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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Jez´reel, a town in the tribe of Issachar (), where the kings of Israel had a palace, and where the court often resided, although Samaria was the metropolis of the kingdom. It is most frequently mentioned in the history of the house of Ahab. Here was the vineyard of Naboth, which Ahab coveted to enlarge the palace-grounds (; 1 Kings 21), and here Jehu executed his dreadful commission against the house of Ahab, when Jezebel, Joram, and all who were connected with that wretched dynasty, perished (; ). These horrid scenes appear to have given the kings of Israel a distaste to this residence, as it is not again mentioned in their history. It is, however, named by Hosea (; comp. 1:11; 2:22); and in Judith (; ; ) it occurs under the name of Esdraelon. In the days of Eusebius and Jerome it was still a large village, called Esdraela. Nothing more is heard of it till the time of the crusades, when it was called by the Franks Parvum Gerinum, and by the Arabs Zerin; and it is described as commanding a wide prospect—on the east to the mountains of Gilead, and on the west to Mount Carmel. But this line of identification seems to have been afterwards lost sight of, and it is only of late that the identification of Zerin and Jezreel has been restored.

Zerin is seated on the brow of a rocky and very steep descent into the great and fertile valley of Jezreel, which runs down between the mountains of Gilboa and Hermon. Lying comparatively high, it commands a wide and noble view, extending down the broad valley on the east to Beisan (Bethshean), and on the west quite across the great plain to the mountains of Carmel. It is described by Dr. Robinson (Researches, iii. 163) as a most magnificent site for a city, which, being itself a conspicuous object in every part, would naturally give its name to the whole region. In the valley directly under Zerin is a considerable fountain, and another still larger somewhat farther to the east, under the northern side of Gilboa, called Ain Jalud. There can, therefore, be little question that, as in Zerin we have Jezreel, so in the valley and the fountain we have the 'valley of Jezreel,' and the fountain of Jezreel, of Scripture.

Zerin has at present little more than twenty humble dwellings, mostly in ruins, and with few inhabitants.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Jezreel'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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