Journey Through The Scriptures

Ladders, Miracles and Enemies

Lesson 5: Gideon in the Valley of Jezreel

(Scripture to Read: Judges 6:33–7:25)

The Valley of Jezreel is an important valley in the north of Israel that includes the ancient thoroughfare known as the Via Maris, which connected Mesopotamia to Egypt in ancient times. Known as “the valley of God’s saving,” or Ha-Emek in Hebrew, this strategic area is about fifteen miles wide and thirty miles long. A well-watered terrain.

Because the Jezreel Valley is part of the only natural east-west pass across the land of Israel, it has been the site of numerous battles and land disputes.

One of the most famous of those battles is described in the book of Judges. God called Gideon to deliver Israel from the “Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern peoples” who were oppressing Israel. Gideon ringed the valley with just 300 men holding lamps in pitchers – and God gave a great victory.

The southwest entrance to the Jezreel Valley is at Megiddo, also known as Armageddon, where many Christians believe a climactic end-times battle will occur. Interestingly, the city of Nazareth overlooks the Jezreel Valley from the north.

Study Questions

  1. Back in Joshua 17:16, we learn that the Israelites were hesitant to try and conquer the people of the Jezreel Valley. Why were they reluctant?
  2. Why would the Israelites call the Jezreel Valley "the valley of God's saving"?
  3. According to Judges 6, Gideon was actually a rather timid and unassuming man who needed to be convinced that God was calling him to lead Israel. Why was Gideon reluctant to take leadership? (Hint: see Judges 6:15.)
  4. Besides giving Gideon the sign of the fleece, how else did God reassure His reluctant warrior (Judges 7:13–15)?

Something to Think About

Because of the desirable location and size of the Jezreel Valley, it became an easily attacked and battle-scarred place. We all have areas in our lives that are easily attacked and battle-scarred as well. But we must remain firm when the enemy attacks us, because God is the one who is able to help us make a stand!