THIS plain is situated in the central part of Palestine, and extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan valley. In form, it is triangular. The eastern side, extending from Engannin to Mount Tabor, is about fifteen miles long; the northern side, bounded by the hills of Galilee, about twelve miles; and the southwestern side, bordered by the Samarian and the Carmel ranges, about eighteen miles. The western part may more properly be called the plain of Akka, or Acre, a spur of the northern mountains running down and separating this from the great plain.

At the eastern side are three branches extending to the Jordan valley. The northern branch lies between Mount Tabor and Little Hermon; the central one, between Little Hermon and Mount Gilboa; and the southern, between Gilboa and the mountains of Ephraim.

The whole plain is remarkable for its fertility, as the luxurious gardens, where cultivated, and the rank weeds and grasses, where uncultivated, clearly indicate. It is not perfectly level, but consists of low, rolling hills, dotted with groves of evergreen oaks, leaving undulating fields of green grass. Wild flowers of great beauty and variety fill the air with their fragrance, while the hills and vales are vocal with the songs of birds.

There are at present but few villages, these consisting, at the most, of nothing more than from ten to twenty squalid huts. Indeed, the liability to at any moment be attacked by the plundering Bedouins, makes it a place of great insecurity. "And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the East, . . . they came as grasshoppers for multitude, and they entered into the land to destroy it."

The few small streams in the eastern part run off into the Jordan, while the rest of the plain is drained by the river Kishon and its tributaries. The Kishon flows in a north-westerly direction, and runs into the Mediterranean through a narrow pass at the base of Carmel. It was once quite a large stream, though at present it is nearly dry, except for a few miles at its mouth. 

In the rainy season, however, it becomes a torrent, very difficult and dangerous of passage. Esdraelon is a place of high historical interest. 

At the northern part is Nazareth, where the boyhood of our Saviour was passed. Directly east of Nazareth rises Mount Tabor, a symmetrical, cone-shaped mass of gray limestone, dotted with clumps of bushes and groves of oak. 

It is said that the view from this mountain is one of the finest in the Holy Land. By some, this is thought to be the Mount of Transfiguration.

South of Tabor is ed-Duhy, or Little Hermon. On the northern side of this mountain are Nain, the place where Christ raised the widow's son to life, and Endor, where Saul beheld the apparition of Samuel, and learned from it his own fate and that of the kingdom.

On the southern slope is Shunem, where the good prophet Elijah restored to life the son of the Shunammite woman. South of Shunem, and opposite to it, is the ancient city Jezreel. This ever to be remembered on account of the destruction of Queen Jezebel. The view obtained from Jezreel is very extensive, overlooking the greater part of the plain of Esdraelon and many of its cities. Jezreel is situated on a spur of the Gilboa range, which forms the southern boundary of the central arm of the plain. This central branch is the valley of Jezreel proper. Gilboa is a bleak, desolate mountain, corresponding perfectly with the imprecation of David after hearing of the death of Saul, when he said, "Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings."

East of Gilboa a few miles is Bethshean, at present comprising not more than sixty or seventy houses, though extensive ruins of the old city yet remain. Here it was that the Philistines, on returning from the battle with Saul on Mount Gilboa, hung the bodies of the king and his sons upon the wall of the city.

In the south-western part of the Great Plain is the supposed site of ancient Megiddo. Near here was fought the battle between Barak and Sisera. And "Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him; and the Lord discomfited Sisera with the edge of the sword before Barak." And Sisera turned and fled, and "the river Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. "Here, too, the good king Josiah lost his life in a battle with Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt.

Esdraelon has been the great battle-ground of the surrounding nations in all ages. The plain around Megiddo, often called the "Plain of Megiddo," is thought to be the one in the mind of the apostle John, when, in Revelation 16, he describes the conflict between right and wrong as taking place at Armageddon; and certainly what fitter place could be chosen for the last earthly conflict than the one where Jews, Gentiles, Persians, Turks, Arabs, Christians, warriors of every nation, have in all ages fought their greatest battles and gained their grandest victories!