Overlooking a Biblical Battleground

One of our visits yesterday was to the traditional site of Elijah’s contest with Baal on Mount Carmel. This location for the contest is probably correct and offers a wide view of the Jezreel valley. The valley has an intense military history – no less than 34 separate battles have taken place here, and those are just the ones we know about. For 35 centuries of military history, (the 15th century BC to the 20th century AD), every invader of Canaan has had to secure the route through this valley. It is the only way by which one can travel north-south in Canaan without having to climb mountains.

This photo shows the hill of Moreh (left) and Mount Gilboa (right) as viewed from Mount Carmel. This view is looking east. If you traveled straight ahead between these hills, you would quickly reach the Jordan River.

(Photo by Luke Chandler)

A portion of the Jezreel Valley viewed from Mount Carmel. The hill of Moreh is on the left and Mount Gilboa on the right. Famous events involving Gideon, King Sau, Elisha, Jehu, and Jezebel occurred on/between these two hills. (Photo by Luke Chandler)

Biblical battles took place on/between these mountains. Gideon chose his 300 men by a spring at the foot of Mount Gilboa and crossed to the left to fight the Midianites by Mount Moreh. Saul faced the Philistines here (their camp was by Mount Moreh) and killed himself on Mount Gilboa. Jehu also rode up between these hills to Jezreel (by Mount Gilboa) to assassinate King Joram along with his mother, Queen Jezebel.

Not all of the biblical history here was bloody. A married couple by Mount Moreh (left) added a room onto their house for the prophet Elisha. He could deal with Israelite kings and officials by day in Jezreel (right) and cross back over to his private Bed & Breakfast by Mount Moreh to enjoy the evening.

It continues to strike me how close together things are in this land. One is never far from multiple historic places, both biblical and non-biblical.

Today we enjoyed visiting sites around the Sea of Galilee. The weather has been great and everyone is doing wonderfully. Internet permitting (it wasn’t last night!) I will keep posting updates on our tour. Very best wishes, and please check back soon.

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About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister in English and Spanish with the North Terrace Church of Christ and participates annually in archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke also leads tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
This entry was posted in 2014 Bible Lands Tour, Ancient Battles, Bible Geography, Bible Lands tour, Israel, Philistines, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Overlooking a Biblical Battleground

  1. Amanda says:

    I LOVE reading about the travels! Thank you for the clear description of this area – the geography of Bible lands is new to me & I am enjoying learning it. It enriches my study of Scripture so much! Certainly, it is hard to wrap my mind around how close everything is there! Safe travels!

  2. Ken Warren says:

    Neat to learn more about mt. Gilboa and Moreh! I’m checking my map as I read along— so much fun 🙂

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