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Mount Gilboa

Mount Gilboa is the site where King Saul and his sons, Jonathan, Abinadav and Malkishua died after a battle with the Philisitines

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Mount Gilboa is part of the lower Galilee’s eastern gateway between the Jezreel Valley, Israel’s breadbasket, and the Jordan Valley. One of the Galilee’s most scenic regions, this 500-meter-high ridge is the site where King Saul and his sons, Jonathan, Abinadav and Malkishua died after a battle with the Philisitines (1 Sam. 31:2-7). This moving story is commemorated by the names of some of the communities and peaks along this 18-kilometer-long mountainous stretch.


The view from Gilboa takes in many visitor sites, including Mount Moreh (Judges 7:1), where Gideon’s army assembled; Tel Jezreel, home of Ahab and Jezebel; and the national parks of Ein Harod, where Gideon chose his soldiers (Judges 7:4); Beit Alpha, with its ancient synagogue mosaic and Bet Shean, one of the country’s most significant biblical tels, whose Roman-Byzantine ruins are a highlight. Also in the area is Sachne National Park, with a warm spring where you can go swimming. You’ll find the Mount Gilboa scenic route – along road 667 south of Beit Shean, from Malkishua to Kibbutz Yizrael – studded with magnificent views in all directions, forests, picnic areas and hiking trails. Some Gilboa communities offer bed-and-breakfast accommodations so you can take full advantage of hiking, cycling and other activities in the region. The mountain’s normally mild winter days offer the clearest panoramas, but the greatest attraction in March and April is the blooming of the magnificent Gilboa, a gorgeous purplish blossom so significant that it became the logo of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel.

From the Scriptures

1 Samuel Chapter 31
1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard upon Saul, and the archers found him; and he was badly wounded by the archers. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and make sport of me.” But his armor-bearer would not; for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword, and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword, and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. 7 And when the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.

The Revised Standard Version, (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.) 1973, 1977.



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