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Vale, Valley

Since Israel in OT times was essentially a mountain dwelling people, their view of the lowlands which surrounded them (and which were largely occupied by their enemies) was naturally colored by this fact. Consequently, the term “The Valley” was reserved by them for a specific region, lying between the mountains of Judaea and the Mediterranean. This was שְׁפֵלָה, H9169, “depressed” or “sunken,” identified by the name of Shephelah in modern geographies and in RSV. (See also Palestine.) It is, curiously, not a valley at all, but a kind of piedmont zone of low hills lying between the coastal plain proper and the Judaean hills, and separated from the latter by a narrow (true) valley. In Deuteronomy 1:7; Joshua 10:40; and 1 Kings 10:27, this is the “vale” or “valley” referred to.

It is of interest to note that, in modern Israel, the unqualified term “The Valley” is also used, but nowadays it is in reference to the Plain of Esdraelon rather than the historic Shephelah.

Article 2

2. Nahal, “receiving.” Today often translated wady. It refers to a valley that is the bed of a brook or river that can be filled quickly by rain. Sudden rains often occur in the climate of Palestine (Gen.26.19; Num.13.23; Josh.12.1).

3. ‘Ēmeq, “a deep place.” This term describes a number of places such as the valleys of Achor (Josh.7.24), Aijalon (Josh.10.12), Gibeon (Isa.28.21), Hebron (Gen.37.14), Jehoshaphat (Joel.3.2), Jezreel (Josh.17.16).

4. Biq‘âh, “a split.” A plain between two hills or mountains and in that sense a valley (Deut.34.3; Josh.11.17).

5. Shephēlâh, “lowland.” It is in reality not a valley but the low-lying hills that stretch from Israel’s coast up to the mountains (Josh.10.40; Jer.32.44 kjv).

6. Greek pharanx, “a ravine” (Luke.3.5).

Article 3

val, val’-i:

(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" (De 11:11); with place-names: "valley of Jericho" (De 34:3); "valley of Lebanon" (Jos 11:17); "valley of Megiddo" (2Ch 35:22); "valley of Mizpah" (Jos 11:8).

(4) nachal, also "river" or "stream"; absolute "Isaac’s servants digged (dug) in the valley" (Ge 26:19); with place-names: "valley (the King James Version "river") of the Arnon" (De 2:24); "valley of Eshcol" (Nu 32:9); "valley of Gerar" (Ge 26:17); "valley of Shittim" (Joe 3:18); "valley of Sorek" (Jud 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" (Lu 3:5).

The valley gate (Ne 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" (1Ch 27:29): "They of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley" (1Sa 6:13); "The valleys also are covered over with grain" (Ps 65:13).