Mount Gilboa (also called Mountains of Gelboe or “Har HaGilboa” in Hebrew) is the name of a mountain range located at the northern end of the Jordan Rift Valley, south of Bet Shean. Eastwards Mt Gilboa faces the Jordan Rift Valley and the Mountains of Moab in Jordan.) To the west, it faces Samaria, while to the north it faces the Jezreel Valley and Mount Tavor (Tabor).
“Gilboa” is a Hebrew word that means “boiling springs”, “bubbling fountains,” “agitated pools,” or “water bursting from the rock.”
Mount Gilboa in the Bible
Mount Gilboa is famous in the Bible as the traditional scene of King Saul’s final battle; where he and his son Jonathan fell, fulfilling Samuel’s prophecy that Saul’s reign would not continue and ushering in David’s kingship. David famously lamented to them “how the mighty are fallen.”
Mount Gilboa’s history
We can never be sure whether or not the battle in the biblical account really happened, but there were some battles that actually existed on and around Mount Gilboa.
There was a minor clash between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem army and the Sultan Saladin’s army in 1183.
In 1260 the Battle of Ain Jalut took place on the foot of Mount Gilboa, resulting in victory for the Muslim Malmuks over the Mongols, effectively ending the westward spread of the Asian empire and ensured the continuity of Muslim Egypt.
The natural beauty of Mount Gilboa
Mount Gilboa is, no doubt, one of the most breathtakingly stunning spots in the country. Especially during the late winter and early spring, where nature saturates the mountains and the fields surrounding it with beautiful wildflowers. The flora and fauna in Mount Gilboa are vast and diverse — with around 170 plant species, and several species of birds, rodents, reptiles and isopods.
But no matter the season, Mount Gilboa will always be a sight to behold. With the cool breeze and tranquil atmosphere, Mount Gilboa provides visitors a refreshing break from the intense summer heat, which also makes it an ideal hiking and picnic spot.
The views from Mt Gilboa in all directions are stunning – the Jezreel Valley & Harod Valley, Samaria and towards the Mountains of Moab. Mt Gilboa is also a site of outstanding natural beauty and the exceptional winter of 2012 has helped to bring out its full glory.