New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea ).
It is the lowest point on earth, 417 metres (1,373 feet) below sea level, the largest natural “spa” in the world. A mini universe with its own unique micro-climate, there is no other like it. Its salinity is 6 times higher than any other ocean, (a body cannot sink), and packed full of minerals. Its thermo springs and black mud have been held in high esteem for millennia for cleansing and softening the skin and the silence is eerie. It is less than one hour’s drive from Jerusalem, the holy city. No other site in the world provides such an extraordinary combination of natural elements with the purported capability to rehabilitate and restore physiological functions.
It is believed to be so named because nothing can live in the high levels of salt. If fish stray into it they immediately die. The unique features are at present being evaluated as to their healing properties. The air along the shores is said to be rich in magnesium and bromine and helpful in the treatment of nervous tension.
The area has a very low rainfall in winter. From Jan to May 29mm. May to Sept 0mm. Oct 1mm. Nov 8mm. Dec 8mm. Average maximum temperatures: January 20C (68F).September 36C (97F).
The Dead Sea is said to be evaporating at the incredible rate of 12 inches per annum, leaving behind salt and minerals similar to a normal salt pan. Much of the water has come from the surrounding mountains, the Sea of Galilee and the river Jordan. Also in the area are the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sea is 67 kilometres long and 18 kilometres wide. It borders the West Bank, Israel and Jordan on the Rift Valley. The sea has attracted interest from visitors all over the Mediterranean, and more recently, the world. Jesus and John the Baptist were closely linked to the Dead Sea and its surroundings, and it was known to the prophets via Sodom and Gomorrah.
For thousands of years it was a place of refuge for the kings David and Herod.
King Herod re-fortified Masada and built palaces on the rock as a retreat for himself and his family in the event of an Egyptian invasion.
During the Egyptian conquest, it is said that Queen Cleopatra obtained exclusive rights to build cosmetic and pharmaceutical factories in the area. Later, the wily Nabateans discovered the value of bitumen extracted from the Dead Sea and needed by the Egyptians for embalming their mummies. Aristotle wrote of the remarkable waters. In Roman times the Essenes settled in Qumran on the northern shore as a place of refuge, and on the heights of Masada a small group of Jewish rebels held out against the might of a Roman legion
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