Sunday, 21 February 2010

The Valley of Elah. Who's Looking for a fight?

The Valley of Elah is best known as the scene of the Biblical battle between David and Goliath (Elah means terebinth, the turpentine tree, commonly found in this area). The Brook of Elah, which lies in the heart of the valley, is a seasonal creek, more of a wadi really, which runs dry in the summer months. Most probably the brook from which David chose five smooth stones in preparation for battle, it is the ideal place to recreate in your mind's eye what is arguably perhaps the most famous story from the Tanach. Budding amateur archaeologists should not to get their hopes up over the possibility of discovering a stray piece of Goliaths armour, as the only thing remaining from this three-thousand year battle is the beautiful scenery. Nonetheless, the story takes on a whole new dimension when you read it whilst standing at the site of the action. So take a Tanach , bookmark 1 Samuel 17, make sure that you have adequate water and sun protection and set off on an easy drive from both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. 

Turn off Route 1 on to Route 38 in the direction of Bet Shemesh and you find yourself passing through the geographic transition area between the coastal plain and the Judean hills. Just before reaching the petrol station at the junction of Routes 38 and 375, at Elah Junction, you will pass over a concrete bridge - beneath it is the Brook of Elah. Stop, park safely, walk back to the brook side and start reading. You will not be disappointed that you made the journey.

To view a Google map of this site, please click here

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