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Written by Stephen Langfur
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The Spring
Ridge view

The View from the Nazareth Ridge

On the ridge south of Nazareth there is a marvelous panorama over the Jezreel Plain. We can see, from east to west (left to right): the southern rim of the Sea of Galilee, Mt. Tabor (the mountain of the Transfiguration), the dip into the Jordan valley with the Kingdom of Jordan beyond it, En Dor (where Saul consulted with the witch), the Hill of Moreh (due south), and near the base, in the middle, the village of Nain (where Jesus raised from death the only son of a widow).



On the western side of Moreh is part of Afula, a modern Jewish city, and just beyond it one can see a sliver of Mt. Gilboa, with the central mountain range behind it. To the right the plain stretches southward toward Jenin in the West Bank. On the far right one can make out a V in a distant mountain ridge: it is the pass that comes out by Megiddo, which lies just to the right of the V. Below us spreads an Arab village called Iksal, site of the village Exaloth in the Roman period.

From here one can see how the Canaanites, possessing the plain, cut the Israelite tribes off from one another, so that "travelers went by roundabout ways" (Judges 5: 6) until Deborah "arose, a mother in Israel" (Ju.5:7). Judges 4, Judges 5.

There are many fish ponds and reservoirs: the natural drainage is poor, and unless such measures are taken, rain turns much of the plain to bog and swamp. The Canaanite general, Sisera, committing his 900 iron chariots to the field (Judges 4:3), must not have expected rain. Perhaps the battle occurred outside the rainy season. That would explain why Barak, the Israelite general, insisted that Deborah be present (Judges 4:8): he wanted the prophetess to signal the coming of the miraculous rain. It came, we are told, "from Seir... from the field of Edom" (Judges 5:4), today the area of southern Jordan and the western coast of Saudi Arabia. 

Just to our right (west), as part of the ridge on which we stand, we can see a gray promontory. In local tradition, this is the place from which the people of the Nazareth synagogue meant to throw Jesus (text ).


If you want to view this material on a live tour guided by Dr. Steve Langfur, please start here .