JOKNEAM (Heb. יָקְנְעָם), royal Canaanite city near Mount Carmel. Jokneam appears in the list of Canaanite kings defeated by Joshua (Josh. 12:22) and is already mentioned in the list of conquests of Thutmosis iii in about 1469 b.c.e. (no. 113:ʿn qnʿm, "the spring of [Jo]kneam"). It was a levitical city of the Merari family (Josh. 21:34) in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun, whose boundaries reached as far as the "brook that is before Jokneam" (Josh. 19:11). Some scholars maintain that Solomon's fifth district extended "as far as beyond" Jokneam, but the city Jokneam is in fact mentioned in this connection (i Kings 4:12; cf. i Chron. 6:53). It was apparently destroyed by the Assyrian Tiglath-Pileser iii in 733/2 b.c.e. and does not appear in later sources. Eusebius called it Kammona, a village six Roman miles north of Legio (Lajjun – the mishnaic Kefar Otnay). It was called Caimont in Crusader times, when it was a fief of the royal domain with its own court of burgesses. Jokneam is identified with Tell Qamūn (today Tel Jokneam near the village of the same name), a prominent mound of 23½ dunams which contains pottery from the Canaanite and Israelite periods.
Modern Jokneam is a semi-urban community and moshav on the southwestern rim of the Jezreel Valley. Jokneam was founded as a village in 1935 by settlers from various countries, Holland, Yemen, and Eastern Europe. After World War ii, demobilized soldiers joined the first settlers. Jokneam then adopted the form of a kefar shittufi, similar to a moshav, and later became affiliated with Ha-Mo'aẓah ha-Ḥakla'it. The inhabitants mainly engaged in farming intensive field, fruit (including melon), and garden crops, as well as raising livestock. In 1968 the moshav had 440 inhabitants and at the end of 2002 it numbered 1,020 residents. In the first years of statehood, new immigrants received temporary, and later permanent housing at Jokneam. The local labor force, which in the initial years had to rely mainly on public works, was eventually absorbed in metal and other industries. In 1967 the semi-urban settlement was separated from the moshav and in 1968 given municipal council status, at which time it had 3,640 inhabitants. By the end of 2002 the population had grown to 16,700. The municipality's jurisdiction includes 3 sq. mi. (8 sq. km.).
[Efraim Orni /
Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]
Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 365–6; Albright, in: jbl, 58 (1939), 184; em, s.v.