Armageddon (Megiddo), where Good King Josiah Was Slain

May 19, 2017

Megiddo is mentioned several times in the Old Testament, and once in the NT (Rev. 16:16). In the Old Testament, nearing the close of the kingdom of Judah, good King Josiah (r. 640-609 BC) was mortally wounded there in battle by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, who was en route to Carchemish to war against Babylon. The international highway, the Via Maris, connected Egypt to Mesopotamia, so Neco was on that route, which passed through the strategic site of Megiddo.

However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo.  The archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am badly wounded.”  So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in the second chariot which he had, and brought him to Jerusalem where he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.  Then Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah. And all the male and female singers speak about Josiah in their lamentations to this day. (2 Chron. 35:22-25, NAU).

Tel Megiddo in distance. A portion of the “Plain of Megiddo” or the “Valley of Megiddo” is in foreground. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

One of the sites my group visited in November ’16 was Megiddo.

View from Megiddo through ancient gate looking to plain below. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Here is a view of some of the archaeological excavations in foreground, with another view of the plain/valley below.

Excavations/view from Megiddo. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

These photos help provide the setting for the texts that mention biblical Megiddo.

I have made numerous posts on Megiddo; click here, here, herehere, here, and here.

Click images to enlarge.

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Megiddo, Another Key Site Not Taken During the Conquest

May 24, 2011

A text we have referenced in the past few posts is Joshua 17:11-12, in a context giving the borders of some of the tribes, especially Manasseh:

In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its towns and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns, the third is Napheth.

But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land (NASB).

We are not at all wanting to downplay the significance of the Conquest led by Joshua, as God fulfilled His promise to give Israel possession of the land of Canaan. Our purpose in recent posts has been to highlight the significance of those sites NOT captured or retained, so that the discerning reader does not merely read over such text without realizing their import.

Note that among the cities not taken was Megiddo.

Megiddo, Strategic Site Not Taken During Conquest. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Recent posts on Megiddo have appeared on our blog here and here and here as well as here.

In an article entitled The Case of Megiddo: Understanding the Importance of Geography in Biblical Study, Colonel David Hanson wrote:

Since earliest times, people with mutual commercial or agricultural interests have searched for naturally occurring defensive locations where they could safely pursue their enterprises. Towns were constructed to protect the inhabitants from unfriendly neighbors and marauding armies. Considerations which prompted the early settlers to select town sites have not changed over the centuries and many of the most favorable locations grew to great size. Megiddo is one such place and it attests that “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” [Eccl 1:9 (NIV)…

What made Megiddo so important that it has been the focus of military activities for millennia? Yohanan Aharoni provides a framework for investigating this question. In his comprehensive historical geography of the Holy Land, he lists four reasons early settlers chose a particular piece of terrain.

They are:
•       Thoroughfares: Important towns flourished along the main lines of travel and their principal intersections.
•       Strategic locations: Hills or other geographic features which would provide protection to the settlers and could be fortified.
•       Water sources: Accessibility of, or to, a water supply.
•       Agricultural lands: Economies from earliest times have been based upon agriculture; thus, the nearness of fertile fields has been important (Bible and Spade, Vol. 4. No. 3, P. 89).

In his article Hanson goes on to show how Megiddo meets each of the above requirements.

Megiddo later came to be under the control of Israel. Solomon made it one of his fortified cities (1 Kings 9:15-19).

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, “Megiddo was one of the most strategic cities in Palestine. All major traffic through northern Palestine traveled past Megiddo, making it a strategic military strong-hold.”

Click on image for larger view.


Megiddo Stables

April 17, 2011

Another interesting discovery at Megiddo is the area which many believe were used for horse stables. The area seen in this photo is sometimes called “Solomon’s stables,” though many believe this should be dated a bit later to the time of King Ahab.

Stables at Megiddo. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

You can see the metal outline of a horse in our photo. Some suggest this site may have been used for barracks, market places, storage facilities, or other usages.

Click on photo for higher resolution.


Megiddo Water System

April 16, 2011

It would be hard to overemphasize the importance of the city of Megiddo. We have referenced the strategic location in our two previous posts. Crucial battles were fought here.

Excavations conducted at Megiddo have been “large and extensive,” and include the efforts of the German Society for Oriental Research (1903-1905), the Oriental Institute of Chicago (1925-1939). Excavations were interrupted with the outbreak of WWII, but were renewed by the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1960, 1961, 1966, 1967, and 1971) under the leadership of Y. Yadin (The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, Vol. 3, pp. 1005-1005).

More recent excavations have been undertaken by Tel Aviv University, with Pennsylvania State University as the senior American partner (ibid. Vol. 5, pp. 1944ff.).

Among the more interesting discoveries is Megiddo’s water system. A 70 meter tunnel hewn through rock led down to the spring.

Megiddo. Tunnel to city spring. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This dates back to the time of Israel’s king Ahab (874-853 BC). Prior to this engineering feat, it was necessary to go outside the city walls to access the spring.

Megiddo Spring. Citys water supply. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Here is a view from going up from the spring as you exit:

Megiddo. Exit from spring. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

And finally, a view back to the exit of the spring.

Megiddo. Outside Water System Exit. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

In our next post we plan to feature the stables of Megiddo.


Megiddo

April 6, 2011

Megiddo is first mentioned in Scripture in Joshua 12:21 as one of the cities captured under the leadership of Joshua and assigned to the tribe of Manasseh (17:11). Nelson’s NIBD speaks of the importance of this site:

Megiddo was situated on the main road that linked Egypt and Syria. Overlooking the Valley of Jezreel (Plain of Esdraelon), Megiddo was one of the most strategic cities in Palestine. All major traffic through northern Palestine traveled past Megiddo, making it a strategic military strong-hold.

Therefore it was a great loss when Israel subsequently did not retain this city (Judges 1:27), whose location can be seen in the map below:

Megiddo. Map courtesy of BibleAtlas.org

Megiddo was a city of great antiquity. The impressive Canaanite gate can be seen here in our photo:

Canaanite Gate at Megiddo. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This was one of the cities later fortified by King Solomon (1 Kings 9:15) during the United Kingdom period (Iron Age). The Solomonic gate was here:

Solomonic Gate at Megiddo, a fortress city. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Crucial battles were fought here or near here.

1.During the time of the Judges, Barak’s forces (Deborah was the Judge and Prophetess) defeated the Canaanite enemy near here (Judges 4-5). From Megiddo one can easily see Mt. Tabor, mentioned in the account (4:14) ; Judges 5:19 refers to the “waters of Megiddo.”

2. In 2 Kings 9:27, Judah’s king Ahaziah died here by the hand of Jehu; the year was 841 BC.

3. Good King Josiah (also of Judah) was killed here by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt; the year was 609 BC.

4. The word Armageddon (Rev. 16:16) is rendered Har-Magedon by the NASB and means The Mount of Magedon, i.e., Mt. Megiddo.

Click on images for higher resolution.