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Shephelah

SHEPHELAH shĭ fe’ lə (Heb. שְׁפֵלָה, H9169, a lowland). Although a well-known feature of the landforms of Pal. the name is mentioned only geographically in the KJV of 1 Maccabees 12:38, and there spelled “Sephela.” The term refers to the low hill tract between the coastal plain and the high central hills of Judea and Samaria. It consists of hard Eocene limestones that form low, rocky plateaus and hilly swells that rise from the coastal plain to elevations of some 1500 ft. above sea level. The root meaning of the word is “to make low,” “to humble,” and topographically it is accurate, suggesting the foothills below the main limestone dorsal of Judea-Samaria. As a buffer zone between the coastal plain of Philistia and the Israelite highlands to the interior, the geopolitical character of the Shephelah was given clear identity in the OT (e.g., 2 Chron 26:10; 28:18). In at least one passage, it suggests a particular type of landscape of rocky Eocene outcrops: “the Shephelah...and the hill