Jezrael; Jezrahel; Jezreel

(Hebrew: God soweth)

A city of the tribe of Issachar. In the division of the Promised Land, Jezrael was given to the tribe of Issachar (Jos., 19). Gedeon, arriving from the south, defeated the Madianites and the Amalecites, who had encamped near Jezrael (Judges 6). Saul, conquered by the Philistines, died there (1 Kings 31). Achab established a royal residence there and coveted the vineyard of Naboth (3 Kings 21). Massacres, by which Jehu signaled the accession of his house to the throne, commenced there. Returning to Jezrael, in order to surprise the king, Jehu killed with his own hand Joram, who had come out to meet him (4 Kings 9). Jezabel was put to death at the very moment when Jehu was making his entrance into the city. Here Jehu sent from Samaria the bloody trophy of 70 heads of the sons of Achab (4 Kings 10). With the fall of the house of Achab, the glory of Jezrael disappeared; only once more is the name mentioned, when the prophet Osee names the judgment of God, chastising and saving Israel, as the "great day of Jezrael" (Osee 1).

New Catholic Dictionary

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