What is the…
Kishon River

Hebrew: נחל הקישון‎

Meaning: winding

also known as: Nachal HaKishon, Nahr el-Mokatta, Mukutta

This is a winter torrent river of Central Israel, which rises about the roots of Mount Tabor and Mount Gilboa, passing in a northerly direction through the plains of Esdraelon and Acre.

The Kishon drains into the Mediterranean Sea at the northeastern corner of the bay of Acre, at the foot of Mount Carmel.

Kishon River—satellite view

It is the drain by which the waters of the plain of Esdraelon and of the mountains that surround it find their way to the sea. It bears the modern name of Nahr el-Mokattah, i.e., “the river of slaughter” (compare 1 Kings 18:40).

In the triumphal song of Deborah (Judges 5:21) it is spoken of as “that ancient river,” either (1) because it had flowed on for ages, or (2), according to the Targum, because it was “the torrent in which were shown signs and wonders to Israel of old;” or (3) probably the reference is to the exploits in that region among the ancient Canaanites, for the adjoining plain of Esdraelon was the great battlefield of Canaan.

The Kishon was the scene of the defeat of Sisera (Judges 4:7, 13), and of the destruction of the false prophets of Baal by Elijah (1 Kings 18:40).

“When the Kishon was at its height, it would be, partly on account of its quicksands, as impassable as the ocean itself to a retreating army.”

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Article Version: June 27, 2019