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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Depression between mountains, a broad plain or plateau, a narrow ravine, or a low terrain. “Valleys” of varying shapes and sizes mark Palestine's landscape.

Five Hebrew terms are designated “valley” in the Old Testament. Bikeah is a broad plain ( Genesis 11:2 ; Isaiah 41:8 ). Gaye is a deep ravine, gorge, or valley (Isaiah 40:4 ; Zechariah 14:4 ). Nahal is a wadi, that is the bed of a stream which is often dry ( Numbers 34:5 ; Psalm 124:4 ; Ezekiel 48:28 ). Emech is a long, broad sweep between parallel ranges of hills ( Numbers 14:25 ; Joshua 8:13 ; Jeremiah 21:13 ). Shephelah is the low land, plain, or slope sweeping gently down from mountains ( Deuteronomy 10:1 ; Joshua 9:1 ; Jeremiah 17:26 ). One Greek term, pharanx , is used in the New Testament for each of these.

Valley is often used symbolically to refer to the difficulties of life. The classic example of this is Psalm 23:4 . All people go through these trials, but God is present with His people, protecting them during these times. See Palestine .

Bradley S. Butler

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Valley'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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