Just for the sake of a bit of topic variety this morning, I’ll get a comment going on this ancient post...
There is one “Valley” in Israel that is of equal notoriety besides the valley of Jezreel, and it’s the Jordan Valley at the top of the Dead Sea. This Jordan Valley, or the disc-shaped “Kikar of Jordan” is the lush valley that Lot looked upon with Abraham in Genesis 13:10. It was “well watered everywhere” and was the plain where Sodom and Gomorrah and a cluster of other cities sat, just to take advantage of the trade route’s traffic flow that came up from along the east side of the Dead Sea (the “passengers on the east of the sea”), and then crossed through the Jordan Valley on their way north. And we know that God destroyed all these cities of the Jordan plain by raining fire from heaven upon them.
This Jordan Valley was also where 24,000 of the disobedient Israelites of the Exodus were buried after their sin in the matter of Baal-peor. Balaam had caused them to sin and God punished the nation for that offense, with the dead from that judgment being buried in the Jordan Valley. God later had to remind Israel of that former offense in Jeremiah 2:23 LXX. “How wilt thou say I am not polluted and have not gone after Baal? Behold thy ways in THE BURIAL GROUND” (or the VALLEY - of Jordan, that is), “and know what thou hast done.”
Moses was also buried on Mount Nebo which overlooks this Valley below. So this Jordan Valley seems to be a sort of epicenter of judgment for offenses against God. A graveyard memorial, warning others against committing such offenses.
It was also where the multitude of Gog was buried after the AD 70 civil war conflict that the “chief prince” engaged in. This was Israelites battling their fellow Israelites, because Ezekiel 38:21 said that “every man’s sword shall be against HIS BROTHER’S” in this battle. All of Gog’s army would be “handling swords” (Ezekiel 38:4), which was the typical weapon of choice for the Zealots and the sicarii factions who battled each other for supremacy in the AD 66-70 years.
GOG is defined for us in Balaam’s prophecy that God gave him, found in Numbers 25:7-9 in the LXX. “...and the kingdom of GOG shall be exalted, and his kingdom shall be increased. God brought him out of Egypt...they that bless thee are blessed and they that curse thee are cursed.”
So for GOG to come against Israel was for a chief prince of ISRAEL to assemble a multi-nation army to go to battle against other Israelites. Which was certainly true of the various Zealot leaders who competed with each other to prey upon their own people, as well as upon other nations in Israel such as Samaria and Idumea.
Jesus Himself predicted when this civil unrest would begin to simmer in Israel. “For FROM HENCEFORTH there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father...” (Luke 12:52-53). Zealotry had already begun working during Christ’s days (as Paul said “the mystery of lawlessness doth already work”), and would become an increasingly dangerous element in Israel until it finally broke out in open revolt against Rome in AD 66. Those of their fellow Israelites who would not join in the rebellion against Rome likewise became a target for Zealot anger and attack.
“Galilee of the Gentiles” in the north quarter of Israel was the hotbed that bred many of the Zealot leaders (Acts 5:37 for example). That’s why the “chief prince” would come out of “his place in the north parts” (Galilee in Israel) and cover the land of Israel like a cloud (Ez. 38:15-16).
Gog’s army eventually came to the mountains of Israel (which surround Jerusalem), where only a sixth of his vast army eventually survived after God caused their death.
In real time, Simon bar Giora became the Zealot leader with the largest army of all his Zealot competitors. At its peak, Simon’s army numbered some 40,000 by the time he brought his army to sit outside Jerusalem in AD 69. Once inside, Simon became a tyrant that overrode the other Zealot factions and oppressed the city’s imprisoned inhabitants.
When Titus finally brought the Roman siege to a close in AD 70, Simon bar Giora’s army had been decimated. He was captured on the temple grounds dressed in royal garments, and brought to Rome as the main leader of the rebellion to be executed after the Roman triumph.
To “cleanse the land” of its dead which had been picked over by the birds, during seven literal months all corpses and skeletal remains that Israel’s searching “undertakers” located were brought to the Jordan Valley for burial.
Such meticulous care to remove all skeletal remains from the land was a sign that the Israelites back then were still trying to follow the Mosaic laws of ritual cleanliness that forbad contact with a dead body which rendered the person unclean.
It displayed a real sense of God’s ironic justice for the dead of Israel and particularly first-century Jerusalem (which spiritually is called “SODOM and Egypt” - Rev. 11:8) to be buried in the very same location where the ancient city of Sodom had once been located. God sent fire on Sodom to destroy it, and He also sent fire on Jerusalem by turning it into a “furnace of fire” to destroy it in AD 70.
So this Jordan Valley first served as the smoking furnace for Sodom’s dead citizens , then the burial ground for those 24,000 licentious Baal-worshipping Israelites back in Numbers 25:9, then the final burial ground of Gog’s / Israel’s dead from AD 70 - the spiritual “Sodom” that was first-century Jerusalem. Very apropos.