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Plain of Esdraelon

also known as: Jezreel Valley, Valley of Jezreel

Esdraelon is the Greek form of the Hebrew word: “Jezreel

Esdraeolon is the name of the great plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., “the meadow of the son of Amer”) which stretches across Central Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterraanean, separating the mountain ranges of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14 miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west.

Plain of Esdraelon—satellite view

It is drained by “that ancient river” the Kishon, which flows westward to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor, it branches out into 3 valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor and Little Hermon (Judges 4:14); that on the south between Mount Gilboa and En-gannim (2 Kings 9:27); while the central portion, the “valley of Jezreel” proper, runs into the Jordan valley (which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean. Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judges 7:1-25).

Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul’s army was defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (2 Chronicles 35:20-27; 2 Kings 23-29).

This plain has been well called the “battlefield of Palestine.”

“It has been a chosen place for encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders, Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs, warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon.” —theologian and biblical scholar, Dr. Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible

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Article Version: September 5, 2017