Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Mount Gilboa

Lately I was offline, on vacation for a few days in the Galilee. The Galilee is simply beautiful, a feast for the eyes! I hope to share with you all a few pictures from the trip so that you will see what I mean.

On the war north we took a "detour" to Gilboa mountains. These mountains are probably best known as being the place where King Saul and his sons fell in battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel Chapter 31):
1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. 3 And the battle went sore against Saul, an the archers overtook him; and he was in great anguish by reason of the archers. 4 Then said Saul to his armour-bearer: 'Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make a mock of me.' But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took his sword, and fell upon it. 5 And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell upon his sword, and died with him. 6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armour-bearer, and all his men, that same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.
When David heard about this terrible defeat and the death of Saul and his sons, he curses the mountains of Gilboa in his famous lamentation (2 Samuel Chapter 1):
17 And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son, 18 and said--To teach the sons of Judah the bow. Behold, it is written in the book of Jashar: 19 Thy beauty, O Israel, upon thy high places is slain! How are the mighty fallen! 20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph. 21 Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you, neither fields of choice fruits; for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. 22 From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. 23 Saul and Jonathan, the lovely and the pleasant in their lives, even in their death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan upon thy high places is slain! 26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me; wonderful was thy love to me, passing the love of women. 27 How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
Baruch Hashem, the Philistines are long gone. The people of Israel have returned to the Gilboa mountains and their surroundings. The view is spectacular. This pic does not do it justice, but it's better than nothing. Click on it for an enlargement:


Soccer Dad said...

I remember this Gilboa post from a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

you should visit the top of "givat hamoreh" (the mountain next to afula. there is a lookout tower at the top from which you can see the following:

the battlefield of gideon and the midianites
the battlefield of shaul and the pelishthim
the battlefield of devorah and sisera
shaul's visit to ein dor
tel yizrael where achav's palace was, the carmel where eliyahu killed the baal prophets, and the road they traveled between them

and a just plain stupendous view of the lower galil.

Anonymous said...

...the battlefield of yoshiyahu at megiddo

and there be more which i've forgotten. so much biblical history all around you there.

Cosmic X said...


Sounds good. I'll have to check it out the next time I'm up north.

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