Jezreel was a city of the tribe of Issachar (Josh 19:18). The city was located within the Fifth Solomonic District (1 Kgs 4:12). The natural hill on which Jezreel sits is located on the western end of Mount Gilboa. It acts as a sentinel guarding the passage from the Jezreel Valley into the Harod Valley and beyond to the Jordan Valley. It also guards the descent from the hills of Samaria into the Jezreel Valley. Tel Jezreel is located 12 miles (19.2 km) south of Nazareth.
Also known as Tel Jezreel, Tel Yizer'el, Esdraelon, Zerin, Zer'in, Zertîn
A Strategic Location
Saul's Final Battle
Saul gathered the Israelites at Jezreel against the Philistine armies when they were moving from Aphek (1 Sam 29:1). From here he went to Endor. After losing the battle, Saul fled to Gilboa, where he died. His body was hung on the walls of Beth Shean and the Jabesh-Gileadites then came to get his body.
Ahab and Naboth's Vineyard
In addition to his palace in Samaria, Ahab maintained a palace in Jezreel (1 Kgs 21:1). Because of the low elevation of Jezreel, this would have served well as a winter palace. In 1 Kings 21, Ahab took Naboth’s vineyard. The vineyard was next to the palace, and was very valuable land. The fertile ground in the valley today is a reminder of how precious Naboth’s fertile vineyard would have been. This photo shows an ancient winepress on the eastern side of the city of Jezreel.
Excavations of Tel Jezreel
Excavations of Tel Jezreel were conducted by John Woodhead of the British School of Archaeology and David Ussishkin of Tel Aviv University in 1990-95. There were high expectations for this site because it was the last royal site to be excavated, but the results were disappointing because the stones had been robbed out in previous periods. In the 9th century BC, it is clear that the site was developed under a new plan. Although much is still uncertain about the site, it has been shown that the city of Jezreel was a very well-planned city and the work must have required a large investment of financial as well as human resources. This photo shows grapevines growing at the site, reminiscent of Naboth’s vineyard that was located not far from this spot.
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