Known as Tell el Qadi, Dan sits on a major crossroads of the ancient world - routes lead to the Mediterranean, Damascus and to the East. It is a large mound (50 acres some 20m above its surroundings) with its own perennial springs.
Photo of restored walls of Dan (below, dan04) from McMath
Before Israelite occupation Dan was known as Laish and was an important city mentioned in the Execration Texts, at Mari and in Thutmose IIIs list of Canaanite cities (31: ANET, 242).
Massive walls (4m thick) and gateway protecting Dan indicate its strategic and religious importance.
Below, from McMath dan08
This large stone platform was probably the "high place" set up by Jeroboam I. Dan and Bethel were at either end of Jeroboam's kingdom. Another reason for the choice of Dan would have been its proximity to the source of the Jordan.
Below, from McMath dan15
Here at the foothills of Hermon springs abound, in a dry and thirsty land such plenitude of supply makes Dan a special place. Goulder argues compellingly for the use of certain Psalms at the autumn festival there.
For example Ps 42, is evidently a pilgrimage psalm, but it does not seem to work really well on a trip up to dry Jerusalem. "From the land of the Jordan to Hermon" however might well describe Dan as the pilgrim's goal. There, the "waterfalls" make sense, and all the talk of "thirst" for water with the implied fulfillment at the end of the journey seems a real hope for the pilgrim.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.