ACRE, THE KEY OF PALESTINE. IO;
rain to this day), and soon the heavens were "black with clouds and wind, and there
great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel ... and Elijah girded up his loins, and
ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel" (i Kings xviii. 45, 46). The view (on page 96)
of the great treeless plain of Esdraelon (Merj ibn Amir), as seen from El Mahrakah, shows
the route they must have taken. They went towards the south-east, curving round the curiously
shaped hill called Tell Kaimiin, which I have heard compared to a curved cucumber (the site
of Jokneam), and then hastened onwards straight to Jezreel (Zerin), a distance of sixteen miles.
The modern village and its little castle can be plainly distinguished in the illustration, and it is
interesting to compare them with the nearer views shown on pages 264, 265, and 268, vol. i.
The view from El Mahrakah, looking towards the north-east (see page 93), shows the
Kishon under its best aspect, when its waters are abundant after the rainy season, when all
the winter torrents of the hills are full and overflowing. The banks are fringed with oleanders,
tall lupins, and St. John's wort, and many kinds of rushes, reeds, and grasses (see page 97).
The rounded hill just beyond the river, on page 93,. is Tell el Kassis, and farther away, at
the edge of the oak forest, there is a village (hidden by the tree in the foreground) called
Sheikh Abreik, famous for its subterraneous caverns called Jehennum (Gehenna), which arc
well worthy of a visit. Further down the river, at the lower end of the narrow pass which
leads from the plain of Esdraelon to the plain of 'Akka, there is a village called El Harothleh.
It is on a rounded hill, or rather a large mound, over which are scattered the remains of
ancient walls and buildings. It was evidently at one time an important fortress, and is said
to mark the site of " Harosheth of the Gentiles" (Judges iv. 16), the stronghold of Sisera,
towards which his chariots and his hosts were fleeing when " the Kishon swept them away "
(Judges v. 21).
Harothieh is rather more than half a mile from the Kishon, which near this point
approaches so close to the steep slopes of Carmel that in some places there is not room for
more than four or five horsemen to ride abreast with safety. It is conjectured that it was at
this gradually narrowing pass at the foot of Carmel, within sight of Harosheth, that the horses
and chariots of Sisera's defeated army became inextricably crowded together, and trampled
each other down (Judges v. 22).
The river on emerging from the narrow valley flows between steep banks of rich loamy
soil fifteen or sixteen feet high, and it is fordable only in two places. There is a ford not
far from Harothieh. I crossed it once, in October, when there was very little water flowing;
but the muddy bed of the river, which at that spot was about twenty feet wide, seemed to me
as if it would swallow us up, and I was very glad when my good horse had scrambled up the
steep slippery bank on the opposite side and landed me safely on its summit. A serpentine
line of verdure marks the course of the Kishon across the plain of 'Akka. There is generally
a firm sand-bar at the mouth of the Kishon which can be easily crossed, though the sea
washes over it. Sometimes, however, when strong east winds sweep the bar away, a ferry-boat
is used. Nahr el Mukutt'a, the modern name of the Kishon, signifies the " river of the ford,"