The Forty Years Travels of the Children of Israel


17th century biblical map showing the wanderings of the Israelites.

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According to the Book of Numbers, Moses sent out twelve spies to scout the Promised Land of Canaan for 40 days to ascertain its suitability as a home for the Israelites. Their negative impression angered God, who had decreed the Promised Land to Abraham, and their punishment was to wander the wilderness for 40 years.

This map of the Holy Land, published as part of a bible (as indicated by the annotation in the lower right), is an attempt to depict those travels for a devout audience. The dotted trail meanders through the area and annotations explain specific events that took place in certain locations, such as Moses lifting the brazen serpent or causing water to burst forth from a rock. Other biblical events are also present on the map, such as Jonah being swallowed by a whale, Solomon’s cedar and fir ships, the parting of the Red Sea, and the walled city of Babylon. Interestingly, the distance scale (which shows English miles) also has a conversion for paces – a convenient tool when measuring a trip by foot.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1687

Author: Richard Blome

Sheet Width (in): 20

Sheet Height (in): 16.25

Condition: B

Condition Description: The map is in good condition, with slight fading along the bottom half of the image. The centerfold has been reinforced on the verso and a 2" tear is present on the bottom, but does not enter the image.