Last week Judy and I went on a “tiyul” (trip) to the North of Israel. We started at Tel Megiddo which has guarded the Jezreel Valley for 7,000 years. Megiddo has 25 layers of inhabitation, each civilization building upon the ruins of the last. When King David conquered Megiddo 3,000 years ago, his was the 16th level of building on that site! The ancient “Way of the Sea” from Egypt to Mesopotamia runs through the Jezreel Valley with swamps and marshes to the West and higher mountains to the East making it the ideal place for trade caravans and travelers to pass through. This is why the area needed to be guarded and the reason for Megiddo’s existence.
The broad Jezreel Valley (photo enclosed) was largely vacant 115 years ago when the Jewish pioneers began to arrive and set up Kibbutzim and Moshavim in the shadow of the ancient Tel. The Jews drained swamps and planted thousands of trees to reclaim the landscape. The area thrives today with good roads, farms and villages.Between the 10th to the 8th century BCE, possibly during the reign of Solomon or during the reign of King Ahab (famous for his wife named Jezebel among other things) Megiddo was enlarged and strengthened (for the 18th time). Part of the extensive construction was a complicated city gate designed to ensnare and then repel invaders (picture enclosed of Jay by the city gate). The path into the city made several sharp turns and had hollowed out recesses allowing defenders to reach attackers while being protected by rock walls at all times. Since Megiddo was conquered a few years later by the Assyrians, it was certainly not foolproof! The last photo enclosed is from the top of Megiddo looking East and a bit North. Mount Tavor and Nazareth can be seen in the distance. Megiddo according to Christian theology is the place that the great and final battle of Armageddon will take place. In the meantime, it is peaceful and serene with 7000 years of history asleep within the Tel.
Another element to defend the city from siege was a sophisticated water works which I will tell you about later…… Due to the file size of the photographs I will only send a few photos at a time and will describe the water works and send photos of them in my next segment.