Jezreel Valley and Megiddo

The scenic and spacious Jezreel Valley is located just north of ancient Samaria. This fertile plain served (and still serves) as the breadbasket of Israel-–and the site of numerous bloody battles throughout Bible times. From Gideon (Judges 7) to Deborah (Judges 4-5) to Saul (1 Samuel 28-31) to Josiah (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:20-27), various commanders have recognized the importance of maintaining control over this prolific farmland, but equally important was maintaining control over the Great Trunk Road, which passed through the valley and connected Egypt with Anatolia and Mesopotamia. The Central Ridge Route, which served as the main artery running north and south throughout Israel, also terminated just south of the valley. At perhaps the most strategic location in the valley lay the raised fortress of Megiddo, which guarded a key mountain pass along the Great Trunk Road. Perhaps it was this long and bloody history of Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley that was in the apostle John’s mind as he foretold in the book of Revelation of a great battle between good and evil at a place called Armageddon, which means “Mount Megiddo” (Revelation 16:12-16).

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