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Esdra-e’lon. 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 Jenı̂n (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, seq.; 1 Sam. 29 and 31. Two things are worthy of special notice in the plain of Esdraelon:

1. Its wonderful richness; 2. 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.


Plain of Esdraelon. (Jezreel.)