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Valley of Harod


Jezreel (center) and the surrounding area.  Picture from the Jezreel Expedition Facebook Page, taken by Todd Bolen Earlier today, the Jezreel Expedition Facebook page updated their cover photo. All I have to say is "wow". That is a fantastic aerial shot of Jezreel as it overlooks the southeastern corner of the Jezreel Valley and the Valley of Harod.

This picture is facing almost due east. Jezreel is the light brown area just below the exact center of the picture. The northern end of Mount Gilboa is off to the right and the Transjordan Plateau is in the distance. The Jordan River, which sits in the Jordan Rift Valley is not visible as it falls below the land line between Jezreel and the Transjordan Plateau.

How many Biblical events can you name that happened in this picture? Well, here is a list to get you started.

  • Gideon narrowed his army from many thousand to only 300 men at the Spring of Harod. That spring is located at the foot of Mount Gilboa in the closest shady area just beyond Jezreel. Later that night, Gideon attacked the Midianites near the Hill of Moreh, located just off of the picture to the left. (Judges 7:1-25)
  • Saul was killed on Mount Gilboa. When the Philistines found Saul's body, they took it and hung it over the walls at Beth-Shean. Beth-Shean sits about halfway between Mount Gilboa and the Jordan River (not visible from this angle). (1 Samuel 31:1-10)
  • Jehu rode "furiously" through this area. Jehu had been anointed by a prophet to be the next king of Israel at Ramoth Gilead. Ramoth Gilead was located on top of the Transjordan Plateau in the distance in this picture. A Jehu was riding back to Jezreel, the men in the tower saw him coming up the valley you see in the picture. (2 Kings 9:1-29)
  • This view is probably the last view that Jezebel saw just before she was pushed out a window to her death. (2 Kings 9:30-37)

Many other Biblical events happened within the view of this picture. In addition, anyone traveling from the Galilee area (to the upper left) to the Jerusalem area could have come through this area.

To the Jezreel Expedition: Thanks for supplying this picture! And to Todd Bolen, thanks for taking the picture! It was a great reminder of all of the things that happened here.

Flash Flooding in the Valley of Harod

Weather in Israel is very interesting. (Author disclaimer: Both my wife and I have degrees in Meteorology, so we think that ALL weather is interesting. Please hold off on nerd-based comments until further notice.) Often, people have a misunderstanding of the land of Israel in that it is completely arid and warm. While there are locations in the land that can be described that way, overall, that is not the case. Generally speaking, the country of Israel has two seasons: summer and winter. During the transition times, you have periods of heavy rain. You can even read about these periods of rain in the Bible.

And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. - Deuteronomy 11:13-14

The early rains come in the fall and the latter rains come in the spring. During the summer, very little rain will fall in many areas of the country. Consequently, when the early rains come, flash flooding can easily occur.

Earlier today, I read posts from Luke Chandler (who gave a hat-tip to Ferrell Jenkins) and Todd Bolen who featured a link to an amazing piece of video from flash flooding in the Valley of Harod. The Valley of Harod stretches a few miles from the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley to the city of Beit-She'an.

I am also reminded of Elijah's warning to King Ahab.

So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’” Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. - 1 Kings 18:44-45

Elijah knew that flash flooding would occur in the Jezreel Valley once the rains came and sent his servant to warn King Ahab about it.

Isn't the weather in Israel interesting?

(You may now proceed with your nerd-based comments.)