Deir ‘Alla

Deir Alla is located in the Northern Ghor along the main Jordan Valley road, a short distance southwest from ‘Ajloun and 50 km. north of the Dead Sea. An impressive temple was built on the hill of Deir Alla around 1500 BCE, and it is likely this ancient cultic and market center was the biblical Succoth, visited by Gideon as he chased the Midianites back to the east (Judges 8: 5-16). The sanctuary was in use until about 1200 BCE, when it was destroyed—probably either by an earthquake or by the legions of Pharoah.

Three miles to the east lies biblical Mahanaim (known in Arabic as Tulul al-Dhahab al-Gharbi, or "the western hills of gold"), where Jacob camped on his way to meet his brother Esau (Genesis 32: 1). Just east of Mahanaim is Tulul al-Dhahab al-Sharqi ("the eastern hills of gold"), which may be the ancient Penuel ("the face of God"), where Jacob wrestled all night with God in the form of a man before reuniting with his brother Esau (Genesis 32: 22-32).


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