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Consider Armageddon: not Megiddo

11th July 2010, hej

 

5) Strategic value of Judea

Many have argued that the place of the battle is Megiddo. But there are some huge issues.

Meggido was an ancient city and as a place name predates Israel. It is unlikely to be Hebrew as very early clay documents name the city, indicating it may even predate Hebrew. Hebrew was spoken by Abraham who was from Ur of the Chaldees (The Law describes Israelites as descendants 'A Syrian ready to perish' who 'went down into Egypt..and became there a nation. Deut. 26:5). For a long time even after Israel was a nation in the land Megiddo was occupied by Canaanites Judges 1:27. Later it seems to have been a city of Solomon who built a wall there 1kings 9:15).

It is not specifically a Hebrew name being the same name in Egyptian Maketi, Makitu, or Makedo and Assyrian Magiddu, Magaddu; Magidda or in Armana Makida. It is even a Greek name. It appears in the Septuagint as.

Joshua 12:21 Μαρρων, Marron

Joshua 17:11 Μαγεδδω Mageddo

Judges 1:27 Μαγεδω Magedo

Judges 5:19 Μεγεδδω Megeddo

1 Kings 4:12 Μεκεδω Mekedo

2 Kings 9:17 Μαγεδδων Mageddon

2 Kings 23:29/ 30 x2 & 1 Chron 7 ;29 Μαγεδδω Mageddo

2 Chron. 35:22 Μαγεδων. Magedon

The variation in spelling is rather extreme, which indicates that though the name was imported into Greek, it was not a city that was important to Greece or even the Greek speaking world. Megiddo in its ancient greatness was a great city as it was on the trade route from Egypt to Assyria. It was still a great city in the time when Solomon controlled that same trade route, but, then, why was it not important to Greece? The last mention of the city is when Joash is involved fighting Egypt (2 Chron. 35). However it seems that it is a lost ruin by the time of the New Testament. Why? It might suggested that the maritime prowess of the Greeks and their Mediterranean centre had forever changed trade, and Megiddo sank into obscurity. Even non-Biblical history can find no records of any battles for Megiddo after 609BCE.

The only one listed since is Allenby's battle in 1918 against the Ottomans. The only thing is, Megiddo was a ruin and the battle was not fought at or near Tel Megiddo or even in the Jezreel valley! Arabs began the battle against the Ottomans at a vital link on the rail line near Deraa in Syria and Allenby began an attack on the coastal plains of Sharon to push North over long front. They then fought for control of the passes through the Carmel range. There is no mention of fighting at Megiddo, there is however mention of the fight for Haifa and Nazareth. There was no fight for Nablus, as the Ottomans evacuated. As a result of the quick advance some Australian troops rounded up the remnants of the Ottoman's disorganised retreat in the Jezreel valley, so there was not even a battle there. There was a battle at Samakh but the battle for Damascus was perhaps critical. What this shows is that in the modern world the key battles are for the modern cities.



Which brings us to modern Israel and their strategic building of clusters of defensible mini-cities or settlements. This strategy is used because, more than any nation, they know this is how to hold the most land with minimum people. So if we look at where they build the clusters we can know where the battle will be. Israel has one city that it cannot lose; Jerusalem. And it is this city which is their most controversial possession. Some nations and powers have it in their heart that it must be an international city. Though Jews had lived in Jerusalem for centuries, Israel lost access to it in 1948. After 1967 the nation vowed it would not be lost again.

Map from: Gush Etzion.org.il

In 1967 Kfar Etzion was the first settlement established in the West Bank after Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. Why?

David Ben Gurion, in his statements (1948) on the battle of Gush Etzion and of the heroic acts of the brave soldiers: "...If there is a Jewish Jerusalem today..., the Jewish people owe their gratitude first and foremost to the defenders of Gush Etzion..." Gush Etzion.org.il

The Jewish Virtual Library states,

The Etzion Bloc ("Gush Etzion" in Hebrew), which today consists of 18 communities and nearly 40,000 residents, is located between Jerusalem and Hebron. Because of its strategic location, the Bloc was heavily contested during Israel's War of Independence in 1947 and 1948. Although the area was not granted to Israel under the 1947 partition plan, the commanders of the Haganah considered it an essential buffer against a southern attack on Jerusalem.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/geo/Etzion.html



Gush Etzion or the Etzion block features a number of small communities made of temporary dwellings, or modern 'tents', because of its strategic value, and because it is an area which is hotly disputed. The area was settled from 1930 and though small in numbers,

Kfar Etzion were able to hold off a large Arab army headed for Jerusalem.(source above)

The area is valued by the Israel Defence Force both for its history of valour and because of high recruitment rates from the area. This is the home of Israel's warriors. One of the settlements is Tekoa.



Whereas Megiddo is in the middle of fields, and one feels, relatively in the middle of nowhere, and is now of little strategic importance, Gush Etzion in the mountains of Judea is seen by all, including the international community, as crucial to the defence (or acquisition) of Jerusalem. And Gush Etzion it seems might approached now by a road up from Engedi on the Dead Sea. This road is over looked from the wilderness outside Tekoa. That very area is, approximately, it seems, the Valley of Jehoshaphat called the valley of Berachah.





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