the Greek form of the Hebrew "Jezreel," the name of the great plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., "the meadow of the son of Amer") which stretches across Central Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterraanean, separating the mountain ranges of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14 miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west. It is drained by "that ancient river" the Kishon, which flows westward to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor it branches out into three valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor and Little Hermon (Judg. 4:14); that on the south between Mount Gilboa and En-gannim (2 Kings 9:27); while the central portion, the "valley of Jezreel" proper, runs into the Jordan valley (which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean. Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judg. 7:1-25). Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul's army was defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (2 Chr. 35:20-27; 2 Kings 23-29). This plain has been well called the "battle-field of Palestine." "It has been a chosen place for encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders, Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs, warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon" (Dr. Clark).
This name is merely the Greek form of the Hebrew word Jezreel.
"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 Engannim) to the foot of the hills below Nazareth, and is about 15 miles long; the north side, formed by the hills of Galilee, is about 12 miles long; and the south side, formed by the Samaria range, is about 18 miles. The apex on the west is a narrow pass opening into the plain of ?Akka
. From the base of this triangular plain three branches stretch out eastward, like fingers from a hand, divided by two bleak, gray ridges --one bearing the familiar name of Mount Gilboa, the other called by Franks Little Hermon, but by natives Jebel ed-Duhy
. The central branch is the richest as well as the most celebrated. This is the "valley of Jezreel" proper --the battle-field on which Gideon triumphed, and Saul and Jonathan were overthrown. (Judges 7:1
; (1Ã‚Â Samuel 29:1
) ... and 1Sam 31:1 ... Two things are worthy of special notice in the plain of Esdraelon:
- Its wonderful richness;
- Its present desolation. If we except the eastern branches, there is not a single inhabited village on its whole surface, and not more than one-sixth of its soil is cultivated. It is the home of the wild wandering Bedouin.