(Jezʹre·el) [God Will Sow Seed], Jezreelite (Jezʹre·el·ite).
2. Son of the prophet Hosea by his wife Gomer (Ho 1:3, 4); for the prophetic significance of “Jezreel,” see No. 4.
4. A city on the border of Issachar’s territory. (Jos 19:17, 18) Today Jezreel is identified with Zerʽin (Tel Yizreʽel), located about 11 km (7 mi) NNE of Jenin (En-gannim). Just to the SE lies a crescent-shaped ridge of limestone hills traditionally identified with Mount Gilboa.
During the latter half of the tenth century B.C.E., Jezreel served as the royal residence for Israel’s King Ahab and his successor Jehoram, although Samaria was the actual capital of the northern kingdom. (1Ki 18:45, 46; 21:1; 2Ki 8:29) In the vineyard of Naboth near the palace at Jezreel, the prophet Elijah uttered Jehovah’s judgment against the house of Ahab. (1Ki 21:17-29) The prophecy was fulfilled. Jehu slew Ahab’s son King Jehoram and then had his corpse thrown into the tract of Naboth’s field. Ahab’s wife Jezebel became food for the scavenger dogs of Jezreel when she was dropped from a window at Jehu’s command. The heads of Ahab’s 70 sons, executed by their caretakers in Samaria, were piled up in two heaps at the gate of Jezreel. None of Ahab’s distinguished men, acquaintances, and priests at Jezreel escaped.—2Ki 9:22-37; 10:5-11.
Hosea’s Prophecy. The words of Jehovah to Hosea (1:4) regarding “the acts of bloodshed of Jezreel” are not to be understood as referring to Jehu’s destroying Ahab’s ungodly house. Jehu was used as Jehovah’s instrument in executing divine judgment. However, it may well be that the wrong motivations that were behind Jehu’s continuing to let calf worship remain also caused him to make himself guilty of bloodshed.—2Ki 10:30, 31.
The prophetic name Jezreel, by which Jehovah instructed Hosea to call his son by Gomer, pointed to a future accounting against the house of Jehu. God would “sow seed” in that he would cause a scattering of it. The accounting against Jehu’s house came when Jehu’s great-great-grandson Zechariah, after ruling for six months, was murdered and the assassin Shallum seized the throne. (2Ki 15:8-10) Thus ended the dynasty of Jehu. About 50 years later, in 740 B.C.E., when the northern kingdom fell to Assyria and its inhabitants were exiled, the royal rule of the house of Israel ceased completely. At that time “the bow of Israel,” that is, its military strength, was definitely broken. The prophecy had indicated that this would take place in the Low Plain of Jezreel, perhaps because the Assyrians gained a decisive victory there.—Ho 1:4, 5.
However, through his prophet Hosea, Jehovah also pointed to a favorable meaning of Jezreel. By regathering the remnant of Israel and Judah and then bringing his people back to their land, Jehovah would sow seed, causing them to increase in numbers there.—Ho 1:11; 2:21-23; compare Zec 10:8-10.
5. The geographic area embraced by the Low Plain of Jezreel. This designation is often restricted to the low plain extending in a southeasterly direction from the city of Jezreel in Issachar to Beth-shean on the western edge of the Jordan Valley. But the designation “Valley of Jezreel” is also used today to include the low plain W of Jezreel, the Plain of Esdraelon (the Greek form of the Hebrew Jezreel). Therefore, in the broad sense the “Valley of Jezreel” includes the whole plain from the Carmel Range to the Jordan River.
Situated at the edge of a rocky descent, the city of Jezreel (Zerʽin) overlooks the entire eastern part of the Low Plain of Jezreel, extending southeastward for nearly 19 km (12 mi) and measuring about 3 km (2 mi) in width. In the time of Joshua this area was controlled by Canaanites having a strong, well-equipped chariotry. (Jos 17:16) It was also in the Low Plain of Jezreel that Gideon and his 300 men witnessed Jehovah’s saving hand as the enemy forces of the Midianites, Amalekites, and Easterners turned against one another in confusion. (Jg 6:33; 7:12-22) Later, the Israelite army under King Saul, when facing the enemy Philistines, encamped by the spring in Jezreel (perhaps ʽAin Jalud on the NW spur of Mount Gilboa or ʽAin el-Meiyiteh below the town of Zerʽin). Thereafter, from Jezreel report was received about the deaths of Saul and his son Jonathan. (1Sa 29:1, 11; 2Sa 4:4) Jezreel and its vicinity then came to be part of the territory ruled by Saul’s son Ish-bosheth. (2Sa 2:8, 9) And while Solomon reigned, the assignment of the deputy Baana included the fertile Plain of Jezreel.—1Ki 4:7, 12.