ki'-shon, kish'on (qishon; Keison): The "watercourse" or "torrent stream" along the banks of which the great battle was fought between Israel, led by Deborah and Barak, and the army of Sisera, in the waters of which so many perished (Jg 4:7, etc.). It is probably mentioned earlier as "the brook that is before Jokneam" (Jos 19:11; see JOKNEAM). It appears again as the scene of Elijah's slaughter of the prophets of Baal (1Ki 18:40). "The torrent" paragraph excellence in the district is the modern el-MuqaTTa`, a stream which drains all the plain of Esdraelon to the West of the watershed--a line drawn from Iksal to Nain, and thence to el-Fuleh and Zer`in. All the water East of this line, from the Nazareth hills, Tabor and Little Hermon, flows down Wady esh-Sherrar and Nahr Jalud into the Jordan. The Kishon collects the streams from the western slopes of Gilboa in the rainy season; and the water from the strong spring at Jenin. Contributions also come from the copious fountains in the neighborhood of Megiddo. At Sa`adiyeh, again, some 3 miles East of Chaifa, its volume is largely increased by springs rising at the base of Carmel, on the edge of the plain of Acre. From Jenin in the Southeast, the deep torrent bed follows a westerly direction, with numerous. windings cutting the plain in two, until it reaches the pass at the northeastern base of Carmel. Through the gorge between the mountain and the hills of Galilee it reaches the plain of Acre. From Sa`adiyeh it flows in a deep sluggish stream through the marsh-land to the sea near Chaifa. In this part the crocodile is said to have been seen at times.
In the summer season the water from the springs is largely absorbed by irrigation, and the upper reaches of the river are soon dry. The bed runs along the bottom of a trench some 20 ft. deep through the plain. It is easily crossed at the fords by those who know how to avoid the localities of the springs. In time of heavy rains the trench is swiftly filled, and the soft soil of the plain goes to mud. Remembering this, it is easy to understand the disaster that overwhelmed the heavily armed cavalry and chariots of Sisera. The chief ford for long was to the West of the gorge where the stream issues into the plain of Acre, on the highway from Chaifd to Nazareth. Here it is now spanned by a substantial bridge, while the railway crosses a little higher up. At the mouth of the river it is generally easily forded on the sand bank thrown up by the waves beating against the current of the stream. The main traffic here is now carried by a wooden bridge.
The phrase nachal qedhumim in Jg 5:21 is not easy of interpretation. English Versions of the Bible translates, "that ancient river"; G.A. Smith, "torrent of spates"; while others think it may refer to a stream other than the Kishon. Guthe suggests that both names may be derived from those of places adjoining the river. Kishon may possibly mean the "tortuous" stream, referring to the windings of its course.