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Megiddo

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(Hebrews Megiddo', מַגַדּוֹ, according to Gesenius, perh. place of troops, according to: Ftirst, rich in ornaments, i.e. noble, fruitful; Sept. Μαγεδδώ, but Μαγεδώ in Judges 1:27, Μαγδώ,in 1 Kings 9:1 l, and Μαγεδών v. r. Μαγεδδών and Μαγεδδώ in 2 Chronicles 35:22; Vulg. Mageddo), once in the prolonged form MEGIDDON (Zechariah 12:11, Hebrews Megiddon', מְגַדּוֹן, Sept. renders ἐκκοπτόμενος,-Vulg. Mageddon), a town belonging to Manasseh (Judges 1:27), although at first within the boundaries of Issachar (Joshua 17:11), and commanding one of those passes fr om the north into the hill-country which were of such critical importance on various occasions in the history of Judah (Judith 4:7). It had originally been one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Joshua 12:21). This tribal arrangement was made partly to supplement the mountain-territory of Manasseh, and partly to give those strongly- fortified places to a tribe who, from their courage and their alliance with Ephraim, might be able to drive out the old inhabitants. The task, however, proved too great even for the warlike Manassites; but when the power of Israel was fully established, the Canaanites were reduced to slavery (Joshua 17:13-18; Judges 1:27-28). Indeed, we do not read of Megiddo being firmly in the occupation of the Israelites till the time of Solomon. That monarch placed one of his twelve commissariat officers, named Baana, over "Taanach and Megiddo," with the neighborhood of Beth-shean and Jezreel (1 Kings 4:12). In this reign it appears that some costly works were constructed at Megiddo (9:15). These were probably fortifications, suggested by its important military position. Nearly all the notices of the place are connected with military transactions. Of these there were three notable ones, the sacred records of which, and perhaps some profane or monumental reminiscences, remain. (See ESDRAELON).

(1.) The first was the victory of Barak. The song of Deborah brings the place, vividly before us, as the scene of the great conflict. Jabin, king of Hazor, successor of the prince who had organized the northern confederation against Joshua, was now the oppressor of Israel, and Sisera was his general. The army of Jabin, with its 900 chariots of iron, was led down into the great plain, and drawn up at Megiddo, in a position to afford the best ground for the terrible war-chariots. With much difficulty Deborah the prophetess induced Barak to collect the warriors of the northern tribes. They assembled on Tabor. Deborah gave the signal, and the Israelites marched down to attack the enemy, full of hope and enthusiasm. At this moment a hail-storm from the east burst over the plain, and drove full in the faces of the advancing Canaanites (Josephus, Ant. v. 4). "The stars in their courses fought against Sisera." His army was thrown into confusion. The waters of the Kishon rose rapidly, the low plain became a morass; chariots, horses, soldiers, all together were engulfed (Judges 4, 5). Those who have visited Megiddo and traversed its plain in the spring, after a heavy fall of rain, have found the Kishon greatly swollen, its banks quagmires, and all the ordinary roads impassable. (See KISHON).

(2.) To this place Ahaziah fled when his unfortunate visit to Joram had brought him into collision with Jehu, and here he died (2 Kings 4:27), within the confines of what is elsewhere called Samaria (2 Chronicles 22:9). As there are some difficulties in the history, we give the texts at length: Short (2 Kings 9:21).

"And when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden-house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there. And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David." Full (2 Chronicles 22:7-9).

"And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehn the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. And it came to pass that when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them. And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him (for he was, hid in Samaria), and they brought him. to Jehu and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said-they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom."

With reference to the above two accounts of the death of Ahaziah, which have been thought irreconcilable(Ewald, 3:529; Parker's De Wette, p. 270; Thenius, etc.), it may be here remarked that the order of the events is sufficiently intelligible if we take the account in Chronicles, where the kingdom of Judah is the main subject, as explanatory of the brief notice in Kings, where it is only incidentally mentioned in the history of Israel. The order is clearly as follows: Ahaziah was with Jehoram at Jezreel when Jehu attacked and killed him. Ahaziah escaped and fled by the Beth-gan road to Samaria, where the partisans of the house of Ahab were strongest, and where his own brethren were, and there concealed himself. But when the sons of Ahab were all put to death in Samaria, and the house of Ahab had hopelessly lost the kingdom, he determined to make his submission to Jehu, and sent his brethren to salute the children of Jehu (2 Kings 10:13), in token of his acknowledgment of him as king of Israel (not, as Thenius and others, to salute the children of Jehoram, and of Jezebel, the queen- mother). Jehu, instead of accepting this submission, had them all put to death, and hastened on to Samaria to take Ahaziah also, who he had probably learned from some of the attendants, or as he already knew, was at Samaria. Ahaziah again took to flight northwards, towards Megiddo, perhaps in hope of reaching the dominions of the king of the Sidonians, his kinsman, or more probably to reach the coast where the direct road from Tyre to Egypt would bring him to Judah. (See CAESAREA).

He was hotly pursued by Jehu and his followers, and overtaken near Ibleam, and mortally wounded, but managed to get as far as Megiddo, where it would seem Jehu followed in pursuit of him, and where he was brought to him as his prisoner. There he died of his wounds. In consideration of his descent from Jehoshaphat, "who sought Jehovah with all his heart," Jehu, who was at this time very forward in displaying his zeal for Jehovah, handed over the corpse to his followers, with permission to carry it to Jerusalem, which they did, and buried him in the city of David. The whole difficulty arises from the account in Kings being abridged, and so bringing together two incidents which were not consecutive in the original account. But if 2 Kings 9:27 had been even divided into two verses, the first ending at' "garden-house," and the next beginning "and Jehu followed after him," the difficulty would almost disappear. Jehu's pursuit of Ahaziah would only be interrupted by a day or two, and there would be nothing the least unusual in the omission to notice this interval of time in the concise abridged narrative. We should then understand that the word also in the original narrative referred, not to Jehoram, but-to the brethren of Ahaziah, who had just before been smitten, and the death of Ahaziah would fall under 2 Kings 10:17. If Beth-gan (A. V. "garden-house") be the same as En-gannim, now Jenin, it lay directly on the road from Jezreel to Samaria, and is also the place at which the road to Megiddo andthe coast, where Caesarea afterwards stood, turns off from the road between Jezreel and Samaria. In this case the mention of Beth-gan in Kings as the direction of Ahaziah's flight is a confirmation of the statement in Chronicles that he concealed himself in Samaria. This is also substantially Keil's explanation (p. 288, 289). Movers proposes an alteration of the text' (p. 92, note), but not very successfully ( וִיָּבֹא הוּא לַיהוּדָה instead of וִיְּבַאֻהוּ אֶלאּיֵהוּ ). (See JEHU).

(3.) But the chief historical interest of Megiddo is concentrated in Josiah's death. On this occasion Megiddo saw a very different sight from the first, and heard, instead of a song of triumph, a funeral wail from the vanquished host of Israel (Zechariah 12:11). Pharaoh Necho was on his march against the king of Assyria. He passed up the plains of Philistia and Sharon, and king Josiah foolishly attempted to stop him while defiling through the glens of Carmel into the plain of Megiddo. He was defeated, and as he fled the Egyptian archers shot him in his chariot. He was taken to Jerusalem, but appears to have died on the road (2 Kings 23:29). The story is told in the Chronicles in more detail (2 Chronicles 35:22-24). There the fatal action is said to have taken place "in the valley of Megiddo" (Sept. ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ Μαγεδδών ). This calamity made a deep and permanent impression on the Jews. It is recounted again in 1 Esdras 1:25-31, where in the A. V. "the plain of Magiddo" represents the same Greek words. The lamentations for this good king became an ordinance in Israel" (2 Chronicles 35:25). " In all Jewry" they mourned for him, and the lamentation was made perpetual "in all the nation of Israel" (1 Esdras 1:32). " Their grief was no land-flood of present passion, but a constant channel of continued sorrow, streaming from an annual fountain" (Fuller's Pisgah Sight of Palestine, p. 165). Thus, in the language of the prophets (Zechariah 12:11), "the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley (Sept. πεδίῳ ) of Megiddon" becomes a poetical expression for the deepest and most despairing grief; as in the Apocalypse (Revelation 16:16) sEE ARMAGEDDON, in continuance of the same imagery, is presented as the scene of terrible and final conflict. For the Septuagint version of this passage of Zechariah, we miay refer to Jerome's note on the passage. "Adadremmon," pro quo LXX transtulerunt ῾Ροῶνος urbs est juxta Jesraelem, quae hoc olim vocabulo nuncapataest. et hodie vocatur Maximianopolis in Campo Mageddon." Ar-Mageddon may be for עִר מְגַדּו, that is, "the city of Megiddo;" or if we regard the aspirated ap as equivalent to the Hebrew הִר, then the meaning will be "mountain of Megiddo," which would likewise be appropriate (Alford, ad loc.). That the prophet's imagery is drawn from the occasion of Josiah's death there can be no doubt. In Stanley's S. and P.'(p. 347) this calamitous event is made very vivid to us by an allusion to the" Egyptian archers, in their long array, so well known from their sculptured monuments." For the mistake in the account of Pharaoh-Necho's campaign in Herodotus, who has evidently put Migdol by mistake for Megiddo (ii. 159), it is enough to refer to Bahr's excursus on the passage (see below). The Egyptian king may have landed his troops at Acre; but it is far more likely that he marched northwards along the coast-plain, and then turned round Carmel into the plain of Esdraelon, taking the left bank of the Kishon, and that there the Jewish king came upon him by the gorge of Megiddo.

Eusebiuis and Jerome (Onomast.) do not attempt to mark the situation of the place, and it appears that the name Megiddo was in their time already lost. They often mention a town called Legio (Λεγεών ), which must in their day have been an important and well-known place, as they assume it as a central point from which to mark the position of several other places in this quarter (e.g. fifteen miles west of Nazareth, and three or four from Taanach). This has been identified (Reland, Palaest. p. 873; comp. Benjamin of Tudela, 2:433) with the village now called Lejjun, which is situated upon the western border of the great plain of Esdraelon, where it begins to rise gently towards the low range of wooded hills that connect Carmel with the mountains of Samaria (Onomast. s.v. Gabathon). This place was visited by Maundrell, who speaks of it as an old village near a brook, with a khan then in good repair (Journey, March 22). This khan was for the accommodation of the caravan on the route between Egypt and Damascus, which passes here. Having already identified the present village of Taannuk with the ancient Taanach, the vicinity of this to Lejjun induced Dr. Robinson (Bibl. Researches, 3:177-180; also new ed. 3:116-118) to conceive that the latter might be the ancient Megiddo, seeing that Taanach and Megiddo are constantly named together in Scripture (1 Kings 4:12; . Chron. 7:29)'; and to this a writer in a German review (Grosse, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, 1:252 sq.) adds the further consideration that the name of Legio was latterly applied to the plain or low valley along the Kishon, as that of Megiddo had been in more ancient times ( עֶמֶק מְגַדּוֹ, 2 Chronicles 35:22; בַּקְעִת מְגַדּוֹן, Zechariah 12:11; τό πεδίον Μαγεδδώ, 3 Esdr. 1:27). (See ESDRAELON). Herodotus (ii. 159) appears to allude to the overthrow of Josiah at this place (2 Kings 9:23; 2 Kings 9:29), but -instead of Megiddo he names the town Magdolum (Μάγδολον ), the MIGDOL of Egypt (see Harenberg, Bibl. Brem. 6:281; Rosenmiller, Alterth. II, 2:99). Rosellini (Monum. stor. ii, p. 133) thinks that Herodotus may still refer to the Palestinian locality, and he imagines that he finds traces of the name on the monuments (Makato, i.e. Magdo, ib. iv, p. 158), but Ewald (Isr. Gesch. 3:406) finds the Magdolum of Herodotus in el- Mejdel (the MIGDAL of Joshua 19:38), between the Kishon and Acco (comp. Hitzig, Philist. 1:96). Megiddo or Lejjun is probably the place mentioned by Shaw as the Ras el-Kishon, or the head of the Kishon, under. the south-east brow of Carmel (Trav. p. 274). It was visited and described by Mr. Wolcott in 1842, who found it to be an hour and forty minutes distant from Taanach. The Nahr Lejjun is a stream five or six feet wide, running into the Kishon, and feeding three or four mills. A little distance up it is situated the Khan el-Lejjun, and on a small eminence on the opposite side the remains of the ancient Legio. Among the rubbish are the foundations of two or three buildings, with limestone columns mostly worn away; and another with eight or ten polished columns still remaining, and others of limestone among them. The finest structure appears to have been in the south-west corner of the ruins, by the side of the brook. Among its foundations are two marble columns with Corinthian capitals, and several of granite. A gateway with a pointed arch is still standing. A small bridge is thrown over the stream, and leads to the khan, which is of Saracenic structure (Bibliotheca Sacra, 1843, p. 77). Van de Velde visited the spot in 1852, approaching it through the hills from the south-west. He describes the view of the plain as seen from the highest point between it and the sea, and the huge tells which mark the positions of the "key-fortresses" of the hills and the plain, Taanulk and el-Lejjan, the latter being the most considerable, and having another called Tell Metzellim, half an hour to the north-west (Syr. and Pal. 1:350-356). About a month later in the same year Dr. Robinson was there, and convinced himself of the correctness of his former opinion. He, too, describes the view over the plain, northwards to the wooded hills of Galilee, eastwards to Jezreel, and- southwards to Taanach, Tell Metzellim being also mentioned as on a projecting portion of the hills which are continuous with Carmel, the Kishon being just below (Bib. Res. 2:116-119). Both writers mention a copious stream flowing down this gorge (March and April), and turning some mills before joining the Kishon. Here are probably the "waters of Megiddo" (מֵי מַגַדּוֹ ) of Judges 5:19, though it should be added that by professor Stanley (S. and P. p. 339) they are supposed rather to be "the pools in the bed of the Kishon" itself, which has its springs in Tabor (Judges 5:21; see Hollman, Commentar. in carm. Deborce, Lips. 1818, p. .42 sq.), and not (as in Michaelis, Suppl. p. 339; Hames-: veld, 3:138) the Sea of Cendevia (Pliny, v. 17; 36:65), at the foot of Carmel. The same author regards the." plain (or valley) of Megiddo" as denoting not the whole of the Esdraelon level, but that broadest part of it which is immediately opposite the place. we are describing (p.335,336). The supposition of Raumer (Palastina, p. 402), that Legio represented the ancient Maximianopolis (which is given by Jerome as the later name for Hadadrimmon), based' upon the presumption that the remains of a Roman road said to be still visible to the south of Lejjun are those of the thoroughfare between Caesarea and Jezreel, is without good foundation (see Bibliotheca Sacra, 1844, p. 220). Yet Van de Velde (Memoir, p. 333) holds this view to be correct. He thinks he has found the true Hadadrimmon in a place called Runmmaneh, "at; the foot of the Megiddo hills, in a notch or valley about an hour and a half south of Tell Metzellim," and would place the old fortified Megiddo on. this tell itself, suggesting further that its name, "the Tell of the Governor," may possibly retain a reminiscence of Solomon's officer, Baana the son of Ahilud. Porter believes this tell was the site of the stronghold of Megiddo itself (Family Treasury, Dec. 1864).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Megiddo'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/m/megiddo.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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