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Hill of Moreh

Podcast #6 - The Hill of Moreh

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] If you could sit in one place and watch the events of Biblical history go by, where would you sit? An obvious choice would be on the top of the Mount of Olives. But, there is another place that I would choose. I would choose to sit on top of the Hill of Moreh. Why? Well, that is what we will be discussing on today's program.

NOTE: If you are reading this from an email, you will need to go to the Podcast page on the Exploring Bible Lands website to listen to the podcast.

Wheat Fields

IMG_1979 Throughout the Old Testament, we read accounts of people growing and harvesting wheat. Even thousands of years later, this practice still takes place today. This picture was taken in the Harod Valley just southeast of the Hill of Moreh.

Mount Gilboa West

3_MtGilboa_West_2 Mount Gilboa, along with the Hill of Moreh form the narrow passage that separates the Jezreel and Harod Valleys just west of Beit She’an.  It was on this mountain that Saul and his sons fell to the Philistine army.  Tradition claims this is the reason the eastern face of the mountain remains bare even to this day.

We’ll began posting again next week, after the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Different Views of the Jezreel Valley

The Jezreel Valley, looking southeast from the top of Mount Carmel.From time to time, people will ask me what my favorite spot is in Israel. Well, that is a very difficult question. In many ways, that is like comparing apples to oranges. How do you compare the history of Jerusalem to the beauty of Upper Galilee? Or, how do you compare either one of those to majesty of Masada? Well, you can't. But, that is what makes traveling to Israel so interesting...and fun. There are so many great things to see. With that being said, I do enjoy the Jezreel Valley. For millennia, the Jezreel Valley has been the site of literally hundreds of historical events. But, what makes it interesting is how small it is. The triangular-shaped valley is only about 20 miles long by 12-15 miles wide. Consequently, in a single day, you are able to easily drive around and see the valley from so many different angles. By doing so, you can mentally reenact many of the Biblical stories in your head.

You can visualize:

  • Deborah and Barak as they gathered the fighting men on Mount Tabor before attack on Sisera and the Caananites (Judges 4).
  • Gideon and his 300 men as they snuck across the valley to the Hill of Moreh to attack the Midianites (Judges 7).
  • Saul as he disguised himself to speak with the medium at Endor (1 Samuel 28).
  • The children of Israel as they watched Elijah go up against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. (1 Kings 18).
  • The Shunammite Woman riding across the valley to visit with Elisha on Mount Carmel (2 Kings 4).
  • Jehu furiously riding his chariot across the valley floor toward Jezreel (2 Kings 9).
  • Josiah losing his life near Megiddo as he battled the Egyptians (2 Kings 23).
  • Jesus as he raised from the dead, the son of a widow at Nain (Luke 7).

While there are hundreds of places to visit in the country, the Valley of Jezreel should definitely be at the top of anyone's list. Go, enjoy and learn.

Elisha Could See the Shunammite Woman Coming

During the period of the Divided Kingdom, Elisha served as a prophet of God to the nation of Israel. As he passed through the Jezreel Valley, he would frequently stay in the town of Shunam with a woman and her husband. This friendly couple even built an extra room on to their house so that Elisha would have a place to stay (1 Kings 4:8-10). After a period of time, Elisha wanted to repay the woman for the kindness she had shown to him. Since the couple was childless, Elisha's servant, Gehazi recommended that the couple be provided with a son. Elisha promised them a child and about a year later, a son was born.

Years later, the young man was working out in the field and developed a headache. Soon after arriving back at home, he died in his mother's arms. Distraught, the Shunammite woman got on her donkey to go and find Elisha, who was now at Mount Carmel. Then, in 1 Kings 4:24-25, we read:

Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman!"

As you know, Elisha soon raised the young man from the dead as a show of the power of God.

Recently, I was in a Bible class where we were discussing this story. I was struck by the phrase "when the man of God saw her afar off". I was reminded of a picture that I took last September when I was in Israel. I have featured that picture in this post. This picture is taken from Mount Carmel looking east in the direction of the Hill of Moreh. The town of Sulam is the modern city which sits on ancient Shunam, which was located in the Jezreel Valley just southwest of the Hill of Moreh. In the picture, Shunam would have sat just to the right of the hill.

As Elisha and Gehazi sat on Mount Carmel, this would have been the approximate view that they would have had. As you can see, it would have been easy to see a couple of people riding donkeys heading in their direction.

Isn't it interesting how accurate the Bible is?

2012 Israel Trip - Day Six

2012 Israel Trip - Day Six


Today is Sunday, which is always a special day. However, when you wake up on a Sunday morning by the Sea of Galilee and end it in Jerusalem, it makes is an extra special day. After spending a period of time in worship, we loaded the bus and headed south and away from the Sea of Galilee. The Galilee area is a very special place and I hated to leave it. (I guess I'll just have to come back.) Our first stop was at Bet-She'an, an ancient city that guarded the southeastern end of the Jezreel Valley. The ruins at Bet-She'an are extremely impressive. It reminded me of the ruins at Jerash, Jordan, which I visited two years ago. There are ruins from several different periods including Roman and Canaanite. The view from the top of the ancient tel looking over the Roman ruins is not one that I'll ever forget. (I also won't forget how hot it was and the taste of the Magnum bar I had at the end of the tour.)

From there we traveled to the Spring of Harod. This is the location where Gideon narrowed down his army to 300 men to fight the Midianites who were camped across the valley at the base of the Hill of Moreh. This is one of my favorite places because it puts on display how accurate the Bible is with regards to geographical descriptions and locations. You can see the entire story laid out in front of you. It is incredible.

At Jezreel, we were able to see the excavations taking place and the wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley below. We were also reminded that Phil Roberts, a man who many of us admired so greatly, spent many hours at Jezreel.

From there we turned south and were able to travel across the mountains of Samaria. Since most of Samaria is in the West Bank, travel through that area is not always possible. However, at this time, the situation is peaceful which provided us a rare opportunity. I was amazed. I never realized hour mountainous Samaria was. We were able to visit the city of Samaria as well as spend time at Jacob's Well in Nabulus.

Soon thereafter, we arrived safely in Jerusalem where we checked into a wonderful hotel. Our day tomorrow starts off on top of the Mount of Olives. I can't wait.