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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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KISHON ( Judges 4:7 ; Judges 5:21 , 1 Kings 18:40 , Psalms 83:9 ). The ancient name of the stream now called Nahr el-Mukatta ’, which drains almost the whole area of the great Plain of Esdraelon. The main channel may be considered as rising near the W. foot of Mt. Tahor, and running W. through the centre of the plain until it enters the narrow valley between the S. extension of the Galilæan hills and the E. end of Carmel. After emerging from this it enters the Plain of Akka, running a little N. of the whole length of Carmel, and enters the sea about a mile E. of Haifa. The total length is about 23 miles. In the first part of its course it is in winter a sluggish stream with a bottom of deep mud, and in summer but a chain of small marshes; from just below where the channel is crossed by the Nazareth road near Carmel it usually has a certain amount of water all the year round, and in parts the water, which is brackish, Isaiah 10 or 12 feet deep. At its mouth, however, it is almost always fordable. Numerous small watercourses from the Galilæan hills on the N. and more important tributaries from ‘Little Hermon,’ the Mountains of Gilboa, and the whole southern range of Samaria and Carmel on the E. and S., contribute their waters to the main stream. The greater number of these channels, in places 10 or 15 feet deep with precipitous sides, are perfectly dry two-thirds of the year, but during the winter’s rains are filled with raging torrents. A number of copious springs arise along the edge of the hills to the S. of the plain. At Jenin there are plentiful fountains, but they are, during the summer, entirely used up in irrigation; at Ta‘anak , at Lejjûn , near Tell el-Kasîs , at the E. end of Carmel, and at the ‘Ayûn el-Sa‘di , perennial fountains pour their water into the main stream. Those who have seen the stream only in late spring or summer can hardly picture how treacherous and dangerous it may become when the winter’s rain fills every channel with a tumultuous flood of chocolate-brown water over a bottom of sticky mud often itself several feet deep. Both animals and baggage have not infrequently been lost at such times. Under such conditions, the Kishon, with its steep, uncertain banks, its extremely crooked course, and its treacherous fords, must have been very dangerous to a flying army of horses and chariots ( Judges 5:21-22 ). Of all parts the section of the river from Megiddo (wh. see) to ‘Harosheth of the Gentiles’ (now el-Harithîyeh ), where the fiercest of the battle against Sisera was fought (cf. Judges 5:10 ; Judges 4:16 ), must have been the most dangerous. The other OT incident connected with this river is the slaughter there of the prophets of Baal after Elijah’s vindication of Jehovah on the heights of Carmel ( 1 Kings 18:40 ).

E. W. G. Masterman.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Kishon'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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