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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(also Vale), a hollow sweep of ground between two more or less parallel ridges of high land. Vale is the poetical or provincial form. It is in the nature of the case that the center of a valley should usually be occupied by the stream which forms the drain of the high land on either side, and from this it commonly receives its name. Valley is distinguished from other terms more or less closely related on the one hand, from "glen," "ravine," "gorge," or "dell," which all express a depression at once more abrupt and smaller than a valley; on the other hand, from "plain," which, though it may be used of a wide valley, is not ordinarily or necessarily so. It is to be regretted that with this quasi-precision of meaning the term should not have been employed with more restriction in the A.V. (See TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS).
The structure of the greater part of the Holy Land does .not lend itself to the formation of valleys in our sense of the word. The abrupt transitions of its crowded rocky hills preclude the existence of any extended sweep of valley; and where one such does occur, as at Hebron or on the south-east of Gerizim, the irregular and unsymmetrical positions of the enclosing hills rob it of the character of a valley. The nearest approach is found in; the space between the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, which contains the town of Nablû s, the ancient Shechem. This, however, by a singular chance, is not mentioned in the Bible. Another is the "valley of Jezreel," the undulating hollow which intervenes between (Gilboa Jebel Fukua); and the so-called Little Hermon (Jebel Duhv). (See PALESTINE). Valley is employed in the A.V. to render the following Heb. and Gr. words. (See DALE); (See PLAIN).
1. Bik'ah (בַּקַעָה, from בָּקִע, to cleave; Sept. πεδίον ) appears to mean rather a plain than a valley, wider than the latter, though so far resembling it as to be-enclosed by mountains, like the wide district between Lebanon and Anti-lebanon, which is still called the Beka'a. It denotes a wide alluvial bottom, and its levelness is plainly referred to in Isaiah 40:4. It is usually rendered "valley" (Deuteronomy 8:7; Deuteronomy 11:1; Deuteronomy 34:3; Joshua 11:8; Joshua 11:17; Joshua 12:7; 2 Chronicles 35:22; Psalms 104:8; Isaiah 41:18; Isaiah 63:14; Ezekiel 37:1-2.; Zechariah 12:11); elsewhere "plain" (Genesis 11:2; Nehemiah 6:2; Isaiah 40:4; Ezekiel 3:22-23; Ezekiel 8:4; Amos 1:5). This Heb. term is applied to the following places:
(1.) The Valley of Shinar (בַּקְעִת שַׁנְעָר ), the rich plain of Babylonia (Genesis 11:2). (See SHINAR).
(2.) The Valley of Jericho (בַּקְּעִת יְרֵחוֹ, the lower end of the Ghor, or plain, through which the Jordan flows unto the Dead Sea (Deuteronomy 34:3). (See JERICHO).
(3.) The Valley of Lebanon (בַּקְעִת הִלְּבָנוֹן ), the plain of Coele-Syria between the Lebanon and Anti-lebanon ranges (Joshua 11:17). (See LEBANON),
(4.) The Valley of Miegiddo. (בַּקְעִת מְגַדּוֹ ), a part of the plain of Esdraelon, through which the Kishan flowed (2 Chronicles 35:22; Zechariah 12:11). (See MEGIDDO).
(5.) The Valley of Mizpeh (בַּקְעִת מַצְפֶּה ), the plain t the Hauran or of- Gilead, east of the Jordan (Joshua 11:4). (See MIZPEH).
(6.) The Valley of Sharon (בַּקְעִת הִשָּׁרוֹן ), the level tract about Joppa, Lod, and Ramleh (Nehemiah 6:2). (See SHARON).
(7.) The Valley of Aven (בַּקְעִת אָוֶן ), the plain of Damascene Syria (Amos 1:5), thought by some to be the same as No; 3. (See AVSE).
2. Enmek ( עֵמֶק from עָמִק, to be deep; Sept. usually φάραγξ or κοιλάς, occasionally αὐλών, πεδίον or Ε᾿μέκ , Ἀμέκ A.V. invariably [except Genesis 14:17; 1 Samuel 18:18] "valley") designates a long broad sweep between parallel ranges of hills of less extent than the preceding term, but greater than' the following ones, and answering quite closely, to the Western idea in general of a valley in its proper sense, having the idea of lowness and breadth rather than precipitateness or confinement. It is specifically applied to the following localities, which we enumerate in alphabetical order:
(1.) The Valley of Achor (עֵמֶק עָכוֹר ), a valley near the N.W. end of the Dead Sea (Joshua 7:24; Joshua 7:26; Joshua 15:7; Isaiah 65:10; Hosea 2:15). (See ACHOR).
(2.) The Valley of Ajalon ( עֵמֶק אִיָּלוֹן ), a valley in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 10:12). (See AJALON).
(3.) The Valley of Hebron (עֵמֶק חֵבְרוֹו ), the valley in which Hebron lies (Genesis 38:4). (See HEBRON).
(4.) The Valley of Jehoshaphat (עֵמֶק יְהוֹשְׁפְט ), the valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives (Joel 3:2; Joel 3:12); in the same connection called figuratively the valley of the decision (עֵמֶק הֶחָרוּוֹ ). (See JEHOSHAPHAT).
(5.) The Valley of Jezleel (עֵמֶק יַזְרְעֵאל ), the eastern extension of the plain of Esdraelon (Joshua 17:16; Judges 6:33; Hosea 1:5) (See JEZREEL).
(6.) The Valley of Keziz (עֵמֶק קְצַיוֹ ) a valley in the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:21). (See KEZIZ).
Besides the above, the term is sometimes used as an appellative for certain well known localities, e.g. the valley of the weeping (Psalms 74:6; A.V. "valley of Baka" [q.v.]), the valley of blessing (2 Chronicles 20:26; A.:V. "valley of Berachah" [q.v.), the valley of the back (1 Samuel 17:2; 1 Samuel 17:19; 1 Samuel 21:9; A.V. "valley of Elah" [q.v.]), the valley of -giants (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; "valley of Rephaim" [q.v.], 2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22; 2 Samuel 23:13; 1 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Chronicles 14:9; Isaiah 17:5), the valley of Shaveh [q.v.]; (Genesis 14:17), or of the king ("dale," ibid.; 2 Samuel 18:18), the valley of the slime-pits (Genesis 64:3, 8, 10; A.V. "of Siddim" [q.v.]), the alley of booths (Psalms 60:6; Psalms 108:7; A.V. "of Succoth" [q.v.]), etc.
3. Gay ( גִּיְא or גִּי ) or Gey ( גֵּיא or גֵּיא; plur. גֵאָיּוֹת and גְּיָאוֹת, from גָיָא; to flow; Sept. usually φάραγξ), a deep narrow ravine with a (winter or perennial) stream in the bottom either between hills (like the Ge-Hinnom at Jerusalem) or through an open plain (as along the Mediterranean or in Moab). In the A.V. it is invariably rendered "valley" (in the Sept. occasionally κοιλάς, νάπη, αὐλών,-and even γῆ ). It is applied distinctively to the following localities. See also Ai; Beth-peor, etc.
(1.) The Valley of Hinnom (גַּי הַנֹּם, Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; Nehemiah 11:30), or of the Son of Hinnom (הַנֹּ בֵּןאּ, Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31-32; Jeremiah 19:2; Jeremiah 19:6; Jeremiah 32:35), the ravine on the south-western side of Jerusalem, whence the term Gehenna (q.v.).
(2.) The Valley of Jiphthah-el (גֵּי יַפְתִּחאּאֵל ), a ravine on the boundary between Zebulin and Asher (Joshua 19:14; Joshua 19:27). (See JIPHTHAH-EL).
(3.) The Valley of Zephathah (גֵּיא צְפָתָה ), a ravine in the tribe of Simeon (2 Chronicles 14:10). (See ZEPHAITHAH).
(4.) The Valley of Gedor (גּיא גְּדוֹר ), another ravine in Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:39).
(5.) The Valley of Hammon-gog (גֵּיא הֲמוֹן גּוֹג, Ezekiel 39:11; Ezekiel 39:15), or of the Passengers (גֵּי הָעֹבְרַם, Ezekiel 39:11), a ravine on the east of the Sea of Galilee. (See HAMON-GOG).
(6.) The Valley of the Craftsmen (גַּי הִחֲרָשַׁים, Nehemiah 11:35; or גֵּיא חֲרָשֵׁים 1 Chronicles 4:14, a ravine in the tribe of Judah. (See CHARASHIM).
(7.) The Valley of the Mountains (גֵּיאאּהָרִי, Zechariah 14:5, or
גֵּיאּהָרַים, ibid.), a ravine near Jerusalem (q.v.).
(8.) The Valley of Salt (גֵּיא מֶלִח ), a ravine on the S.W. shore of the Dead Sea (2 Samuel 8:13; 2 Kings 24:7; 1 Chronicles 18:12; 2 Chronicles 35:11; Psalm Ix, title). (See SALT).
(9) The Valley of the Hyenas (גּי הצּבֹעַים ), a ravine in the tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 13:18). (See ZEBOIM). Other ravines; such as the valley of vision (Isaiah 22:1; Isaiah 22:5) of slaughter (Jeremiah 7:32; Jeremiah 19:6), are fanciful names, and still more tropical, the valley of the shadow of death (Psalms 23:4).
4. Ná chal (נִחִל, from. נָחִל to receive, or perhaps to flow; Sept. φάραγξ or χειμάῤῥους; A. V. often "brook," "river," "stream") is the word which exactly answers to the Arabic wady. It expresses, as no single English word an, the bed of a stream (often wide and shelving and like a "valley" in character, which in the rainy season may be nearly filled by a foaming torrent, though for the greater part of the year dry), and the stream itself which after the subsidence of the rains has shrunk to insignificant dimensions. Many of the wadies of Syria owing to the demolition of the wood which formerly shaded the country and prevented too rapid evaporation after rain, are now entirely and constantly dry. (See RIVER). As Palestine is now emphatically a land of wadies, so this Heb. term is of very frequent occurrence in the Bible; Stanley (Palest. append.) enumerates fifteen of these water-courses or torrent-beds: those of Gerar, of Eshcol, of Zered, of Arnon, of Jabbok, of Kanah, of Kisfhon, of Besor, of Sorek, of Kidron, of Gaash, of Cherith, of Gad (2 Samuel 24:5), of Sthittim, and of Egypt (Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:4; Joshua 15:47; 1 Kings 8:65 2 Kings 24:7; 2 Chronicles 7:8; Isaiah 27:12), this last could not be distinguished by a mere English reader from the "river of Egypt," namely, the Nile, although in the original an entirely different word is used. This name nachal is also applied to the course of the Gihon (2 Chronicles 33:14), and such wadies are often mentioned in the book of Job and elsewhere as characteristic of Arabia; Canaan itself is said to be a land of them (Deuteronomy 8:7). (See BROOK).
5. Hash-Shephelah (הִשְּׁפֵלָה; Sept. τὸ πεδίον, ἡ πεδινή ) is the only case in which the employment of the term ‘ valley" is really unfortunate. The district to which alone this distinctive Heb. name is applied in the Bible has no resemblance whatever to a valley, but is a broad swelling tract of many hundred miles in area, which sweeps gently down from the mountains of ‘ Judah. towards the Mediterranean.. It is rendered "the vale" in Deuteronomy 1:7; Joshua 10:40; 1 Kings 10:27; 2 Chronicles 1:15; Jeremiah 33:13; and "the valley" or "valleys" in Joshua 9:1; Joshua 11:2; Joshua 11:16; Joshua 12:8; Joshua 15:33; Judges 1:9; Jeremiah 32:44. (See SHEPHELAH).
6. In the New Test. there is little notice taken of the external features of Cauaanr. In Luke 6:17 we read of our Lord standing in "the plain," τόπος πεδινός (but this should rather be "a level place"‘); and in Luke 3:5 we meet with "valley," φάραγξ , for גֵּיא, gey, in Isaiah 40:4.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Valley'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/v/valley.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.