Megiddo, Another Key Site Not Taken During the Conquest

May 24, 2011

A text we have referenced in the past few posts is Joshua 17:11-12, in a context giving the borders of some of the tribes, especially Manasseh:

In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth-shean and its towns and Ibleam and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of En-dor and its towns, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns, the third is Napheth.

But the sons of Manasseh could not take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites persisted in living in that land (NASB).

We are not at all wanting to downplay the significance of the Conquest led by Joshua, as God fulfilled His promise to give Israel possession of the land of Canaan. Our purpose in recent posts has been to highlight the significance of those sites NOT captured or retained, so that the discerning reader does not merely read over such text without realizing their import.

Note that among the cities not taken was Megiddo.

Megiddo, Strategic Site Not Taken During Conquest. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Recent posts on Megiddo have appeared on our blog here and here and here as well as here.

In an article entitled The Case of Megiddo: Understanding the Importance of Geography in Biblical Study, Colonel David Hanson wrote:

Since earliest times, people with mutual commercial or agricultural interests have searched for naturally occurring defensive locations where they could safely pursue their enterprises. Towns were constructed to protect the inhabitants from unfriendly neighbors and marauding armies. Considerations which prompted the early settlers to select town sites have not changed over the centuries and many of the most favorable locations grew to great size. Megiddo is one such place and it attests that “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” [Eccl 1:9 (NIV)…

What made Megiddo so important that it has been the focus of military activities for millennia? Yohanan Aharoni provides a framework for investigating this question. In his comprehensive historical geography of the Holy Land, he lists four reasons early settlers chose a particular piece of terrain.

They are:
•       Thoroughfares: Important towns flourished along the main lines of travel and their principal intersections.
•       Strategic locations: Hills or other geographic features which would provide protection to the settlers and could be fortified.
•       Water sources: Accessibility of, or to, a water supply.
•       Agricultural lands: Economies from earliest times have been based upon agriculture; thus, the nearness of fertile fields has been important (Bible and Spade, Vol. 4. No. 3, P. 89).

In his article Hanson goes on to show how Megiddo meets each of the above requirements.

Megiddo later came to be under the control of Israel. Solomon made it one of his fortified cities (1 Kings 9:15-19).

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, “Megiddo was one of the most strategic cities in Palestine. All major traffic through northern Palestine traveled past Megiddo, making it a strategic military strong-hold.”

Click on image for larger view.

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