04 Jan 2016 217 views
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photoblog image Jezreel



A view with lots of history, on this Black Monday.


The bottom picture provides a wider view and one can see that I am standing on an elevated place, which is mount Carmel. I am on the rooftop of a Carmelite monastry. Mount Carmel is most famous as the place reported in 1 Kings 18 as the place where the prophets of Baal were defeated, when the prophet Elias prayed to God. Mt. Carmel is a range of mountains, stretching from the Mediteranian south east into Israel. The monastry is supposedly built, where Elias' altar stood.


In both pictures the view is to the south-east from Carmel, accross the Jezreel valley. This valley has been the scene of many a battle. In the Bible it is mentioned a couple of times that "the kings go out to battle" during the spring months. They would then pitch camp in an area like this valley, where new green grass and water was available. After some customary insults were traded, they would have a go at each other.


The first recorded battle in this valley (15th century BC), was the Battle of Megiddo, between the Egyptians and the coalition of Canaanite vassal states led by the king of Kadesh. The battle was recorded by pharaoh Thutmose 3's personal scribe, Tjaneni. The Egyptians won. This valley was for a very long time the furthest north that the Egyptian chariots could move.


In Biblical times the valley was the scene of a victory by the Israelites, led by Gideon, against the Midianites, the Amalekiltes, and some others from the east. It is also the place where Saul got defeated by the Philistines. Later queen Jezebel, who introduced the Baals into Israel, got eaten by the dogs, after her eunuchs chucked her out of a window (apparently it was not on the ground floor), at the defeat of her husband, king Jehoram.


Later in 1887 Laurence Oliphant described Jezreel as "a huge green lake of waving wheat, with its village-crowned mounds rising from it like islands; and it presents one of the most striking pictures of luxuriant fertility which it is possible to conceive."


Accross the valley, on the furthest hills, from the middle to the left, one sees Nazareth. Now the third largest city inhabited by Palestinians. I refer to the b&w picture.


Still with that picture, in the middle is mount Tabor, barely visible in the coloured picture. It is first mentioned in the Bible as border of three tribes: Zebulun, Issachar and Naphtali. Later judge Deborah defeated the army of Jabin commanded by Sisera, in the mid 12th century BC at mount Tabor. Some Christian believe that mount Tabor to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Since the Bible mentions only "a high mountain", there is no proof of this claim.


In the coloured picture one can see mount Gilboa, at the foot of which king Saul and his sons, met their end during the battle that raged in the valley. Gilboa is to the right in the coloured picture.


comments (13)

  • Lisl
  • England
  • 4 Jan 2016, 00:26
Two unusual landscapes, Louis, jam-packed with history
Louis: As we hiked and travelled, I often wondered about the unwritten history of this country. It dates over so many ages. Thank you Lisl.
Thanks for the potted history Louis.
Louis: My pleasure, old man smile
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 4 Jan 2016, 02:41

Exraordinary stuff, Louis. Enough for a library of history books, and even a few religious ones!
Louis: Phew, yes! Although I refer to one battle that is fully documented, there were also many battles and strives, that are just mentioned in history, but not fully described. This morning I sat reading my daily news, taking the strive between the Suni's and Shiites. Going back in history, even before Biblical times, this area has seen a lot of those power pushes. Back then the Babylonians, Asyrians, Philistines, Moabites, Egyptians and others were constantly having a go at each other. Somewhere along the line they converted to the Islam and some names changed; like they are now Iran, Iraq, Jordan, etc. It seems like they even aligned themselves within their broader religion and now the ages old strives continue, if under different names. This specific area was Philistine country, later an Asyrian province and so it goes on.

The thought that I had, is that these struggles are even deeper rooted than the religious differences reported in the media. What we generally know as Arabs actually have diverse ancestral origins and identities.

And the world goes on ...
Thank you for the history words very nicely illustrated Louis!
Louis: My pleasure, m'sieu
You have done Black Monday proud Louis. This is like some giant board game, but the warring season seems very short.
Louis: Short war seasons are good for those who want to survive. The reason for the short season lies in the fact that a ruler has to feed his army. This general area has winter rainfall and the land provides optimal in spring. Soon the horses, cattle, soldiers and their concubines have consumed everything, and they had to move on.
The history is still mind-numbing to me, Louis, having been brought up on almost all of it. WOW.
Louis: It is mind-numbing, but also enlightening in a sense. For instance, the ongoing struggles among Muslim groups. We tend to see one Arab world, but in reality they have diverse ancestral origins and identities. It seems that some Muslim groupings are roughly aligned accordingly. The ages old struggles that these peoples had, even before Biblical times, just continues. This specific area was Philistine country, later an Asyrian province and so it goes on.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 4 Jan 2016, 07:00
Very interesting too Louis, it is a land of beauty and violence
Louis: So it is, Chris
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 4 Jan 2016, 08:47
A lot of history in those two pictures. But then, I think this country is one big history. Beauty and violence go hand in hand here.. (like Chris says)
Louis: He who won the fight, could claim the goodies. Violence was a way of getting rich. The ages old struggles that these peoples had, even before Biblical times, just continues.
I imagine that the valley has not yet seen its last battle :-(
Louis: With the trend of things in that greater arena, you may be right at that, Tom.
I have really enjoyed this post Louis. You have mentioned, and shown us, so many places that our minister at our church on Sundays talks about in his sermons so it is good to get some idea of where he is talking about.
Louis: Thank you Brian. That was the main purpose of our visit - to create a better understanding. I must say, that I understand a lot of stuff better when I read the Bible now and also when the Shiites and Suni's start to have a go at each other.
The b&w image makes the cityscape look congested Louis... i like the one below with the olive grove...
there is a great amount od ancient history at this site and thank you for sharing it with us....petersmile
Louis: I agree with you about the congestion, peter. That is why I decided to post both pictures.
Thanks for the historical post with pix. If the land could talk eh?
Louis: The visit was a big learning curve for me. I was often left with the thoughts about the unwritten parts of history.
The B&W photo is quite wonderful. It must have been so amazing to be here.
Louis: Amazing in so many ways, Elizabeth. Seems to me your pc is not blinking any more smile

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camera COOLPIX P500
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shutterspeed 1/800s
aperture f/4.8
sensitivity ISO160
focal length 20.5mm
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