Aren Maeir has posted a link to this nice video sequence from NASA, showing the Bible Lands at night from the International Space Station. (Requires Quicktime) It begins with Egypt and moves over Israel/the Palestinian Territories, Syria, and finishes over northern Mesopotamia (Turkey/Iraq). You can see the Nile clearly outlined along with highways and cities. The settlement patterns are obvious, and are largely the same today as in antiquity. People tend to cluster near fresh water.
Todd Bolen has convinced me to purchase two books recently. The Satellite Bible Atlas looks to be a great, inexpensive resource. It is loaded with illustrated satellite maps that include detailed biblical commentary on the opposite facing page. You can also download digital versions of the materials and a free 200-page expanded commentary. From all of this plus Bolen’s description I would expect the book to be expensive, but it is just $30 brand new. Mine arrived today and it looks great.
The other title is for anyone who is interested in History and the Bible: Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? A Critical Approach of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. This is a collection of essays covering many interesting topics, including one by my friend Michael Hasel who addresses the difficulty in finding evidence of David’s kingdom (a topic I am currently studying). Bolen has a complete list of essay topics. I have already ordered my copy of this useful book.
Indiana Jones once stated that “70% of all archaeology is done in the library” (around the 34 second mark). It’s even a higher percentage with History. Great stuff to learn, so you might as well have useful, enjoyable books to digest.