Megiddo was a town located 6 miles from Mt. Carmel and 11 miles from Nazareth. It was situated at a pass from the north into the hill country which was critically important in different times in the history of Judea.
The first time it is mentioned is in Joshua 12:21. In this passage we see that Megiddo was the city of one of the Canaanite kings that Joshua defeated on the west side of the Jordan River.
Judges chapter 4 tells the story of Deborah, the fourth judge in Israel. Read chapter four to see how the battle unfolds against Jabin, the King of Canaan who reigned in Hazor. (We will be seeing more about this king and Hazor in future blogs.) Sisera was the commander of his army. Barak was the military commander of the Israeli army but would not take the lead in this battle without the promise of Deborah to go alongside of him. Read this chapter and take note that Mount Tabor is mentioned. Mount Tabor is one of the mountains in the region that we will see from various vantage points on the trip.
It is also interesting to note that two women take a prominent role in the battle. Make some notes below about the role that Deborah played in this victory as well as Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite.
Read chapter 5 in the book of Judges. This is described as the song of Deborah and Barak and gives more detail to the story of the battle. Note in verse 19 that this took place near the waters of Megiddo.
Read Judges 4:3. How many chariots of iron did Sisera have on his side? (The ESV Study Bible describes them as impressive chariots that were swift, maneuverable weapons of war, the ancient equivalent of tanks.) When God is on your side, however, these strong weapons are not effective. What happened to these weapons? See chapter 5:19-20.
Take a look at the way chapter 5 ends. “So may all of your enemies perish, Lord! But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might!” And the land had rest for forty years. (The Hebrew word for “had rest” also can mean, “lived in security”.)
Megiddo is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. We see in 1 Kings 4:12 that Megiddo was included in one of Solomon’s administrative districts and in 1 Kings 9:15 it was also one of his fortified cities. (During his reign he divided the Israelite territory into districts. Each district was responsible for supplying the king’s provisions for one month of the year.)
Excavation has uncovered 26 layers of settlements in the area of Megiddo. The first four layers have been identified. As we walk through the area you will be able to see Solomon’s Gate and what many believe to be a part of his stables. Whether they were his or there at a later date, it gives us a great picture of what a “manger” looks like…a feeding trough for the horses.
You can also see a Canaanite altar with stairs leading to it. It is about 10 meters in diameter.
The water system that was developed for the area was built during the time of Ahab. The shaft is 30 meters deep which leads to a tunnel that is 70 meters long. This tunnel supplied the area with water from a nearby spring.
There is another mention of Megiddo in 2 Kings 23:28-30. Josiah, a king who honored the Lord, was killed there by Pharaoh Neco, the King of Egypt. Josiah’s servants carried him in a chariot all the way from Megiddo to Jerusalem to bury him there.
Take a few moments today and consider how amazing it is that we are discovering towns and villages that are mentioned in the Bible and they are right where the scripture says that they are located. Many may think that the Bible is a “fairy tale” but it is actually a book of history validating all that God has done through the ages with His people. Write down your thoughts as you contemplate this truth.