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Valley of Elah

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The Valley of Elah, Ella Valley, "the valley of the terebinth" (Hebrew: עמק האלה‎‎ Emek HaElah) (Arabic وادي السنط,Wadi es-Sunt), so called after the large and shady terebinth trees (Pistacia atlantica) which are indigenous to its parts, and 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. Rising up from the valley on its extreme south-east end lies the hilltop ruin, Adullam.

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Valley of Elah Valley of Elah David verse Goliath

The Valley of Elah has gained new importance as a possible 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 city from the Iron Age IIa dated sometime between 1050 and 915 BC. The fortifications have been said to support the biblical account of the United Monarchy at the beginning of Iron Age II. Others are sceptical, and suggest it might represent either a Judahite or Canaanite fortress.

Valley of Elah wwwbiblewalkscomPhotos77Azekah6jpg

In the late 19th century, Conder and Kitchener described the Elah valley as being "one of the most fertile districts in Palestine. It is an open flat vale about half a mile across, and covered with corn; a narrow trench runs down the centre full of white pebbles worn by the water in winter. Here and there large terebinths grow along its course (Butmet Wâdy es Sûr), and solitary oak trees (Ballûtet Kŭssis). On either side rise the stony hills covered with brushwood and wild growth."

Valley of Elah Lion Tracks Photo QnA David and Goliath Valley of Elah and Tel

Since the early 1970s, the valley has also contained a large satellite relay station, with an antenna farm containing some 120 satellite dishes of various sizes.

Valley of Elah Site of the Month 2011

Today the valley is threatened by shale oil extraction through the CCR ground-heating process, with the Green Zionist Alliance and the grassroots group Save Adullam, among others, working to stop shale oil extraction in the region.

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Flora

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Although many are plant species native to the Elah Valley, here are a few of the more popular plants (trees, flowers and herbs) that can be seen in the valley:

Fauna

Here are a few of the animal species native to the Elah Valley:

References

Valley of Elah Wikipedia


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