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Kishon, from the Hebrew word pronounced kee-shone, meaning winding, is the name given to a stream in northern Israel that originates around Mount Tabor and Mount Gilboa and flows westward through the plains of Esdraelon and the Jezreel Valley (see Armageddon) to The Mediterranean Sea where it enters the sea near Mount Carmel. While relatively modest in size during much of the year, during the seasonal winter rains the stream can become a swollen river, just as it did in ancient times e.g. "the torrent Kishon swept them away, the onrushing torrent, the torrent Kishon" (Judges 5:21 RSV).

The Kishon In Bible History

Map Of Galilee

The Kishon is mentioned in the Old Testament involving victories of Israel under Deborah against the Canaanites, and of Elijah over the prophets of Baal. It isn't mentioned specifically by name in the New Testament, however Jesus Christ would have been very well familiar with it, while He lived in Nazareth which is just north of the Kishon, and during His journeys south to Jerusalem.

Deborah's defeat of Sisera:

"Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim [see Tribal Lands]; and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment."

"She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, "The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, 'Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin's army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.'" (Judges 4:4-7 RSV)

"Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Haroshethhagoiim to the river Kishon. And Deborah said to Barak, "Up! For this is the day in which The Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not The Lord go out before you?"

"So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. And The Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak at the edge of the sword; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot." (Judges 4:13-15 RSV)

Elijah and the prophets of Baal, which must have occurred during the drier season, since the Kishon is referred to as a "brook," unlike other references for other times of year when it is referred to as a "river" or "torrent":

"And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that Thou, O Lord, art God, and that Thou hast turned their hearts back."

"Then the fire of The Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The Lord, He is God; The Lord, he is God."

"And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape." And they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there." (1 Kings 18:36-40 RSV)

Fact Finder: What underlying geologically-active feature caused, and causes, the Jordan River to exist?
See Earthquake!

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