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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Elah, Vale of

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(עמק האלה , ‛ēmeḳ hā -'ēlāh , "valley of the terebinth"; ἡ κοιλὰς Ἠλά , hē koilás Ēlá ; A, τῆς δρυός , tḗs druós ): The scene of the events of 1 Samuel 17:2 , referred to also in 1 Samuel 21:9 . There can be no doubt that this is the Wady eṣ Ṣunṭ ("valley of the terebinth"), or part of it. This is the southernmost of the great valleys which cut through the Shephelah. Commencing near Hebron, close to Beit Sûr , it descends under the name Wady es Sûr in a more or less northerly direction until near Beit Nettı̂f where it turns abruptly west and receives the name Wady eṣ Ṣunṭ . Here it is joined by the Wady en Najil , coming from the North, and from the East by the Wady el -Jindy , down which descends an ancient road from Bethlehem. Where all these valleys coalesce the Wady eṣ Ṣunṭ expands into a wide and level bottom, half a mile across. On a steep hill to the southern side and a little Southeast of the wide expanse is Kḣ esh -Shuweikeh , the site of Socoh. That the great events of 1 Samuel 17:2 took place here there can be no doubt: the Philistines ranged themselves upon the southern hills; the Israelites to the North or Northeast. Upon the wide level valley the contest with Goliath occurred. The exact position of Saul's forces may be a matter of speculation, but the late Principal Miller of Madras, who made a special study of the locality ( Least of All Lands , chapter v), considered that the little valley ascending Northeast from Wady eṣ Ṣunṭ to Beit Nettı̂f was probably the actual Vale of Elah and that here the Israelites had their fortifications. His elucidation of the whole story is most convincing.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Elah, Vale of'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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