Skip to main content



KISHON (Heb. קִישׁוֹן), river which drains the Jezreel Valley. The upper reaches are dry in summer and torrential in winter. Numerous small streams branching out from the hill of Moreh, the Jenin Valley, and elsewhere in the Jezreel Valley converge on the river. In the middle of its course, the Kishon has for the most part been drained. From Sha'ar ha-Amakim, between the Jezreel Valley and the plain of Acre–Haifa, it becomes a perennial river, flowing the last 6 mi. (10 km.) of its total length of 25 mi. (40 km.) along the Carmel and issuing into the Mediterranean approximately 2 mi. (3 km.) northeast of Haifa. Just before it runs into the sea, it reaches a width of 65 ft. (20 m.) Due to its swampy character, the Kishon was a serious obstacle to transport in early times. The irregular flow of the river gave rise to the Arabic name "The Cut River" (Nahr al-Muqattʿa).

The Kishon appears in connection with the defeat of Sisera by Barak and Deborah in the battle of Mt. Tabor (Judg. 4, 5), in which the Canaanite chariots mired in the swamps of the Kishon basin fell prey to the Israelite attack. As a result, the river is praised in the Song of Deborah (Judg. 5:21). The victory is also commemorated in Psalms 83:10. The prophets of Baal, defeated by Elijah on Mt. Carmel, were slaughtered on the banks of the river (i Kings 18:40). Some scholars ascribe various paraphrases in the Bible to the Kishon: "the brook that is before Jokneam" (Josh. 19:11) and "the waters of Megiddo" (Judg. 5:19). The assumption by some scholars that the biblical Kishon is Wadi al-Bīra, which flows eastward from Mt. Tabor, on the basis of the nearby city of Kishion in the territory of Issachar, is usually rejected. The Kishon is called Pacida by Pliny (Historia Naturalis 5:19) and Cyson or Flum de Cayphas ("River of Haifa") by the Crusaders. Arab authors also refer to it as Nahr Hayfā. In the last decade, the issue of the river was deepened and a channel 984 ft. (300 m.) long, 164 ft. (50 m.) wide and 13 ft. (4 m.) deep was excavated to form an auxiliary harbor to Haifa, serving as a fishing harbor and depot.


Abel, Geog, 1 (1933), 467ff.; I. Garstang, Joshua-Judges (1931), 299ff.; Zimbalist (Zori), in: bies, 13 (1947), 28ff.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Kishon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 20 Sep. 2018 <>.

"Kishon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (September 20, 2018).

"Kishon." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved September 20, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.