The headwaters of the Jabbok begin in Amman and the river flows to the north before heading west. Rising on the eastern side of the mountains of Gilead, it runs a course of about 65 miles in a wild and deep ravine before flowing into the Jordan River between Gennesaret and the Dead Sea.
The Biblical Jacob crossed the Jabbok on his way back to Israel, after leaving Harran. It leads west into the Sukkot Valley, from where one crosses over the Jordan and can easily reach Shechem, as Jacob eventually did. The biblical cities of Zaretan and Adam are also at the mouth of the valley.
First mentioned in connection with the meeting of Jacob and Esau and with the struggle of Jacob with the angel (Genesis 32:23 et seq.). It was the boundary separating the territory of Reuben and Gad from that of Ammon, the latter being described as lying along the Jabbok (Numbers 21:24; Deuteronomy 2:37, 3:16; Joshua 12:2). The territory of Sihon is described as extending "from Arnon unto Jabbok" (Numbers 21:24), and it was reclaimed later by the King of Ammon (Judges 11:13, 22). Eusebius places the river between Gerasa and Philadelphia.