Valley of Elah

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Mediterranean oak and terebinth woodland in the Valley of Elah

The Valley of Elah, "the valley of the oak or terebinth" [1] (Hebrew: עמק האלה Emek HaElah) (Arabic Wadi es-Sunt), best known as the place described in the Bible where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2, 19). It was near Azekah and Socho (17:1). On the west side of the valley, near Socho, there is a very large and ancient tree of this kind, 55 feet in height, its trunk 17 feet in circumference, and the breadth of its shade no less than 75 feet. It marks the upper end of the valley, and forms a noted object, being one of the largest terebinths in the area.

The Valley of Elah has gained new importance as a point of support for the argument that Israel was more than a tribal chiefdom in the time of King David. At Khirbet Qeiyafa, southwest of Jerusalem in the Elah Valley, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel has discovered a fortified Judahite city from the Iron Age IIa dated sometime between 1050 and 915 BCE. The fortifications have been said to support the Biblical account of the United Monarchy at the beginning of Iron Age II.[2]


  1. ^ Elah, Langenscheidt's Hebrew Dictionary, Dr Karl Feyerabend
  2. ^ Govier, Gordon "Archaeology: What an Ancient Hebrew Note Might Mean" Christianity Today 1/18/2010 [1]

Coordinates: 31°41′25.10″N 34°57′07.70″E / 31.690306°N 34.952139°E / 31.690306; 34.952139

Popular culture

In the Valley of Elah is the title of a 2007 film by Paul Haggis.

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