The Philistines for once directed their forces towards the plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon) in the north; and Saul, forsaken by Yahweh, already gave himself up for lost.
The name was also applied to the great plain (Esdraelon) dominated by the city ("valley of Jezreel," Josh.
As it is, it has very fertile patches of lowland, such as the plains of Esdraelon and Jaffa; and the high levels, largely composed of disintegrated igneous rock, west of Jordan, over which the seawind carries the rains, offer excellent corn-land.
17-23) lay to the south of that allotted to Zebulun, Naphtali, Asher and Dan, and included the whole of the great plain of Esdraelon, and the hills to the east of it, the boundary in that direction extending from Tabor to the Jordan, apparently along the deep gorge of Wadi el Bireh.
Across; while farther south, at Haifa, it is of still greater width, and opens into the extensive Merj Ibn `Amir (Plain of Esdraelon) by which almost the whole of Western Palestine is intersected.
The Mountain Region, the great plain of Esdraelon, which forms what from the earliest times has been recognized to be the easiest entrance to the interior of the country, cuts abruptly through the mountain system, and so divides it into two groups.
The Galilean Mountains, north of the plain of Esdraelon, fall into two regions, divided by a line joining Acre with the north end of the Sea of Galilee.
The great plain of Esdraelon is one of the most important and striking of the natural features of Western Palestine.
The modern name, as above-mentioned, is Merj Ibn `Amir (" the meadow-land of the son of `Amir "); in ancient times it was known as the Valley of Jezreel, of which name Esdraelon is a Greek corruption; and by another name (Har-Magedon) derived from that of the important town of Megiddo - it is referred to symbolically in Rev. xvi.
A railway from Haifa to Damascus was opened in 2905; it runs across the Plain of Esdraelon, enters the Ghor at Beisan, then, turning northwards, impinges on the Sea of Galilee at Samakh, and runs up the valley of the Yarmuk to join, at ed-Der`a, the line of the third railway.
A detachment of troops was sent under General Jean Baptiste Kleber across the plain of Esdraelon to take Nazareth and Tiberias, and defeated the Arabs between Fuleh and Afuleh.
The population is about 11,000; 8000 being Moslems, the remainder Christians, Jews, &c. It was long regarded as the "Key of Palestine," on account of its commanding position on the shore of the broad plain that joins the inland plain of Esdraelon, and so affords the easiest entrance to the interior of the country.
The ridge of Nazareth rises north of the great plain of Esdraelon, and north of this again is the fertile basin of the Buttauf, separated from the sea-coast plains by low hills.
On the right the Jalud descends from the plain of Esdraelon to near Beisan, and the Far`a from near Nablus.
The great plain of Esdraelon is of triangular form, bounded by Gilboa on the east and by the ridge which runs to Carmel on the west.
The plains of Esdraelon, and the Buttauf, and the plateau of el-Ahma are all remarkable for the rich basaltic soil which covers them, in which corn, cotton, maize, sesame, tobacco, millet and various kinds of vegetable are grown, while indigo and sugar-cane were cultivated in former times.