In 540 B.C. the Nabateans moved into the area of Petra. Farming communities have been discovered that date back to 7000 B.C. The Edomites controlled this area in the Iron Age. They were enemies of the Israelites.
The Nabateans arrived in the 6th century B.C. They began by sharing the land and water with the Edomites. Later Nabateans took over the area. They carved their tombs in the rock. Over 800 facades remain today in the rock.
The Nabateans accumulated some 350 different gods for various tribes in Arabia and the surrounding area.
The entrance into Petra is called the siq. It is a narrow path that has been cut into the mountains by water It is the only entrance or exit to the city. Therefore it provided a natural defense. But it was very dangerous because of floods. So the Nabateans built tunnels and a dams to divert the water and keep the area from flooding.
The Nabateans sold a mineral from the Dead Sea to the Egyptians that they would use in embalming people. They were great traders. They aren't directly connected to the Bible, but they did carry on a flourishing trade in NT times. It is possible that Paul stopped there on his way to the Arabian desert.
It was an amazing site to see. Tomorrow we head home, and I've had a great time; but I'm ready to go home.
Love and blessing from Amman Jordan. By the way, after riding that donkey, I still smell like donkey. I can't wait to get cleaned up.
Dr. G. Steve Kinnard
New York City Church of Christ
Adjunct Professor of New Testament
Lincoln Christian University