the Bible
Ein Gedi, also called En Gedi, which translates to “little goat spring,” is on the west side of the Dead Sea in the Bible. The site is a water-rich oasis in the northern part of Israel’s Negev desert. Route 90 connects the oasis to the Sea of Galilee to the north and Eilat to the south. Today there is a kibbutz with overnight accommodation and an extensive nature reserve. The oasis of Ein Gedi was already in the 4th millennium BC. Settled. The Remains of a temple from this period still exist. In the Bible, the name of this city and the surrounding wilderness of the tribal area of Judah is mentioned in Joshua 15, 1 Samuel 24, and Song of Solomon 1:14.
This place is usually identified with Tel Goren, which is near the present-day settlement. Ein Gedi is located about 37 kilometers south-southeast of Jerusalem on the edge of the Dead Sea in the Bible. The exciting thing about this place is the nature reserve, which is worth visiting and hiking. The Ein Gedi Conservation Area covers 14 square kilometers and is home to some larger mammals, such as the Palestine mountain gazelle, rock hyrax, and Nubian ibex. The beauty of this place is already praised in the Bible – meaning the fertility of the area. However, that is only a partial description of the lush flora that still thrives there today. Kibbutz Ein Gedi also has a botanical garden, which has been internationally recognized since 1994 and has won several awards. This is the only botanical garden in the world that integrates a hotel and residences.
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Places of tourist interest on the Dead Sea in the Bible and the vicinity are En Bokek, Neve Zohar, the oasis of En Gedi, Masada, Jericho, and the Qumran Caves. On the Jordanian east side of the Dead Sea, on the Lisan Peninsula, are the towns of Numeira and Bab Edh Dhara (better known as Dhara). There are assumptions that they were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed according to biblical tradition. Dhara is one of the oldest archaeological sites with evidence of early agriculture (here, 9500 BC). More than 20,000 Bronze Age shaft graves are believed to be here, and only a few have been excavated.
Beach tourism is also vital for the region. Due to the high salinity, which is almost ten times that of other seas. And the associated high mass density, the water supports the human body exceptionally well. However, the salt causes burning pain even on minor skin injuries; on the shore, the salt incrustations are often sharp-edged. The sea water is unpleasant to the eyes, although it is not harmful to health. However, it is life-threatening if even a tiny amount of water enters the lungs. At the same time. The minerals of the Dead Sea in the Bible have a healing effect on skin diseases.
The Dead Sea in the Bible (which is a lake) is located between Jordan and Israel. At the bottom of the Jordan Valley. Its basin is located about 430 meters below sea level and is the lowest point on earth.
Characterized by a salt concentration ten times higher than the ocean, the Dead Sea in the Bible is located in a rocky and sterile environment. Due to the scorching and dry climate. This body of water was once a lagoon connected to the Mediterranean. Following the uplift of some tectonic plates, it assumed its current conformation.
Its sandy and rocky coasts are interspersed with mountains that drop sheer into the sea and lush lands located mainly in the northern area.