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Vaheb | Vail | Vain | Vainglory | Vaizatha | Vale, Valley | Valiant, Valiantly | Valley | Valley Of Decision | Valley of Emek | Valley Of Giants

Vale, Valley


It is hardly necessary to state that these words signify a hollow sweep of ground between two more or less parallel ridges of high land. 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. Valley is employed in the Authorized Version to render five distinct Hebrew words.
  1. ?Emek . This appears to approach more nearly to the general sense of the English word than any other. It is connected with several places.
  2. Gai or ge . Of this there is fortunately one example which can be identified with certainty --the deep hollow which compasses the southwest and south of Jerusalem. This identification establishes the ge as a deep and abrupt ravine, with steep sides and narrow bottom.
  3. Nachal . This word answers to the Arabic wady, and expresses, as no single English word can, 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).
  4. Bik?ah . This term appears to mean rather a plain than a valley, though so far resembling it as to be enclosed by mountains. It is rendered by "valley" in (34:3; Joshua 11:8,17; 12:7; 2 Chronicles 35:22; Zechariah 12:11)
  5. has-Shefelah . The district to which the name has-Shefelah 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 Judah to the Mediterranean. It is rendered "the vale" in (1:7; Joshua 10:40; 1 Kings 10:27; 2 Chronicles 1:15; Jeremiah 33:13) and "the valley" or "the valleys" in (Joshua 9:1; 11:2,16; 12:8; 15:33; Judges 1:9; Jeremiah 32:44)


VALE, VALLEY - val, val'-i:

(1) gay'; either absolute: "from Bamoth to the valley that is in the field of Moab" (Nu 21:20); or with a proper name: "valley of Hinnom," also "valley of the son of Hinnom" (Josh 15:8); "valley of Slaughter" (Jer 7:32); "valley of Zeboim" (1 Sam 13:18); "valley of Zephathah" (2 Ch 14:10); "valley of Hamon-gog" (Ezek 39:11); "valley of Iphtah-el" (Josh 19:14); "valley of the mountains" (Zec 14:5); "Valley of Salt" (2 Sam 8:13); "valley of vision" (Isa 22:1); once (in the Revised Version (British and American)) as a place-name: "until thou comest to Gai" (the King James Version "the valley") (1 Sam 17:52); also (Revised Version) "Ge-harashim" (1 Ch 4:14); compare "valley of craftsmen" (margin "Ge-haharashim") (Neh 11:35).

(2) `emeq, `amoq, "to be deep"; compare Arabic `amuq, "to be deep"; `umq, "depth"; 'Ammiq, a village in the valley of Coele-Syria; absolute: "He could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley" (Jdg 1:19); often with place-names: "valley of Achor" (Josh 7:24); "valley of Aijalon" (Josh 10:12); "valley of Gibeon" (Isa 28:21); "vale of Hebron" (Gen 37:14); "valley of Jehoshaphat" (Joel 3:2); "vale of Rephaim," the King James Version "valley of the giants" (Josh 15:8); "vale of Shaveh" (Gen 14:17); "vale of Siddim" (Gen 14:3); "valley of Succoth" (Ps 60:6); compare "valley of Weeping" (the King James Version "Baca") (Ps 84:6); "valley of Beracah" (margin "Blessing") (2 Ch 20:26); "valley of decision" (Joel 3:14); "vale of Elah" (margin "terebinth") (1 Sam 17:2); "the King's Vale" (Gen 14:17); but "the king's dale" (2 Sam 18:18); "Emekkeziz," the King James Version "valley of Keziz" (Josh 18:21).

(3) biq`ah, baqa`, "to cleave," hence, "valley," especially "broad valley" or "plain"; compare Arabic baq`at, "wet meadow" Biqa`, Coele-Syria; absolute: "a land of hills and valleys" (Dt 11:11); with place-names: "valley of Jericho" (Dt 34:3); "valley of Lebanon" (Josh 11:17); "valley of Megiddo" (2 Ch 35:22); "valley of Mizpah" (Josh 11:8).

(4) nachal, also "river" or "stream"; absolute "Isaac's servants digged (dug) in the valley" (Gen 26:19); with place-names: "valley (the King James Version "river") of the Arnon" (Dt 2:24); "valley of Eshcol" (Nu 32:9); "valley of Gerar" (Gen 26:17); "valley of Shittim" (Joel 3:18); "valley of Sorek" (Jdg 16:4); "valley of Zered" (Nu 21:12).

(5) shephelah, shaphel, "to be low"; compare Arabic safal, "to be low"; the King James Version "valley" or "vale," the Revised Version (British and American) "lowland," the coast and foothills of Western Palestine

(6) aulon, "valley" (Judith 4:4; 7:3; 10:10).

(7) pharagx: "Every valley shall be filled" (Lk 3:5).

The valley gate (Neh 2:13, etc.) may have had about the location of the present Jaffa gate, if by "valley" is meant the valley of Hinnom. If the Tyropoeon is meant, it would have been near the southwestern corner of the charam area.


The valleys of the mountainous part of Palestine are mostly dry, rocky wadies with occasional torrents m the winter season. Those which descend to the W. widen out as they approach the plain and contain broad fields and meadows which in the winter and spring at least are fresh and green. The valley of the Jordan, the valley of Megiddo and the valley of Lebanon (i.e. Coele-Syria) contain much cultivable land: "the herds that were in the valleys" (1 Ch 27:29): "They of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley" (1 Sam 6:13); "The valleys also are covered over with grain" (Ps 65:13).


Alfred Ely Day

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