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Plain of Esdraelon

megiddo, miles, base and surface

ESDRAELON, PLAIN OF (es'dra-elon), (Gr. 'EcrapnA6v, es-dray-/On').

"The great plain of Esdraelon extends across central Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, separating the mountain ranges of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee.

The western section of it is properly the plain of AccHo, or 'Akka. The main body of the plain is a triangle. Its base on the east extends from jenin (the ancient En-gannim) to the foot of the hills below Nazareth, and is about fifteen miles long; the north side, formed by the hills of Galilee, is about twelve miles long, and the south side, formed by the Samaria range, is about eighteen miles. The apex of the west is a narrow pass opening into the plain of 'Akka. This vast expanse has a gently undulating surface—in spring all green with corn where cultivated, and rank weeds and grass where neglected—dotted with several low gray tells, and near the sides with a few olive groves. This is that Valley of Megiddo, so called from the city of Megiddo, which stood on its southern border, where Barak triumphed and where king Josiah was defeated and received his death wound (Judg. v ; 2 Chron. xxxv). Prob ably, too, it was before the mind of the Apostle John when he figuratively described the final con flict between the hosts of good and evil who were gathered to a place called Ar-mageddon (from the Hebrew, meaning, the city of Megiddo; Rev. xvi:

16). The river Kishon—"that ancient river" so fatal to the army of Sisera (Judg. v :20—drains the plain, and flows off through the pass westward to the Mediterranean.

Two things are worthy of special notice in the plain of Esdraelon—its wonderful richness and its desolation. If we except the eastern branches there is not a single inhabited village on its whole surface, and not one-sixth of its surface is culti vated. It is dotted with places of great historic and sacred interest, which are treated under their several names. On the east we have Endor, Nain, and Shuncm, ranged around the base of the "hill of Moreh ;" Beth-shean, in the center of the plain where the "valley of Jezreel" opens toward Jor dan ; Gilboa. with the "well of Harod" and the ruins of Jezreel at its western base. On the south are En-gannim. Taanach, and Megiddo. On the west apex, on the overhanging brow of Carmel. is the scene of Elijah's sacrifice; while close by runs the Kishon, on whose banks the false prophets of Baal were slain. On the north are Nazareth and Tabor. The modern Syrians call Esdraelon Merj ibn-'Amer, "the Plain of the Son of 'Amer." (Smith. Hist. Geog., chap. 19; McC. and S., Cye.; Smith, Bib. Diet.)