Aerial view to the north from the area of Salcah (image courtesy google earth) [Biblical geographic photographs to follow]
Salcah or mdoern Salkhad, is a pimple on a pumpkin. The ascent up the slopes of Salcah is a dramatic one, until once perched on its summit the wide expanses of southern Syria, the wild expanses of the desert to the east, and the rolling plains which saw the action affecting Ahaz and Jehoshaphat in their tenuous alliance against the forces of Syria in the distance at Ramoth Gilead. I can still vividly remember the crisp breeze in our faces as we saw this view. Likewise Salcah can be clearly observed for around 30 km before arriving at its base, a clear marker for the eastern margin of the inland route of the caravansari and the final boundaries of the faith of Jair. The importance of this route past the mount was later reflected in the presence of a Nabatean stronghold in 2cBC and the adjacent city of Beth-gemul Jer 48:23, a reference to the house of camels now near the modern border of Jordan.
It is mentioned as the land of Bashan “as far as Salcah” Josh 13:11 or “unto Salchah” Deut 3:10; 1Chron 5:11 and represents the final extents of the campaign of faithful men and women to preserve the interests of deity in a world that cries look after yourself! This was the land of the king of Og, and the remnant of the giants Josh 12:5 and as such was remembered centuries later as the battle with “famous kings” Ps 136:18. This battle then represented the challenges that all men face when the conscience is exercised in allegiance with God. This is the “principalities and powers” or the “cosmos” which is represented in national, personal or constitutional terms.
Salcah has the idea of wandering, but more properly means migration as a journey with purpose. The area now most famous for the Haj route that passes some 20 km to the west from its base. But the migration that Jair was interested in was the journey of faith, Num 32:41f and grasping a confidence in God’s ability to work with men against enormous challenges, took the land. Jair contains the idea of being enlightened, and clearly points to the source from which the confidence and victory would come, Heb 11:8.
Salcah was the eastern boundaries of Bashan and the area of Arm-Ish-tob, the high place of the man of goodness, 2Sam 10:6,8, and the most southern of the administrative districts of Syria, now reflected in the modern es-Sewayda governate.