In the Bible, King Saul, Israel’s first monarch, led a charge against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. The battle ends with the king falling on his own sword and Jonathan being killed in battle. David, who returns to the site after the battle, curses the mountain: “Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew nor rain upon you, neither fields of choice fruits; for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil” (II Samuel 1:21)
The formation extends from southeast to northwest, bordering the highlands of the West Bank and the Beit She'an valley. The Green Line between Israel and the West Bank runs south and west of the ridge.
Flora and fauna
Every year, Irus Ha-Gilboa, a purple iris, blooms on the mountain. Two nature reserves have been declared on the Gilboa ridge; The Irus Ha-Gilboa nature reserve in 1970, covering 7,280 dunams (728 ha) and the eastern Gilboa reserve in 2005, covering 18,290 dunams (1,829 ha).