Preparation for Battle & Jezreel Valley

Ma’ayan Harod (the Harod Spring)
This fantastic view is filled with biblical history. From this location on Tel Jezreel looking east, one can almost picture the anointed (but not yet crowned) Jehu “driving like a madman,” on his way to killing the kings of Israel and Judah. 900 years later, Jesus healed the 10 lepers, probably somewhere in this valley.

The dew and the fleece is something else, but I’m sure it isn’t that big of thing to You since You can do anything.

The amount of people that were scared was 22,000, leaving 10,000.

“And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

So he brought down the people to the water, and God said to Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

The sisters of Noah, Lebanon.
Most of us in the West are not too familiar with olive trees because they don’t grow nearby although olive farms are even now springing up in central Texas.

The olive is considered the most important of all the trees because over the years it has provided food, light and healing.

This robust olive tree can live for centuries, even scattered in dry, barren, and rocky wilderness.

To harvest the olives in Biblical times, a green olive tree would be beaten with sticks to knock the fruit from its branches.

In spite of that, the tree would continue to produce new fruit.

That is because the strength of this tree is not in its branches but comes from its roots which go deep into the earth.

A green olive tree’s roots are so deep and so strong that they survive even if the tree’s trunk is burned or cut down to the ground.

The root survives deep down and it will send up new shoots, and over time they will bear fruit.

The green olive tree can survive and thrive even in the harshest of environments.

They are virtually indestructible, even though they may appear dead, the tree will revive even appearing to have been dead for years.

The remarkable olive tree is an evergreen.

After the flood, when Noah sent the dove out to determine if dry land had appeared, the dove returned with an olive leaf in its mouth.

Even the flood’s devastation did not kill an olive tree!

In biblical times, four pressings were made of the olives for oil.

Each pressing produced a different quality of oil used for distinct purposes.

Heavy stones were used to extract the oil.

The purest oil from the first pressing (one stone) was reserved for Temple worship.

And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300.  And God said, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place” (Jdg 7:4-6).

“And it came to pass the same night God said to Gideon, Arise, get thee down unto the him; Arise, get thee down unto the host, for I  have delivered it into thine hand. 

But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:

And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host (Jdg 7:9-11).

The amount of Midianites and Amalekites was enormous; uncountable.

“And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 

And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host” (Jdg 7:13-14).

Gideon then divided the 300 into three groups and gave each man a trumpet, an empty pitcher, and lamps within the pitchers.  Gideon then told the men to watch what he does and to duplicate it.

“When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 

So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.

And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 

And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath. 

And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.

And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.

And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan” (Jdg 7:18-25).

Ninus, the son of Belus, founded the Assyrian Empire, which continued in Asia for 520 years (Herodotus).  Appian of Alexandrea, in the beginning of his work, followed the same account. 

However, Dionysius Halicarnassus, who is known for diligent research into such matters, said that the Assyrians had a very small part of Asia under their command. 

Diodorus Siculus stated that Ninus joined with Ariaeus, the king of Arabia, and occupied all Asia and ruled India and Bactria for 17 years.  Finally, he subdued the Bactrians with their king Zoroastres.

When Ninus had conquered his adjacent neighbors, he added their forces to his own.  By this he became stronger still to conquer the next enemy. 

Every victory was a step to another, and by this means he subdued all the people of the east.  His last war was with Zoroastres, the king of Bactria. 

This king is said to have been the first to find out the art of magic, and to have most diligently looked into the nature of the world and the motion of the stars.  Ninus killed him and died some time later.

Julius Africanus and Eusebius said that Ninus reigned 52 years.

Jezreel Valley 


Mount Tabor
Mount Tabor From the Nazareth ridge, Mt. Tabor looms large to the east.
While some tradition ascribes the transfiguration of Jesus to this place, it more likely occurred in the area around Caesarea Philippi.

Deborah and Barak camped on Mt. Tabor with the Israelite army before attacking and defeating Sisera’s Canaanite force.


Ein Harod
At the foot of Mount Gilboa is Ein (the spring of) Harod. Judges 7 describes Gideon’s actions in thinning his army out. He brought the men to the spring and sorted them on the basis of how they drank from the water.
Today the swimming pool sits just in front of the cave where the spring emerges.


Mount Gilboa
Mount Gilboa is on the southeastern side of the Jezreel Valley. King Saul felt forced to commit suicide on these slopes when facing certain defeat by the Philistines.

In light of Saul and Jonathan’s deaths, David cursed the mountain: “O mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, nor fields that yield offerings”.

Jezreel Valley
Also known as Campus Legionis, Esdraelon, Esdraelon Valley, Plain of Megiddo, Plains of Megiddo, Great Plain, Great Plain of Esdraelon, Great Plain of Megiddo, Merj ibn-‘Amir, Plain of Megiddo, “The Valley,” Valley of Megiddon

Jezreel Valley from Mount Carmel.
The spacious Jezreel Valley spreads out to the north and east from Mount Carmel, providing convenient passage for international travelers in ancient times. The fertile alluvial soil makes this the country’s breadbasket as well. The Bible speaks of the gathering of armies in this valley at the place of Armageddon.

Gideon by David Rapoza
Gideon or Gedeon, which means “Destroyer,” “Mighty warrior,” or “Feller (of trees)” was, according to the Tanakh, a judge of the Hebrews.

His story is recorded in chapters 6 to 8 of the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible. Judges 6–8.

He is also named in chapter 11 of the Epistle to the Hebrews as an example of a man of faith.

Gideon is the son of Joash, from the Abiezrite clan in the tribe of Manasseh and lived in Ephra.

Considered by some an extension of the Coastal Plain, the beautiful Valley is a major feature of Palestine’s geography, possessing historical and economic importance. 

The valley runs from the northwest to the southeast, connecting the Plain of Acco to the Jordan Rift near Beth-shan.  The valley consists of two distinct parts: western Jezreel and eastern Jezreel. 

The city of Jezreel (“God sows”) was located in the valley where the two parts meet.  The western Jezreel is a broad triangle of land tucked between Mount Carmel on the south and lower Galilee to the north. 

The eastern Jezreel is much narrower.  Mount Tabor, the Hill of Moreh, and Mount Gilboa intrude on the Jezreel Valley in the east as it descends to the Jordan Rift. 

Routes radiated through the Jezreel in all directions, giving the valley a strategic importance. 

Key cities – Megiddo, Yokneam, and Ibleam – guarded passes through Mount Carmel.  The  International Coastal Highway entered the Jezreel at Megiddo. 

This important city guarded the main pass leading to the valley and was the scene of many battles.  The name Armageddon (“Mountain of Megiddo”) used in Revelation 16:16 recalls the numerous conflicts fought over control of this strategic valley.

Fertile soil and abundant water supplies made the valley agriculturally productive, especially for barley and wheat crops.  Numerous springs in the valley fed two small streams flowing to the east and west.

The Kishon drained to the western Jezreel, while the Harod (Jalud) emptied to the east.  This abundance of water created marshes at times. Heavy rains occasionally caused these streams to flood, as described in Deborah’s victory over the Canaanites recorded in (Judges 4-5).