The Battles Of Megiddo
The English rendering of "Megiddo" is derived from the Hebrew word pronounced meg-id-do which means rendezvous, or place of troops. "Megiddo" is found numerous times in Bible History, while "Armageddon," from har-meg-id-do, which means mount of Megiddo, is found only once, in the book of Revelation: "16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" (Revelation 16:16 KJV). The adjacent valley of Megiddo is one section of the plain of Esdraelon.
"Megiddo" is first specifically mentioned in the Scriptures as one of the numerous Canaanite cities taken during the time of Joshua (see also Joshua's Timnath and Joshua's Warning). Note from the list how many of those Canaanite cities became well-known Israelite cities, including Bethel, Jerusalem and Hebron, just as the LORD declared (see also Milk and Honey and The Two-Way Promise Of The Promised Land): "6:10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 6:11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full" (Deuteronomy 6:10-11 KJV).
"12:7 And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west [see also Beyond Jordan], from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions; 12:8 In the mountains, and in the valleys, and in the plains, and in the springs, and in the wilderness, and in the south country; the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites:
"The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo"
"5:19 The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. 5:20 They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. 5:21 The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. 5:22 Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the prancings, the prancings of their mighty ones. 5:23 Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty." (Judges 5:19-23 KJV)
By the time of King Solomon (thanks mostly to the military victories of his father King David), Meggido was economically, but not entirely politically, included in the Israelite kingdom (see The United Kingdom), within the tribal territory of Manasseh (see The Israelite Patriarchs - Manasseh; also Why Did Jacob Adopt Ephraim And Manasseh?), west of the Jordan (Manasseh was unique in that it was the only Israelite tribe with assigned homelands on both sides of the Jordan River).
"4:7 And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision. 4:8 And these are their names:
"9:23 And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.
The plain of Megiddo has long been a place where troops gather, as a staging area, or to pass through, as was the case when Necho, the king of Egypt, sent his army through the area on the way to battle in Mesopotamia (most of which is today known as Iraq). It was during the crossing that Josiah, the king of Judah (one of the few righteous Israelite kings - see Josiah's Reforms), involved himself in the battle which was not his - the Egyptian king even warned him "What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not." Josiah didn't listen, and was killed "in the valley of Megiddo."
"35:20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 35:21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
The LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') also spoke of Megiddo (in this rendering of the same Hebrew word that is elsewhere translated as "Megiddo," "Megiddon" is an expanded form of "Megiddo" and/or an abbreviation of "Armageddon") in a Prophecy about His return, before He even came the first time: "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced." That will be fulfilled after the yet-future "battle of Armageddon" (see the Fact Finder question below).
"12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 12:11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12:12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 12:13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 12:14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart." (Zechariah 12:10-14 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who will go to battle in the coming Battle Of Armageddon? Will it merely be nations of the world against other nations of the world? Or will it be nations of the world against Jesus Christ on the day of His return? Who is going to win?