Michmash

Cutting through the land of Israel some 10kms north east of Jerusalem is a natural fault line running east-west where a deep gorge called the Wady es Suweinit (Nahal Michmash) descends from Geba to the Jordan valley.

This canyon-like gorge is styled in the Scriptures, ‘the passage of Michmash’ (1 Sam 13:23; 14:5). Both sides of the defile are described as ‘sharp rocks,’ that is, steep and tooth-like and it was here that Jonathan and his armourbearer scaled the cliffs to defeat the Philistine garrison in faith. It was here that the Assyrian paused and shook his fist at Jerusalem (Isa 10:28-32).

During WWI General Allenby faced the Turks here. Major Gilbert tells the story of an unnamed brigade major who was reading his Bible at the time and remembered a town by the name of Michmash. He found the verses and discovered that there was a secret passage around the town. The British forces used this path to out-manoeuvre the Ottomans and took the town.

But our main interest lies in the fact that on the southern heights of this deep ravine lies Geba. In Zechariah 14:10 all the land from Geba to Rimmon in the south (approximately 80kms) will be turned into a plain. The natural fault line at Geba and Michmash, therefore, will become the northern boundary of this future plain. What an amazing sight that will be when future pilgrims to Zion will once more have to cross the passages of Michmash in faith to ascend the plateau leading to mount Zion.