|Jezreel (1) |
("God has sown".) Esdraelon. Now Zerin at the foot of Mount Gilboa, ten miles S.E. of Nazareth. In Issachar: Joshua 19:18. Ahab's royal residence was on the E. of the city, and near it was the Jezreelite Naboth's vineyard; whereas Samaria (in the sense of the city) was his capital (1 Kings 18:46; 1 Kings 21:1; 1 Kings 22:10; 2 Kings 9:15). By the fountain of Jezreel Israel pitched before the battle of Gilboa (1 Samuel 29:1). A large fountain still flows out of a cavern in the conglomerate rock at the northern base of Mount Gilboa. Zerin commands an extensive view to the mountains E. of Jordan and along the great plain to Mount Carmel. On the N.E., the hill on which Jezreel stood, is a steep descent of rock, 100 ft. high. Strong and central, the site was admirable for a city. Jezebel's apartments were on the city wall, with a window facing E., and a watchtower for noticing arrivals from the Jordan quarter.
An old square tower still standing may occupy its site. The city's eastern gateway was the palace gateway, in front of which was the open space, usual in Eastern cities, called "the mounds," where the dogs, their scavengers, devoured Jezebel's carcass. (See JEZEBEL .) Hosea's oldest son by Gomer was named Jezreel (Hosea 1:4), to imply that as Ahab's family miserably perished there, so would their destroyer Jehu's family perish, because the latter had retained the sin which he had been elevated in order to root out. (See HOSEA .) God saith "I will avenge the blood of Jezreel (2 Kings 9; 2 Kings 10:11; 2 Kings 10:14) upon the house of Jehu," because the blood so shed by Jehu was not with a view to doing God's will, but to further his own ambition; this he proved by soon disobeying God when the retaining of the calf worship seemed to him politic.
Jezreel means both "God scatters" and "God sows." As He "scattered" them under Jehu, and finally by the Assyrian deportation, so He will "sow" them again; and so Jezreel will represent the similarly sounding Israel; "great shall be the day of Jezreel" when "Judah and Israel shall be gathered together, and appoint (unto) themselves one head, and shall come up out of the land" (of the Gentiles) where God. sowed them (Zechariah 10:9; Hosea 1:11). They shall then be the seed of God sown in their own land (Hosea 2:23; Ezekiel 36:9; Jeremiah 31:27; Jeremiah 32:41; Amos 9:15). THE VALLEY OF JEZREEL (or ESDRAELON, as it is called in Judith 3:9) stretches across the center of Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, separating Carmel and Samaria's mountain ranges from those of Galilee.
The western portion is the plain of Accho. The main body is an irregular triangle, its base stretching from Engannim to the hills below Nazareth, about 15 miles: one side formed by the Galilee hills, about 12 miles; the other 18, running on the northern side of the Samaritan range. The top of the triangle is the pass, half a mile wide, opening into Accho plain. It is the ancient Megiddo plain, the Armageddon of Revelation 16:16. (See ARMAGEDDON .) The Kishon drains it, flowing W. by Accho into the Mediterranean.
From this triangular plain's base three branches stretch E., divided by bleak Mount Gilboa and Little Hermon. (See Porter, Handbook to Syria.) Though rich and luxuriant in spring, only about a sixth of it is cultivated, and there is not an inhabited village in the main portion, chiefly owing to the insecurity from Bedouin marauders. It mainly belonged to Issachar, which, exposed to every incursion, lived in a nearly nomadic state and sought David's protection (Genesis 49:14-15 "tents," 1 Chronicles 12:32; 1 Chronicles 12:40), and formed Zebulun's frontier (Deuteronomy 33:18). It was Israel's great field of battle with invaders: Sisera, Judges 4,5; Midian, Judges 7; the Philistines at Gilboa, 1 Samuel 29,31; Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo, 2 Kings 23:29.